This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back 30 generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from my own as (1)
THOMAS NICOLLS and ?JOAN (10)
Baptism. Rose Ash.
1668(9) Nicolls, Thomas s. Nicholas. 4 ffeb
Thomas became a carpenter, as did his son. He may well have been the son of a craftsman himself.
He had one younger sister. His mother died when he was 25 and his father some time before that.
His marriage has not yet been found, and took place outside Rose Ash. A week after his burial, a Joan Nicols was buried too. She is not said to be his widow, and may be his unmarried daughter Joan. But she could have been given her mother’s name.
Thomas had three children baptised in Rose Ash.
1699 Nicholls, Thomas s. Thomas. 6 July
1700 Nicolls, Elizabeth d. Thomas 20 Nov
1702 Nichols, Joan d. Thomas 17 Sep
The reason for the small family may be that his wife died soon after Joan’s birth. Her burial has not been found.
His only son Thomas married in Rose Ash and had a large family there. He became parish clerk. This was not in those days a secretarial role, but it included reading the lessons in church. This may mean that Thomas senior was a literate man who gave his children more than a minimal education.
Thomas was a carpenter. There are two books of churchwardens’ accounts covering the period 1712-1765. The name of Thomas Nicols appears virtually every year, usually several times, being paid for a great deal of work in and around the church. There were, however, three generations named Thomas Nicols in this period and it is not always easy to distinguish which one is meant.
In 1712, Thomas Nicols was paid 9d ‘for reparing of the Deske’ and 1s 10d ‘for 1000 shindel’ (wooden shingles for the roof). At the time, Thomas junior would only have been 13. He was probably at work, almost certainly helping his father, but it must be Thomas senior who is meant here. The designation ‘Thomas Nichols junr’ (or any other distinguishing information) does not appear until 1745, by which time it means this Thomas’s grandson.
Thomas is paid for repairing the churchyard gate, for supplying and laying a great deal more shindel, for ‘a new Doare for to go up on ye leads of ye Tower’, for ‘stamping a grave’, for making a ladder to put up in the tower, for ‘a ?Cross at ye top of Tower’, for carting timber, for carrying fuel to heat the church, for a bucket to wash the church, for his labour and the hire of a horse to fetch lead, and many more such tasks.
The amount of work he did for the church must have formed a significant part of his income. It is not quite clear whether he needed to hire a horse or had one of his own which he hired out.
1723 pd Tho: Nichols for his Labour & hors Higher for Bringing home of Lead £00.02.00
1729 pd Thomas Nichols for lent of a horse 2 days to carry Earth to masons £00.1.0
From 1728 a new type of payment begins to occur. ‘pd Thomas Nickels for Cleaning the Church severall times after the masons. £0.1s.0d’. The following year 6s 6d is paid ‘for Cleaning the Church and Lining’ (linen?). This does not appear to be the employment of the carpenter Thomas senior . Thomas junior was parish clerk from at least 1731. This looks like an extension of his responsibilities, and probably his wife’s, looking after the church.
In 1735 Thomas senior’s daughter Joan gave birth to a son Robert out of wedlock.
Some two years later, Thomas died.
Burial. Rose Ash
1737/8 Nicols, Thomas 27 Feb
He would have been nearly 70.
The churchwardens’ payments to Thomas Nicols for woodworking and repairs continue as before. It is a matter of conjecture at what point Thomas the younger became the principal craftsman to whom these sums were paid.
Thomas’s burial is followed a week later by
1737/8 Nicols, Joan 6 Mar
If Joan had been Thomas’s wife, we should expect the register to record her as ‘widow of Thomas’, but in the 18th century Rose Ash registers the status of adult women was not always given. If she was not his wife, this could be his daughter, whose name was certainly Joan. It is likely that she remained in the family home after Robert’s birth and that she and her father may have died of the same illness. We do not know if Thomas’s wife was still alive to take care of her two-year-old grandson, or what happened to Robert if, as is probable, she was not.
Thomas junior continued the carpentry business, as well as acting as parish clerk.
Next Generation: 9. NICOLLS-BENNET
Previous Generations: 11. NICOLLS-BEERE