Will of Thomas Manning of Ringstead 6th January 1800

The following transcript was kindly provided by Derek Duddington. I have made some amendments after checking the original in the Northampton Record Office. See also King versus the Inhabitants of Ringstead 1829 (on page 2 of this Section) which quoted this will as it applied to a legal point. The typography is not as in the original (Capitals etc.) and paragraphs have been introduced to make it more readable. Spelling is as far as can be deciphered as in original.


In the name of God Amen. I Thomas Manning of Ringstead, in the county of Northampton, farmer do make and publish my last Will and Testament in manner following, that is to say , first I direct that all my just debts, funeral expences, and the charges of proving this my will, shall be fully paid and satisfied by my executor herein aforenamed.

I give and devise unto my son John Manning, all those five acres, more or less of copyhold Arable land and Ley ground, and one rood more or less of copyhold meadow land with their and every of their  appurtenances, lying and being dispersed in the Open and Common fields and meadows of Ringstead aforesaid, now in my own occupation and which i have duly surrendered to the use of this my Will, to hold to him, his Heirs and Assigns, for ever  subject nevertheless and I hereby subject and charge the same estate  to and with the payment of twenty five pounds of lawful money of Great Britain, unto my daughter Mary, the wife of Thomas Plant, to be paid to her within twelve calendar months next after my decease.

I give and devise to my daughter Elizabeth, the widow of my late son Thomas Manning, all that part of a messuage or tenement with the appurtenances which is now in the occupation of Henry Sawford situate in Ringstead aforesaid, and adjoining the tenement in the occupation of James Manning  to hold to her the said Elizabeth Manning and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life if she shall so long continue a widow and unmarried, and from and after her decease or day of marriage, which shall first happen I give and devise the said part of a messuage or tenement with the appurtenances, and also all that the aforesaid tenement with the homestead, and appurtenances,  in the occupation of James Manning.  and also all that my close or orchard, lying above the said homestead on the north side of a back lane, and now in the several tenures of myself, Samuel Hackett and Mary Whitney, unto the four children of my late son the said Thomas Manning, deceased, namely   Henry, John, Thomas, and Rebecca Manning, to hold to them and to their several and respective heirs and assigns, for ever as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

I give and devise unto my sons, Henry Manning and James Manning. all those seven acres (more or less) of Arable land, and Ley ground, lying and being dispersed in the Open and Common fields of Ringstead, aforesaid.  and also all those four pieces or parcels of meadow ground lying and being dispersed in the meadow of Ringstead, aforesaid in my own occupation with their and every of their appurtenances  (being Freehold)  to hold to them my said sons Henry and James as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and to their several and respective heirs and assigns,  for ever subject nevertheless and I do hereby subject and charge the said estate so devised to my said sons Henry and James, as aforesaid to and, with the payment of the sum of twenty five pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain, to my daughter Rebecca the wife of Thomas Stains, to be paid to her within twelve calendar months next after my decease.

i give and bequeath to my said daughter Elizabeth Manning, the bed and bedding that she now lies on, and so much and such of my household furniture as she shall think proper, which she shall not amount at a fair apportionment to more than the value of five pounds, to and for her own use and benefit.

And as to and concerning all my ready money and securities for money, stocks, crops  farming, utensils, goods, chattels , and all other, my personal estate and effects, whatsoever and wheresoever of what nature, kind, quality soever the same, shall  or may consist, at the time of my decease.

I give and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my friend William Geary the elder, his Executors, Administrators and Assigns (subject nevertheless to the payment of my just debts and funeral expences upon Trust and Confidence that he the said William Geary his Executors Administrators and Assigns do and shall as soon after my decease as conveniently may be, sell and dispose of such parts of my personal property as he shall judge proper for the most money and at the best price that can be had or gotten for the same and shall and will pay apply and divide the money arising by such Sale unto between and amongst the said four Children of my late son the said Thomas Manning deceased and the survivors or survivor of them equally share and share alike as they shall severally arrive at the age of Twenty-one Years and I do direct that the said William Geary in the meantime and until they shall respectively attain the said Age of Twenty-one Years shall have power to put out at Interest in his own Name the said Trust Monies and that the Interest to arise in the meantime shall be applied for and toward their respective Maintenance and Education.

And my Will is that my said Trustee shall not be answerable or accountable for any more Money than shall actually come to his hands And that is shall and may be lawful for my said Trustee to reimburse unto himself out of said Trust Money which may come to his hands and such reasonable Costs Charges and Expences which he shall sustain or be put unto in the Execution of the Trust hereby in him reposed. And do hereby appoint the said William Geary the Executor of this my Will hereby revoking and making void all former and other Wills by me before made. I declare this only to be my last Will and Testament. In Witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this Sixth day of January in the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred. 

X The mark of Thomas Manning

Witnesses           Tho. N. Maydwell

                                Thomas Ekins

                                John Ekins


Note: William Geary died and his wife Ann became Executrix. On the “Twentieth day of September 1802” she swore before Isaac Gaskarth (the Ringstead vicar who was acting as “surrogate” for the Bishop) that she would carry out these duties and that the Goods Chattels and Credits of Thomas did not amount to more than three hundred pounds.




1851 Religious Census of Northamptonshire

1851 Religious Census of Northamptonshire


Population 727

494 Church. An ancient parish church. Consecrated long before 1800. Free sittings*

On 30 March in afternoon. General Congregation 104. Sunday Scholars 73

Remarks: Afternoon service always numerically superior to mornings. Average about same as above return in the afternoon.

* Free sittings and pews by general custom so mixed as to render it difficult to separate them. Room for 450.

Signed J.H. Wilkins. Assistant Curate, Ringstead House, Thrapston

495 Wesleyan Chapel

Denomination. Wesleyan Methodist. Erected 1814. A separate and entire building. Used exclusively for worship. Free sittings 70. Other sittings 70.

On 30 March in the morning. Sunday Scholars 27. In afternoon total congregation 64, In evening total congregation 110.

Average attendance during previous 12 months; in morning General Congregation 180, Sunday Scholars 28

Signed Roberts Childs, Trustee, Ringstead, Nr Thrapston.

496 Baptist Meeting

Denomination Particular Baptist. Erected before 1800. A separate and entire building. Used exclusively for worship. Free sittings 150. Other sittings 190.

On 30 March in morning. General Congregation 109, Sunday Scholars 66; in afternoon General Congregation 110, Sunday Scholars 66; in evening General Congregation 200

Signed William Kitchen, Minister, Ringstead Nr Thrapston.

{Note: Re Raunds Parish Church. "There is some considerable sickness which naturally affects the congregation and there are many who dishonour the Sabbath day". Signed Edward B Lye, Vicar, Raunds Vicarage}.


Ringstead Population 1801 - 1901

Ringstead Population 1801 - 1901

1801          454

1811           445

1821           583

1831           620

1841           640

1851           727

1861           831

1871           875

1881           950

1891           887

1901           928

(Approximately doubled but with a decline at the end of the century)

By comparison Raunds' population went from 890 in 1801 to 3,811 in 1901 (Approximately a fourfold increase). It may be that some of decline in Ringstead from 1881 due to a movement to Raunds and other larger town due to the growth of larger factories in the shoemaking industry, but this yet to be proved.


These figures are from Shoemakers in Northamptonshire 1762 - 1911; A Statistical Survey. Hatley, Victor A. and Rajczonek, Joseph. (Northampton Historical Series No 6 1971) but I will try to enter the original sources later


Home-Made Army Shoes. Ringstead 1896 (A Poem)


Ringstead 1896

The following lines are the production of the Rev. A.C. Neely who, in 1896 was Vicar of Denford-cum-Ringstead. To quote his own words “they serve to show something of the conditions of the shoe-trade over thirty years ago before the real old-fashioned craftsmen had to give way to machinery and the team system”

Scene:  A Railway Carriage. A shoe-maker talking to a fellow passenger


How do I get my living? Well, that’s straight and no mistake.

What do I look like, Guv’nor? What d’ye think I make?

You can see I work at something with my hands and not my head,

That I ain’t a chap as writes and that, to earn my daily bread.

Well, I’ll tell you, where I come from and then, perhaps, you’ll guess

What trade I’m in and so on – what business I profess.

Of course you’ve heard of Ringstead in the valley of the Nene?

Well, that’s the place I come from, where nearly all the men

Their wives and boys and girls as well, are employed in making shoes.

Yes! I thought you’d know about it: most folks do, but they confuse

Our work with other sorts, you know, that’s done in our towns

Like Leicester and Northampton where they call us rustics “clowns,”

Those folks can’t make shoes sir – not as I want to boast

But they know no more of shoe-work than they know the coast

Of the South Pacific Ocean or of China or Japan;

They can’t make shoes from start to finish; us chaps at Ringstead can!


“Machines,” d’ye say? Not likely there ain’t one in the place,

And it doesn’t need a score of us to make a leather lace.

We can turn out a shoe sir, made every bit by hand,

Not one of them there cheap lots, that’s only made to stand

About a month in summer; with a real strong cardboard sole

That lets in every drop of wet and soon is far from whole;

I’ll tell you what it is, sir; that to buy such goods don’t pay.


Well the train’s just slowing down, now, and I must say ”Good-day”

You’ll come and look me up, sir, when you’re travelling our way?


Scene: A Shoe-maker’s Workshop. The shoe-maker with his mate, seated at work,

 rises to welcome his fellow passenger of a few weeks before.


Walk up, sir! Mind the ladder and don’t you bump your head!

Well, I’m glad you’ve found your way here and remembered what I said.

Just sit down on that stool there and make yourself at home,

For when you come to Rome, you know, you must do as they do at Rome.

This is my shop-mate, mister. You see we work in pairs;

It’s company and, if we work together, we don’t think of our cares.


No, don’t put out your pipe, sir, we don’t object to smoke;

My mate is fond of “bacca” – but he’s a single bloke,

I’ve got a wife and family and so I save the pence

I used to spend on smoking. You see, it’s an expense


You’re looking at this shoe, sir and wondering who it’s for;

I quite forgot to tell you that we make them by the score

For our soldiers and our sailors – those lads so brave and true,

Who, when it comes to fighting can show the foe who’s who.

They want a well-made shoe you see, and one that’ll stand some wear.

You go and ask Lord Wolseley how those poor chaps would fare

Campaigning out in Egypt, or in any foreign land,

If they had to wear “machine-mades” and there were none made by hand.

They don’t perhaps fall to pieces but they don’t give to the tread.

If soldiers had to march in them, they’d soon be good as dead.


“Hard work?” Why, yes, of course it is. Just try to pull this thread.

Can’t manage it? I thought not. Try something else instead.

Hammer this bit of leather, on this iron, on your knee,

It don’t hurt me a blessed bit – but you just try and see!

“Don’t want much of that” you say? Ah! You haven’t learnt the trick,

I’ll tell you about it sometime. Can’t learn it all so quick.

You’re right, it is hard work, sir and more than that, it’s Art

To do it all yourself like, and fit in every part.

The missus sews the tops, of course, but then that’s not so tough,

But if you had a day at that, you’d say you’d had enough.

“Did we go on strike last summer, when the chaps in town were out?”

No bless you, we don’t want to strike; we get on best without.

I’m not going to say, though, that many would refuse

(If they chanced to get the offer) sixpence more a pair of shoes.


“Have to do our work well?” Yes, you see it’s all inspected

By fellows from the War Office, and, sometimes it’s rejected

For what you wouldn’t notice, just some little tiny flaw.

You can buy them when they send them back for very little more

Than what they cost for making. And if you want to wear

Something that’s strong and durable, you’d better buy a pair.

Our parson’s got a pair or two, made of the best of leather,

And he says there’s nothing like ‘em for wet and dirty weather.

He lives about a mile off and he mostly has to walk,

He can’t afford a carriage. Yes, he’ll come up here to talk,

An' talk about all sorts of things, ‘most anything you choose.

You bet we ‘ave him on a bit about our work and that,

But he knows as we don’ mean no harm an’ he loves a bit o’ chat.


Now, if I can be so bold, sir, what’s your special trade?

I see it isn’t shoemaking, and I guess it’s better paid.


Oh, “writing for the papers,” that’s it, is it? That’s your line,

Well, I don’t think I could manage that. But you couldn’t manage mine.

But look here, I’ll ask you one thing. Don’t you put us in print.

I don’t expect you will though; but there’s no harm in a hint.


Must you be going? Well, good-day, I’m very glad you came,

“Merry Christmas?” Thank you, sir, I hope you’ll have the same.


Scene: The same Workshop a few days later. The two shoemakers,

one of them reading a newspaper.


That chap’s got us in the paper, Bill. Look here, it’s all in rhyme,

You can’t trust them there journalists! We shall know another time.


Northampton County Magazine Volume 2 Jan – Dec 1929 Editor Arthur Adcock

(Northampton Central Library)


Will of Elizabeth Ball 1807

Will of Elizabeth Ball 3rd February 1807

{ I believe Elizabeth to be Elizabeth Smith born about 1741 who married John Ball. They were parents of William who married Ann Weekley (and grandparents of the butchers William Weekley Ball and John Ball) and Dinah who married Thomas Smith.

This was copied from original in Northampton Record Office some time ago. If you want to be sure of witnesses and punctuation you need to consult the original}

This is the last Will and Testament of me Elizabeth Ball, wife of John Ball of Ringstead in the County of Northampton, Yeoman. Whereas Elijah Smith, late of Deenesthorpe in the said County of Northampton, deceased, in and by his last Will and Testament bearing date on or about the fifteenth day of September in the Year of our Lord One Thousand and Seven Hundred and Ninety-Eight. Did give and devise to John Webster, Daniel Webster and John Wells All and singular his cottage house lands and premises in Ringstead in the said County of Northampton with Appurtenances.

To hold to them the said John Webster, Daniel Webster and John Wells their Executors, Administrators and Assigns for and during the term of the natural life of his sister Elizabeth Ball upon trust nevertheless and to the intent and purpose that the said John Webster, Daniel Webster and John wells and the survivor of them and the Executors, Administrators and Assigns of such survivor should receive and take the Rents and Profits of the same Premises for the term of One Year from the time of his decease the same to be added to, and made part of, his personal Estate. And from and after the Expiration of One Year after his decease Upon Trust to pay, apply  and dispose of the Rents, Houses and profits of the same premises to his said sister Elizabeth Ball and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life and from and after the decease of his said sister Elizabeth Ball, he gave and devised the same Premises to such Person or Persons for such use or uses as she, his said sister, Elizabeth Ball notwithstanding her Coverture or whether Covert or Discovert should by any deed or deeds, writing or writings made under her hand and seal to be by her duly signed, sealed and executed in the presence of, and attested by, two or more credible witnesses or by her last Will and Testament in writing to be by her duly signed and published in the presence of the like number of witnesses think fit to limit, appoint, give or dispose of the same premises or any part thereof. And for want of, or in default of such limitations, appointment, gift or disposition or in Case his said sister should depart this life within twelve months next after his decease.

Then he gave and devised the same Premises in Ringstead aforesaid unto all and every of the children of the said Elizabeth Ball to be equally divided amongst them share and share alike to take as Tenants in Common and not as Joint Tenants as by the said Will Reference being had hereto may more fully appear.

And Whereas Now Therefore I the said Elizabeth Ball by virtue and in the presence of the Power and Authority to be reserved and given in and by the said recited Will and Virtue thereof Do by this my last Will and Testament signed, sealed and executed in the presence of and attested by the three Credible persons whose names are herewith subscribed as Witnesses limit, appoint, give and devise All and singular my Cottage House, Lands, Premises in Ringstead aforesaid is given with every of their appurtenances unto my said Husband John Ball to hold to him my said Husband John Ball and his Assigns for and during the term of his natural life and from and immediately after the decease of my said Husband.

Then I limit (?), appoint and give and devise all and singular the said Cottage House, Lands and Premises in Ringstead aforesaid with their appurtenances unto my son William Ball and daughter Dinah the wife of Thomas Smith to hold to them my son William and daughter Dinah their several heirs and assigns for ever as tenants in common and not and joint tenants.

And lastly, I make and appoint my said husband John Ball Executor of this my will hereby revoking all other Wills by me made. I do declare this to be my last Will and Testament In witness thereof I, the said Elizabeth Ball have hereunto set my hand and seal and this Third Day of October in the Year of Our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine.

Signed sealed, published and declared by the said Elizabeth Ball the Testatrix as and for her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at her request and in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our Names as Witnesses

The X mark of Elizabeth Ball

Wm. Yorkes (?)

Edward C Dudley (?)

Thomas Mac Davitt(?)


On outside of Document it states

On the third day of February 1807 the Executor named in the within will was then sworn faithfully to perform the same according to law – And that the Deceased at the time of her Death was not possessed of a Personal Estate to the Amount of Twenty Pounds

                                Before me

                                Isaac Gaskarth (?)

Clerk, B.D. Surrogate

The Will of Mrs Elizabeth Ball

Late of Ringstead deceased

Date 3rd October 1799

Proved 3rd February 1807



Mr Gaskarth (?)