Old Mill Cottage/Ivy Cottage/Virginia Cottage: 1838 declaration

Following the death of Susannah Dickman in January 1838 a number of transactions take place in settlement of the Estate:

  • 1838: abstract from Parish Registers.
  • 1838: attornment – William Wiles to Joseph Barnett.
  • 1838: declaration.
  • 1838: lease document (27th July 1838).
  • 1838 mortgage document (28th July 1838).
  • 1838: insurance agreement document (28th July 1838).


John Dickman died without signing his Will:

Old Mill Cottage: 1838 declaration
Old Mill Cottage: 1838 declaration
  • The Court of Chancery decided disputes over, for example, inheritance when someone died without a valid Will: Charles Dickens explored the activities of the Court to brutal effect in his novel Bleak House.
  • This declaration is made by Henry Henson who was with John Dickman when he died (possibly a neighbour – see 1841 census, below); John Dickman appears to have dictated a Will which left his estate equally to his three daughters but the Will wasn’t signed.
  • Fortunately, it would appear that no one disputed John Dickman’s wishes and this declaration (quoting the relevant legal justifications*) stands in lieu of the unsigned Will and formalised the status of the three daughters as co-heiresses.
    • * The Statutory Declarations Act of 1835: this isn’t a sworn document with witnesses but it is a legal declaration of a truth to be commonly understood – generally used to fulfil legal obligations of some kind (in this case, to replace a missing Will). It is similar to an affidavit but not taken under oath.
  • John Dickman (deceased) is referred to as a tailor.
  • Henry Henson is recorded as a ‘dealer in lace’ and ‘of Hickling’ in the declaration.
    • Likely birth record in Ruddington; 9th April 1780.
    • Likely marriage record in Ruddington; to Sarah Skillington 6th July 1802.
    • Census 1841:
      • Henry Henson, age 60, Ag Lab, born in county
      • Sarah Henson, age 60, born in county
      • Abigail Henson, age 25, born in county
      • Eliza Henson, age 20, born in county
      • Sarah Henson, age 7, born in county
      • ‘ag lab’ doesn’t tie-in with ‘lace dealer’ but 1841 census records can be unreliable. Although Ruddington is best known for its frame knitting there were also links to the lace industry which may be relevant to Henry Henson.
      • (this census listing is directly above that of Ann Wright (widow & John Dickman’s youngest daughter) and family, implying they may have been neighbours.)
    • Possible burial record in Hickling, 18th September 1849 (age 75).

The house was re-built at some point between 1805 and 1838:

  • Sometime between 1805 and 1838 the document explains that the house was re-built:
    • Originally, the house faced east and fronted on to the main street; it is said to have filled the frontage of the curtilage necessitating a right of way being allowed to William Parr who owned the cottage next to and behind this one.
    • When it was rebuilt the property appears to have been moved to the north boundary of the curtilage and is orientated to face south; the declaration states that, in consequence, the right of passage is no longer needed*.
      • *possibly facilitated by the fact that the occupants of William Parr’s cottage in 1838 are John Dickman’s daughter, Mary and her husband John [Marson].
    • In future transactions there are frequent references to the neighbouring properties:
      • To the south; this is likely to be the property now known as Carneal Cottage (formerly East View/The Butty/Hawthorn Cottage). A modern house now stands immediately south of Old Mill Cottage built on land formerly belonging to Carneal Cottage – it isn’t known whether there was an additional property (now demolished) but this seems unlikely.
      • To the north and west; this property remains and is now known as Canal View. The two properties are detached but with just inches separating them.
    • There are no details of the style or size of the house which was replaced.
1774 Enclosure Map - village north west section
1774 Enclosure Map – village north west section; showing Old Mill Cottage facing East before it was rebuilt.
1910 Finance Act map showing Basin, Main St & Mill Lane
1910 Finance Act map showing Basin, Main St & Mill Lane; showing Old Mill Cottage after it was rebuilt, facing south.

Details of the marriages of John and Susannah Dickman’s three daughters.

Elizabeth (Dickman) Wiles:

Elizabeth (Dickman) Wiles; (born Hickling, 1796) married William Wiles on 25th November 1813 (both resident in Sysonby at the time); they appear to live in Long Clawson following their marriage, moving to Hickling in c.1816.

William and Elizabeth Wiles and their family appear to be living in the house now known as Old Mill Cottage from at least 1838 onwards.

Known children:

  • (no records found in Long Clawson)
  • John Wiles, baptised Scalford 4th March 1815 (died as a baby)
  • George Wiles, baptised Hickling 23rd November 1816 (died 1857)
  • William Wiles, baptised Hickling 27th June 1819 (died 1865)
  • Elizabeth Anne, baptised Hickling 24th March 1822 (died 1839)
  • (possible) Harriet, born 1823 (died 1840 – buried in Hickling 19th Dec 1840)
  • Mary Anne, baptised Hickling 9th May 1824 (died 1888)
  • Thomas, born 1828, baptised Hickling 30th July 1837 (died 1900) – married Hannah Wood in Hickling 24th May 1852.
  • John Wiles, born 1829, baptised Hickling 30th July 1837 (died 1888) – married Mary Monks of Harby in 1855

Census 1841:

  • William Wiles, age 45, born 1796, born Notts
  • Elizabeth Wiles, age 45, born 1796, born Notts
  • Mary Wiles, age 15, born 1826, born Notts
  • Thomas Wiles, age 14, born 1827, born Notts

Census 1851:

  • William Wiles, son, unmarried, age 30, born 1821, Hickling, labourer
  • Elizabeth Wiles, age 59, born 1792, Hickling
  • William Wiles, son, unmarried, age 30, born 1821, Hickling, labourer
  • Mary Ann Wiles, daughter, unmarried, age 26, born 1825, Hickling

Elizabeth’s death recorded in Hickling – burial 15th October 1859, age 70.

Mary (Dickman) Marson:

Mary (Dickman) Marson (baptised Hickling 1st June 1794); married John Marson in Hickling on 26th December 1814. At the time of their marriage, Mary is said to be resident in Headon-cum-Upton (likely to be a transcription error) and John is resident in Claxton (Long Clawson), Leics. Witnesses are Abigail Hopkinson and Eleanor Marson.

  • John Marson is likely to have been born in Long Clawson, baptism 5th April 1790 (parents William and Ann Marson).
  • Note; in 1838 Job Marson appears to own land/property to the north and west of Old Mill Cottage:
    • Job Mars[t]on baptised (Hickling) 17th March 1798 or 1799 – parents John and Elizabeth Mars[t]on
    • Job Marson marriage record to Elizabeth Morris in Hickling 3rd October 1829
    • Job Marson born 1799 was buried in Hickling 26th July 1838 (age 38) – this date is an odd coincidence in terms of the timing of the lease and mortgage documents transcribed here.
    • There is a household in the 1841 census in Hickling; John and Elizabeth Marson. These could be entirely separate individuals or Elizabeth could have remarried one of her deceased husband’s relations. On a quick search no records founds to shed light on this (including no record in the 1851 census).
    • Additional possible marriage record Job Marston to Elizabeth Starbuck 1859 (Bingham District)
    • It is not known if there was any relationship between John (husband of Mary Dickman and Job/John resident in Hickling (likely to be two separate individuals) – it seems likely that there was some connection.
  • 1841 census: the family are listed in Colston Basset. John is an ag lab. There seem to be 8 children in the household (eldest age 25, youngest is newborn).
  • 1851 census: John and Mary are still in Colston Bassett with son, John, still in household.
  • 1861 census: no records found.

Ann (Dickman) Wright:

Ann (Dickman) Wright was baptised in Hickling on the 29th of January, 1800. The declaration document refers to Ann Wright as a widow living in Hickling.

(we also have research into a possible second marriage for William Wright to Mrs Ann (Bell) Wright; further research makes this seem unlikely but notes have been retained on record – please contact us for further detail)

  • Ann Dickman married William Wright on 23rd November 1819 in Hickling; both are said to be residents of Headon-cum-Upton although this is likely to be a transcription error. Witnesses are Elizabeth Shipman and William Wiles (probably Ann’s brother-in-law).
    • William Thraves Wright was baptised in Hickling on the 18th Sept, 1798, son of John and Elizabeth (Thraves) Wright.
  • Hickling parish records show 6 known children with parents named as William and Ann Wright:
    • Elizabeth baptised 17 February 1820, father mason (burial 3 July 1845 age 25)
    • John baptised 17 March 1822, father bricklayer; married Lucy Gullson from Wartnaby in 1848 – both buried in Hickling, headstone survives.
      • The 1871 census shows that John and Lucy Wright’s daughter, Ann, married back into the Dickman family; Charles Dickman born c.1846, Ann (Wright) Dickman born c. 1849.
    • Esther baptised 26 June 1824, father bricklayer
    • William baptised 22 June 1827, father bricklayer
    • George baptised 22 February 1829, father mason
    • Thomas baptised 11 December 1831, father mason
  • Death record for William Thraves Wright, also in Hickling, age 34, burial 19th July 1832 – he died of Asiatic Cholera a few days after his mother’s death (same cause).
    • (‘Thraves’ was William Wright’s mother’s maiden name (Elizabeth Thraves married John Wright, Tithby 1797); burial record in Hickling for William Thraves (Elizabeth’s father) born 1741, died age 76, buried in Hickling 31st December 1817)
  • Census 1841 (Hickling):
    • Ann Wright, age 40 (1801) – widow
    • Elizabeth Wright, age 20 (1821)
    • Esther Wright, age 15 (1826)
    • George Wright, age 12 (1829)
    • Thomas Wright, age 10 (1831)
    • (all born ‘in county’)
  • There is only one death record in Hickling for Ann Wright (after the 1841 census) and no Ann Wright is listed in Hickling in the 1851 census:
    • Ann Wright, born 1800, age 48, burial in Hickling 19th March 1848.


Further checking is needed into the connection with Headon-cum-Upton in north Notts; it is odd that on both of the Wright and the Bell marriage records (as well as Mary (Dickman) Marson’s marriage record), both bride and groom are said to be resident there:

  • No record has been found for William Wright, Ann/Anne Wright (or *John Bell, Ann/e Bell) in Headon-cum-Upton (north Notts). As all these names are relatively common general searches are impractical.
  • Is Headon-cum-Upton a consistent FindMyPast transcription error made when transcribing/digitising the Notts Marriage Index?!
  • It seems implausible for so many residents of Hickling, from different families, to be moving so regularly between Hickling and Head-cum-Upton but leaving no record of themselves there.


  1. Dated 28 July 1838
  2. Declaration by Henry
  3. Henson and others
  4. in support of title
  5. to a house garden
  6. and premises at
  7. Hickling Notts.

Page 1:

  1. We Henry Henson of Hickling in the County of
  2. Nottingham Dealer in Lace Elizabeth Wife of William
  3. Wiles of Hickling aforesaid yeoman Mary wife of
  4. John Marson of Colston Bassett in the said County
  5. yeoman and Ann Wright of Hickling aforesaid
  6. widow (the three Daughters and co-heiresses of John Dickman
  7. late of Hickling aforesaid Tailor deceased) do severally
  8. solemnly and sincerely declare as follows, and first
  9. I the said Henry Henson do solemnly and sincerely
  10. declare that for the last forty years I have lived
  11. in Hickling aforesaid and during all that time
  12. have known the family of the said John Dickman
  13. (who died in or about March one thousand eight
  14. hundred and twenty) and Susannah his wife who
  15. died in January last that the said John Dickman
  16. was as I have always understood and verily believe
  17. only once married namely to the said Susannah
  18. that he had as I have understood from the
  19. information I have received from the family and
  20. verily believe only three children namely the said
  21. Elizabeth Wiles, Mary Marson, and Ann Wright,
  22. that I have for the last forty years known the
  23. house garden and orchard in Hickling aforesaid late
  24. belonging to the said John Dickman and now to
  25. his said three daughters that I recollect the old
  26. house which stood on the said premises on or
  27. close to the site of the said present house that
  28. the old house faced the east and fronted the town
  29. street and occupied the greater part in width of
  30. the said premises next the town street and a [road]
  31. over the croft or homestead on the north side of the

Page 2:

  1. said premises formerly belonging to William Parr
  2. but now to John Marson would then be of consequence
  3. but the new house being built to point the south
  4. left more room on the said premises and rendered
  5. a road at the back of little consequence And
  6. I further declare that I was with the said John
  7. Dickman when he died that a Will was drawn
  8. out by me to be executed by him but he died before
  9. he could sign it and from the conversation I had
  10. with the said John Dickman I am sure he left
  11. no other Will. And we the said Elizabeth
  12. Wiles, Mary Marson, and Ann Wright do severally
  13. solemnly and sincerely declare that we are the
  14. only children and co-heiresses of the said John
  15. Dickman that our said father died as above
  16. stated without having signed his Will and we
  17. never heard of nor have we found any other Will
  18. and we are certain he died without ever having
  19. signed any Will. And we further declare that
  20. the above mentioned house and premises are
  21. unincumbered and we never any of us heard
  22. that they ever were incumbered and also that
  23. there used to be a road from the town street to
  24. the back part of the said premises over the
  25. adjoining ground now of John Marson And
  26. we the said Henry Henson Elizabeth Wiles, Mary
  27. Marson and Ann Wright make this solemn
  28. declaration conscientiously believing the same to be
  29. true and by force of the statute made in the
  30. sixth year of the Reign of his late Majesty
  31. William the Fourth [entitled] “An act to repeal
  32. “an act of the present session of Parliament
  33. “[entitled] “An Act for the more effectual abolition

Page 3:

  1. of oaths and affirmations taken and made in
  2. various Departments of the State and to substitute
  3. Declaration in lieu thereof and for the more
  4. entire suppression of voluntary and extrajudicial
  5. oaths and affidavits and to make other provision
  6. for the abolition of unnecessary Oaths.”
  7. Signed and declared                     }            Henry Henson
  8. by the said Henry                         }            her
  9. Henson Elizabeth Wiles               }            Elizabeth X Wiles
  10. Mary [Masson] and                      }            mark
  11. Ann Wright after                          }            her
  12. being read over to them              }            Mary X [Marson]
  13. at the town of Nottingham         }            mark
  14. this 28th day of July 1838             }            Ann Wright
  15. Before one Mr Enfield                 }
  16. [as Master Extraordinary]
  17. In Chancery