Ralph Gell was born in about 1491, the son of John Gell. He married 1) Godeth Ashby, then 2) Emma Beresford, the daughter of Hugh Beresford of Newton Grange and Agnes Longsdon.

"At a Court held at Wirksworth on November 6th 1532 George Hennage, Dean of Lincoln admitted the surrender of a fourth part of the lands of Roger More, a draper of Derby, to Richard Wigley of Middleton. In this transaction Ralph Gell of Hopton was one of Roger More's attorneys." (Some Notes on the Wigley Family of Derbyshire, by Derek Wigley; Derbyshire Miscellany, Vol 3)

Ralph purchased the manor of Hopton in 1553.

Godeth died, and Ralph married again to Emma Beresford: "After the death of Godeth Ashby, his first wife, Ralph Gell of Hopton married Emma Beresford, by whom he had four daughters, Elizabeth who married Henry Wigley of Middleton, Helena who married John Wigley of the Gatehouse in Wirksworth, Mary who married Thomas Hurt and Lucy who married Edward Lowe." (Some Notes on the Wigley Family of Derbyshire, by Derek Wigley; Derbyshire Miscellany, Vol 3)

Ralph died in about 1562, leaving a will:

Ralph Gell will

Will of Ralph Gell, 1562

In the name of God Amen, I Ralfe Gell late of Hopton in the Countie of Darby being of good an perfecte memory considering I am certain to dye and the tyme most uncertain trusting and beleving to have everlasting life and salvacon by the merits of the passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ doe make and ordeine the xij daie of August in the yere of our saide Saviour Jesus Christe 1562 by this writing my testament and and laste will of and for all my goodes cattells lands tenements and hereditamentis in manner and fourme hereafter following/ ffirst I bequeath my soule to almighty God the father the sonne and the holie goste. And my bodie to be buried where God appoynte and at the place thought convenient by my executours in decent manner according to there discretions/ Item I bequeathe to the poore mens box of Worksworth twenty shillings/ Item I give to every of the poore mens box of Bakewell Tyddyswall Hope and Chappell in the ___ every one of them vjs viijd. The poore mens box of Taddyngton Monspe Longefarn Assheforde Baslowe and Beley every one of them iijs iiijd/ Item I give devise and bequeathe to Anthony Gell my eldest sonne all my lands tenements hereditaments rents reversions and farmes with their appurtenances in Hopton Karsington Wirkesworth Iblegriff and Matlocke to him and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten. And for default of suche yssue they to remaine to Thomas my seconde sonne and to the heires of his bodie lawfully begotten And for default of suche yssue to the righte heirs of me the saide Ralf/ Item I will devise and bequeathe to the said Anthony Gell and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten all my fee farmes rents and hereditaments of the tyethe wene and here and either the hereditaments within the parrishes of Bartwall Tyddswall Hope and other places thereabouts and all my lands called Wielerslie mere Beallper saving suche parte of any of them as be otherwise devised by this my will/ Item I will devise and bequeath to Anthony Gell my farme called Wildersley nere Cromforde/ Item I will that is the saide Anthony die without heires of his bodie lawfully begotten then I devise all the saide fee farmes hereditaments and the saide lands in Wellersley to Thomas Gell my second sonne and to the heires of his bodie lawfully begotten in the manner as Anthony shoulde have them/ Item I will give and desire to Anthony my sonne and to his heirs my bole of Barrelodge next unto the bole of Thomas Leake gent with a sufficient blocke covering after a convenient tyme allowed and had to my executours to have the same bold and blackworke ther to them as is hereafter mentioned for my ore to be burned which I shal have at my deathe And also after all my blackworke be fulled and after all my ore and blackeworke about my saide bole and smiltinge be sholed swepte smilted or made into leade to the behoof of this my will saving the said blocke covering/ Item I give devise and bequeathe to the saide Anthony and his heires all my groves and also all my woodes to bring withal/ Item I will give and devise to the said Anthony my best bedd and featherbed with thappurtenances my beste cup of silver with the cover of silver and gilt my best silver or salte with the covering percell gilt my beste covert my best weyne my beste ploughe my best pott and my best panne/ Item I give devise and bequeath to Thomas Gell my seconde sonne all my lands and fee farmes which I have in townes or townshipps of Blackwell Holmesfelld Tyddswill medow Babwell and whatsoever thappurtenances there And also my hereditamentis there which purchased of one peyse and one winsowe or of eyther of them with thappurtennces to have to hym and the the heires of his body lawfully begotten yeldinge and paying therefore the rent reserved or due out of the same for fawlte of suche yssue to remaine to John Gell my thirde sonne and to the heires of his body lawfully begotten/ Item I give and bequeath to every of my daughters not being married at my death two hendreth poundes of lawfull money of England to be paied out of my goodes at uttermost when such daughter ys xxi yeres olde or before if such daughter be married before that age Dorithie my daughter ever excepted. And if any of my saide daughter doe decease out of this worlde before her marriage Then I will that her two hundrethe pounds shall goe amongst the reste of her sisters that ever live Dorathye my daughter ever excepted/ Item I give and bequeathe my parte of the farme of the hytge wooll and lambe in the parte which is half to Anthony Gell and Thomas Gell my sonnes to take the proffites thereof for and towards the bringing upp and sustenance of my naturall daughters till they be married. And if the profits therof mounte to more then the saide sustenannces then I will my two sonnes shall make an ___ of  therof to my daughters behove/ Item I give and bequeth to John Gell my third sonne one hundrethe poundes to store and occupy his lands withal/ Item I give and bequeath to the ij sonnes of Robert Bersforde late of London deceased for the kindenes whiche I founde in there father one fodder of leade to be delivered at London. Item I give and bequeath to Elize Cadman my servant the houses with thappurtenannes that I have purchased of one Layton nowe in the holding or occupation of George Robinson and Will Adam or of eyther of them in Wirkworth. And if he cannot have these houses or that he cannot lawfully have and occupy them then I will the saide Elize shall have my house late in the occupacion of William Abell with a close adjoyninge to the same and that house he dwelleth in nowe with appurtenances for terme of his life. Item I will and bequeath that there shalbe ever yere during my terme of the ffarme of the parke of tythe woole and lambe be forty shinnges yerely distributed by my executours amoungste the poore people of the parrishe of Workesworth and Karsington/ Item I give to every one of my godchildren that will demande hit iijs iiijd/ Item I bequethe five poundes towards the amending and repayringe of the highe waies from the Pinfold in Hopton to the gate that ledethe forthe of Karsington towards Assheborne and from the highe waye at the gate that leadeth forthe of Hopton felde to Cawlow/ And to Thomas Marlege John Marlege and Margaret Marlege every of them my lambes/ And to the sonnes of James Marledge to every one of them iiij lambes/ Item I bequeath to my sister Joynfelde six poundes thirteen shillilngs and four pence/ And to my sister Alsope six poundes thirten shillings and four pence/ Item to Anthony Tunsforde all the debts that he owethe me. And to him and to everyone of his brethren iiij ewe shepe a pece/ Item to Elizabeth wiff of Thurston All my round gold ringe/ Item to Anthony Gell my gold ringe with the red stone in hit/ Item to Thomas Winfelde one mare colte/ Item I will to my brother John Beresforde and my brother Thurston Allev every one of them xs iij golde/ Item to Margaret Gell daughter of John Gell xx lambes. And to every of my servanntes iijs iiijd/ Item I will that there shalbe distributed amongst the poore peple of Workesworth six score yards of wollen clothe/ The residue of my goods unbequeathed my debtes and duties being paied I will shalbe devided amonge my naturall children. Item I name make and constitute Anthony Gell John Gell Agnes Fferne and Lucy Gell my daughters executors of this my laste will and testament whereupon I doe also devise ordeine and will that the saide Agnes Fferne shall have the sole and whole occupacion possession medling and disposicion of and for all my boules and smiltings to brine and ___ suche one blackworke and flages and make leade of all the premises or of suche leade oore as I have at my decease or shalbe bought to the behoof of this my will within half a yere next after my decease so that she may occupy and have therefore my saide boules and smiltings for and during two yeres next after my decease to the behoof of this my laste will. And that she shall take sufficient wood to make all of my woodes of William Charles and Thomas Spencer and other groundes there that my son John Gell hathe in Shottle parke and that shee souly shall sell and use the saide leade to the perfourmannce of my will. And I devise and will that none of any other saide executours shall meddle halt to doe or interrupte in any wise in anny of the premises concerning the said blackworke flags boole smiltings or leade saving the said Agnes Fferne/ And that such of them as disturbe or interrupte her in any of the premises for the saide booles smiltinges oore leade or blackeworke shall thereforthe be no one of my executours but have executours hereforth utterlie to cease be determined and voyde and the same disturber or interrupter to be chardged and expensable to my other executours as thoughe the disturber or interrupter had never ben made or named executor by me/ And I doe ordeine and make Richarde Walter of Richfelde preste Richard Blackwell of the Calte and Laurence Bersforde my brother in lawe supervisors of this my will and testament. And I will that my exectours shall make a plaine and perfecte accompt to and before the saide supervisors or the supervisor of them or thear assignes of the estate of all things touching this my will within one yere next after my decease and one other accompte within tow yeres and a half next after my decease and that the same accmpte be put in writing indented to remayne with my supvisours/ And I will that every of my executours and supervisors shall have four markes a pece besides their costes and chardges/ And although my daughter Dorithie aforesaid have offended me and the world yet for Christes sake I bequeath unto hir two hundrethe markes of goods ymmediatlie after my decease/ Item I will devise and bequeathe that Anthony Gell shall not have the possession of the farme called Woldersley nor Cromfelde except he the said Anthony doe paie therefore to my executours a hundrethe markes after my decease/ And that then the said Anthony to have hit in such manner and fourme as is aforesaid in this my will/ Item I devise will and bequeathe to John Gell my third sonne and to his heires males of his body lawfully begotten all the personagel of Knyveton and other my hereditament with thappurtenannces/ And I devise and will that if Thomas Gell or the heires of his bodie or any other person in his name doe disturbe or interrupte the saide John Gell or any of the heires males of his bodie lawfully begotten in any of the premises aforesaid that then and thenceforth the saide Thomas and his said heires shall forgo and forfeyt to the said John and his heires that they may enter into and have so much of the said lands hereditaments and fee farmes with thappurtenannce which I have devised to the Thomas or his heires in the said Backwell Holmesfelde Tyddswall medowe and others in recompense of the said personage of Kniveton and hereditaments aforesaid which I have geven John Gell and the said Thomas dothe holde him fully satisfied contented and agreed to all the premises/ And for witnesses of all the said things and that this is the testament and last will of me the saide Ralf Gell I caused this testament to be red to and before me the said Ralfe Gell Richard Blackwall Edmond Holme preste Elize Cadman Thomas Eliot and others.

Ralph and Godeth and Emma are remembered on an alabaster tomb in Wirksworth church: "Here lyeth RAFF GELL of Hopton sun of JOHN GELL of Hopton and GODYTHE and EMME his wyffes,which RAFF deceased ye VIIth day of June Anno Dmi M'V'LXIIII/This body whych of kynde we have ----- to earth it must/A gostly bodye shall at length be raised out of dust/What harm at all recyveth man by yeldyne uppe his brethe/Synce he unto a dyryng lyffe hath passage throughe dethe/God of His mercy meer us those in a lyves booke us writ/Dy must thou onced then yelde thyselfe and dred not deathe a wyt." (Wirksworth Parish Records)

Ralph and Godeth had the following children:

1. Anthony, occupation: legal reporter; died in 1583.

*2. Thomas, born in about 1532; married Elizabeth Willoughby; died 12 November 1593.

Ralph and Emma had the following children:

3. John, married Agnes Robertson.

4. Lucy; married Edward Lowe

*5. Elizabeth, married Henry Wigley of Middleton.

6. Helena, married John Wigley of Wirksworth.

7. Mary, married Thomas Hurt.

8. Dorithie, married John Balidon 1564 in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

9. Agnes, married John Ferne.

SOURCES: Will of Ralfe Gell of Hopton, 1562; Wirksworth monumental inscriptions,; The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire, Vol. 2, by Joseph Tilley; Some Notes on the Wigley Family of Derbyshire, by Derek Wigley; Derbyshire Miscellany, Vol 3.


John Gell was born in about 1465. He married Margery Blackwall, the daughter of Robert Blackwall and Isabelle Lytton of Blackwell, Derbyshire. John died in about 1521.  Margery died in about 1522 in Wirksworth

John and Margery had the following children:

*1. Ralph, married 1) Godeth Ashby, 2) Emma Beresford.

SOURCES: The Old Halls, Manors and Families of Derbyshire, Vol. 2, by Joseph Tilley.