Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Will of Thomas Scoging (1709-1788)

Some weeks ago I found the will of Thomas Scoging in the Norwich Consistory Court. Prior to 1858 people had a variety of options of which court to prove their will. As these will's are indexed and put on line it will be much easier to find them. I found a reference to Thomas's will on
"first I give and devise unto my son Thomas Scoging All that piece of Ground situate in Badingham aforesaid with Cottage there upon lately built.... Also I give and devise unto James Aldous of Badingham aforesaid Labourer All that piece of Ground situate in Badingham aforesaid with a Cottge thereupon lately built.... First I give and bequeath unto my son Robert Scoging and to my Daughter Elizabeth Rye (wife of Richard Rye now or late of Swilland in the said County Yeoman the sum of five shillings each....hereof I do give and bequeath the same unto my Sons William Scoging and the said Thomas Scoging share and share alike.... appoint my said Sons William Scoging and Thomas Scoging Executors of this my last Will and Testament... I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Five."
It appears that Thomas was what would be termed an 'owner-occupier' or freehold property owner. From the generation of Thomas to his children and grandchildren times were changing. This change brought hardships on the working class. Two of the major changes were; first, The labourers were no longer living-in with farmers, and they were hired as need be; second, enclosure or the loss of common rights denied them firewood, and the animals shared in common. This met that most relied on parish relief many months every year. To compound the problem there was inflation. The labourer force was increasing and the population as a whole. Many in the following generations were classified as labourers. No probate records can be found for William, Thomas, or Robert. An excellent book pertaining to eighteenth century England is English Society in the Eighteenth Century, Second Edition (The Penguin Social History of Britain) I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about England in 1700's.
As I read this book it appears that the same problems that plagued their society still exist in our society and will always exist, i.e., inflation, unemployment, technology advances displacing workers, corruption, political scandals, crime, etc.

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