yeovil people

The Foot Family

Four Generations of 17th and 18th Century Rope Makers

 

Much of the following is derived from the parish registers of St John's church and the Churchwardens' Accounts.

The earliest known of the Foot family was Joseph Foot who flourished in Yeovil during the seventeenth century. He probably had a son called Joseph but certainly had a son James (1), who was born in Yeovil in 1655, and a daughter Mary.

Mary married Henry Chipman in 1696 at St John's church and three years earlier, on 9 July 1693, James (1) had married Sarah Abut (Abbot). James was a rope maker and the Churchwardens' Accounts record that he supplied new bell ropes for the church annually from at least 1709 until 1720. 

James and Sarah's children are unknown except for a son - James (2) - but nothing is known of this James, although he was probably born around 1695 and was most likely a rope maker although there is no evidence for this.

James (1 or 2, not sure which) lived in Hendford and the monthly Poor Rate Return of 1729 recorded that he paid 2d "for Lionel Wills" (presumably the owner of his home).

James (2) also had a son James (3) born in Yeovil and baptised at St John's church on 19 November 1723. This James was another Yeovil rope maker and was recorded in the Churchwardens' Accounts for supplying bell ropes regularly throughout the 1760s. James (3) served as a Churchwarden for three years; in 1755 with Samuel Sealy and in 1756 and 1757 with Andrew Everton.

A lease dated 2 April 1755 recorded that James Foot (3) leased "all that messuage, dwelling house, outhouses, garden, backside in Pitt Lane, Yeovil, lands of Richard Mines on the east and land of John Clarke on the west, Pitt Lane on the north. Length north to south 90ft and breadth east to west 23ft in possession of James Foot."

James (3) lived in Pit Lane (today's Middle Street) near the junction with Vicarage Street and the Woborn Property Rents recorded that he paid a rent of four shillings a year (around £350 at 2017's value) between 1762 and 1770.

We know that James' (3) wife was Bridget and they had a son and four daughters, all born in Yeovil; James (4, b1747), Jane, also known as Jenny, (b1753), Bridgett, also known as Biddy (b1756), Mary (b1758) and Rebecca (b1760). Jane married Thomas Garland in 1775 and Rebecca married Thomas Cole in 1790.

James (3) had substantial wealth leaving in his will dated 12 February 1771 (see below) "my dwelling house where I live with garden, orchard and backside" as well as "my land, tenements" (inferring he owned more than one property) to his wife and, on her death, his son James (4). He also bequeathed to each of his four daughters, Jane, Bridget, Mary and Rebecca, £40 each (around £74,000 at 2017's value). James (3) died on 23 April 1771 and was buried in St John's churchyard on 30 April 1771. His wife Bridget died in Yeovil in 1775 and was buried in St John's churchyard as "Widow Foot" on 20 April 1775.

James Foot (4) was born in Yeovil in 1747 and baptised at St John's church on 3 February 1747. He too was a rope maker and was recorded in the Churchwardens' Accounts for supplying ropes for the church bells every year from his father's death in 1771 until 1785, the year before his own death.

On 25 March 1773 he married Grace Bullock at St John's church. They were to have three children; Mary (b1774), John Hubert (bc1776) and Bridget (b1779) who married James Pickford in Yeovil in 1802. In his will dated 29 December 1785, James (4) left the same house his father had left his mother (which he inherited after her death) to Grace, and on her death to John Hubert. He left £40 each (around £68,000 at 2017's value) to his two daughters.

James Foot (4) died in Yeovil in 1787 and was buried in St John's churchyard on 17 October.

An indenture dated 23 March 1798 recorded that Grace Foot, widow of James (4), and their son John Hubert Foot described as "of St George, Bloomsbury, Middx, Gent." were paid £21 by Robert Jennings, a Yeovil glazier, "for all that messuage or dwelling house, garden, backside in Yeovil at Pitt Lane next to Richard Mines on the east and the lands formerly of John Clarke on the west, Pitt Lane on the north – length north to south 90ft width east to west 23ft."

Grace Foot died in Yeovil and was buried in St John's churchyard on 16 May 1814.

 

See Family Tree

 

Gallery

 

The 1693 marriage record of James Foot (1) from St John's parish register which reads "James Foot and Sarah Abut were maried July the 9"

 

The 1723 baptism record of James Foot (3) from St John's parish register which reads "James son to James Foot Novem 19".

 

The 1747 baptism record of James Foot (4) from St John's parish register which reads "James son to James Foot bap Feb 3".

 

The 1771 burial record of James Foot (3) from St John's parish register which also records hi date of death. It reads "James Foot dide April 23 Buried Ap 30th".

 

The 1773 marriage record of James Foot (4) and Grace Bullock, both of Yeovil, from St John's parish register.

 

The 1787 burial record of James Foot (4) from St John's parish register. The number 17 at right indicates 17 October and the number 3 indicates that 3d was paid for "breaking the ground" that is, digging his grave.

 

The Will of James Foot (3)

 

I James Foot of Yeovil, Somerset, Roper, weak of body but sound of mind and memory. First I give my dwelling house where I live with garden, orchard and backside; also my land, tenements to my wife, Bridget and my son James for the use of my wife, from immediately after her decease or marriage I bequeath the same to my son James forever. I give unto my four daughters, Jane, Bridget, Mary and Rebecca £40 a piece when they reach the age of 21 or married. If any of them should die then the legacy to be divided amongst the survivors. I give my daughter Jane a large chest in the parlour chamber also all my remaining goods and chattels I give to my wife and son James whom I make joint Executors and to pay all my debts out of the legacies. I revoke all former Wills.
Signed and witnessed by Joseph Wride, Thomas Caswell and William Phelps

Will dated 12 February 1771

 

The Will of James Foot (4)

 

Last Will and Testament of James Foot of Yeovil, Roper. I give my dwelling house in which I live, garden, orchard and backside and all other lands and tenements to my wife, Grace and to my only son John Hubert Foot for and during the natural life of my wife and from after her death or marriage I give the above to my son John Hubert Foot forever. I give unto my two daughters Mary and Bridget £40 each to be paid at 21 and if either of them should die the legacy to be paid to the survivor. All the remaining goods and chattels etc I leave to my wife who I appoint as my sole executrix.
Signed and witnessed by Mary Foot, John Bess, Edmond Batten

Will dated 29 December 1785