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Richard Wisdom
Born:1778  Died:1856
Wisdoms, left, and the house in the middle was occupied by Richard Wisdom. The far, weather-boarded house, was probably his shoemaker's workshop.
Wisdoms, left, and the house in the middle was occupied by Richard Wisdom. The far, weather-boarded house, was probably his shoemaker's workshop.
St Thomas' Cottages, c1915, where Richard Wisdom and his wife Ann were living in 1851
St Thomas' Cottages, c1915, where Richard Wisdom and his wife Ann were living in 1851
1838Wisdoms & Welsted1841
1851St Thomas’ Cottages1851

Richard Wisdom was baptised at Alfriston, 8 October 1779, the son of Nicholas, a carpenter, and Mary Wisdom (neé Solomon).

His brother Thomas Solomon Wisdom had been baptised 20 July 1777, also at Alfriston. Richard's mother died in 1781 and his father married Sarah Lusted in 1789. Sarah died the same year and Nicholas married for a third time, to another Mary sometime before 1796. They had three children, all baptised at Glynde (Elizabeth, 19 February 1796; George, 29 June 1798, and Jane, 21 October 1800) after their parents moved to the house now known as Wisdoms that had been owned by Nicholas' father John.

In 1791 Richard's grandfather's brother, Nicholas Wisdom of Bromfield in Kent, died and left half of 'all his messuageHouse or dwelling,
inc. outbuildings &
orchard, courtyard
or gardens
s and lands in Sussex' to 12-years old Richard. This comprised mainly a cottage and land in Wick Street in Firle, which was sold to Lord Gage in 1803.

Fifteen years later, Richard Wisdom, described as 'of Glynde', married Ann Standen of Lewes All Saints on the 2nd January 1806 at Cliffe church. They had four children baptised at Glynde:

The Glynde land tax returns show that Richard Wisdom had taken over the coal wharf and warehouse north-west of Glynde Bridge by 1822. The wharf and warehouse had previously been occupied by his uncle William Wisdom from at least 1793 to 1816. Richard still occupied the wharf in 1838.

However, Richard had clearly entered into a partnership with members of the Hillman family of Lewes as, on 24 December, 1821, The Evening Mail and the Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser both carried an announcement of the dissolution of a partnership between R, J, H and C Hillman of South Malling, Lewes, and R Wisdom, Glynde, Sussex, coal-merchants. No evidence has been found of when this partnership came into being but it was dissolved soon after Richard took over the coal-merchants business from William Wisdom.

Richard's father Nicholas' died in 1831. In his will he left his household goods and working tools to Richard's brother Thomas, although he left a bed to Richard as well as a quarter of the value of the rest of his goods. Nicholas' goods were originally valued as under £300 but a note at the end of the will says 'and subsequently sworn that the said goods, etc, were under the value of one thousand pounds'. I take this to mean that originally his goods were thought to be between the value of £200 and £300 but some other assets were found and the value was then re-assessed at between £900 and £1000, a considerable sum of money in 1831.

In 1838 the Glynde tithe map shows that Richard was living at the house now named Welsted owned by his brother Thomas, and still renting the coal wharf and warehouse form Glynde Estate.

Three years later, in March 1841, Richard's son Henry, who had married Sophia Gearing in 1837, died at the age of 30. This early death appears to have had a bad effect on the health of Richard's brother, and landlord, Thomas who, in November the same year 'destroyed himself while in a fit of insanity' by drowning himself in Glynde Reach.

Thomas appears never to have married and in his will he left various legacies to Richard and his other brother and sisters. Richard was left £100 plus the house that he lived in (Welsted). Thomas' also left his own dwelling house (Wisdoms) to his brother Richard, but only after their sister, Elizabeth had the use of the house rent free for her life and then, after her death, her son Richard Griffiths would have the use of the house for a further seven years at a rent of £5 a year.

Richard was also to receive one quarter of the money raised from the sale of the rest of Thomas' real estate and assets which Thomas' trustees were to sell after the death of Thomas' housekeeper Sarah Brown and his sister Jane Lessingham (died 1844). Thomas' estate included the three cottages in Glynde called St Thomas' Cottages and also a small plot of land in Chalvington.

In all, Thomas Wisdom's assets were valued at 'under £1500', suggesting Richard would, eventually, be well off.

However, despite Richard receiving one quarter of his father's estate (not to mention one of his beds) in 1831 and part of the further legacy from his brother Thomas in 1841 the Sussex Advertiser of 21 March 1842 carried the following notice:

Notice is hereby given that by an indenture of assignment, bearing date the 12th March, inst, and made between Richard Wisdom of Glynde, coal merchant, of the first part, Thomas Berry of South Malling, coal merchant, and Richard Porter of St Thomas in the Cliffe, leather cutter, of the second part, and the several other persons creditors of the said Richard Wisdom of the third part; the said Richard Wisdom did assign all his estate and effects unto the said Thomas Berry and Richard Porter upon trust, for the general and equal benefit of themselves and such other persons who being creditors of the said Richard Wisdom, should execute the said Indenture of Assignment, or signify their consent in writing so to do. And notice is hereby also given, that all such creditors as aforesaid who may feel disposed to accept the benefit arising from the said Assignment, must within three months from the date of the same, either execute the said Indenture which now lies at the office of Messrs Verral and Lewis, solicitors, Lewes, or signify their consent I writing so to do. Lewes, 18th March 1842.

Richard was clearly experiencing financial difficulties and his affairs were put into the hands of Thomas Berry and Richard Porter to act as trustees. They decided to offer for sale two of the houses that had been owned by Thomas (Wisdoms and Welsted) and were due to be inherited by Richard, and they were duly advertised for sale in the Sussex Advertiser, 12 July 1842:

GLYNDE, SUSSEX – To be Sold by Auction, by
At the Star Inn, in Lewes, on Tuesday, the 19th day of July
instant, at Five o'clock in the afternoon, by order of the
Trustees of Mr Richard Wisdom, subject to such conditions
as will be then and there produced,
TWO COPYHOLDType of feudal land tenure
with duties and obligations
to the Lord of the Manor
COTTAGES, with Shops,
Yards, and Premises, situate at Glynde, near Lewes, late
the property of Mr Thomas Solomon Wisdom, deceased, and
now in the several tenures or occupations of Richard Wisdom and Elizabeth Griffiths.
Further particulars may be known of Mr Thomas Berry,
of South Malling, coal merchant, and Mr Richard Porter, of
the Cliffe, currier (the Trustees), or of Messrs Verrall and Lewis,
Solicitors, Lewes, or the Auctioneers.

The same month, on the 26th, the Advertiser carried a further announcement:

ALL Persons indebted to the Estate of RICHARD
WISDOM of Glynde are cautioned not to pay the
same ALFRED WISDOM, who has no authority from us;
and as the Trustees are anxious to close the business an early
payment to us is particularly requested.
THOMAS BERRY       Trustees to the Deed
RICHARD PORTER     of Assignment
Lewes, July 22, 1842.
P.S. - We have given authority to Mr WILLIAM DURRANT
to collect the debts, to whom or to us the money may be paid.

We know that Richard Wisdom was still operating at the coal wharf at Glynde because the following report appeared in the Brighton Gazette, Thursday 12 January 1843:

A boy named Funnell was committed for trial under the following circumstances:- a waggon belonging to Lord Gage had gone to a wharf at Glynde, occupied by Mr Richard Wisdom, for a load of coals, which was duly measured out and put into the waggon. Mr Wisdom then went into a neighbouring beer-house to give the carters some beer, and during their absence the prisoner, who had been sent with a bag to buy a cwt of coals at the wharf, thought he might as well help himself out of the waggon, and pocket the money which he had been sent to purchase. He accordingly commenced filling the sack with his lordship's coals, when the parties returned from the beer house, and caught him in the act.

Richard Wisdom's trustees appear to have been unable to sell Wisdoms and Welsted as 'Griffiths' (presumably Elizabeth or her son Richard) was still listed as the owner and occupier of these properties in the Glynde Land Tax returns until 1855.

It is clear that Richard's finances continued to be in dire circumstances as Perry's Bankrupt Gazette reported on Saturday 24 June 1843 that Richard Wisdom of Glynde, cordwainerShoe maker, was to appear at the Insolvent Court of Wednesday 21 June. The following week the same paper reported that Richard Wisdom of Glynde, cordwainerShoe maker, was to appear at the Court House, Horsham, on 21 July; while the Kentish Independent of Saturday 15 July carried the same announcement but described Richard as a dealer in coals.

More details emerged in the Brighton Gazette on Thursday 27 July 1843, which reported that a court had been held at Horsham for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors the previous Friday at the Town Hall, before David Pollock, Esq, the new Commissioner. Nineteen debtors applied for their discharge and there were four cases of opposition. Among the applicants was Richard Wisdom of Glynde, cordwainerShoe maker and dealer in coals, who was being sued by Messrs Trower, Lawson and Trower, for £67 1s 6d, his total debts amounted to £433 3s 6d and he had no credits. This was a very large debt (a farm labourer's wage in 1843 might be no more than £30 a year), so Richard had either failed to receive the monies left to him by his father, Nicholas, and brother Thomas, or had in some unknown way squandered the money.

Richard moved to St Thomas Cottages and was living there when they were sold by Thomas Wisdoms' trustees in 1851 when, hopefully, Richard would finally have received some of the money left to him in Thomas' will.

Five years later Richard Wisdom was buried in Glynde churchyard on 27 May 1856, aged 78. His widow Ann, who had moved to Ringmer, was buried at Glynde 9 November 1864, aged 85.

Immediate Family TreeNicholas Wisdom1754-1831 + (?)Mary neé Solomon?-1781(1789)+Sarah neé Lusted?-1789(1790s)+Mary?-?Richard Wisdom1778-1856Thomas Solomon?-?Elizabeth?-?George?-?Jane?-?(2/1/1806)+Ann neé Standen1779-1864Frederick1807-1884Mary Ann1808-1842Henry1810-1842Alfred1813-1864N.B. This limited family tree shows the parents, siblings, spouse & children of as recorded in our database. There may be other family members who are not listed here.

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