From records in the posession of Tim Farr.
Samuel Aldous, blacksmith, for his entire life called the parish of Fressingfield his home; it had been the parish of his forefathers for hundreds of years. His first wife, who became his bride in 1731, was also an Aldous, by name Elizabeth. Two and a half years after their marriage Samuel's father, William Aldous, died, and left his property, which was in the hamlet of Wittingham, Fressingfield parish, to Samuel. Samuel named the same property in his will many years later, so undoubtedly he, with his family, lived in Wittingham hamlet. Samuel and Elizabeth had three children before her death in March of 1738, when their youngest baby was just three months old.
After two years as a widower, thirty-five year old Samuel married seventeen year old Mary Huggins, a maiden from the nearby parish of Laxfield. She became the mother of eleven children, thus making a total of fourteen for Samuel, three girls and eleven boys. Three of the boys died as infants.
It is difficult for us to truly understand the day to day life of our ancestors of generations ago, but some items do turn up which give us a glimpse into their world. One of these is penned into the back of volume five of the registers of the parish of Fressingfield, and called "A True Terrier of the Glebe Lands, Messuages, Tenements, Portions of Tythes and other rights belonging to the Vicarage and Parish-Church of Fressingfield in the County of Suffolk and Diocese of Norwich . . . according to the old Evidences and knowledge of the antient Inhabitants this 17 Day of July in the year of our Lord 1740 . . ." Samuel Aldous and his family were parishioners at that time. We will here only quote parts of the document, but will include the full "Portions of Tythes," as that section tells us quite a bit about parish, life, and thus of the life of the Samuel Aldous family.
The document starts off with several descriptions of pieces of land; we will quote a couple: FIRST. One peice or parcel of Pasture containing by estimation one Rood late Parcel of a certain close of about three acres called little Crouch-Hill with one house thereupon built wherein the Vicar doth inhabit with a Stable, Orchard & Garden thereunto belonging. ALLSO. There is given and settled upon ye Church by his Grace the late ABp Sancroft certain Fee-Farm Rents, pay able out of some Estates in this and the neighbouring Par ish of Mendham, amounting to the yearly value of £52:17s.: 10.5d. out of which the Vicar is to pay £10 yearly to the Schoolmaster and £6 yearly to the Parish Clerk. And the Remainder is for the augmentation of the Vicarage. Then we come to: ALLSO CUSTOMS for small Tythes payable to the Vicar as followeth, as they are deliverd in to the Bishops office at Norwich - First. Diverse Parishioners inhabiting within the Ham lets of Chepenhall and Whittingham do pay several cheeses yearly in lieu of all Tythe Milk, according to antient custom of the said Hamlets or money for the same cheeses. Allso the rest of the Parishoners dwelling in the same Town do pay yearly for every Milch-Cow one penny in full satisfaction and discharge of all Tythe Milk. Allso the Parishoners of the said Town and Hamlets do pay yearly for every Acre of Meadow ground being mowed as well hardland as Bottom two pence in full satisfaction and discharge of all Tythe-Hay growing thereon. Allso Every Householder within the said Parish doth pay yearly one Hearth-Hen or money for the same according to the antient custom in full Discharge of all Tythe-wood. Allso two pence yearly for one Orchard in full satis faction for all Tythe-Fruit yearly growing within the same. Allso one half-penny for every yearly Fyearling] and ye same for every sucking Foal. Allso One penny for every Gast [barren' cow fatted the same for every Gast Beast fatted two years old & up wards. Allso one penny for every Colt unwrought after taking from sucking. Allso five shillings for every marriage and publishing the Banns. Allso Sixpence for churching Women after Child Birth. Allso two pence yearly for every communicant. Allso two pence for the Burial of every Person not being a Communicant. Allso four pence for the Burial of every Person being a Communicant. Allso all outsitters occupying Lands within the said Town do yearly pay, Tythes (except Tithe Corn) and herbage for the same in kind or according to value. Allso Tythes are payable in kind or accordin to value to the Vicar for grazing and fatting of Cattle, for Wool, Jobs, Hemp, Flax, Tarnips and all other things tytheable throughout the whole Parish not before excepted. Following this is: An Account of Houses Lands and Tenements belonging to the Parish Church of Fressingfield, the Rent whereof is yearly received by the Feoffees and Church-Wardens and expended about the repairs or ornaments of it and other charges belonging to their office. We will not copy the descriptions of the properties here, but will go on to another listing: In money the sum of L2O given by Mr John Shepheard late Vicar, the Interest whereof is ordered by his will to be laid out yearly for four Bibles to he given to any four Boys of the Parish who shall in the aptest manner rehearse the Creeds and the Church Catechism in the Church of Fees singfield every good-Fryday.
Samuel Aldous must have been well liked and respected in his community, an indication of this being that his wife's grandfather, Henry Bezant, appointed Samuel executor of his will in 1763, him in preference to sons, sons in law, grandsons, etc.
Samuel lived until 1771, and in that year died on the twenty eighth of February. His will, prepared two years before his death, is so informal and delightful, and the spelling so different, that we will give it here in full. Toward the end he talks directly to his sons Henry and Francis, his executors. From the will we get an in sight into Samuel's personality and the way he talked. He also con veys a feeling of love and trust. The will looks as though written by his own hand, and interestingly he spells his name "Samuel Aldous" in the will, but signs it "Samul Aldus." The will:
"In the name of god amen, I Samuel Aldous of Fressingfild in the County of Suffolk Blaxsmith Benon wak in Body But Parfet mind and memory thenks Be to god Dou make this my Last will and testament first and principally I Recommend my Soul to allmighty God hoping for parden of all my Sins through the meritts of my Blessed Redemer and my Body to the Earth to be decently Interred at the discretion of my Exutors herein after named. Imprimis and I give and Beqqath un to my Son Henery Aldous all my Copyholds lands and tenements Weiren I nou Dwell withe the gardne and orchards and Comons and the part in the Brod Rood to him and his Ayers and my Will is that he should have all my Blaxsmith Worken touls and all my Stok of Iron and Coles and all my Stok with out Doors of Catel and all the Rest of my housel gouds and my Will is that he shall pay all my Dets and all my fenerl Charges and my Will is that he shall pay unto my Beloved Wif Mary Aldous four pounds a yet and yerely the fell Tarm of har natral Lif and my Will is that She shall have the Bed in the parler and farnetuer that Be Long to Et and housel gouds to faresnesh arom (furnish a room) With all and the Dweling in the parler as Long as she Dou Lik and half my housel Lenen and if my Son Henery Aldous Dou not pay my Bloved Wif She shal have foll pour to seas the hous and Land war I nou Dwell and pay har self and my will is that Henry Aldous shal part my Waren aparel amonst his oun Brothers okley [equal ly] and my Will is that he shall pay all my Leges [Legacies] farst Imprimise I give to my Son Francis Aldous the Sum of tharty pounds of good and Lawful rqony of Grat Briten to be paid withan twelv month after my Deas also I give to my Dafter Hany Aldous tharty pounds to be paid at the same time also I give to my Dafter Elizebeth Aldous tharty pounds to be paid at three times and the mony that she have had shal be set of and the farst pay she shal have is five pounds Six Months aftr my Desas and the seken pay to har six month aftr that and five pounds wen my Son Henry Lik to pay that and my will is that all those that have had any mony shal Be set of and I give to my Son Samuel Aldous tharty pounds of good and Lawful mony of Grat Brten also I give to my Son John Aldous tharty pounds and I also give to my- Son Willem Aldows tharty pounds and thes three Sons to Be paid fore yer after my Dasas or wen he Lik I also give to my Son Robard Aldous tharty pounds of good and Lawful mony of Grat Briten and my Will is that henery Aldous shall pay for his yoner Brother five pounds for Edycasen or any tread he Lik and tharty pounds of good and Lawful mony of Grat Briten to Be paid to my Son James Aldous wen he Be twenty four yers old and to your Brother Robard wen you think most propr to pay him and my will is that if you Lend or pay any mony for any of yours Brothers you shal have foll pour to pay your self out of that Legses I Dou appoint francis Aldous and Henery Aldous my Exeuters of this my Last Will and tastment In Witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and Sal this twenty Eight Day of febuarv in the yEr of our Lord on thousen Seven Hundred and sixty nine Samul Aldus"
Eleven years after Samuel's death his son Henry made a will. He was a blacksmith, living at Fressingfield, and still unmarried at the age of thirty-nine. In part he requested that "Mary Aldous my beloved Mother" should receive four pounds yearly from his real estate "(which shall be lett at a propper Rent)" for the remainder of her life, and that the rent should also pay "my Mothers Annuities Taxes Repairs &c . . ." His "Goods Chattles Cattle and Personal Estate (except as is hereinafter excepted)" were to be sold. He gave "unto Henry Aldous my Brother Samuels Son the Sum of Five Pounds and my Silver Watch, Chain &c. . . " and divided the residue "between my five Brothers (viz.) Samuel Aldous Carpenter, John Aldous Blacksmith, William Aldous Farm er, Robt Aldous Hickler, and James Aldous Blacksmith." He further instructed his executors "as soon after my Mothers decease as conven iently may be to make Sale of all and singular my Houses Lands Shops Hereditments and premisses . . . and the Moneys . . . shall be equally divided . . . amongst such of my Brothers as shall be then Living." He also wanted "to be buried at Fressingfield near my Father and to have two Grave Stone Set down one at my Head and one at my Feet Also my desire is that there shall be two Stones set down likewise for my Mother after her decease." Henry died soon after making his will.
Widow Mary lived until 1784. The parish register lists her bur ial date as 7 February, but her tombstone says she died 28 February. Probably the parish register is correct.
Many years went by, and son William never married. He became an old man, and in 1823 wrote a will. He stipulated that "John Aldous Junr of Thorndon Husbandman and Robert Aldous of Tunstall Grocer and Draper my Nephews" be his executors. They were to "make sale" of "All that my farm and premises, the houses outhouses and buildings lands medows pastures and grounds yards gardens orchards common rights and appurtenances thereto belonging, in Fressingfield, all in my occupa tion." They were to also sell "all my farming live and dead stock corn hay summerlands much houshold furniture backhouse and dairy uten sils implements and utensils in husbandry plate linen china and glass and effects of what nature or kind soever." The money arising from the sales was "to be equally divided between the children of the late Samuel Aldous of Ubbeston my late brother the children of John Aldous
my brother the children of the late Robert Aldous my brother and the children of James Aldous my brother." Included in the shares was to be "the child or children of the late Henry Aidous son of Robert Aldous my deceased brother." William lived for three and a half years after writing his will.