Geale Family of Ripley

The story begins with Aaron Geale, Blacksmith of Ripley, who first appears in the Send with Ripley Parish records in 1695

Aaron Geale was the son of Samuel Geale and Joan Draper Geale of Sandhurst, Berkshire, born 3 April 1666. We know this as Hannah Geale of Sandhurst left money to Aaron, William, and Sarah Geale, as well as to Hannah Stone ~ children of “my brother Aaron Geale, late of Ripley” in 1742. The Sandhurst Geale family were yeomans who could afford the apprenticeship costs for younger sons.

Aaron married Anne Lyne of Ripley at Battersea in London on 20 August 1694; Anne was the eldest daughter of William Lyne, Blacksmith of Ripley and his wife Isabella Smith Lyne. -> So here we have a good clue as to how Aaron Geale became a Ripley blacksmith.

Copy of Court Roll, Manor of Ripley and Send: 1) 1672: admission of William Lyne to copyhold messuage called ‘Hitches and Taylors’ in Ripley on surrender of Robert Fairbrother* 2) 1692: admission of Isabelle Lyne, widow of William Lyne of Ripley, to copyhold messuage called ‘Hitches and Taylors’ in Ripley. (*Robert Fairbrother, Tailor of Ripley)

Between 1695 and 1710, Aaron and Anne had 9 children baptised either in Ripley Chapel or Send Parish Church and 7 of those children survived to adulthood: sons Joseph, Aaron, William, John, and daughters Ann, Sarah, and Hannah.

Aaron Geale’s Blacksmith’s business in Ripley (which was leased) prospered and in 1725, he had the where-withal to become a freehold owner of a property in Ripley Green: “23 November 1725: Thomas, Lord Onslow sold to Aaron Geale of Ripley, blacksmith a messuage, smith’s shop, garden in the tenure of Aaron Geale on Ripley Green. Consideration: £26/5s”.

Both Aaron and Anne died in 1729 ~ Anne in September and Aaron 2 months later in November. The Geales were buried in nearby Ockham Parish churchyard which was closer to Ripley than Send Parish churchyard.

Aaron Geale’s Last Will and Testament ~ Written 30 September 1725

In the name of God Amen. I Aaron Geal of the Parish of Send in the County of Surrey, Blacksmith, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind, memory, and understanding, praise be given to Almighty God for the same, and calling to mind the Certainty of Death and the Uncertainty of the time when do make, publish and Declare this to be my last Will and Testament.

  • To my sons Joseph and John Geal; all the House I now live in situate in Ripley and the Smith’s Shop there unto adjoining and there to belonging with all the working tools and stock, share and share alike so long as they agree together;
  • But in case they disagree, I desire my son Joseph Geal shall pay unto his brother John £60 and Joseph to have the house and shop for himself;
  • If Joseph should die without heirs, then the house and smith shop and stock shall be divided amongst my other children Aaron, William, Hannah, and Sarah Geal share and share alike;
  • To son Aaron Geal: £75 out of the interest of a Bond I hold plus a £25 Bond to be given to Aaron in his own custody;
  • To son William Geal: the house in Ripley Green now in the occupation of William Russell (Husbandman) plus a piece of ground in Ripley; also £60 to my son William; 
  • To daughter Sarah Geal: £100;
  • To daughter Hannah Geal: £100;
  • To son Joseph: the residue of my estate and goods after the payment of my debts, legacies, and funeral charges;
  • Sole Executor: my son Joseph and my son Aaron to have the trust for the due execution of this my last Will and Testament;
  • Witnessed by George Stout, Edward Goodchild, and George Page;
  • Signed by Aaron Geale with his mark 30 September 1729;
  • Probate granted to Joseph Geale, 4 November 1729. * Name spelt Geal by the scribe and Geale in probate record.

-> George Stout: ~ Butcher of Ripley, Edward Goodchild ~ Tallow Chandler of Ripley, George Page ~ Parish Clerk of Ripley, School Master and scribe of Aaron’s Will.

Next Generation

  1. Joseph Geale died unmarried in December 1729 shortly after his parents so the Geale Blacksmith business passed to Sarah, Aaron, William, and Hannah. 1730: Sarah Geale of Richmond, Aaron Geale of Woking (wheelwright), William Geale of Ripley (blacksmith) and Hannah Geale of Ripley sold to their brother John Geale of Ripley, (blacksmith) their father’s house and blacksmith shop.
  2. Aaron Geale moved to Woking and was trained as a wheelwright. “Aaron Geale of Woking, wheelwright, bachelor, 28, and Elizabeth Harvest of Woking, spinster, 25 at Woking, 16 February 1728.” Elizabeth died in 1731 and Aaron married Elizabeth Greenfield in Woking. 24 Jul 1745: Aaron was sick and wrote his Will naming his wife Elizabeth (but she actually predeceased him) and his 2 young sons John (who died days after his father) and Aaron. Executrix: sister Sarah Geale. Aaron died on 28 July 1745 was buried at Woking.  The only surviving member of the family was young Aaron Geale who was raised by his Aunt Hannah Geale in Thames Ditton, Surrey; he was apprenticed as a carpenter, dying in 1788, apparently unmarried, in Thames Ditton.
  3. William Geale ~ discussed below.
  4. John Geale (who had purchased his father’s blacksmith shop) died in Ripley in 1738 and was unmarried.
  5. Hannah Geale lived the longest of all Aaron and Anne’s children, dying in 1787 at age 81; she had married Henry Stone of Thames Ditton in 1731; they don’t appear to have had any children but did raise Hannah’s orphaned nephew, Aaron.
  6. Sarah Geale had left Ripley by 1730 and was a ‘Spinster of Richmond’; she was unmarried when her brother John wrote his Will in 1738 but she was not named in an subsequent family Wills. No further records found.
  7. Anne Geale died, age 17, and was buried at Ockham.

William Geale ~ Blacksmith of Ripley Green

  • Baptised at Send, 30 December 1702 ~ son of Aaron Geale;
  • 1725: inherits his father’s freehold premises at Ripley Green;
  • Married 11 May, 1733 at Wisley: William Geale of Ripley, blacksmith, 30, and Mary Henley of Send, spinster, 21;
  • William and Mary Geale had 2 children baptized and subsequently buried;
  • Record then gets a little murky 1) Ann and Joseph Geale born in late 1730’s but baptism records not found 2) William and his wife Sarah Geale had 2 children baptized ~ Sarah (1740) and John (1741) 3) Mary Geale wife of William of Ripley, died 1760; so William may have been married 3 times ~ not that uncommon;
  • 1 December 1783: William Geale published his Will in the presence of Sarah and Henry Chatfield, and Henry Bonsey;
  • William died 10 June 1785 in Ripley and was taken to nearby Ockham Parish Churchyard for burial on 13 Jun 1785;
  • Will was proved on 20 July 1785 with administration granted to Stephen Gavill, the sole executor.

-> Henry Chatfield, Attorney of Ripley and Sarah née Francis, his wife, who lived in Ripley and both witnessed many Ripley Wills in the late 1700’s. Henry Bonsey was a Ripley cordwainer. Stephen Gavill was William’s son-in-law, married to William’s daughter Sarah.

Summary of Last Will and Testament of William Geale, Blacksmith of Ripley in the parish of Send:

  • To be decently interred in the parish Churchyard of Ockham as near to my late Wife as conveniently may be (wife unnamed);
  • Copyhold Lease of Ripley property has been surrendered to the Lord of the Manor of Wisley and which I now bequeath to my son Joseph Geale;
  • Bequests to son John Geale, daughter Ann Geale, and daughter-in-law Mary Geale (wife of Joseph).

Next Generation

  1. Ann Geale: born about 1739, never married, and was buried at Ockham 3 March 1788 ~ age given as 50.
  2. Joseph Geale ~ see below.
  3. Sarah Geale: baptized at Ripley Chapel, 1 September 1740, daughter of William and Sarah, married Stephen Gavill of Ockham on 9 January 1760, and the couple had at least 12 children! Sarah Gavill was buried at Ockham 10 August 1809.
  4. John Geale: baptized 6 December 1741 at Ripley Chapel, son of William and Sarah, witnessed brother’s wedding 27 December 1768, and was buried at Ockham 6 December 1811. The only other record found was a Record of Sale: “John Geale of Ripley, blacksmith, youngest son and a devisee in the will of William Geale of Ripley, blacksmith, deceased sold to 2) Stephen Gavill of Ockham, bricklayer (brother-in-law) ~ Cottage, blacksmith’s shop etc for £30″. Stephen was John’s brother-in-law.
    -> Interestingly, Stephen Gavill left money in his Will “to pay for headstones of Ann and John Geale in Ockham Churchyard ~ his brother and sister-in-law.

Joseph Geale ~ Blacksmith of Ripley Green

  • Joseph’s baptism record not found but as he was the elder son of William, he was probably born in the late 1730’s;
  • 27 December 1768: Joseph married Mary Darbourn at Send ~ Mary’s brothers were maltsters/victuallers in Kingston-upon-Thames and had simplified the name to ‘Darbon’;
  • Joseph published his Will 2 June 1788 and it was witnessed by William Yalden and William Sault. It was a short Will leaving everything to his wife Mary and naming her as sole executor ~ apparently, no children;
  • Joseph was buried in Ockham 26 January 1799.

William Yalden was the schoolteacher of Send who witnessed Joseph’s and Mary’s wedding. William Sault ~ no records found.

Joseph Geale’s wife Mary Darbourn Geale died in 1803 and left a Will which we can summarize:

  • To the 4 children of John Darbourn of Kingston, maltman, deceased £5 each (Mary used ‘Darbourn’ even though her brothers had been using ‘Darbon’ for over 50 years);
  • To John Geale, brother of my late husband, £20;
  • To be buried in churchyard of Ockham near my late husband and a small head and foot stone to our memory be erected.

The Geale Family story as Blacksmiths of Ripley can be seen to end on 17 September 1803, just before Mary Geale died: Record of Sale: 1) Mary Geale, widow of Joseph Geale of Ripley, blacksmith sold to 2) Stephen Gavill of Ockham, bricklayer ~ Messuage and blacksmith’s shop on Ripley Green, in which she has a life interest. Consideration: £40. £40 was exactly the sum that Mary bequeathed to her nephews and niece Darbon.

Stephen Gavill of Ockham is an interesting character worthy of his own post! Please click the button below.

Chancery Court Case 1717

Select Sources

Filling some of the lacunae (gaps) in history
  • The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
  • London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Clerkenwell, London, England
  • Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: Sen/1/2
  • England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
  • Exploring Surrey’s Past

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