Dear Reader

Dear Reader # 143

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series book seventeen.

I’ve been revisiting the Howe branch of my family tree, making some minor corrections and uncovering some amazing stories, including a murder and three female Howes who joined the Pioneer Trail in the Wild West of America. More about them in a future post. But first, to start at the beginning…

The Howes of Glamorgan first appear in the historical record in the 1600s with John Howe, born c1640, of St Hilary. He was the father of my 8 x great grandfather, John Howe. The Hearth Tax of 1670 and later records show that around 150 people lived in St Hilary, with Welsh the dominant language.

St Hilary Church c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

In 1675 the Welsh Trust established a school in St Hilary. It’s possible that my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe, born c1690, attended this school. Certainly, he was literate. In 1678 ten children attended the school, making it the smallest in the county. Education was provided by the vicar and churchwardens, in English and Welsh.

The Vicarage, St Hilary c1900 (People’s Collection Wales).

c1711 my 7 x great grandfather Joseph Howe married Elizabeth (surname unknown). The couple produced four children: Elizabeth, Dorothy, Mary and my direct ancestor John. Sadly, Dorothy died when only nine days old.

Joseph died in July 1742. He was buried on 5 July 1742. That year, ten people died in St Hilary. Five children were baptised while the parish register recorded only one marriage.

John Howe, my 6 x great grandfather, was baptised on 24 July 1726 in St Hilary, Glamorgan, probably a week after his birth. Sadly, many babies died within a week of their births so baptisms were often swift affairs.

The son of Joseph and Elizabeth, John became a successful farmer. When Joseph died on 5 July 1742, sixteen-year-old John helped his mother to run the farm. He didn’t marry until 1761, a month before his mother died.

From the National Library of Wales, the tithe map of St Mary Church Parish, St Hilary. The Howe family farmed thirty-three fields on this map, twenty-six arable and seven meadow. They also owned Howe Mill.

In the eighteenth century St Hilary was a small, close-knit farming community with a population of around 150. It was self-contained and regulated its own affairs. The church remained the focal point for the religious and social life of the village. Dissenting voices were nonexistent. Then, in 1748, my ancestor Priscilla Howe (a name that reoccurs throughout the generations) registered a meeting house for Quakers and literally ‘shook things up’.

St Hilary. People’s Collection Wales.

In 1753, my 6 x great grandfather John Howe became a churchwarden, Petty Constable and Overseer of the Poor. Overseers of the Poor were chosen from the ‘substantial householders’ within the community and were elected at the annual vestry. Although elected for a year, they often served multiple terms over many years.

As Overseer of the Poor, John made a payment of £1 17s 6d for the making and binding of Bibles, 1s for attending a coroner’s inquest and 7d for a pair of male stockings. He also awarded payments of a few pence to ‘the little boy of whom nothing else is known’.

This is John’s account of 1753, written in his own hand.

The pivotal period of my 6 x great grandfather John Howe’s life arrived in April and May, 1761. On 3 April 1761 he married 39 year old Mary Robert, a widow with two children. Then his first son, John, my 5 x great grandfather, was born on 28 April 1761. That’s right, Mary was eight months pregnant at the time of her marriage. On 1 May 1761 John’s mother, Elizabeth, died aged 62. A marriage, birth and death within four weeks. A very stressful time for John. 

From the age of sixteen John had run his mother’s farm. He was probably waiting until she died before he married, but with Mary eight months pregnant he couldn’t wait any longer.

With his standing in the community, John was an eligible bachelor so Mary, four years his senior, must have been pleased with the match. Equally, she must have possessed qualities that set her apart from younger women. The couple had four children and spent 37 years together, and I trust enriched each other’s lives.

John died on 23 February 1818, aged 91, a remarkable age in any era. And through his family, farm and community activities I sense that he lived a rewarding life.

St Hilary parish church (Wikipedia).

Next week, more about the Howes, including a murder.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #142

Dear Reader,

Operation Zigzag, book one in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, is #1 on the Amazon charts again this weekend. Many thanks to all my readers for making this possible.

Married life for my 4 x great grandparents John Glissan, a surgeon/dentist/chemist, and Sarah Foreman, a nurse/dentist/chemist got off to a dramatic start when John featured as a witness in an assault case in which the victim was not expected to recover. This report appeared in the Morning Post on 25 July 1835.

During the second half of the 1830s John and Sarah traded as chemists/druggists from 147 Blackfriars Road, London, a desirable residence. However, the rent was high and with children on the way they had to consider their future. A move, slightly down market, seemed inevitable.

John Glissan began his apothecary career in Dublin near the docks. He knew that environment well, so in the 1840s he relocated his wife and three daughters from Blackfriars Road in London to 28 Church Road in St George in the East. There he operated as a surgeon/dentist.

John died on 16 March 1854. Alone, Sarah faced an uncertain future. However, twenty years earlier she had risen to the challenge when she moved from her family home in Tetford, Lincolnshire to London. Once again, she met the challenge: she established herself as a dentist.

A brief history of dentistry. In 1855 Emeline Roberts Jones became the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. She married the dentist Daniel Jones when she was a teenager, and became his assistant in 1855. Lilian Lindsay, 1895, is regarded as the first female dentist in Britain, yet my 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman was practicing dentistry with her husband, John Glissan, from 1834 and in her own right from 1854. A remarkable achievement by Sarah.

In the 1860s, when she was sixty, my 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman returned to nursing. She became a monthly nurse, a woman who looked after a mother and her baby during the postpartum or postnatal period. Historically, women were expected to rest in bed for an extended period of time after giving birth. Care was provided either by her female relatives (mother or mother-in-law) or, if you could afford it, by a monthly nurse. 

The term “monthly nurse” was most commonly used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, because such a nurse usually remained with the mother and child for four weeks. The term “monthly” is something of a misnomer because the length of time a nurse remained with a family depended on the family’s financial circumstances and needs.

“The Monthly Nurse”. Wellcome Trust.

Born in a small village in Lincolnshire, Sarah moved to London where she became a nurse, a chemist and a dentist. She gave birth to three daughters and guided them through the health hazards of the Victorian era. She died on 4 June 1891 in Raine Street Infirmary aged 87 of senectus, old age, after a life well lived.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #141

Dear Reader,

We experimented by placing Operation Rose, Operation Watchmaker and Operation Overlord, the next three books in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series, on pre-order without blurbs and with dates running into next January, and already they are top 50 hot new releases. Many thanks to my readers for their support.

My latest article for the Seaside News appears on page 14 of the magazine. This one is about an illicit affair in 1814.

My 4 x great grandmother Sarah Foreman was born on 12 October 1803 in Tetford, Lincolnshire and baptised in the local church, St Mary’s, two days later. She was the youngest of four daughters. Sarah’s parents were Hutton Foreman, born in nearby Toynton in 1764, and Lucy Ironmonger, born in nearby East Kirby in  1761.

Hutton, who worked on the land, married twice. His second wife, Mary Blades, was nineteen years younger than him. He fathered eleven children, the last when he was sixty-four. He died in 1847 aged eighty-three.

Hutton’s first wife, my 5 x great grandmother, Lucy Ironmonger was widowed twice before she married him. Unusually for a rural woman of that time she was literate.

Sarah had three sisters, all with similar names: Mary born 1796, Maria born 1798 and Mary Ann born 1801. Maybe their mother Lucy liked the name Mary. Or maybe the children died in infancy because there is no further trace of them in the historical record. If the Marys did die in infancy then with Lucy’s death Sarah would have become the ‘mother’ of the house.

So what did Sarah make of these complex family dynamics? Sarah lost her mother, Lucy, when she was only eight. Her father, Hutton, then married a woman who was only fifteen years her senior. Sarah would have learned from Lucy in her formative years, so she was educated. Did she get on with her step-mother, Mary Blades? We don’t know. But we do know that by the early 1830s Sarah was living in London.

Sarah was in her late twenties or early thirties when she arrived in London. She was unmarried, which suggests that she had a career. In London, Sarah became a nurse/chemist/dentist. Although I have no proof, I suspect that she was nursing in Lincolnshire before her move to the Big City.

Why did Sarah move to London and how did she get there? Clearly, she decided that village life was not for her and that she would take her chances in the city. Maybe she responded to an advertisement looking for a nurse.

In the 1820s and 1830s the annual rate of pay for a nurse was £10, the equivalent of £600 today. Living expenses were covered. Even so, this was meagre renumeration.  In comparison, in the 1820s/30s a skilled tradesman could earn £10 in fifty days.

Sarah probably travelled to London on a coach. The journey from Tetford to London cost around £2, a huge financial commitment. She was making a life-changing journey and if things didn’t work out in London it was unlikely that she could immediately afford the journey back.

In London, Sarah met my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan, a surgeon/chemist/dentist. Had he placed the original advertisement seeking a nurse? After her initial time in London, did she apply to work for him? We don’t know, but I suspect that their careers overlapped, which led to love and marriage.

Sarah and John married on 24 March 1834 in St Brides, Fleet Street, a notorious location for ‘Clandestine’ marriages, marriages conducted in haste or secrecy, without the posting of banns. Many of my ancestors married in this fashion. However, Sarah and John posted banns so theirs was a regular marriage. Sarah and John signed the wedding register, thus confirming they were literate.

Separately, Sarah and John had travelled hundreds of miles from their homes to meet in London. Now, they were a couple. What would married life bring?

More about Sarah and John next time.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #140

Dear Reader,

This week, I made great progress with the writing of Operation Rose, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE book seven, and Fruit, book four in my Olive Tree Spanish Civil War saga. Covid slowed me down over recent months, but this week was much more like it.

In this month’s issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads…

Crime and thriller author Shawn Reilly Simmons interviewed by Wendy H Jones. Plus, Author Features, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Short Stories, Young Writers, National Batman Day, and so much more!

You discover all sorts when you look through parish records.

My 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan was born in Stepney, London in 1842. In 1851 with her sisters Amelia, 13, and Mary Ann, 6, she was living in 28 Church Road, St-George-in-the-East, London in the shadow of this impressive Anglican church. Lucy’s parents were John Glissan, a surgeon/chemist/dentist and Sarah Glissan née Foreman, a nurse/chemist/dentist.

In 1861 my 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan, 19, was living with her sisters, Amelia, 23, and Sarah Ann, 16, in 2 Charles Street, St George-in-the-East, London. All three were unmarried tailoresses.

A baby also lived with the sisters, William, their ‘brother’. A problem: their mother, Sarah, was a widow of seven years and past childbearing age. To save face, the sisters had lied to the enumerator. So, which one of them gave birth to William?

The answer: my 3 x great grandmother Lucy Sarah Glissan. Shortly after the census was taken, Lucy Sarah married William’s father, Richard Stokes. Sadly, shortly after that William died. The couple produced seven more children including my direct ancestor William Richard Fredrick Stokes.

Lucy Sarah Glissan married Richard Stokes, who later ran a furniture-making business, at St Mary’s, Stepney on 27 May 1861. Both were nineteen, and literate. By 1870 80% of males were literate compared to 75% of females, up from 66% and 50% in thirty years. Lucy Sarah’s younger sister, Mary Ann, who witnessed the wedding, was also literate.

Roath Village School, Cardiff, 1899 (National Museum of Wales).

Lucy Sarah Glissan gave birth to eight children in twenty years 1861 – 1881. Her first and eighth child both died in infancy. The other six prospered. In the Victorian era the average number of children per family was six.

Family portrait, (not the Glissans) 1893.

The Glissan sisters were close, so we should take a moment to explore Amelia and Mary Ann’s lives. Amelia married Charles Samuel, a mariner from Antwerp. The couple did not have any children. When Amelia died in 1894, Charles fell on hard times and entered the workhouse. Mary Ann married James Reynolds, a gun maker/engineer. The couple produced only one child, who died young.

Lucy Sarah died on 9 October 1888 at Red Lion Street, Shoreditch.


My 4 x great grandfather John Glissan was born in 1803 in Ireland. In 1824 Apothecaries Hall in Dublin recognised him as an apothecary with a licence to trade. A few years later, John moved to London where he found employment assisting John William Keys Parkinson, son of James Parkinson, the doctor who gave his name to Parkinson’s Disease.

Photographed in 1912 this is 1 Hoxton Square, London, the home and office of Parkinson and Son, surgeons and apothecaries. In the late 1820s my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan assisted the son, James, and added the skills of dentist and surgeon to his trade of apothecary. Picture: Wellcome Trust.

17 September 1829 a report in the London Courier detailing the evidence John Glissan, a surgeon, gave to an inquest into the death of Henry Kellard, a pauper.

In the early 1830s my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan left Parkinson and Son and set up his own business as a surgeon/chemist/dentist. Initially, he struggled and was forced to go on the road as a traveller, selling his medicines. In 1834 he was declared insolvent. Life for him in London was tough.

In early June 1833, at nine o’clock in the evening, Susannah Griffiths left her lodgings at 12 Dyer Street, London. She walked along George Street to the junction of Blackfriars Road, one of the most fashionable roads in nineteenth century London. She made her way to 147 Blackfriars Road and the shop owned by my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan. There, Susannah purchased a quantity of arsenic.

Returning home, Susannah set her needlework to one side and wrote a note, quoting Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d, Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, Raze out the written troubles of the brain.” She added, “I have taken poison.” Then she placed the note under her pillow and swallowed the arsenic.

Susannah was educated. She understood Shakespeare. I imagine that she was a sensitive soul. A coroner’s inquest held at Christ Church Workhouse absolved John Glissan of any blame and concluded that Susannah died whilst being of unsound mind.

Two days after the newspaper report on Susannah’s tragic suicide, this mysterious message appeared in the Morning Advertiser. I’m not sure what to make of the note. There were no follow up messages, so I’m not sure what my ancestor John made of it either.

17 November 1833. If gout was your problem, my 4 x great grandfather John Glissan, a surgeon/dentist/chemist, was your man. In the 1830s, John appeared in many newspapers advertisements promoting potions for all manner of ailments.

16 February 1834. Another advertisement featuring John Glissan. This advert ran on a regular basis in the Weekly True Sun.

Top of the Pops, 16 February 1834. Note that female singers dominated. Madame Vestris (pictured) was Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (née Elizabetta Lucia Bartolozzi; 3 March 1797 – 8 August 1856) an actress and a contralto opera singer. She was also a theatre producer and manager.

For the first thirty years of his life John Glissan concentrated on learning the skills of a chemist, surgeon and dentist, and on establishing his business. In 1834, life offered a new challenge. More about that next time.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.


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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #139

Dear Reader,

Operation Rose, Operation Watchmaker and Operation Overlord, books seven, eight and nine in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series are now available for pre-order. Full details here

I’ve always felt Welsh and European, and my updated DNA test result (covering seven generations) confirms that fact. The Welsh half of my family is very Welsh, 48/50% while the European half is made up of 37/50% from Belgium/England/France/Germany/Luxembourg/Switzerland/The Netherlands plus a further 8% from Scotland/Ireland, 4% from Scandinavia, and 1% from Wales.

The Wilder branch of my family tree starts with my 7 x great grandmother Lucy Wilder. Sadly, in the historical record women are usually recorded as little more than wives or daughters, so it’s difficult to discover many personal details about them. Lucy was born on 8 December 1714, married Thomas Stokes on 17 February 1736 and died on 17 October 1777, all in Pangbourne. She gave birth to at least three children, possibly more. The records for Pangbourne are fairly good, but it’s possible that some of her children’s births escaped the register.

Lucy’s father, my 8 x great grandfather, was Richard Wilder (1681 – 1731). Richard was a churchwarden at St James the Less in Pangbourne. Churchwardens were expected to set a good example, and maintain order and peace. They were responsible for almost everything in a church except those duties performed by a priest.

Churchwardens were usually elected to their office and served as volunteers in a part-time capacity. This suggests that Richard was a respected member of the community. It also begs the questions: how did Richard make a living, and how did the Wilders achieve a prominent place in their community? I’m hoping Richard’s parents and grandparents will provide the answers.

St James the Less, Pangbourne. Wikipedia.

My 9 x great grandfather Richard Wilder was a boat builder in Pangbourne, Berkshire with workshops on the River Thames. Born on 25 September 1648, Richard married Dorothy Fryzer on 30 May 1675 and within five years, 27 March 1676 to 15 May 1681, she gave birth to four children. The fourth child, Richard, was my 8 x great grandfather. Dorothy died eleven days after Richard’s birth. During the seventeenth century 1.5% of all births ended in the mother’s death as a result of exhaustion, dehydration, infection, hemorrhage, or convulsions.

Richard’s boat building business was a success because in 1703 he left that business, two houses and the equivalent of £43,000 to his second wife, Lucie. Here are highlights from his will.

I, Richard Wilder of Panborn in the County of Berks Boat Builder, being weak of body but of sound and perfect memory doe make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following.

I give and bequeath to my loving wife Luci Wilder being my executrix hereafter named 400l-00s-00d. Item I give and bequeath my house and land in Baswelldon to my said wife during her naturall life and afterwards to be divided share and part alike between my two sonns Richard and Edward and to their heirs forever. 

Item I give and bequeath my house and land at Streetly to my aforesaid wife during her naturall life and after her death to my sonn John and his heirs forever. 

Item give all my household goods to my wife except my wearing apparell and that I give amongst my sonns share and part alike equally divided.

Item I give and bequeath to all my brothers and sisters one shilling apiece except my sister Elizabeth and to her I give 40 shillings.

Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Dorothy Howard sixty pounds and to her daughter twenty pounds.

Item I give to the poor of Pangborn 50s in bread and to the poor of Basweldon 50s in bread at the day of my ffunerall.

Item I give and bequeath all the rest of my goods and chattells and money to be divided equally share and part alike amongst the rest of my children.

Item I doe make my loving wife Luci Wilder my full and whole executrix of this my last Will and Testament.

Item I desire that all of my Debts may be paid out of my [s?] without [doors?] and afterwards to be divided as before mentioned In witness hereof I have hereunto put my hand and seale this 4 day of August Anno 1703 The mark of Richard Wilder sealed and delivered with the 13 stamp being to the full effect in the presence of Richard Lyne, Ruth Lyne, William Woolford.

I doe make choice of Mr Thomas Burteridge of Baswelldon and of Mr John Wilder of Sulham to be my Trustees to see this my will performed.

My desire is that my wife and my two sonns carry on the Trade of building and that my wife may be got half shares with my two sonns in the trade and my two sonns the other half between them.

Probate granted to Lucie Wilder in London on the 19th November 1703.

Richard’s will makes mention of gifts of bread to the poor on the day of his funeral and his wish that his wife Lucie should continue with his business. The acknowledgment that women ran businesses in the 1600s and 1700s is rare, so this is a nice find.

Picture: River Thames Above Pangbourne by Harry Pennell.

Lucie died in 1730. She left a will and here are the highlights.

I Lucy Wilder of Pangbourne in the County of Berks

Widow being indisposed in body but of sound mind and

memory (thanks be to God) therefore doe this Twenty third

day of December in the year of our Lord One Thousand

seven hundred twenty and nine make publish and declare

this to be my last Will and Testament in manner ffollowing

I give devise and bequeath unto my son John Wilder All

those my two Messuages or Tenements with the appurts

lyeing and being in Streatly in the County of Berks and the

Land thereunto belonging and also my Messuage or Tenement

with the appurtenonites lyeing and being in Sutton in the said

County of Berks To hold to him his heirs or assigns forever

chargable nevertheless with the true payment of One hundred

pounds unto my son Edward Wilder in one year after my

decease and I doe hereby accordingly make lyable my said

Messuages and Land in Streatly and also my Messuage

and premises in Sutton with the true payment thereof

Item whereas my son in Law Thomas Howard who

Married my Daughter Lucy stands indebted unto me in the

Sum of ffifty pounds for Rent now I doe hereby forgive them

the said sum of ffifty pounds and likewise give unto my

said Daughter Lucy the Looking Glass that now stands in

my Parlour 

Item I give to my Daughter Anne Rawlins Twenty five pounds to be paid

unto her by my Executors hereinafter named in twelve months next after my


Item I give to my Daughter Catherine Giles five pounds

and that her receipt notwithstanding her Coverture shall

be my Executors sufficient discharge for the same 

Item I doe hereby forgive my Son Edward Wilder all moneys

he now owes me whether on Bond Bill or otherwise he

having promised me that his sister Giles shall Occupy

and enjoy the house at Wantage which he lately

purchased during her Life without paying any ffurther

or other rent than one Pepper Corn by the year and

keeping the said House and Premises in Repair and

that her receipt to any Tennant or Occupier thereof

shall be a good discharge notwithstanding her Coverture

I likewise give unto my said Daughter Giles the Quilt

Curtains and Vallance in my best Chamber 

Item as [touching?] my wearing Apparell and Rings I give equally

between my three Daughters namely Lucy Howard

Anne Rawlins and Catherine Giles share and part


Item as [touching?] all other my Linnen of all kinds

I give equally between my two Sons John and Edward

Wilder and my three Daughters Lucy Howard, Anne

Rawlings and Catherine Giles share and part alike

desiring them to be loving and kind to one to the other 

Item all other my Plate and all other of my household Goods not herein before

dispose of I give to my son John Wilder (except the

Bed Bolster and two Pillows on which I now lye on the

Rugg and Blankets which now cover me and the hanging

Press in my (room) I am now in which I give to my Son Edward


Item I give to my Son in Law Richard Wilder a Ring of Twelve shillings

value and to his sister Dorcas [Hersey] a Ring of the like Value 

Item I give to my son John Wilder and my son Edward Wilder all my Estate

Title term and Interest which I have of and in Messuage ffarme and Lands

lyeing in the said Parish of Pangbourne called

Slipers together with the Lease whereby I hold the same To hold to them their

Executors Administrators and Assigns for and during all the remainder of my

said Term therein 

Item I give to my said Daughter Giles the Chair she wrought now standing in

my best Chamber

Item all the rest residue and remainder of all and singular

my Goods Chattells moneys lent on any Securities

whatsoever and not by me herein disposed of after all

my just debts Testamentary expences and Legacies are

first paid off and discharged I give the same equally to

my said Sons the said John and Edward Wilder share and

part alike and I do hereby make them the said John and

Edward Wilder joynt Executors of this my last Will and

Testament hereby revoking all former and other Wills

and Testaments by me heretofore made and doe Publish

and Declare this to be my last Will and Testament In

Testimony whereof I have to this my last Will contained

in two sheets of Paper to the ffirst thereof Sett my hand

and the last sheet hereof Sett my hand and Seal the

day and year ffirst above written ~ Lucy Wilder. Signed

Sealed Published and declared by the Testatrix to be

for and as her last Will and Testament in the presence

of us who subscribed our names as Witnesses in her

presence ~ Joanna Leader, Dorothy Emans, Ral Guise

Picture: House at Pangbourne by John Belcher.

To date, I haven’t discovered many details about my 10 x great grandfather Richard Wilder (1628 – 1675). However, his father, my 11 x great grandfather, William Wilder, left a will. Here are the highlights.

I William Wilder of Basledon in the Countie of Berks being sick and weak in bodie but in good and perfect memorie first give and bequeath my Soule into the hands of God my Saviour and Redeemer trusting in Jesus Christ for the pardon and remission of all my sinns.

Secondlie I give unto Richard Wilder my sonne all the goods in the Shop the bedstead in the Loft and the great Chest in the Loft that was my wife’s and all the wood and lumber in and about the house and the [Farm?]

Item I give unto Elizabeth his wife all my wearing Apparell except that which I have given William [?] Elizabeth.

Item my wearing Apparrell I give to my sonne Richard and his children.

Item I give to my Daughter in Law Elizabeth Wilder all my bees in the upper fold And to my God Sonne William Wilder I give all the Bees in the Lower fold.

Item all the rest of my goods whole I give unto William my God Sonne making him my whole Executor.

And this is the Last will and Testament of me the said William Wilder Dated this two [&] Twentieth Day of August in the year of our Lord One thousand Six Hundred ffiftie Six.

The mark of William Wilder 

Witnesses: Robert Hulett Hanna Hulett

William was obviously ill when he made his will. The wood and lumber mentioned might relate to the Wilder’s boat building business, although mention of a shop might indicate that they ran a store of some kind.

Bees were clearly important to them. In medieval and later centuries beeswax was highly prized for candles while fermented honey was used to make mead in areas where grapes could not be grown for wine.

Little is known about my 12 x great grandfather Richard Wilder, born 21 October 1575, except that his parents Thomas Wilder and Joan Sharland married a month after his birth, 26 November 1575. Sometimes, especially when an inheritance was concerned, these birth-marriage patterns were deliberate, to ensure that the potential bride was fertile.

In the early 1600s members of my Wilder family emigrated to Charlestown, Massachusetts. However, my ancestor John Wilder remained in Berkshire where he married Alice Keats. John, Alice and later generations developed Sulham House, now a listed building. Picture: Wikipedia.

According to the Book of the Wilders written by Moses Hale Wilder in 1878 my branch of the Wilder family originated from Nicholas Wilder. “The first Wilder known in history was Nicholas, a military chieftain, in the army of the Earl of Richmond, at the battle of Bosworth, in 1485. The fact that it is a German name, and that it is quite common in some parts of Germany at the present time, would indicate that he was one of those who came with the Earl from France, and landed at Milford Haven.”

However, some modern genealogists think that the Wilders were farmers from Basildon. Wilder is of German origin, meaning “untamed” or “wild”, so I suspect both theories contain a grain of truth.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.


For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 32 occasions.

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Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂