Sunday, 7 September 2008


This is something of an experiment in trying to share some of the larger format historical document that relate to Ramsgate, not perfect but just about legible. The questions are does anybody find this sort of document interesting? If so I can probably improve the quality. Can people manage to read it as it is?

Click on the image to enlarge


  1. Michael,

    Yes. Very interesting !

    I enhanced this a bit using 'Gimp' - and was able to read it ok - subject to making sense of the hand writing that is.

    I've been through this once this afternoon, transcribing it - but will go through again another day to check the accuracy.

    I'd convinced myself initially that the testator's name was William 'Spence' - but I wasn't too sure whether I had the surname correct by the time I had worked my way through to the end - any ideas on the surname?

    Its interesting to see some documents from the mid 18th Century - as a lot of Ramsgate's material that I've seen has been late 18th Century onwards.

    My particular interest is in the history of the central parts of the eastcliff - I'm currently studying the Albion Hill, Albion Place, Abbots (Clover) Hill areas - mainly from census returns and various deeds etc. I don't suppose you have anything else on these areas do you?

  2. Gerald I have quite a few Ramsgate documents, my plan is to publish them on the web try to get them transcribed, hopefully with the help of others, publish the transcriptions on paper so the content is permanently preserved and sell the originals to finance buying some more.

    The one I have published is part of a bundle that seem mostly to relate to The Rising Sun in Effingham Street, although many other parts of Ramsgate are mentioned.

    I think the names will become more clear as the related documents are transcribed, the hand writing in this one was fairly easy to read which was why I started with it.

    If you or anyone else wants to email me their transcriptions I will publish them on the web so we can compare results.

  3. Michael,

    Digging around a bit, I think this is most likely to be "William Spencer".

    Quote from: History & Antiquities of the Church and Parish of St Laurence (Lawrence), Thanet (Ramsgate) by Charles Cotton.

    "204. Elizabeth, wife of William SPENCER, died 31st July 1743 aged 59 years. Also the above William Spencer died May 1757 aged 74 years. Also three children, Silvester, Elizabeth and John. Also Mary TOMSON, daughter of above (wife of Lewis Tomson) died 6th November (buried 12th November) 1803 aged 83 years"


    I'll email the transcription to you when I've checked it through properly. It sounds like an interesting project, and I'd be happy to contribute.

  4. Gerald that sounds pretty decisive to me, I am in the process of producing a reprint of Cotton at the moment, I would certainly appreciate help with these old documents.

  5. Thanks to you both for the time and effort in putting the William Spencer Will online. He has a lot of descendants who will be interested in how it was in Ramsgate, way back then.

    A family history page for the Spencer-Hooper family is at:


    I also have an interest in the early Tomson brewing family and any further info always most welcome


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.