Stephen Gavill ~ Bricklayer of Ockham ~ 1734-1813

Brief Bio: Stephen Gavill was baptised 19 January 1734 at Ockham Parish Church, son of Francis and Elizabeth Gavill; (January 1734 was actually January 1735 as today’s calendar was not adopted until September 1752). 9 January 1760: married Sarah Geale (daughter of William Geale, blacksmith of Ripley) at Send Parish Church. Stephen and Sarah lived in Cobham and Wisley for a while before settling in Stephen’s home town of Ockham. The couple had at least 12 children ~ 6 survived to adult-hood.

Meaning of ‘Bricklayer’: Up to the middle of the 19th century, a bricklayer was what we would today call a builder. He would probably have designed and constructed houses and had bricklayer’s labourers working for him doing the actual brick laying.

I have in time past given to my son John Gavill the possession of my house and land in which I now live and all my crops of corn, hay and fruit, wood and coals, my two carts, horse, cow, hogs and sheep, all my farming utensils, scaffolding, ladders and tools belonging to the bricklayer’s business and he to allow me victuals and drink and the common necessities of life;

-> In other words, Stephen retired, and John became head of the household and provided for his elderly father.

I also give to my son John £150 six months after my decease and he to pay out of it ~ my funeral expenses ~ a good head stone to be erected to my memory ~ headstones for Anne and John Geale as required; also “I do order my body to be decently buried in the churchyard of Ockham as near my parents as possible”;

-> Above is a photo of Stephen Gavill’s weathered headstone at Ockham; Anne and John Geale were Stephen’s wife’s relatives.

To my son John all my freehold messuage in my son’s occupation, the cottage in occupation of William Steer and that in occupation of William Fuller all with remainder to my son Robert Gavill;

-> Stephen owned 3 freehold properties which he could dispose of how he liked without any constraints imposed by ancient manorial rights; “remainder” meant that Robert (John’s younger brother) would inherit these properties when John died if John had no male children. ** Messuage = farm with farmhouse

To my son John, all my copyhold messuage in Woking in occupation of William Jackman paying £50 to his sister Dallen, £50 to his sister Crowder, and £50 for use of the Lynn children;

-> This copyhold property was owned by the Lord of the Manor of Woking and Stephen Gavill was only the leasee ~ with the permission of the manor owner, he could pass the lease onto his son John but the real value was in the rent paid by the sub-tenant (William Jackman); from the rent, John was to pay 3 lump sums to:-

  1. Sister Dallen: this was Ann Gavill who married James Dallen, Maltster of Ockham
  2. Sister Crowder: this was Maria Crowder who married Richard Crowder of Ripley
  3. Lynn Children: Mary Gavill married John Lynn, Bricklayer of Ripley

To my younger son Robert Gavill, all my freehold messuage at Ripley in occupation of Thomas Tanner, wheeler and my son in law John Lynn, bricklayer with the wheeler’s shop etc. also the two cottages etc. in occupation of John Bayley and Francis Croucher. Also, £100 in 6 months after my death and £250 12 months after my death;

-> Robert Gavill was the last of the Gavill male line, dying at age 83 in 1866 and described as ‘Gentleman of Ripley” in his probate record. He married Elizabeth Nash of Portsmouth later in life ~ no children. ** More info on Robert Gavill at the end of this post

To my daughter Elizabeth Denyer £50 and my executors to buy £500 stock in the funds for Elizabeth for her to have a life interest, and then to my other children and grandchildren;

-> Elizabeth Gavill married Richard Denyer, Saddler of Wimbledon.

To my daughter Ann Dallen £350 and to give up the note for £100 I lent her husband James Dallen;

-> Ann Gavill married James Dallen, Maltster of Ockham.

To my daughter Maria Crowder £250 and give up the note for £200 I lent her husband Richard Crowder when he went to the paper mill;

To my son in law John Lynn £150. Also executors to invest £300 in the funds for my grandchildren Mary Lynn, Jane Lynn, Joseph Lynn, Sarah Lynn and Elizabeth Lynn; of the £50 to the Lynns from the Woking estate £40 to be added to the £300 for stock and £10 to Lynn’s present wife for her care of my grandchildren and John Lynn may live in the house he does now which I have given to my son Robert Gavill for a year;

-> Mary Gavill married John Lynn in Ockham in 1789, and the couple had 5 children; Mary died at age 35 in Ripley in 1805 so predeceasing her father, Stephen.

Disposal of Household Goods and Personal Items:

  1. John ~ my kitchen dresser and shelves, my writing desk and bookcase over it, my folding chest of drawers wherein I keep my writings, and my father’s old clock to be kept for antiquity;
  2. Daughter Denyer ~ all my silver-handled knives and forks which are to be kept for ever and not sold or lightly made away with so they may be reserved for sons of my family;
  3. Robert ~ two of my best beds and their furniture, my mahogany dining and tea tables, my best chest of drawers, and my best clock;
  4. Rest of goods to be distributed equally among my daughters Denyer, Dallen, Crowder and Lynn’s children;
  5. My books in six lots ~ one for each child, John to have first choice, Robert the second and then the rest and if they cannot agree to draw tickets for them;

Executors to give 1 guinea to the Churchwarden to be distributed to the poor.

  • Executors: elder son John Gavill and John Bonsey of Woking
  • Witnesses: Daniel Dallen, William Fuller, and William Brooker (Daniel Dallen was the step-son of Stephen’s daughter Ann Dallen)
  • Proved in London 14 April 1814 to son John Gavill, surviving executor

Other Stephen Gavill Notes:

-> 1770 ~ Warrant to the constable and other peace officers of the parish of Wisley to apprehend Geroge Hone, James Lemmon and George Clarke for assaulting Stephen Gavill, constable of Wisley, as he was arresting Joseph Peters for theft.
-> 1848 ~ Disentailing Deed by Robert Gavill (Stephen’s son): this related to the will of Stephen Gavill, in which he bequeathed properties to his son John, and in default of John having heirs, to his son Robert. John Gavill did not have heirs and neither did Robert so to prevent the properties going to some distant male Gavill, Robert successfully broke the entail by giving the properties in trust to the use of himself and his wife Elizabeth.

Will of John Gavill ~ son of Stephen and Sarah Gavill
1871 Ripley Census Enumerator Record

Gavill/Gavell ~ probably French: metonymic occupational name for a harvester, from javelle, a term for a sheaf of grain which was loosely bound and left on the ground to ripen.” [Family Search Website]

The Gavill Family was closely linked with the Geale Family of Ripley – select the button below to read my story of the Geale Family:

  • Select Sources
  • 1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census
  • The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 1555
  • Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Church of England Parish Registers
  • Find A Grave