The Merrimans of Radford - a story of Country folk.

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This is the story of the Merrimans', a story of country folk that my research has unearthed.  It is a delightful chapter in my family history.  The evidence within this episode really puts the flesh on the bones !

There is positive evidence that William Richards married Sarah Merriman on the 14 April 1789 at Radford St. Peters Parish Church.  What evidence is there available to establish positively Sarah Merrimans' antecedents?   To date this line has not been researched thoroughly.  However there is some evidence available but more research is necessary.

For the story of William Richards and his wife Sarah formerly Merriman, please refer to the chapter of their life together.  William Richards  1763 to 1808  part 2.

For the sake of clarity because names are often the same for father, son and grandson I propose to refer to the Edward Merrimans' in this chapter as Edward the First, Edward the Second and Edward the Third. The latter person being Sarah's father.

The result of studying the Merrimans' is that it takes us back to the 1660s in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, to the great grandparents of Sarah Richards formerly Merriman, namely Edward and Rebeckah Merriman.  I say 1660s because by 1747 Edward Merriman is an old man, very frail in body but indeed of sound mind and memory.

One gets the feeling that "the bells aren't ringing for me and my girl".  He does not refer to her as “a loving wife” and only leaves her five shillings.  The Inventory gives one a lovely picture of countryfolk and describes the House and its contents beautifully.  The surroundings are peaceful with the animals.

He mentions his grandson, Edward being “abroad” and seems anxious that he may not return.  The use of the word "abroad" in 1747 is most likely to mean away from the Nottingham area whereas if used in the C20, it would almost certainly refer to being out of England.  Nevertheless, he may have been abroad out of the country, but I think not.  Some 77 years later, the Vagrancy Act 1824, section 4, refers to any person who wanders abroad and lodges out ............etc. - this was known as 'sleeping out'.  Hence the word abroad was used as I have suggested in 1747.

He does return and marries Mary Holmes and they become the parents of Sarah Merriman subsequently Richards.

His son inherits his property in Nottingham but he, Sarahs' grandfather, sadly dies in Radford, just four years after his father.

His son Edward Merriman (vis. the third), who is Sarah's father, along with his sister Elizabeth Merriman subsequently Woodhouse, inherits his property in Nottingham and Land in Radford.

Also Edward Merriman (vis. the third), Sarahs' father is allowed to live in the House in Radford where he dwells in 1751, rent free forever.

This is the House where Sarah Merriman subsequently Richards was born in 1770 and lives all her life, apart from a brief spell in Greasley in 1789 / 1790, when she starts married life with William Richards.

From the Inventory we get a marvellous look into Sarahs' parents home.  It describes the size of the dwelling and furniture therein.

Outside they have many animals including a Goat, Horses, Mare and Foal, Bulls, Cows, Heifers and Calves, one rearing Calf, a Pig, Sheep and Lambs.  In the fields grows Rye, Wheat, Barley, Peas and Oats.  They are self sufficient it would seem.

What a marvellous background to William and Sarah Richards formerly Merriman' story, which is so different from how we imagined them in the 1808 period.

The 'Will' of Edward Merriman of Arnold dated 15.01.1747. Bricklayer.
........." I, Edward Merriman, being very sick in body but of perfect mind and memory, bequeath to my eldest son Edward Merriman, my Two Houses which are in Nottingham, together with my Land which is in Radford to be fully enjoyed by him, to be divided between his daughter Elizabeth and my son Edward at his decease.

I give to my youngest son, William Merriman, my Two Houses which are in Arnold with Land belonging, to be enjoyed and equally divided amongst his children at his decease.

I give to Elizabeth Merriman my grand-daughter and eldest daughter of my son Edward, All my other Land at Arnold.

Next to Rebeckah Merriman my wife five shillings.!!

Next my 'Will' is that if Edward Merriman my grandson, now abroard (1747 - 15th January 1747.)  (Note: This is the father of Sarah Merriman ) never comes to enjoy his part of my Houses which are at Nottingham and my land which is in Radford, then the Houses and land all to go to Elizabeth Merriman, eldest daughter of my son Edward at her fathers decease, or if Elizabeth Merriman aforesaid dies and leaves no child, then all my land which is at Arnold with the rights thereunto belonging to my youngest son William to be enjoyed by him for his life and to be equally divided amongst all his children at his decease.

I give to my two sons, Edward and William, whom I appoint sole executors of this my last 'Will' and testament, all my money, debts and Personal Estate and Effects to be divided between them both, only my burial charges to be paid out of the same and I ....."
Witnesses : William Adcock, Thomas Allen and William White. Edward Merriman his "mark" of Arnold.

Note: His grandson Edward Merriman, the father of Sarah Merriman is said to be "abroad" and and his grandfather, the Testator seems to doubt his return, but in fact he does return.  The use of the word "abroad" in 1747 is most likely to mean away from his home area.

Inventory. The Inventory valued at £30.14s.0d. following the death of Edward Merriman, Bricklayer.  (Edward the First).
In the House, fire irons, brass, pewter and other goods. they have a Parlour, kitchen, Chamber of the House, Chamber over the Parlour and Chamber over the Kitchen. Cows (3), Pigs (3), Implements of husbandry.  Wheat growing and Manner in the Yard.
Witnesses : Samuel Clay, Caesar Jones, Acton Wakefield.

Bond after the death of Edward Merriman of Arnold.
Edward Merriman of Radford, Bricklayer.  William Merriman of Oxton, Bricklayer.  Caesar Jones of Arnold, Yeoman.   All sign their names.  Dated: 30.03.1748.

This chapter began by referring to the Merrimans' as Country Folk but that is only part of the story.  They were tradesmen and most of them practiced a dual economy.  During the course of this chapter this will become evident when the 'Will's are examined.  More evidence will come from the Parish Registers which often provide evidence of occupations.

It is not always either possible or practical to start in earlier times and bring the story forward year by year, generation by generation, but this is what I 'Will' try to do.  However often parts of the story will be repetitive and the story will switch back and forth.

For the sake of clarity because names are often the same for father, son and grandson I propose to refer to the Edward Merrimans' in this chapter as Edward the First, Edward the Second and Edward the Third. The latter person being Sarah's father.

The story begins with William Merriman of Radford born circa 1650 .??

There is evidence that William Merriman had at least one son, he being named Edward Merriman (the first) and born /bapt circa 1670.  Edward Merriman (the first) may have been illegitimate and married Rebecca ?

She could have been his second wife.  She died a widow in Arnold on 13.10.1761.  Edward Merriman, her husband had been buried previously on 23.01.1747 in his native village of Radford but he died at Arnold, his occupation being Bricklayer (mason).

Let's go back to the generation of Edward and Rebecca Merriman and peruse for a moment the ''Will'' of this Edward Merriman the First.  The ''Will'' gives us a great deal of information.  He was old and sick in body but of perfect mind and memory.

He resided in Arnold although he had lived and was born in Radford.  From all accounts he lived most of his life in Radford, there is a strong suspicion that he too may have had two wives but he has not yet been researched thoroughly.

His ''Will'' gives the distinct impression that "the bells were not ringing for me and my gal.”   He left her Five shillings and was quite abrupt in his ''Will''.

Nevertheless Rebecca lives until 1761, fourteen years after the death of her husband and she is buried at ArnoldEdward died on the 23rd. January 1747 in Arnold but was in fact interred in the churchyard at Radford St. Peters Parish Church.  As quoted above, it appears that “the bells weren't ringing for me and my gal”!

At present the belief is that this Edward Merriman (the First) and husband of Rebecca was the illigitimate son of a William Merriman of Radford born circa 1670 but more research is required.

We have done well to get back to the seventeenth century, but this line has been easy because the Merrimans' had stayed in one spot ....  Radford for several centuries.

Edward Merriman left a ''Will'' which gives a lot of information.
He was old and sick in body but of perfect mind and memory and resided in Arnold, although he had lived and was born in Radford.

From all accounts he lived for most of his life in Radford.  There is the impression that "the bells were not ringing for me and my girl."  Having said that, it may be that the status of women in the eyes of Edward was that of second class citizen, a view not uncommon at the time.

Edward Merriman the First and his wife Rebecca had at least two children, but at present their baptism's have not been researched.  This information is gleaned from the ''Will's'.
1.  William Merriman ( Bricklayer )  Born ?   married.  Mary ??   ( 1748 lived in Oxton)  Died.?
2.  Edward Merriman  (Bricklayer)  (Edward the Second).  Born  ?   Married Elizabeth ?
Died 22.05.1751.  at Radford
This latter Edward Merriman (the Second) married Elizabeth ?? but to date her surname is not known, neither is her birthdate, but she was buried at Radford St. Peters on the 27.11.1738.

To date three children have been traced to the marriage of Edward Merriman (the Second) and Elizabeth ??. namely :
1.  Elizabeth Merriman.  Born.  c.1724.  married  St. Peters, Nottm.  03.09.1749.  see below
     Died 21.12.1764. at Radford aged 40 years.
2.  Edward Merriman.  (Edward the Third, father of Sarah)  Bapt.  26.02.1725. at Radford.
     Married   04.07.1749.  Died  14.09.1792.  (Bricklayer)
3.  Sarah Merriman.  Bapt.  01.11.1738. at Radford.  Died  05.11.1738.

Elizabeth Merriman born c.1724. dau. of Edward (the Second) and Elizabeth Merriman.  She married Richard Woodhouse by Licence.  At the time she was a spinster aged 24 years.  Her husband was aged 30 years and a Bachelor.  His occupation was a Farmer.   To date seven children have been traced to this marriage, namely :
Elizabeth Merryman Woodhouse, bapt. 23.04 1750 at Radford.
Richard Woodhouse bapt.1754 ?? at Radford.
Hannah Woodhouse bapt. 19.01.1756. at Radford.  (she married John Radford on 01.01.1781.   Both were from Radford.)
Edward Woodhouse bapt.19.01 1756. at Radford.   (he married Hannah Leeson on 26.08.1782.)
William Woodhouse bapt. 03.05.1758.  died young.
William Woodhouse bapt. 12.08.1759. at Radford.  (he married Sarah Simpson)
Joseph Woodhouse bapt.. 05.12.1764. at Radford.  died 21.12.1764.

Elizabeth Woodhouse formerly Merriman died 12.12.1764 just eight days after the baptism of her baby , who in turn only survived a further nine days after his mother.  Elizabeth would be around 40 years of age at the time of his death.

The Richard Woodhouse mentioned in the Land Tax list for 1780 - 1832, from 1780 - 1789 may have been Elizabeth's husband but it could have been her son.

Edward Merriman (the Third), son of Edward the Second and Elizabeth ?? bapt. 26.02.1725. at Radford.  This Edward Merriman married Mary Holmes at Radford St. Peters on the 4 July 1749.  Subsequently both Edward and Mary left ''Will's'.  Edward (the Third) was aged 67 years when he died and was buried on the 14 September 1792.  At the time of his death he was a Bricklayer.

Sarah Merriman, born 1st. November 1738, at Radford, the second daughter of Edward Merriman (the Second) and his wife Elizabeth.  Sadly baby Sarah only lived a few days and was buried on the 5 November 1738 in the Churchyard at Radford St. Peter's Parish Church.

From the evidence that has been gathered, it appears that Edward Merriman, born 26 February 1725, married twice for sure.  His first marriage produced three children, namely Edward, Elizabeth and Sarah.  There may have been more not yet traced.  Their baptism dates need confirming but Edward and Elizabeth lived in Radford all their married life.  This Edward Merriman was a Bricklayer.
Query:  Wrong baptism date?

There is evidence that Edward Merriman (the Second) married Hannah Bradshaw at Radford St. Peters Church on the 16 September 1740.  She was buried in Radford Churchyard on the 22 August 1765.  At that time she was a widow.  No children have yet been traced to this latter marriage.  This was the second marriage of Edward (the Second), his first wife Elizabeth having died.

Edward (3) survived and married Mary HolmesElizabeth survived and married Richard Woodhouse but Sarah baptised on the 1 November 1738 died on the 5 November 1738 only four days old.  Her mother Elizabeth was buried just twenty two days after little Sarah.  What a tragedy.!!

However “the bells were ringing again” for Edward Merriman (2) in 1740 when he married Hannah Bradshaw on the 16 September 1740, just nine years prior to Edward (3) his son marrying Mary Holmes and nine years prior to his daughter Elizabeth marrying Richard Woodhouse.

Edward Merriman (2), Bricklayer and husband of Hannah Bradshaw died quite young in 1751.  He had only been married eleven years to Hannah.   His ''Will'' dated the 4 May 1751 and the Inventory dated 17 May 1751 provides positive evidence that this is the correct second marriage for Edward Merriman(2).  The Witness to the Inventory was Henry Bradshaw, obviously a relative of Hannah his wife...   Edward and Hannah Merriman formerly Bradshaw had no children.  Hannah died a widow on the 22 August 1765, fourteen years after her husband and is buried in Radford churchyard.

It is the marriage of Edward Merriman (the Third) and Mary Holmes which mostly influences my family history.  To date eleven children have been traced to this marriage and all were born in Radford.  All were buried in Radford St. Peter's churchyard with the exception of Samuel who appears to have been buried elsewhere.

The following children have been traced to Edward Merriman (3) and Mary Merriman formerly Holmes.
1.  Hannah bapt. 03.01.1750.  Died. 19.12.1783.  Spinster.
2.  Edward (4) bapt. 04.08.1752.  Died. 14.05.1758. aged 5 years.
3.  Richard bapt. 01.07.1755.  Died 10.04.1782, aged 26 years married Ann ?? on 09.10.1779.
4.  Elizabeth bapt. 11.04 1757.  Died 02.02.1783.  She married Thos.?? on 04.10.1779
    and died a widow, aged 25 years.
5.  Mary bapt. .20.04.1759.  Died 08.04.1790, a Spinster, aged 30.
6.  Edward (5) bapt. 28.12.1761.  Died18.03.1787, aged 25 years.  No marriage has been traced.
7.  William bapt. 03.07.1764.  Died 23.07.1764, aged 01 years.
8.  William bapt. 08.07.1766.  Died 12.07.1818, aged 52 years.  No marriage traced.  He was a Yeomen.
9.  Samuel bapt. 03.04.1768  Died not yet traced.  He was alive 16.03.1802 but dead by 29.01.1803.
10.   Sarah Merriman bapt. 21.05.1770.  Died 23.08.1818, aged 48 years.
     She married William Richards on 14.04.1789.
11.  Ann bapt. 24.05.1774.  Died 05.04 1802, aged 27 years.  She married Edward Gould on
      24.12.1800.  To date one child has been traced to this couple.  viz..Sarah Gould bapt. 27.12.1801.
       Died 07.11.1802.

This chapter is still being updated as at 9 June 2009.

The Merrimans of Radford - a story of Country folk.


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Created 21 May 2009
Last updated: 9 June 2009