HRFA Research Report
by Arlene H. Eakle, researcher
3 April 2011
Current Goal: Prove that John Rampton, will recorded 12 April 1734 in Herriard, Hampshire County, is the son of Francis Rampton, inventory submitted 3 July 1676 in Pamber, Hampshire. See family groups to refresh your memory on these two men, and maps showing the locations of these two places in England.
Herriard Img 907, Pedigree Chart of Thomas Rampton 1771 (Apr 2011)
Pamber Img 901, Pedigree Chart of Francis Rampton 1645 (Apr 2011)
- First let’s talk about the evidence: In your October 2010 report, our John Rampton was proven to be a land owner with freehold land on the manor of Herriard and he exchanged lands with other owners, some of which were part of the copyhold lands of the manor. Freehold lands are owned outright by deed. Copyhold lands are “owned” through local custom, directly from the Lord of the manor and recorded on the manor roll.
Deeds are loose documents and often transferred to the new owner hand-to-hand when property is sold. These must be traced owner by owner if they haven’t been collected by the county record office.
Copyhold lands are surrendered, first to the lord of the manor to clear the title with him, then transferred by the lord to the next heir or person to hold the lands. These important land transactions are recorded on the manor roll and certified by the manor court jury or homage. Unlike our modern-day juries, the manor jury includes a representative of each local government unit. This representative is called a tythingman.
Anciently, the tythingman had oversight for 10 families. The Hundred included about 100 families –thus about 10 tythingmen attended the courts as jurymen for the hundred. The term tythingman still continued even when more or less families were part of that local government structure.
This government structure is a very old one in Hampshire and applied until well into the 1800’s with a few areas keeping these local officials in place until after 1900.
Copyhold was abolished in 1922 in England and Wales and replaced by a fee simple warranty similar to what we know. Copyhold records were called into the Public Record Office in London, now the National Archives UK, because these records still document chains of title for land ownership today.
Our John Rampton was a tythingman and homage juror in Herriard, for many years, serving until just three years before his death. Each court session, he was required to appear before the court and sign his name on the court roll.
Monk Sherborne Doc 002, John Rampton Tythingman 1708, FHL Film #1471719
We are so blessed—the Family History Library has microfilmed extensively in Hampshire and the manor rolls of both the Bishop’s Court in Winchester and those records still in the possession of the county record office have been filmed. So I am happily reading the rolls for the manors that include the parishes of Pamber, Monk Sherborne, Basingstoke Hundred, and the Hundred of Chutley. Refer to maps for locations.
And BINGO! I discovered our John Rampton also served as a tythingman and juror for West Sherborne, a parish in Chutley Hundred. And our John signed his name on the court roll. The signatures in Herriard and West Sherborne match! So we know that our John was connected directly to the parish where Francis was born and where his family of Ramptons lived and died.
Monk Sherborne Doc 001, John Rampton Tythingman 1708 & 1709 FHL Film #1471719
West Sherborne is a previous name for Monk Sherborne. Actually a more precise designation: because Monk Sherborne has two chunks of territory. What was known as East Sherborne stands physically in Basingstoke separated from West Sherborne by more than 3 miles. And West Sherborne is the section of the parish that adjoins Pamber where Francis was married and where he lived at the time his inventory was presented in probate.
- Now, let’s consider the places where our John resided and where the man most likely to be his father, Francis Rampton, resided. Pamber is a mountain parish, located on the Berkshire county line. It did not have a parish church of its own. Very early on, the people of Pamber were given the right to meet in the old Monk Sherborne Priory—an English church unit that functioned under the Roman Catholic Church. When the Church of England was established, under King Henry VIII, all religious buildings were either destroyed outright or turned to new uses. Pamber became a chapelry of Monk Sherborne. They used the old Priory as their meeting house, first as a chapelry than as a parish, until at least 1899. See the drawing in your handout.
Pamber Img 807, St Mary & St John Priory Church drawing
This Priory, used by Pamber and located in Monk Sherborne, was where Francis married Anne Omade (pronounced O-may-dee) 14 Feb 1666/7 (New Dating, 1667). This is also the building where widow Anne married after Francis’s death, the widower George Hawkins a resident of the parish of Herriard. This marriage took place 18 September 1676. Anne and George then resided in Herriard—where our John was a resident for many years—and where George died in 1702.
Here is a curious thing: These marriages are recorded in Pamber, because Anne and her family were residents. But the Pamber parish registers do not record baptisms nor burials for any Ramptons, by any name; and especially, no Frances Rampton. Neither do christenings appear in the parish records for Monk Sherborne or Herriard, nor close-by parishes of Sherborne St. John, South Warnborough, nor Weston Patrick—parishes where other Ramptons are recorded.
The parish records are incomplete because of neglect, age, use, and inadequate preservation in the early years. And there are substantial gaps, when the records do not exist at all. This is common for ancient records. Survival of the records, alone, may not be the answer.
- What if . . . Francis is a resident of another place? He was Verger in 1676 according to his description at the time his inventory was sent to probate. The verge is the staff or rod held before the Bishop or dean in the Church of England. The verger carried that staff. He was also responsible to maintain the boundaries of special church jurisdictions. He had the care of the church building and could serve as custodian and sexton. Was he responsible for these special circumstances in Pamber?
In the capacity of verger, he could also be required to attend the courts of the lord of the manor. So at this time, my recommendation is that we continue the careful search of the manor court rolls in these parishes, seeking more evidence of Francis and John—and their signatures.
The tax rolls and early poll lists for the period 1550-1700 have been searched, identifying other parishes within the borders encompassed by the ancient manor of Basingstoke where Ramptons were recorded. Parish and manor records for these locations are also part of our search focus. Consult the map in your handout.
Herriard Doc 001, Hearth Tax 1665 (transcription) 001_942.27-B4h_Vol-11_Htx_transcript_Herriard_1665
The manor court rolls, like the parish records, also have gaps and missing sections. Some have edges that are dark or worn; however they contain some amazing information in addition to the signatures:
- Lists of suitors to the court—gentlemen, freeholders, copyholders, and cottagers
- Deaths since last court and next heirs to their properties
- Surrenders of land holdings to the lord
- Grants of new copyholds and transfers to the next heir
- Fines for not repairing walls, hedges, and walls
So while we have no guarantee that direct evidence of relationship will be found—the chances are high, that we can expand the circumstantial evidence we have that John is the son of Francis. And with signatures, we can prove they belong to us.
Carol Merrell and her husband Rod are going to England later this month. She will do research for a week in Hampshire—and she is armed with addresses, appointments, specific records (like the Herriard Papers at the Hampshire Record Office and the new, every-name Will Index at the Hampshire Genealogical Society Office in Southampton). She will also acquire cemetery readings for specific parish churchyards and anything else she deems will help meet our current goal.
Carol, LaRaye Sheridan, and I are very excited about the possiblities these focused searches will provide to prove our Rampton lineage, the lineages of the women they married, and additional temple work that can be complete because of searching records that other researchers have not yet viewed.
Arlene H. Eakle