RITHE, George (d.1561), of Liss, nr. Petersfield, Hants.
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Family and Education
s. of Marlyon Rithe of Totford, and bro. or half-bro. of Christopher. educ. L. Inn 1537, called. m. c.1542, Elizabeth, da. of John Gedney of Bag Enderby, Lincs., wid. of Thomas Rigges of Cumberworth, Lincs., 2s. inc. Robert I.
J.p. Hants 1547, Wilts. 1559; escheator, Hants and Wilts. 1549-50; Autumn reader, L. Inn 1556, keeper of black bk. 1556-7, treasurer 1558-9.
The Rithes were a Hampshire family, whose rise was probably due to the exertions of a ‘Mr. Rythe’ who was agent of Sir Thomas Wriothesley†, later 1st Earl of Southampton, during negotiations in 1537-8 over the purchase of Beaulieu abbey and its estates. Later in the century there were three branches of the family, one at Totford, another at Liss and the third at Twickenham in Middlesex. The only family pedigree was drawn up by the descendants of the Twickenham branch, and Rithe’s own name does not appear on it. He was a London lawyer and land speculator, one of whose long-term purchases was an estate at Liss. This made him a substantial landowner in the Petersfield neighbourhood and accounts for his finding a parliamentary seat there for himself in October 1553 and 1559 and for his brother in 1555 and 1558. This ex-monastic property had been in the hands of William Fitzwilliam†, Earl of Southampton, from 1537 until his death without direct heirs in 1542, when it reverted to the Crown.
Rithe’s will, drawn up in August 1557, has a devout preamble, trusting ‘to inherit the kingdom of heaven prepared by God for all true penitent believers in His mercies’. The elder son Robert was to have most of the landed property and goods, and the widow, the sole executrix, land at Liss. A cousin, Thomas Rythe, was to have the custody of Robert, who was still a minor. Lands in Sussex were bequeathed to the younger son, George, at Robert’s death. The executrix was asked to give a whole year’s wages to all Rithe’s servants. One of the three witnesses was Christopher Rithe, who received a ring. George Rithe was buried at St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West, London, 17 Feb. 1561.
Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 396; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 84, 98, 335, 361; 1548-9, p. 160; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, 338; 1553-4, p. 19; 1554-5, p. 41; Black Bk. L. Inn, i. 314, 317, 318, 325, 331-5; LP Hen. VIII, xiii(1), pp. 7, 51-2; xx(2), p. 446; xxi(1), p. 243; xxi(2), p. 419; Add. i. p. 427; ii. p. 450; Hants Field Club, i. 182; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. xliii), 197; Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 28; VCH Hants, iv. 84-85; PCC 35 Loftes; St. Ch. 3/9/35; 4/1/11, 13; 4/3/76.