On January 12th 1749 a Madrid notary recorded the last will of a bedridden English Catholic whose name he wrote as Ricardo Semson. The spelling of the surname suspect and may perhaps correctly be Simson, Simpson, Samson or something else; unfortunately, Ricardo – or Richard – was unable to sign his will and dispel our doubts. The notary recorded Richard as a native of ‘LittleBorro, Yorserhire’, and the son of Ricardo Semson and his wife Maria. Richard stated that he was married, naming his wife as Isabel Semson (which I take to mean that he married in England, not Spain, as in the Spanish custom womens’ surnames do not change upon their marriage). Richard and Isabel/Elizabeth had two children, named in the will as Juan and Francisca (so that would be John and Frances Semson) who, according to their father, resided in London in 1749. The witness to this will was Dr. Edmund O’Doran, Richard’s confessor (who himself died later that year). Sadly, the will does not enlighten us as to what Richard was doing in Madrid when he took ill and died, far from his family in London – and ‘Yorserhire’.
SOURCE: Madrid Notarial Archive, Records of Notary Feliciano Coxezes de Velasco, Bundle 14604 Page 321