William Richards (1763 to 1808) (part one)

"William the Blacksmith"

After several years of research entering back doors to gain access into front doors we have gained sufficient evidence and knowledge on the Richards to establish that William Richards, blacksmith by trade, was the son of Mathew and Mary Richards formerly Sore of Strelley, having been born to them on the 11 February 1763 and baptised four days later at Strelley Parish Church on the 15 February 1763.  The Bishops Transcripts confirm these two dates as being correct.

William was their first born.  Mathew and Mary were blessed with eight children, all born in Strelley but two of their sons died young.

Initially this piece of research proved difficult because there was a burial of a William Richards on the 15 June 1762 at Strelley Parish Church and it was thought that this burial was that of baby William Richards.

However it has now been proved conclusively that the 1762 burial referred to an adult by the name of William Richards.  Although we can neither prove nor disprove it, the evidence points strongly to the fact that this William Richards the adult was in fact the Parish Clerk of Strelley and had been so for several years.

The Parish Registers for Strelley Church run from Ladyday each year, that is to say Quarter 21 March 1762 to 20 March 1763.  Although it does not record 21 March, it does record Ladyday each time.

This is vital to identifying that we have William Richards the son of Mathew and Mary Richards nee Sore surviving because there is a burial of a William Richards on the 15 June 1762, whom subsequently we have established beyond all reasonable doubt to have been an adult who was buried before little William Richards was born.

There is corroboration that the burial in June 1762 is for an adult because quite simply the entry does not record "Infant" whereas almost without exception whenever a youngster is buried, the entry in the Parish Register records the word "Infant".

Two significant pieces of evidence provide further corroboration of William Richards buried in 1762 being an adult.

PR.1627/13.  Nottinghamshire Record Office. There is no mention of William Richards which is good news because he died in 1762 and this is a bit more circumstantial evidence that it was this William the Parish Clerk who died and not William Richards the son of Mathew and Mary Richards formerly Sore.

PR.1648/5.  Nottinghamshire Record Office. 9 November 1762.   Rate 8d. in the 1.   John Sore 4s. and Wm. Sore 1s..4d.

There is no mention of William Richards in this document because this was the year that he died.  This is good news as far as we are concerned because it is corroboration of the burial in Strelley of a William Richards in 1762, whom we believe was the Parish Clerk.

Consequently the result of this piece of research is to have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that William Richards the son of Mathew and Mary Richards nee Sore was still "at large and survived".

I believe that we have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that William Richards was baptised on the 15 February 1763 at Strelley and that his parents were Mathew Richards and Mary Richards nee Sore.  Much more will be written and discussed regarding this couple later.

We have discovered very little about William Richards between the years 1763 and 1789.

William Richards married Sarah Merriman (bapt. 21 May 1770), on the 14 April 1789 at .  Although William's occupation is not recorded, there is evidence that he was a Blacksmith by trade.  This evidence has been obtained from the marriage certificate of one of his children vis. Mathew Richards (baptised 14 February 1808) when the latter married for the second time in 1850.

The witnesses to this marriage of William Richards and Sarah Merriman were Jonathan Lane and Sarah Gibson.

There is no indication in the marriage register as to whether William Richards was a single man or a widower but Sarah Merriman is shown as a spinster.  We still do not know whether or not William Richards had a previous marriage.

This marriage document confirmed that William Richards was of Greasley Parish and Sarah Merriman was of Radford Parish.  No occupation was given for either person.  The Banns were not read at Greasley Church.

The Banns were read on the 29 March 1789, 5 April 1789 and 12 April 1789 at St. Peters Parish Church, Radford by the Curate William Gill.

Sarah Merriman was baptised on 21 May 1770 at St. Peters Church, Radford.  Her parents were Edward Merriman (bapt. 26 February 1725) and Mary Merriman nee Holmes (bapt. c.1725) who were married 4 July 1749 at St. Peters Parish Church, Radford.

In this document I have used the spelling Merriman when in fact the alternative spelling is Merreyman.

How did William Richards meet his future wife Sarah Merriman?  She was a Radford girl.  In 1784 Sarah would still be only 14 years old.  William Richards was 21 (twenty one) years old at this time.  Surely a man of 21 falling in love with her at that age, really.!

Initially William Richards would be owned by the parish of Stapleford as evidenced by his father's Settlement Certificate.  Most likely he moved away from Strelley to Greasley to do his apprenticeship.  Remembering the close proximity of Greasley to Strelley, in part they shared the same parish boundary.  I'm referring to the section adjoining Swingate and Strelley/Strelley Park.

If William Richards served his apprenticeship in Greasley, and it looks now that he may have done, did Benjamin Richards, the Blacksmith at Swingate take him on?

The latter dies in 1808 the same year as William dies.  They may have been relatives.

1784.  Settlement Certificate for a William Richards, Blacksmith of Radford.

There is evidence that a William Richards went armed with a Settlement Certificate from Radford to Greasley?  This certificate is dated 1784.  This evidence is from the Notts. F.H.S. Records Series, VOL.43 part 1, page 128.

The original document, which is the Overseers Book and is in the Nottingham Record Office, provides the primary evidence regarding this certificate.

The question is "Was this Settlement Certificate ever issued" because there is no surviving original Settlement Certificate and the entry in the Overseers Book appears to be incomplete?

The entry reads:  Date..."Richards....William...Blacksmith....S.C.... Radford St. Peters... to...Greasley.

However the entry in the Notts. F.H.S. Record Series records "S.C ... from Greasley to St. Peters, Radford, 1784."

This may be an error because I believe that the journey was being made from Radford to Greasley.  It is a strong possibility that William Richards served his apprenticeship in Radford and was moving to Greasley to start a new job.  It has not yet been proved conclusively that William Richards with the Settlement Certificate is the same person who married Sarah Merriman.

This Settlement Certificate requires careful examination in an effort to establish whether or not it belongs to our William Richards.  It is difficult to link it with our man.

Firstly an examination of the original document listing the Radford Settlement Certificates clearly records that the certificate is being granted to a William Richards, a blacksmith who is moving from Radford to Greasley.  He has applied to the parish who own him, for a settlement.  This is the parish of Radford.

Consequently Radford are issuing the settlement certificate and are acknowledging that they will pay if he becomes chargeable or asks relief of Greasley which is the parish to which he is now moving.

Whether or not this settlement certificate was ever granted to him is at the present time questionable.  By comparing the previous entries where such certificates were granted with this particular application, it is clear that this latter application is without the names of either any witnesses or Churchwardens / Overseers being entered.  This is odd.

There is evidence available elsewhere to prove that our William Richards resided in Greasley in April 1789, the year he married Sarah Merriman.  This is positive evidence, his marriage lines prove it.

Also there is evidence that he baptised his first child in Greasley so we can safely presume that he resided in Greasley from April 1789 to 7 March 1790 and probably a while longer.  By the 25 April 1791 they remove to Radford and live there happily ever after.!

Therefore William Richards must have applied to Greasley, the parish who owned him for a settlement certificate to Radford sometime between the 7 March 1790 and 25 April 1791.

Unfortunately this document if it ever existed has not been found.  Having said that, Greasley Parish is sparse of parish records.

From the 1808 Poor Law Books, Radford Parish there is positive evidence that Greasley still "own" him in 1808.  He applied to them when he was in financial trouble and was granted "relief" for himself, his wife and family.  After his death, Greasley continued paying his wife and family for a further five years.

Although I can neither prove nor disprove it I still believe that this settlement certificate belongs to our William Richards.

It is still not proved that the Settlement certificate was actually issued.  Certainly it has been recorded in the Radford Parish Overseers records but it is at the bottom of a page and their are no witnesses on this particular entry, whereas on all the other entries, all the witness details have been recorded.  Until some more conclusive evidence becomes available I believe that this document whilst being accepted must be treated with some degree of caution.

William Richards (1763 to 1808) (part one)

"William the Blacksmith"


Email: ronstan@richardsbygonetimes.co.uk

Home Page: http://www.richardsbygonetimes.co.uk/

Created 2 December 2001
Last updated: 3 February 2003