People: Done, Ralph (vicar of Over)


Done (Downe/ Donne)







Marital Status


Occupation Status

Clerk; vicar of Over


CCEd person ID


Ralph Done was instituted vicar of Over on 30 June 1525, following the death of the previous incumbent.

In 1555, while he was still vicar and Queen Mary had restored Catholicism in England, he was accused of having married Alice, his servant. If he had been married, he would have been deprived of his living as the Catholic church did not permit its clergy to marry. He appeared before the Consistory Court and admitted that he had committed fornication with Alice and fathered several children but had never married her. He was able to establish his innocence by compurgation ‘with four hands’ and four local clergy duly swore that they believed he had not been married.

He continued as vicar but had been replaced by December 1562.

Further notes: The parish of Over had been wholly impropriated by the nunnery of Chester, although the tithes of the parish had passed to Vale Royal Abbey by grant and lease by 1475. When the nunnery surrendered to the Crown in 1540 the bishop of Chester acquired the rectory and advowson of Over. However, the tithes of the parish became a contentious issue following the dissolution of Vale Royal Abbey in 1538 when the nuns’ lease came to an end.

Additionally, the church just outside the abbey gate, known as Whitegate, had passed into the hands of the King in 1538 but Ralph Done, as vicar of Over, claimed that this was not a parish church, but a chapelry of the parish of Over which entitled him to the tithes arising. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1542 which created the parish of Whitegate, separate from Over, thus ending any claim by Over to the Whitegate tithes.


George Ormerod, The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, vol. 2 (second edition, revised and enlarged by T. Helsby, London, 1882).

Cheshire Sheaf, 3rd series, xxiv, p. 27.

Victoria County History online

CALS EDC 1/14 ff. 39v-40.


EDC 5/1/8 – plaintiff


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