Parish of Steeple Dorset

Bond by Ruth Christopher

of Steeple in Dorset - 1755
Donated to OPC by Colin Wildman transcribed by Michael Russell April 2005

NOTE:- Bond A binding agreement with a penalty for non performance. A bond deed is in two parts, the Obligation and the Condition. Before 1733 the Obligation, which records the penalty, was written in Latin. The Condition describes what the bonded person has undertaken to do, or otherwise committed themselves to (e.g. the truth of a statement), and was always in English.

This is clearly what we have here. This would  appear to be like our Letters of Administration issued where someone dies without leaving a will and giving authority to distribute the estate. They are backed here however by a Bond and I think someone of wealth has to stand as surety so it’s a joint obligation with a Yeoman. This is presumably security to the Court to ensure correct distribution of the estate.

Know all men by this Presents [literally means to bring formally under notice] that we Ruth CHRISTOPHER of Steeple in the Isle of Purbeck and County of Dorset widow, and John FOOKES of the same place Yeoman ---- [Note there is a family of Fookes in Steeple at this date]

Are held and firmly bound unto John WALKER Clerk in the official Principal of the Reverend Edward HAMMOND Clerk of the Archdeacon of the Archdeaconry of Dorset lawfully [illegible] In the sum of one hundred pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be paid unto the said John WALKER or to his certain Attorney his Executors Administrators or Assigns to which payment will and truly to be made we oblige ourselves and each of us by himself and herself for the whole our and each of our Heirs Executors and Administrators firmly by these Presents stated with our Seals dated the Eight Day of November in the twenty ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign 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 and Seven Hundred and Fifty Five.

The Condition of this obligation is such that if the above bound Ruth CHRISTOPHER the Widow Relict and Administratrix of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of Thomas CHRISTOPHER late at Chaldon Herring intestate deceased do make or cause to be made a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased which have or shall come to the hands, Possession or knowledge of her the said Ruth CHRISTOPHER or into the hands and possession of any person or persons for her and the same so made do exhibit or cause to be exhibited into the Registry of the Court of the Archdeacon of Dorset at or before the last Day of April next ensuing and the same Goods, Chattels and Credits and all other the Goods, Chattels and Credits of the said deceased at the time of his death which at any time after shall come to the hands or possession of the said Ruth CHRISTOPHER or into the hands and possession of any other person or persons for her to well and truly administer according to Law and further do make or cause to be made a true and just account of her said administration at or before the last Day of [illegible possibly October followed by a year?] And all the rest residue of the said Goods Chattels and Credits which shall be found remaining on the said administration account the same being first examined and allowed of by the judge or judges for the time being of the said Court shall deliver and pay unto the said person or persons respectively as the said judge or judges by his or their decree or sentence pursuant to the true Intent and Meaning of a Late Act of Parliament made in the two and twentieth and three and twentieth years of the Reign of our late Sovereign Lord King Charles the Second instituted an Act for the better settling of Intestate Estates shall limit and appoint; And if it shall hereafter appear that any last Will and Testament was made by the said deceased and the Executor or executors therein named do exhibit the same into the said Court making requests to have it allowed and approved accordingly if the said Ruth CHRISTOPHER above bound do render and deliver the said Letters of Administration Approbation or such Testament being first had and made in the said Court: That then this persons obligation to be void and of none effect, or else to stand remain and be in full power force and virtue.

Sealed and delivered                                                  The mark of
in the presence of                                                        Ruth Christophers
Saml Stainet                                                                John Fookes
Nm Burden

Genealogical Notes:-

As indicated on the Bond her husband was Thomas Christopher.
He was the 3rd child and only boy that I can find of Thomas and Margaret Christopher from Tyneham in Dorset. There was only 1 Register for Steeple and Tyneham and the vicar did not always differentiate so indexing is often for both parishes.

3rd Jul 1717                 Mary Christopher daughter of Thomas & Margaret Baptised
22nd Apr 1719              Margaret Christopher daughter of Thomas & Margaret Baptised
18th Aug 1721            Thomas Christopher son of Thomas & Margaret Baptised
11th Apr 1723             Ann Christopher daughter of Thomas & Margaret Baptised
9th Nov 1725               [Illegible] Christopher daughter of Thomas & Margaret Baptised

The family then move to Steeple as Margaret is buried there on Boxing Day 26th Dec 1727. Hence no more children

Their eldest daughter Mary [when she was about 18 years old is shown as buried in both Tyneham and Steeple on 14 Apr 1736. [The Reverend Mr. Samuel Bolde Rector of Steeple cum Tyneham was buried on 19th August 1737. ]

On 24 May 1736 Thomas Christopher [the widower of Margaret] remarries to an Elizabeth Mortimer and moves to Stoborough near Wareham .

Thomas Baptised 18th Aug 1721 above marries in Steeple [under 2 miles from Tyneham] when he was 23 years old to a Ruth Arne on 25th June 1745

After the marriage Thomas and Ruth had a daughter in Steeple and then moved to Chaldon Herring [6 miles from Steeple, 4 miles from Tyneham] where they had two more:-

17th Jan 1747  Anne Christopher daughter of Thomas & Ruth Baptised Steeple
28th Jul 1751   William Christopher son of Thomas & Ruth Baptised Chaldon Herring
30th Mar 1754 Jenny Christopher daughter of Thomas & Ruth Baptised Chaldon Herring

The one remaining piece of the jigsaw is the burial of Thomas Christopher on 21st Sep 1755. This is another case where it is in both Tyneham and Steeple indexes Ruth is clearly referred to as a widow here and this also accounts for why there were no more children after Jenny. Thomas therefore died quite young at the age of 34, which also explains why he may have been intestate.

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