|Will of Thomas Flowre of East Mersea 1540
Summary and Modern English Translation
For original transcription, go to MARG_123_011
Translated by Trevor Hearn 25th February 2020
In the name of God, Amen.
21st February in the 31st year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, King Henry VIII [Note 1], Supreme Head of this Church of England.
I, Thomas Flowre, being of sound mind, make my last will and testament as follows:
First, I bequeath my soul to Almighty God, to our lady Saint Mary, and to all the Holy company of Heaven. My body is to be buried in the churchyard of St Edmunds church in East Mersea.
I give and bequeath to my wife, Margery, all the personal property brought by her in addition to
that purchased by me, and to replace any sick sheep that she may have with another belonging to me. I also give to my wife Margery the sum of £6.13s.4d to be paid to her by my executors out of the funds raised from farming the land known as "Kennetts".
I also give and bequeath to my wife Margery the profits of my oxen and their calves, and the ewe's milk up until next Michaelmas in order to keep my children together until Michaelmas, my wife to have use of my house in which to live until that time.
Also, I desire that the funds raised from my wool and lambs be used towards the paying of my debts and charges and any surplus to be retained by my executors for the use of my son Thomas, such executors to account for the sum to the supervisor of my will.
Also I give [Page 2] and bequeath to my son Thomas all my Free and Copyhold lands held under license to the Lords of the Manor. I also give to my son Thomas 40 of my best ewes and 4 of my best female oxen together with the following: my best featherbed, a pair of the best blankets, a pair of the best sheets and the best bed cover with the painted cloth in my bedroom and the hanging drape in the hall, my table and benches, my best cupboard, my best cauldron with lid, a kettle standing in the furnace in the bakehouse room, a dozen pewter plates, the best dishes and four of the best kettles, my best brass pot, and another brass pot which has a broken foot.
I also give my son Thomas, the new lease of "Colbans", the best chest, my best rosary and my best belt that belonged to his mother.
I give and bequeath to my four children-in-law, namely John Fox, William Fox, Gregory Fox and Anne Fox, four bullocks of just over a year old, each child to receive one bullock at Michaelmas.
I give to John Fox and William Fox the sum of 20s each to be paid by my executors on their respective wedding days.
I give to Gregory Fox and Anne Fox 26s.8d each, such sums to be paid to each respective beneficiary on their
wedding days. Anne Fox is to receive additionally [Page 3] her mother's best rosary.
If any of my three sons-in-law or my daughter-in-law, Anne, die before they are married then my son Thomas is to inherit the deceased's share having been appraised by my executors and retained by them until Thomas reaches the age of maturity.
I give to each of my brother's children one ewe.
I give and bequeath to my four daughters, namely Joan, Rose, Margaret and Anne, all my cattle and the residual sheep and oxen with all other personal property, net of all burial costs, such sheep, oxen and property to be delivered at the next Feast of St Michael, the Archangel. This bequest shall be divided into four equal portions at the discretion of my executors and my supervisor, with the youngest child having first choice. I also give my second featherbed to my daughter Anne.
If any of my sons-in-law or daughters should complain about their bequests then they shall forfeit their share. Also, if Anne or Rose should die before they are married, the deceased's share shall be given to my son Thomas, the value of such bequest being appraised by four men and held by my executors until Thomas shall come of age and an account of the profits of the same being submitted to the supervisor.
If my son Thomas should die without lawful issue then [Page 4] my lands are to be divided in three equal portions for the benefit of my daughters Margaret, Rose and Anne except for "Rydeswillis" and "Girlars" which are to be given to my daughter Joan.
I appoint John Webb to oversee the career of my son Thomas, either at sea or some other occupation, and, in conjunction with the other executors, to give an annual account of the value of Thomas's estate to my supervisor, Thomas Temat, who shall be paid a fee of 10s.
I appoint John Webb and John Baw as executors of this, my last will, the former to receive 20s. and the latter 13s.4d as fees.
I also give to my brother John Flowre my best coat, another coat with a yellow lining, and the sum of 10s.
I give 12d. to the curate, Thomas Smartwayt.
I also desire that my son Thomas have the benefit of the wheat both sown and growing.
I give to my executors the balance of my goods that are not bequeathed elsewhere. All debts owing to me shall be paid to fulfill the obligations in this will to Thomas Smartwayt, priest; John Webb; Richard Leyke; and John Baw, and that any residue following payment of my debts be paid to my son Thomas.
Probate of this current will was hereby granted before us Tuesday 27th March in the year aforesaid in the Archdeaconry in Colchester.
Note 1 King Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509 so his 31st year of reign would equate to 1540.