13. DOVE

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Fay Sampson’s Family History

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)

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THOMAS DOVE. The village of Ringwould stands two miles south of Deal on the road to Dover. The parish also included the fishing community of Kingsdown on the shore of the English Channel.

Thomas Dove was a fisherman of Kingsdown.

Kingsdown Beach [1]


The surviving Ringwould registers begin in the 1560s. The first record of the Dove family is the baptism in Nov 1574 of Thomas Dove, son of Thomas.

This would suggest that Thomas Dove senior was born around 1550 in the reign of Edward VI, the young son of Henry VIII.

We do not have his baptism, or the names of his parents. There are, however, burials in Ringwould in 1583 for Father Dove and in 1600 for Mother Dove widowe. The Ringwould registers have a number of similar entries. These would appear to be senior residents of the parish. There is no evidence of an extended family of Doves at this time, so we assume that Father and Mother Dove are Thomas’s parents.

There is a burial in in 1583 of John Dove. He is not said to be Thomas’s young son, who was still alive in 1609, so we assume this is an adult. He may be Thomas’s brother. Beatrice Dove, who married in 1579, is almost certainly his younger sister.

Since Thomas became a fisherman, it is likely that his father was too. Thomas probably grew up in Kingsdown, in the reigns of the sister queens Mary and Elizabeth.

He left his herring and sprat nets to some of his sons. This gives us an idea of the fish he caught.


There are two records for the marriage of Thomas Dove of Ringwould. One is on 25 Apr 1573 and the other on 9 Oct 1574. Both of these are found in indices of marriages, but neither has been found in the Ringwould register. It is possible that they took place in another parish, but that Thomas Dove was of Ringwould.

Neither record shows the bride’s name.


ALLICE. We have to rely on the burial register to tell us that Thomas’s wife was Allice. We have not found a record of their marriage, so we assume that Allice was from another parish.


Although there are these two marriage records, it would seem that only one Thomas Dove set up home in Ringwould. The spacing of the baptisms of the children of Thomas Dove shows no overlaps, such as we would expect if there was more than one family. The first baptism is in Nov 1574. It was quite common for a bride to be pregnant at the altar, but eight months would be very unusual. This means that the marriage in April 1573 is the more likely.


There were seven children, six boys and one girl.

Baptisms. St Nicholas, Ringwould.
1574 Nov ?  Thomas
1577 Sep 10  John
1580 Sep 11  Agnes
1583 Sep 22  Luke
1585 Nov 14  Edward
1588 Oct 27  Wacher
1591 Oct 17  Nicholas

None of these children died in infancy. This is usually a sign that the family were not among the poorest.


In 1588 the King of Spain assembled a great armada of 150 ships to invade England and bring it back to the Catholic faith. Its arrival in the English Channel must have caused considerable alarm in Kingsdown. In the event, the Armada was defeated off the coast of France. It turned north up the North Sea but was scattered by storms and suffered multiple shipwrecks in its flight around the British Isles. The Kingsdown fishermen must have resumed their work with great relief.


Allice died when her youngest child was nine.

Burial. St Nicholas, Ringwould
1601 May 28 Allice Dove wife of Thomas.

This is the first time we learn Allice’s name.

She was probably around 50.

In his will, Thomas asked to be buried in Ringwould churchyard near her.


Thomas remained a widower for only  two years. There is a marriage at St Mary Breadman, Canterbury, on  24Aug 1603 of Thomas Dove, fisherman of Ringwould, to Christian Saffery, spinster of Sholden.

We might have assumed that this was Thomas’s eldest son and namesake, but his will makes it clear that this was his second marriage.

Sholden is a small village just outside Deal.

There is a baptism in Tilmanstone for Christian Saferes on 24 Jul 1575. Her parents are not named. Tilmanstone is four miles from Ringwould. If this identification is correct, Christian was some twenty-five years younger than Thomas.

It is not clear why the couple married in Canterbury, and not in Sholden. This required a special licence, since it was not the parish of either the bride or the groom. Perhaps Christian was working in Canterbury, but still had Sholden as her parish of settlement..


Two daughters were born to them.
Baptisms. St Nicholas, Ringwould
1605 Aug 25  Elizabeth
1607 Oct 25  Jane


Thomas lived for another eight years

Burial. St Nicholas, Ringwould.
1609 Nov 3  Thomas Dove householder.

He was probably around 60 when he died.


He made his will shortly before his death.[2] It is the principal source for details of his life.

 Will of Thomas Dove
  of Ringwould, Kent

In the Name of God Amen the laste Daye of October Anno Dmi 1609.
THOMAS DOVE of Kingsdowne in the Parishe of Ringwolde Fisherman being sicke in bodye but of sounde and perfecte memorye doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following
First I comend my soule into the Hands of God and will that my Corpse bee buryed in the Churchyarde of Ringewolde neere to the Corps of my former Wyfe.

Item I will that CHRISTIAN my nowe Wyfe shall have holde and injoye to her and her Assignes the howse wherein I now dwell with the edifices and spott of grounde thereto annexed togeather with one acre and an halfe of lande lyeing in the feelds at Kingsdowne nighe to Hirkenden Pitt nowe in mine occupation during the space of fifteen yeares nexte ensueing my decease yf shee soe longe live shee or her Assignes dischargeing yearelye the Quit Rents that shall growe due therefore to the Lord of the Fee and becoming bounde in a Bond of twenty pounds to ROBERT BRUINE Parson of Ringewolde within one moneth after my decease that shee shall not after the end and expiration of the saide fifteen yeares claime or demande any parte or parts of the said howse edifices spott of grounde or acre and an halfe of lande by waye of Dower or otherwise but quietly and peaceably to yeald the possession Right and Interest thereof to such personne or personnes as by my Will are to have the same or by recourse of Lawe as Heires to mee have or shall then have right thereunto.

The reason that moveth mee thus to devise the said howse and other devised premises unto the said CHRISTIAN my Wyfe is for that shee shall not onelye forbeare her Right by way of Dower but alsoe bee the better able to provide for my younger children especiallye my two Daughters which I have by her.
And my will further is that during the whole space of tyme in which my said wyfe shall injoy the said howse and other edifices shee or her Assignes shall keepe yt well and sufficientlye repaired and not suffer them through negligence and naute of timelye amending to goe old lame and decayed.

And after the end of the said fifteen yeares yf my said wyfe soe long live or after the decease of my wyfe aforesaide yf shee chance to departe this lyfe beefore the expired fifteen yeares I will that the saide howse edifices spott of grounde and acre and an halfe of lande shall bee and remaine to NICHOLAS DOVE my youngest Sonne and his Heires forever.
Provided the saide NICHOLAS my Sonne bee then living when by this my Will the saide devised premisses shoulde come unto hym.
And allsoe paye or cause to bee paide unto the persons following thease severall summes of money as they are by mee bequeathed (that is to say).

Unto WACHER DOVE my fifth Sonne the sume of eight pounds of just and lawfull monye of Englande within two yeares after the devised premisses shall come unto hym
And to THOMAS DOVE my eldest Sonne the sume of tenne pounds of like monye within fower yeares after the devised premisses shall come unto hym
And unto my second Sonne JOHN DOVE tenne pounds within two yeares after that.
Unto LUKE DOVE my third Sonne tenne pounds after that.
And unto EDWARD DOVE my fowerth Sonne other fortye shillinges two yeares after that
To Witt within tenn yeares after the saide devised premisses shall come unto hym.

And unto ELIZABETH DOVE and JANE my two youngest Daughters forty shillings apeece at there severall ages of twentie and one yeares. And yf eyther of them dye beefore shee attaine the saide ages then my will is that the survivor shall have the whole summe of fower pounds paid unto her at her age of twentie and one yeares.

And lastlye unto RICHARD EASTIS Sonne of RICHARD EASTIS my Sonne in Lawe tenne pounds when hee shall attaine to the age of twentye and one yeares.

But yf it happen my Sonne NICHOLAS to departe this lyfe before the saide devised premisses shall come unto hym then yf WACHER my Sonne bee then living my will is that the saide devised premisses shall then bee and remaine to the saide WACHER also his Heires forever soe as bee maye or cause to bee paide the saide severall sumes which NICHOLAS should have paide and at suche tyme respectivelye and to suche persons saveing that to EDWARD my Sonne hee be payd the sume of eight pounds within two yeares after the saide devised premisses shall come unto hym.

And yf it happen that neither NICHOLAS nor WACHER my Sonnes doe live to have the saide devised premisses come unto them according to the true meaning of this my Will but that they shall descend according to Lawe unto myne Heires then living. Then my will is that such myne Heires shall discharge and paye the saide severall bequeathes to ELIZABETH and JANE my Daughters and RICHARD EASTIS my Grandchilde in such manner and forme as I have bequeathed them.

My will is that if noe payment yt shall be lawfull for the saide ELIZABETH JANE and RICHARD into the saide devised premisses to enter and distraine and the distresses taken to carrye or drive away and them to hold and retaine until they shall bee fullie satisfied and contented of suche monye as is by mee given to them.

Item I give unto the said WACHER and NICHOLAS and or eyther of them one deale and a halfe of herringe netts that is mine herring netts betweene them.
Item I give to LUKE DOVE my Sonne a spratt nett and a joined bedstoole standinge in the Chamber over myne Hall and a payer of sheets to bee appointed him at the discretion of myne Executrix.

All the rest of my Goods and Chattells not bequeathed my Debts Funerall Charges and other necessarye matters discharged I give to CHRISTIAN my Wyfe whom I constitute and ordaine to bee my Sole and onely Executrix willing and appointing her yf anye question or doubt arise aboute any pointe or parte of this my Will the determination and resolution thereof shall bee referred to Mr. ROBERT BRUINE Parsonne of Ringewolde aforenamed and what hee answereth to bee my intente and meaning. My will is that that shall stande and bee taken for my intent and meaning.

In Witness whereof to this my last Will and Testament I have subscribed and sett my Marke
Witnesses at the subscribing of this Will of THOMAS DOVE


His son-in-law Richard Eastis was the husband of Agnes, Thomas and Allice’s only daughter.

Christian may keep the family house for fifteen years while her daughters are growing up. It then goes to the youngest son Nicholas. Since Christian is the residual legatee, we presume she would have enough means to set up a home for herself.

It is not clear why Edward is treated differently from the other sons. He receives only £2 when Nicholas inherits the property, or £8 if Nicholas dies before the fifteen years are up and the property reverts to Wacher.

Wacher, Nicholas and Luke receive fishing nets. This implies that they had followed their father as fishermen. We do not know whether Thomas, John and Edward did, or whether they took up some other occupation.

The overall impression is that Thomas had made respectable living from fishing.


[1] https://www.picclickimg.com/d/l400/pict/401332752544_/19th-20th-Century-Coastal-Seascape-Watercolour-Kingsdown-Kent.jpg
[2] Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury PRC 17/56/299. Transcribed by Veronica Nops.





Cory Tree