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Henry Ryall

Eric Trudgill    -    3 May 2015

The Ryalls, a West Country Gypsy family well known to the pioneer gypsiologists, are hard to find in the records, partly because their surname is often found as Ryles, Riles, Royles and Rails and in each case sometimes without the concluding s. Henry Ryalls was born in Coberley, Glos in the 1820s, and married a Harriet Davis seemingly born in Monmouthshire around 1830.

Henry and Harriet had the following children: Byrom born in Gloucestershire about 1854, Walter baptised in Much Cowarne, Herefordshire in 1856, John and Christopher (presumably twins) born in Gloucestershire about 1860, Angelina born in Sandhurst, Glos in 1862 daughter of Henry (travelling basket maker) and Harriet formerly Davis, Hezekiah baptised in Oxenhall, Glos in 1864 (gypsy), William born in the Forest of Dean (which takes in both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) about 1866, Jemima christened in Rodmarton, Glos in 1867 (travelling basket maker), and finally a daughter baptised as Sinonya in Pensax, Worcs in 1870 (travelling tinman) and recorded as Sylvia in Painswick, Glos in the 1901 census. The latter in 1901 was travelling with her widowed mother Harriet, her widowed brother Walter, along with Byromand William, and their wives, the birth dates for most of them very approximate, and a Joseph Ryalls, husband of Elizabeth, I can’t at the moment place in the family at all.

Of these children Christopher was buried in Pauntley, Glos in 1871 “aged 11”, Hezekiah died in the Newent RD in 1871 “aged 13” and 1874 “aged 9”, Jemima was buried in Nympsfield, Glos in 1875 “aged 6”, and Sinonya/Sylvia was still unmarried in 1901. However, I’ve found offspring for Henry and Harriet’s five other children.

Byrom Ryalls, born about 1854, married a gorjer, Ellen Augusta Merritt, in Newent, Glos 9/4/1876, Ellen’s father unspecified but one of the witnesses a William Merritt. Byrom and Ellen seemingly had an Elizabeth born about 1880 (with a son named Henry after her grandfather) and a Byrom junior born about 1890. Byrom may also have had the John Ryalls, husband of Esther, travelling with Harriet and her family in 1901 and recorded probably approximately as aged 30.

Walter Ryalls, baptised in 1856, married Lorani Heron daughter of Edmund and Jemima (born in Deeping St James, Lincs 14/12/1855. According to the gypsiologists Walter and Lorani had a Henry who married Charity Orr, an Amelia who married Dick Burton son of Charles, and a Jemima who married her cousin, Evergreen Heron son of Caleb and Madona, plus a Sarah, Nora, Mizelli and Obi. I’ve been able to confirm very little of this, but Henry seems an appropriate forename for Walter, son of Henry, to give his son, and Jemima Ryles(34 daughter of Walter deceased) certainly married Evergreen Heron (35 son of Caleb) in Newport Register Office, Monmouthshire in 1921 (witnessed by Ellen Ryles), so the gypsiologists’ other data may be accurate.

John Ryalls, born about 1860, married Lorani’s sister, Tryenty Heron daughter of Edmund and Jemima (born in Peterborough, Northants 13/2/1853). They had the following children: Ada, christened as Emily Edith in Hope under Dinmore, Herefordshire in1879, who married John Phelps; Adolphus, born in Canon Frome, Herefordshire about 1881, who married Britannia Lock (daughter of William and Rebecca, born about 1881 but christened in 1892) in Cheltenham RD in 1914; Neptune (Nipton), christened in Gloucester St Catherine in 1884 (son of John and Louisa), who married Nellie Davis daughter of James (a hawker) and had a Cinderella and an Amelia born in Gloucester in 1913 and 1916; Caleb, born about 1886 but christened in Cheltenham St Peter, Glos in 1890, who married his cousin Dora Lock daughter of George in 1908; Siby born in Gloucestershire about 1893; and Lily May christened in Churchdown, Glos in 1896.

Angelina Ryalls, born in 1862, married George Lock son of Buz and Caroline and had the following children: the fore-mentioned Dora Lock, born about 1887, who married first (22 year old spinster daughter of George, horse dealer) Caleb Ryles (son of John) in Ledbury, Herefordshire in 1908, and married second (31 year old spinster daughter of George, deceased horse dealer) William Jones (son of Edward) in Linton, Herefordshire in 1918; Frederick Lock christened in Hucclecote, Glos in 1889 (hawker); and Nelson Lock christened in Canon Frome in 1895, who married Elizabeth James (daughter of Harry licenced hawker) in the Ledbury Register Office in 1923.

Finally, William Ryalls, born about 1866, married a Sarah, and had a Henry and Florence born between about 1891 and 1896, a Byram christened in Marden Herefordshire in 1897 (who married Elderella Dearheart, widowed daughter of Thomas Loveridge deceased, in Gloucester Register Office in 1920), and (all allegedly born in Upton St Leonards, Glos between about 1898 and 1911) an Ellen, Christopher, Lizzie, William, Louisa and John. It’s possible William had had two sons by an earlier wife: what looks like Clyanthus Ryle, christened in Cranham, Glos in 1884 the son of Clyanthus and Prudence (travellers), and John Cornelius Ryle, christened in Corse, Glos in 1888 son of William and Prudence, hawkers.

Henry Ryalls, husband of Harriet, I believe was a brother of the well-known Caroline Ryalls, born about 1826, who married Buz Lock, baptised in 1822 son of Matthew and Remembrance, and christened Arthur, Hezekiah and Selina Lock in Adbaston, Staffs 1859-61, and George Lock in Oxenhall in 1866. George was surely a cousin of his wife, Angelina Ryalls daughter of Henry: Caroline gave a son the unusual name Hezekiah four years before Henry did the same, and christened George in 1866 not on Buz Lock’s territory in Staffordshire but on Henry Ryall’s in Oxenhall (where Henry christened his Hezekiah in 1864), next to Newent and to Gloucestershire’s border with Herefordshire.

The connection is yet clearer if we look at two of the children of Caroline Ryall’s earlier marriage. Elizabeth, born in Oxenhall about 1850, christened two children as Locks after her step-father (the first in Newent, the second, Abiram, surely owing his unusual name to Henry Ryall’s son Byrom) and was formerly Lock on the birth certificate of another; but she was formerly Ryalls on the birth certificates of three more and on her death certificate was Elizabeth Rhyles daughter of Luther. And Mary Ann, born about 1855, was the daughter of Buz Rile when she married (in Oxenhall) in 1873, but she was christened in Taynton, Glos (very close to Newent) in Jan 1856 as a Cooper, daughter of Elisha (often Lusha) and Caroline. When we look at Caroline Ryalls’ appearance in Somerset in the 1851 census with some Coopers and her children, Perun, Elisha and Elizabeth aged seven, five and one (Perun was christened in 1843 and Elisha in 1846 sons of Elisha and Caroline Cooper), we can surely see the Luther Rhyles recorded as father of the Elizabeth born in Oxenhall about 1850 as a lisped or mis-heard Lusha Rhyles.

Caroline Ryalls was travelling in 1851 with another family member, her 16 year old brother Walter (the name of Henry Ryall’s second son). It’s just possible Walter was in fact Caroline’s half-brother. It’s just possible Henry born about 1824, and Caroline born about 1826, were siblings of Abel Ryalls, christened in Newent in 1828 son of Abel and Cynamenty gypsies; and it’s just possible Walter born about 1834 came after Cornelius and John Ryalls christened respectively in N Cerney, Glos in 1830 and Hawling, Glos in 1832 sons of Abel and Patience, and before James Ryalls born in Leighterton, Glos about 1836 and Christiana christened in Sapperton, Glos in Feb 1839 daughter of Abel and Patience (Patience, Abel’s second wife, it seems was a Lock, perhaps the means by which Caroline Ryalls and Buz Lock got acquainted, perhaps even the daughter of Merrick Lock baptised in 1807 and thereby Buz’s cousin). I’ll be happy to have these suppositions squashed by anyone with better information.

Copyright © 2015 Eric Trudgill