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Saturday, 16 April 2011

Another new family - Nicholas Gidley of Dunsford

I've just returned from three days of research in the Devon Record Office, and the supply of Gidleys in the parish registers is starting to dry up. But I still came across another previously undocumented family, that of Nicholas Gidley of Dunsford, Devon, in the 17th century. I had come across Nicholas himself before, and know where he fits in. He was the son of George Gidley by his wife Grace, nee Coleridge. They married in 1637 at St Olave's in Exeter, and I believe that George was the younger brother of Bartholomew Gidley, the supporter of Charles II. George, however, died in about 1639, and left a son, Nicholas, named after Grace's father, Nicholas Coleridge. An abstract of Nicholas Coleridge's will exists in Olive Moger's series of will abstracts in the DRO. The will was proved in 1650. There is mention of Samuel Gidley (Grace's brother) and Samuel's brother-in-law, Thomas Jeffery, who are to oversee the arrangements. All did not go smoothly and in 1673 the will was exhibited in the cause May or Bishopp als Gidley. Grace Gidley had now remarried, to William Bishopp. Samuel Gidley's receipt dated 3 Jun 1653 for the sum of £66 paid him by William Bishopp of Dunsford "being a half part of the marriage portion with his wife Ursilowe [Ursula]", and another receipt by Samuel Gidley for a legacy to his wife "Urselowe", witnessed by Bartholomew Gidley, Thomas Jeffry and Richard Dunning were both documents exhibited in the case.
I have omitted all the complicated property details (including a fascinating story about Nicholas Coleridge's ride to London to procure from the Lord Great Almoner of England the rightful inheritance of his grandchildren by his other daughter. Their property had been forfeited to the King as their other grandfather, Scipio Heywood, had "become felo de se" i.e. had committed suicide, whilst holding the land in their names).
Nicholas Gidley's children are listed in the Dunsford parish registers as follows: George baptised 1669, Joane 1671, Mary 1675, John 1677, Bartholomew 1680, Samuel 1684 and Elizabeth 1685. Another son John was buried in 1674. I have concluded that Nicholas married Mary Collihall in 1669 at Exeter St Petrock (Boyd's Marriage Index). Unfortunately there is no further trace of any of the family in the Dunsford registers, and so far I can't find where they went. It is possible that Bartholomew married Wilmot Tozer in South Tawton in about 1702. There is no record of the marriage in the South Tawton parish register, but a Marriage Licence allegation exists for these two names in the Gidley family file pedigree held at the West Country Studies library in Exeter. Bartholomew is described as a gentleman. A Bartholomew Gidley was buried at South Tawton in 1728, and a daughter was born to the couple in 1703 in South Tawton.