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George Nicholas of Manston Dorset.

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Research Notes

Refers to

George Nicholas


George Nicholas, born in about 1695 and was the son of a Philip Nicholas of Manston. He was condemned to death for forgery but his sentence was commuted. He was transported to Virginia where he practiced as a doctor. George, who adopted the title and role of doctor in Virginia was educated at Trinity College Cambridge but probably had no degree. . He was not the son of Philip Nicholas and Margaret Freke who married in 1651 since Margaret died in 1661 some 34 years before the birth of George. However, this couple had a son named Philip.

A Philip Nicholas who died in 1735 mentions in his will property that had formed part of the marriage settlement between Philip Nicholas and Margaret( e.g. Manston Mill) His wife, at the time of his death was named Jane. It is possible that this Philip was the son of Philip and Margaret and hence 'Dr' George Nicholas was their grandson.

( the name Philip was obviously used for a succession of family members. A later Philip Nicholas owned Manston Mill in 1807[1]


According to Victor Golladay, Dr George Nicholas was a transported felon from Manston, Dorset, England.
His research found that a George Nicholas was found guilty of forgery and the usual sentence of death pronounced. A sucessful petition for clemency from his father resulted in his transportation to Virginia. [2]
George Nicholas, living in Stepney, was indicted for 'forging and counterfeiting worth £80'.At his trial it appears that he had become known for being willing and able to carry out a forgery. A man named Barthomew Ward told a John Lindsey that if he could get a banknote, he knew a man who could double it. George Nicholas's technique was to use a chemical solution to erase the amount on the banknote, substituting it for a higher amount. In this case, he changed a bill £11 to one of £80. Nicholas went with Lindsey to pay the bill to a 'Jew in Rotterdam' but the note was refused until he'd contacted the bank. Fearing that the deception would be discovered they returned to England.Ward advised Nicholas to deface the note and retrieve the £11 but Nicholas decided to sell it on for £20. The case record does not tell us how the forgery was eventually detected.Nicholas blamed Ward as the instigator but was found guilty and sentenced to death.[3]
As was frequent in these cases, a petition was immediately initiated by friends and family [4]. Golladay gives us some details from this petition. This petition was sucessful.[5]
Golladay states that the petitioner's father was named Philip Nicholas,from Manston in Dorset. Using a list of Rectors and Patrons from Hutchins History of Dorset, he notes that a Philip Nicholas had the "the right of presentation" or privilege of nominating the parson of the parish". [6]His name appears adjacent to that of Rev Groves, instituted in 1716.[7] He also states that George was admitted to Trinity College Cambridge in 1712 ,following in the footsteps of his brother Philip who was admitted in 1706. The Cambridge Alumini data base includes brief details for both. Son's of Philip Nicholas from Manston, they were 17 at admission, both boys had previously attended Sherborne Schoolin Dorset . From this we can deduce that George was born in about 1695 and Philip in 1689. However, neither are reported to have graduated. [8]


Golladay linked 'Dr' George Nicholas to his father Philip Nicholas but mentions no mother. Some online trees, including Search Family Search LHXS-XWFF Family Search suggest that his father was Philip Nicholas and mother Margaret (Freke) Nicholas. This cannot be a correct identification. Margaret was born in about 1631 not 1678 the date at present on the profile.

According to both John Hutchin's in his History and Antiquities of Dorset and a genealogy 'started' by her Uncle Ralph Freke , Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Freke and his wife Mary (Dodington) Freke, Philip Nicholas and Margaret Frecke were married in February 165/1. Their marriage settlement being signed on Dec 26 1650 and part of the register entry for their marriage is still visible. According to Ralph Freke, they had several children including a son Philip . [9] [10] [11][12] It is unlikely that Margaret Freke born in about 1631,married at 20 years of age in 1650 would be the mother of a child born in 1695.Moreover, what appears to be the death of Mrs Margaret Nicholas, is recorded in the register for Manston in 1661[13] Fourteen years later, in November 1675, Mr Philip Nicolas was buried. [14]

No baptism has been found for Philip (born c 1689) or George (b c 1695) in the registers [15] Philip Nicholas and his wife Jane were the parents of Rob' baptised 23 Sept 1702 and Thomas, baptised 7 Sept 1705, buried 15 Feb 1706/7.A Mr Philip Nicholas was buried 30 January 1735/6 and Mrs Jane Nicholas on 26 February 1750/1.[16]

When Philip Nicholas, died in 1735, he left a will. In it his aim is clearly to provide funds for his two unmarried children Robert and Ann and his wife Jane. Some of his land and property was for his wife's use for herself and the maintenance of these unmarried children. Other property was to be sold to pay his debts with anything left over going again to his wife and then these two children. One of the "properties" to be sold was the advowson of the parsonage of Manston, i. e. his right to nominate the parson of the parish. No son George is mentioned. Philip made one striking individual bequest of £50 to a son John who was 'beyond the sea'.John was to receive it 'if living and come home". No other children are mentioned. [17] [18]

It is possible that George Nicholas was the son of Philip Nicholas died 1735. This Philip could in turn be Philip the son of Philip Nicholas and Margaret Freke. The 1735 will names property mentioned in the marriage settlement of Philip Nicholas and Margaret Freke. Jane was his wife at death but it is possible that she was a second or subsequent wife

There is an intriguing possibility that George Nicholas had a brother John who also went to the New World.


  1. Dorchester History centre..Henry Kaines diary (Henry mentioms Philip several times . He acquired the copyhold of the Mill )
  2. Victor Golladay, Phd Dissertation, the Nicholas Family of Virginia, 1722-1820, University of Virginia abstract and link to full dissertation
  3. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 August 2019), January 1722, trial of George Nicholas (t17220112-11).
  4. Date 17220112
    Surname Nicholas Forename George
    Document Type Petition
    Location The National Archives
    Library/Archive Reference SP 35/30/20
  5. Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 August 2019), Ordinary of Newgate's Account, February 1722 (OA17220208). :AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bayly, which ended the 17th of January, were Try'd, and Convicted of Capital Offences, five Men, viz. James Shaw, alias Smith, &c. John Smith, William Colthouse, Jonas Burgess and George Nicholas; The last of these receiving His Majesty's Gracious Reprieve, the remaining Four were ordered for Execution agreeable to the Sentence pass'd upon them
  6. Golladay, Nicholas Family of Virginia
  7. John Hutchins The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset Third edition, corrected, augmented, and improved by William Shipp and James Whitworth Hodson 1861-73 Volume 4 p 77, copy in my possession ~~~~
  8. ACAD A Cambridge Alumni database, University of Cambridge search result
  9. [ https://www.wikitree.com/photo/png/Freke-35 John Hutchins The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset Third edition, corrected, augmented, and improved by William Shipp and James Whitworth Hodson 1861-73 Volume 4, p 86
    Margaret baptised at Hinton St Mary, August 4th married there February 26th 1650 Philip Nicholas gent
  10. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/HIS:RE1/1
    baptism page in Hinton register now damaged and illegible, marriage partly legible ( Philip Nicholas and date only
  11. A pedigree, or genealogye, of the family of the Freke's, begun by R. Freke p5 Google books
    Margaret born at Hinton 1630 married to Mr Philip Nicholas of Manston,issue Elizabeth, John, Katherine, Robert, Philip, Mary
  12. National Archives, Kew England
    Description: Manston Mill, Mill mead, and parcels including Southfield and Northwood Grove, Stour River fishing rights and quarry rights; marriage settlement of Philip Nicholas of Manston and Margaret Freke of Hinton St Mary (26 Dec 1650), [copy]. (Nicholas, Freke, Dodington, Yonge)National Archives Catalogue
  13. Reference, Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers;Reference: PE/MAN: RE 1/1 Manston Combined Register
    1661, Mrs Margaret, ye wife of Mr Phillip Nicholas was buryed August 15th
    Note also, Thomas the sonne of Philipp Nicholas gent & Margarer his wife was buryed July 8 1661
  14. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/HIS:RE1/1
    Mr Philip Nicholas sen was buryed Novembris 30 Annos Domini -75 (1675)
  15. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/HIS:RE1/1 The first page of this volume has a date of 1614. It starts with an entry for 1620, the pages are then very muddled with pages from the 17th century interleaved with those from the 18th, there are many burials, albeit out of order but few baptisms and marriages. At the end of volume dated as starting 1771, the Rector writes that this book had only 7 leaves and that the rest were found cut out. It would appear that this might have also happened to the earlier volume (s) and what survived was bound together in an haphazard fashion
  16. Dorset History Centre; Dorchester, England; Dorset Parish Registers; Reference: PE/MAN: RE 4/1 Manston composite register
  17. Dorset History Centre; Reference Number: Ad/Di/W/1735; Event Record Number: 18, Dorchester Archdeaconry, will of Philip Nicholas of Manston see transcript below
  18. Note It has not been posssible to ascertain when the advowson was acquired . the Church of England Clergy data base was checked, and Hutchins, Charles 1 was patron in 1627'on a lapse', then there is a gap Philip Nicholas was patron in 1716 when William Grove was instituted as rector

transcript of will

Dorset History Centre; Reference Number: Ad/Di/W/1735; Event Record Number: 18, Dorchester Archdeaconry, will of Philip Nicholas of Manston
Transcribed by Helen M Ford, from image on Ancestry.
In the name of God Amen Philip Nicholas of Manston in the County of Dorset, gent being weak in Body but of good and sound memory (thanks be to God) doe make and ordaine this my last will and tesatment in manner and forme following
Imprimis I bequeathe my soul to God who gave it me and my Body to the Earth to be decently buryed according to the discretion of Jane my loving wife and sole executrix thereafter named
Item I give unto my said Loveing wife all and singular my plate, linnen and all other my household stuff and goods whatsoever for her use during her life and after her decease for my son Robert and daughter Jane to be equally divided between them share and share alike if either of them should happen to dye before the division and delivery thereof made then I dispose the whole such goods to the survyver of them And all the rest and residue of my personall estate,goods chattels and debts to me owing and not before given and bequeathed And my severall grounds called Northwyed and Northwood coppice and five acres and a half acre and a Bullocks graze in the comon meadow in Manston called Stower Mead which said halfacre is [dexastured] in the mead my me and Peter Walter Esq every other year alternatively valued at two shillings and six pence p’annum and also all those [wares?]corne mills in Manston aforesaid called Manston Mills together with the Millhouse, Malthouse and stable adjoyning the millmead and the flock on the little plot of meadow lying near Hammooone bridge and the lanes called Mill Lanes and other premises belonging to the same which said mesuages tenements & lands together with my right title and interest of and in the perpetuity of the advowson and right of presentac’on of the Parsonage of Manston To that and devise the same unto my loving friends my nephew James Harding of Moor in the County of Wiltshire, merchant and William Brewer of Hammoon in the County of Dorset gent to them and their heires for ever and doe thereof [ imp__ ] and desire them and their survivers and survivor of them their heires executors or administrators not only to sell the same lands and premises but alsoe all the rest of my p’sonall estate, goods and chatells not before bequeathed to the best advantage they can and dispose of the money that shall be raised by the sale thereof towards the payments of my said debts accordingly And if any overplus shall be of debts to me oweing and money and money made and raised by sale of any said lands and premises, personal estate,goods and chatells more than shall be sufficient to pay off and discharge my said debts (and funerall charges being deducted) that then my said loveing friends James Harding and William Brewer shall pay and deliver the said overplus unto my said loveing wife to whom I give and bequeath the same And as to my dwelling house whereon I now dwell and the backside to the water [to] [ ] in common with the said mills now and formely that I occupyed and enjoyed together with the orchard and gardens Banks barns and other outhouses adjoyning and now or late used occupyed of enjoyed therewith also the ground called Millground and adjoyning and Cashmore mead,the old orchard and meadow ground called [Hoppyard?] thereunto adjoyning I give and devise the same unto my said loveing wife immediately after my decease during her naturall life she paying and allowing unto my said son and daughter, Robert and Jane in the meantime until such time as either of them marry what she can conveniently spare and allow out of the profitts thereof towards their maintenance and livelyhood or suffer them to live with her at her discretion And after her decease I give and devise the same house, lands and p’mises last mention with the appurtenances unto my son and daughter Robert and Jane to be equally divided beween them and their respective heires for ever.
Item I give unto the said son Robert the use of the malthouse and roomes belonging to it gratis until such time as the said Mills adjoyning shall be sold. I give also unto him all my [rare?] books and manuscripts.
Item I give unto my son John who is now beyond sea (if living and come home) fifty pounds to be raised out of the sale of the estate first above mentioned and appointed to be sold for payment of my said debts as soon as conveniently it can be raised out of the same.
Item I make and ordaine my loveing friends James Harding and William Brewer executors and trustees of this my last will and testament and doe thereby revoke all former wills and testaments by me in any wise theretofore made and declared.
In witness whereof I have sett my hand and seal this eighteenth day of January in the ninth year of the raigne of our our Soveraigne Lord George the second by the grace of God of great Britain France and Ireland, king, defender of the faith and so forth And in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred thirty five.[ note 1735/6]
Signed and published and ordained by the said testator as his last will & testament in the pre’ence of us whose names are hereunder subscribed as wittnesses and then attested by us I the pr’sence of the said Testator.Robert Edgar, Thomas Gullene ,the mark of Hannah [ ] Mary Searl sevt
24 March 1735/6
The will of Philip Nicholas late of Manston in the County of Dorset deceased was proved by the oath of William Brewer one of the executors and trustees above named to whom administration of all and singular the goods,chattels and credits of the said deceased was granted, he being first sworn to administer the same according to law (the like power asls reserved for James Harding the other executor) Before me Thos Riley (surr)

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Robert Nicholas, attorney, brother of George, died testate in 1779. His will dated 1776 mentions his late father Philip Nicholas, gent., of Manston as well as a sister Jane Roberts of Shaftesbury. His wife was Frances Dibbon (Dibben-111), daughter of Richard Dibben of West Orchard and his wife Frances Bennett Dibbon, daughter of James Bennett (Bennett-23504, former mayor of Sarum). The marriage contract was drawn up by her uncle, the Rev. Thomas Dibben (Dibben-127), a celebrated divine and latin scholar. No mention of the disgraced brother. The following document connecting Dr. Dibben and Philip Nicholas was likely the petition regarding George.

Reference: SP 35/30/20B Description: Folio 47. Certificate in support of Philip Nicholas signed by Th [Thomas] Dibben, Doctor of Divinity, and 13 others. Date: 1722 Jan 19 Held by: The National Archives, Kew Legal status: Public Record(s) Language: English

posted by Monica (Edmunds) Kanellis
edited by Monica (Edmunds) Kanellis