I was looking for another grave when I came across this very old headstone dated 1758!

It reads:

“Here is interrd ye body of George Renald of this Town who died Nov the 14 in the year 1758 and in the 43 year of his age”.

I couldn’t resist having a look into George Renald’s life.

He was baptised at Whittington church on 24 September 1715, his father was Christopher Renald his mother Ann Ward.

George came from a fairly wealthy family, he married Mary Garside at Old Whittington church on 2 January 1748.

He was a householder and classed as a Yeoman.

(Yeoman, in English history, a class intermediate between the gentry and the labourers; a yeoman was usually a landholder but could also be a retainer, guard, attendant, or subordinate official – explanation taken from 

George lived in Whittington and died on November 14 1758, as the headstone states at 43 years of age.

He left a will and the bulk of his estate was left to his wife Mary, the couple were childless and along with his wife his sister Ann, who was married to Samuel Jenkinson from Hollingwood Moor, was mentioned and his nieces. He also mentioned other Jenkinson family members in the will.

Along with the family home he left his wife an annuity of “ffive” pounds to be paid quarterly on the “ffeast” days namely, Midsummer, Michaelmas, Christmas and Lady day.

The most interesting piece of information was a lovely inventory of items. There is a transcription below the original.

The inventory shows he was a fairly wealthy man, obviously a Yeoman farmer, and he had pewter dishes and half a dozen plates along with a number of pieces of furniture. Also listed are his animals together with corn in the barn and corn in the ground. Unusually, crops growing in the ground would not be listed as personal property on an inventory.

It would be nice to know where George and his family lived in Whittington but the actual area is not specified in the will and unfortunately there are not many records available from this period to check conclusively.

To put into perspective the times in which George lived:

George I was on the throne, the population of Britain was 7 million. Captain Cook was yet to discover Australia (1770), schooling was not compulsory in England, the poor would live on bread and potatoes and in Ireland between 1740-1741 famine killed 10% of the population.

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