REPORT OF VISITS TO LEICESTERSHIRE AND NORTHAMPTON RECORD OFFICES
The purpose of the visits was to research the family of John and Susannah Gray who lived in East Norton in Leicestershire and attempt to discover whether they originated in Rushton in Northamptonshire. The report is divided into details of the research carried out at both Record Offices followed by a conclusion.
Visit to Leicestershire Record Office
The first task was to inspect the parish records of East Norton. It should be noted that the quality of the microfiche was poor and in some parts the writing was illegible.
Baptisms, marriages and burials 1690 – 1720 (1)
Susanna, daughter of John and Susannah GREY baptised June 2nd 1785.
Baptisms 1721 – 1812, Marriages 1753, Burials 1721 – 1812 (2)
John son of John and Susannah GREY baptised October 30th 1791 Mary daughter of John and Susannah GREY was baptised January 18th 1795 George son of John and Susannah GREY baptised January 22nd 1797 Mary daughter of John and Susannah GREY was buried March 2nd 1796 Susannah daughter of John and Susannah GREY was buried August 24th 1820 aged 20
Marriages 1755 – 1810 (3)
No reference to any GRAY/GREY.
Marriages 1815 – 1840 (4)
Ann GRAY, spinster, of this parish and Thomas Scott of the Parish of Astley in the county of Northamptonshire were married October 8th 1835. (Witnesses were John GRAY and Mary GRAY.)
Memorial Inscriptions (found on hand written cards)
Lucy Miriam GRAY 1886 – 1938 Position – N. Transcript Nature – Window Material – Letters on glass Lettering – small Roma Special Features – Window represents St. Dorcas Erected 1944.
GRAY, John buried 5 February 1827 aged 85 years and Susannah his wife buried September 29th 1824 and their son George buried April 2nd 1829 aged 32 years. GRAY, John October 17th 1817 to September 19th 1885 and Susanna his wife November 1st 1807 to December 17th 1902 GRAY, Susan Anne daughter of John and Susannah buried December 2nd 1863 aged 12 years GRAY, Susannah daughter of John and Susannah GRAY buried August 20th 1810 aged 25 years and Elizabeth March 7th 1821 aged 18 years GRAY, John buried January 30th 1845 aged 53 years GRAY, Mary wife of John buried July 11th 1839, aged 48 years GRAY, Anne Frances 2nd daughter of John and Mary buried February 21st 1849, aged 21 years. GRAY, Constantine born February 24th 1893, buried April 20th 1893.
Settlement Certificates/Removal Certificates
As search was made for any of the above certificates referring to the Gray/Grey but not were found. This suggested that any movement of members of the family did not produce the risk of the parish becoming involved if they could not find work. They, therefore, appear to be moderately wealthy.
The following wills were found: (a) Will of Mr. John Gray of East Norton, farmer (6)
15th March 1845 Let a Probate be made to John Gray of east Norton in the County of Leicester Grazer the sole Executor named in the will of the deceased. He having been duly sworn as well to the faithful Execution of the Will as to the usual Stamp Office affidavit that the Testator’s Goods, Chattels and Credits do not amount in value to the Sum of One Thousand Pounds and the deceased died on the thirtieth day of January last. There is little information to be found within this will
(b) Gray, John will 1886, R. p1
This is the last will and Testament of me John Gray of East Norton in the County of Leicester Farmer and Grazier. Whereby I revoke all former Wills and Codicils heretofore made by me. I give and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah Jane Gray the sum of Five Hundred Pounds payable to her within twelve months of my decease. I give and bequeath to my Wife Susannah Gray the sum of One Hundred Pounds to be paid to her within 12 months of my decease. Also one annuity or yearly sum of Fifty two pounds to be paid to her my said Wife by equal half-yearly payments during her life for her sole use and benefit. Also I give and bequeath the sum of three hundred pounds to be paid at the decease of my said Wife to whom and in such terms as she may think well to give and direct it to be paid within twelve months of her decease. Also I give and bequeath to my Wife so much of my Household furniture as she may require or think fit to take not exceeding one half thereof except my Silver Cups and Tankard which I give to my son John Gray absolutely and I give and bequeath to my said son all my money securities for moneys Stock Crops Furniture. And all other my personal or real estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever expenses and the said legacies I appoint my said wife Susannah Gray during her Widowhood and my said Son John Gray and the survivor of them Executrix and Executor of this my will. I devise all Estates vested in me as Trustee of Mortgage unto and to the use of my Said Son John Gray his heirs or executors administrators and assigns Subject to the Trusts and equities affecting the same but the money secured by any Mortgage to form part of my personal Estate. In Witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty second day of July One Thousand eight hundred and eighty-five. Signed and declared by the said John Gray the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as Witnesses. Daniel Smith East Norton John Gray Charles Hornsby East Norton Proved at Leicester on the second day of January 1886 by the Oath of John Gray the son one of the executors to whom administration was granted. Power reserved of making the like Grant to Susannah Gray widow and relict the executor during Widowhood. The Testator John Gray was late of East Norton in the County of Leicester Farmer and Grazier and died on the nineteenth day of September 1885 at East Norton aforesaid- Personal Estate Gross £2,391 15s 6d – Nett £1,075-18s 1d Wartmaby, Gilbert & Jeffries Solicitors Market Harborough Within this will there were references to John’s wife, Susannah, his son John and his daughter, Sarah Jane.
Churchwardens’ Accounts for 1770 – 1832
With John Gray being a wealthy man it would have been expected that he would be involved with the Church in the village and the administration of the Poor Law. His name appears at times within the Churchwardens’ Accoutns The Accounts of Philip Woodcock Churchwarden for the year 1783-1786 May 10th 1786 “My charges and John Gray’s 0 7 4 Settled and allowed by us Geo. Godfrey William Page John Gray William Dexter John was Church Warden in 1786-1787: The Accounts of John Gray Church Warden for the year 1786 June 19 Paid for bread and wine at Whitsunday 0 2 1 Paid for Mason for the Church Porch 0 12 0 June 29 A new Lock for the Church door 0 7 0 For going to Uppingham for the Lock 0 1 0 October 4th Paid at the Visitation Bill and Court Fees 0 11 6 My charges 0 3 8 September 29th Paid at Tilton for my Oath 0 1 0 My charges 0 3 8 October 29 Paid Clerks wages 0 10 0 Washing the surplus 0 2 0 Bread and Wines at Christmas 0 2 1 1787 April 8 Paid the Clerks Wages 0 10 0 Washing the surplus and linen 0 2 6 Paid Mr. Hand a Bill 0 19 0 Ales for Mr Hands men at the Church 0 1 4 Wood 0 0 10 Bread and wine at Easter 0 2 1 Paid for two bell ropes mending 0 0 3 For writing these Accounts 0 0 6 4 12 6 In the ensuing years, he is not mentioned in the accounts after his time being in charge until 1794 when he signs the account. He did so again in 1796 & 1802, 1824, 1825, may 3rd 1827 and 1832. It would seem that John Gray (born 1742 – 1827) signed the accounts in the years up to 1802. He may have signed them in 1824 and 1825 but by May 3rd 1827 he had died. It is most likely that it was John Gray (born 1785) who signed the accounts in the 1820s and 1830s.
Visit to Northampton Record Office
Parish records on microfiche Rushton (7) Baptisms 1640 – 1800 Marriages 1639 – 1800 Burials 1639 – 1800
John Gray of this parish married Susannah Watson of Bringhurst on March 10th 1784 Thomas Ball married Elizabeth Grey on January 7th 1799 John Gray buried April 15th 1783 Susannah Grey buried May 1st 1796 Mary Grey aged 18 years buried July 4th 1798
These were the only entries for the GRAY/GREY family in the registers and it is not clear where they originated. Living in an area for as little as two weeks meant that you could be called “of this parish”. In order to ascertain where they had come from the Settlement Certificates were inspected but there was no reference to members of the family moving to Rushton from elsewhere. This could mean that they were not considered to be a potential recipient of relief from the parish under the Poor Law or that the records have not survived.
The next set of data to be inspected was the Rushton Memorial Instructions: In memory of John Gray who died April 11 1783 aged 81 years In memory of William son of John & Susanna Gray, died December *2 1771 aged ** years. Sacred to the memory of George Gray who died December 4th 1834 aged 72 years. Also Mary Stow, sister of the above, who departed this life Nov. 5th 1829 in the 74th year of her age. “May they rest in peace? Death is the gate of life.” This repeated what had been found in the parish records but also added new information as well. George Gray died on December 4th 1834 and was buried on December 28th 1834 at the age of 72. He had a sister who had married someone named Stow and she died on November 5th 1829 and was buried on November 10th 1829. She was 75 years old.
These are the only references to members of the Gray/Grey family in Rushton. It is not known who the John Gray who was buried in 1783 was. Was he the father of John Gray who married Susannah Watson of Bringhurst. This village is in Leicestershire. Was the Susannah Grey who was buried on May 1st 1796 the woman who had married John Gray in 1784 or was she the widow of John Gray who had been buried in 1783? The Parish Records are not clear. The Bishop’s Transcripts for the period were inspected but no further information was found.
Conclusions John Gray (1742 – 1827) who lived in East Norton in Leicestershire does not appear to have been born in Rushton in Northamptonshire. At present it is not known where he was born. In fact none of the Gray/Grey family appear to have been born in Rushton; they only moved there from some other unknown parish. The parish records are so lacking in detail that it is difficult to come to conclusions especially with the proclivity of John Grays to marry women with the first name Susannah. The possible solution would be to return to Leicestershire Record Office and go through all the parishes within firstly a 5 mile radius of East Norton and then extend the radius to 10 miles.
References (1) Reference DE1145/1 (2) Reference DE1145/2 (3) Reference DE1145/3 (4) Reference DE1145/4 (5) Reference DE 1145-7 (6) Reference PR/T/1845/7/71(PART) - 73 (7) Microfiche reference 286p/3