Last Will and Testament of John Holmden of Croydon, butcher (National Archives reference: PROB 11/87/82)
The will of John Holmden of Croydon, butcher, was made on 21 December 1595 and proved on 10 February 1596. The executor was his widow, Alice, and the overseers were Thomas Ravis, Edwarde Kydman, and Lamuell Darcknoll. According to the probate register copy, John first requested to be buried in Croydon Parish Church (now Croydon Minster), and then left:
- 20 shillings to the poor of Croydon, to be distributed on the day of his burial.
- To his eldest daughter, Jane:
- £10 to be paid on the day of her marriage or 12 months after his death, whichever came first.
- A feather bed, two pairs of flaxen sheets, three pairs of hemp sheets, one pair of pillowcases, one tablecloth, 12 table napkins, 12 platters, six pewter dishes, six saucers, and one pair of pewter candlesticks, all to be given to her on the day of her marriage (the part about the day of her marriage is specified lower down, after the list of household goods to be given to Alice).
- To his second daughter, Alice:
- £40 to be paid on the day of her marriage or 12 months after his death, whichever came first.
- A feather bed, the bedstead from his bedroom, eight pairs of flaxen sheets, two pairs of hemp sheets, one pair of pillowcases, one tablecloth, 12 table napkins, 12 platters, six pewter dishes, six saucers, and one pair of pewter candlesticks, all to be given to her on the day of her marriage.
- To his youngest daughter, Anne:
- £40 to be paid on the day of her marriage; or, if she is not yet married 12 months after his death, to be paid then at his executor’s discretion.
- A feather bed, the bedstead from the “great loft” at his home, her own sheets that were in the house, more sheets if necessary to make a total of ten pairs, one pair of pillowcases, one tablecloth, 12 table napkins, 12 platters, six pewter dishes, six saucers, and one pair of pewter candlesticks, all to be given to her on the day of her marriage.
- Death’s head rings for various people, to be made and given to them
within a month of his death:
- One worth 20 shillings for his mother Margarett.
- One worth 10 shillings for his sister Joane.
- One worth 20 shillings for each of Thomas Ravis, Edwarde Kydman, and his brother Lamuell Darcknoll. These three are also appointed as overseers of his will; that is, persons charged to make sure the executor carried out the testator’s instructions. (Thomas’s first name is not given here, but appears at the very end of the will.)
- All the rest of his goods and moveables, once his debts, legacies, and funeral expenses had been paid, to his wife Alice.
- To his oldest son, John, and the lawfully-begotten heirs of his body:
- The mansion house in Croydon he was then living in, along with all outbuildings and associated grounds.
- The shop in Butcher’s Row next to the abovementioned house.
- A 5-acre piece of ground called Water Slade, lying next to Parson’s Mead in the parish of Croydon (these were on either side of the road now known as London Road).
- To his second son, also called John, and the lawfully-begotten heirs
of his body:
- The house in Butcher’s Row occupied by Edwarde Chittye, along with all outbuildings and associated grounds.
- Three shops in Butcher’s Row next to the abovementioned house.
- To his youngest son, George, and the lawfully-begotten heirs of his body:
- The house near Croydon Heath leased to and occupied by James Weane, along with all outbuildings and associated grounds. (Croydon Heath, also known as Croydon Common, was in the Windmill Road/St James’s Road area.)
- To Jane and the lawfully-begotten heirs of her body:
- The house near his mansion house occupied by Robert Langley, along with all outbuildings and associated grounds.
Regarding the bequests to his sons, he stipulated that if one of them died without lawfully-begotten heirs of his body (i.e. biological children born within marriage) then the property he received should be divided between his brothers and their heirs, and that if all three died without such heirs then the property should be divided between the three daughters. Similarly, if Jane died without lawfully-begotten heirs of her body, the house and land she received should be divided between her sisters; or, if her sisters and all of their heirs were also dead, divided between the sons. Finally, if all of his children died without leaving heirs, then the houses and lands should go to the next of kin of the testator or his children.
Another stipulation regarding the property given to his sons was that none of them should take control of it or receive any of the rental income during the life of his wife Alice, but that she should receive all the income and any other benefit until her death.
Below is my transcription of the probate register copy of the will. Many thanks to Brenda Hawkins for help with this. Bold formatting reflects a different (larger) writing style in the document, and I have added paragraph breaks to make it easier to read.
In the name of God Amen the One and twentith daie of December in the yeare of our Lorde god 1595 / and in the Eighte and Thirtith yeare of the Reigne of our Soveraigne Ladye Elizabeth / , by the grace of god Quene of Englande Fraunce and Irelande Defendor of the faith &c / I John Holmden of the Parrishe of Croydon in the Countie of Surrey Butcher beinge sicke in Bodye but whole in mynde, (Thankes be unto god) and of sounde and perfecte memorie doe revoke all former willes made / And doe make this my Last will and Testamente in manner and forme followinge /
Firste I bequeathe and yeald upp my Soule into the handes of hym that gave yt, Almightie god my Creator in a full and constante resolucon that my sinnes shalbe remitted by the death and bloudsheddinge of my Lorde and Savyour Christe Jesus / And that after this liefe ended I shall fullye enjoye everlastinge happynes in the kingdome of heaven with the Reste of the saincts and chosen Children of god / And I will my Bodie to be decentlie and orderlie broughte unto a Christyan Buryall and to be stored upp againste the daie of Resurreccon in the Parrishe Church of Croydon att the discrecon of myne Executrix and Overseers hereafter named /
Item I will unto the poore people of the Parrishe of Croydon to be distributed amonge them at the daie of my Buryall att the discrecon of my Overseers the some of Twentie Shillings /
Item I will and bequeathe unto Jane Holmden my eldest daughter Tenne powndes in money, To be paide unto my saide Daughter by my Executrixe att the daie of her marriage or Within one twelve monthes after my decease / yf she be not marryed before the ende of twelve monthes after my deathe /
Item I will unto my said daughter Jane one Fetherbedd throughlie furnished, Two payres of flaxen sheete three payre of hempe sheetes, one paire of pillowe coates, one longe fyne Table cloth, One dosen of fyne table Napkins One dosen of platters halfe a dosen of pewter dishes, half a dosen of saucers and one paire of pewter Candlesticks /
Item I will and bequeath unto Alice Holmden my seconde daughter the some of Fortye powndes in money To be paide unto my saide daughter att the daye and tyme of her marriage, or Within one whole yeare after my Decease / yf she be not marryed before the yeare be expired /
Item I will unto my saide daughter Alice in householdstuffe one good Fetherbedd with the Bedstedd standinge in my Chamber where I doe usually lodge furnished throughout Eighte payre of hempe sheets, two paire of flaxen sheetes one paire of pillowe coates one Longe fyne Table cloth, One dosen of fyne table napkins one dosen of platters halfe a dosen of pewter dishes, halfe a dosen of saucers and a paire of pewter Candlesticks / All w[hi]ch (w[i]th my daughter Janes porcon in householdstuffe above rehearsed) I will to be delivered unto my saide daughters att the daye and tyme of their marriage /
Item I geve and bequeathe unto Anne Holmden my Youngest daughter the Some of Forty Powndes in money / To be paide unto my saide daughter att the daie and tyme of her marriage or w[i]thin one yeare after my decease yf shee be not then marryed and that yt shall seeme good unto myne Executrixe to deliver the same into her handes uppon hope that she will profitablye use the same to her owne Benefytt /
Item I will to my saide daughter Anne in householdstuffe one Featherbedd throughlie furnished w[i]th a Bedstedd throughlie furnished also standinge in the greate Lofte and her owne sheetes alreadye in the house made upp to the some of Tenne payres one paire of pillowe coates one longe fyne tablecloth one dosen of fyne table napkins One dosen of platters halfe a dosen of pewter dishes halfe a dosen of saucers and a paire of pewter Candlesticks / All w[hi]ch to be delivered unto my saide daughter by myne Executrixe att the daie and tyme of her marriage as abovesaide /
Item I will unto my Lovinge mother Margarett Darknell of Penshurste, one Ringe to be made and provyded by myne Executrixe with a deathes heade sett therein to the value of twentie Shillings, and the same to be given unto my mother within one month after my decease to weare for my sake /
Item I will unto my sister Joane Shiers of Sutton att Hoane in the Countie of Kente One Ringe to the value of Tenne Shillings to be made and given to her by myne Executrixe also w[i]thin one monethe after my decease /
Item I earnestlie desire my faithfull and wellbeloved freindes in the Lord Mr Doctor Ravis, Mr Edwarde Kydman and my Brother Mr Lamuell Darcknoll Parsone of Hayes in Kente to see the execucon and accomplishemente of this my Last will in manner and forme as abovesaide / And for their freindlie care and paynes takenne therein I will unto either of them Twentie Shillings to be bestowed by myne Executrixe / And thereof a Ringe to be made for each of them to weare in remembraunce of me theire Lovinge freinde / W[hi]ch saide Ringes of the value of Twentie Shillings a peece I will to be given to eache of them by myne Executrixe within One moneth nexte after my deceasse /
All the rest of my goodes and moveables not yett geven and bequeathed my debts and Legacies all paide my funerall expences discharged, and my Bodye decentlie brought to the grave I give and bequeathe unto my good and Lovinge wiefe Alice Holmden whome I ordeyne and appointe my sole Executrixe of this my Last will and Testamente hopinge of her faithfull care to be shewed therein in all motherlie affeccon to those her children and myne /
And nowe for and concernynge my Landes and Tenem[en]ts that I have in the Parrishe of Croydon / This is my verye true Will and meanynge touching the disposinge of the same /
Imprimis I will unto myne eldest sonne John Holmden nowe scholler in Oxon, and to the heires of his Body lawfullye begotten, That my mansion house wherein I nowe dwell in the Towne of Croydon w[i]th all the Barnes and Stables and other the Edifices and Buildings with the gardeynes Orchardes and yeardes thereunto belonginge, Togeather w[i]th one shoppe over againste the same in the Butchers Rowe thereunto also belonginge / And also one Close or Feild of grounde called Water Slade scituate lyenge and beinge in the Parrishe of Croydon over againste a certayne Feild or Meade called Parsone Meade in the saide Parrishe and conteynynge by estymacon Fyve acres more or lesse /
And yf yt shall fortune my saide sonne John the elder to dye without heires of his Bodye lawfullye begotten Then my will and meanynge is, That my saide house togeather with the Landes Buildings and other Appurtennce thereunto belonginge as above saide to be devyded equallye betwene my Twoe sonnes, John Holmden the Younger and George Holmden, and so to remayne to them or either of them which shalbe then livinge and his or their heires forever /
Item I will unto John Holmden my Seconde Sonne and to the heires of his Bodye lawfullye begotten my house with the Edifices and Buildinges and three shoppes lyenge in the Butchers Rowe over againste the saide house gardens ordchards and yardes also thereunto belonging wherein Edwarde Chittye nowe dwelleth scituate lyenge and beinge in the Towne of Croydon /
And yf yt shall happen this my seconde sonne John Holmden to dye without heires of his Bodye lawfullye begotten Then my will and meanynge is, That the saide house, Togeather with thappurtenannces as abovesaide shalbe equallie devyded betwene his elder Brother John Holmden and George Holmden his younger Brother yf they shalbe then livinge or to either of them which shalbe then livinge, and so to remaine to them or either of them and the heires of them or either of them forever /
Item I will unto George Holmden my Youngest sonne and to the heires of his Bodye lawfullye begotten, my house with all the Barnes Stables outehouses or other Edifices and Buildinges thereunto belonginge, and all the Landes and groundes Pastures Feilds and Closes Gardeynes, Orchardes and yardes thereunto belonginge lyenge neare and adioynyge unto Croydon Heathe / And nowe in the tenure and occupacon of one James Weane of the Parrishe of Croydon by vertue of a Leasse thereof to hym grannted by me John Holmden /
And yf yt shall happen my saide sonne George to dye without heires of his Bodie lawfullye begotten Then my will and meanynge is, That the said house and Landes with thappurtenannces thereunto belonginge shalbe equallie devyded betwene his twoe older Brothers yf they shalbe then livinge or their heires / And so to remaine to them and their heires forever /
Meanynge hereby, that they and everie of them shoulde be heire eche to other / And yf yt soe please god, That they all my Three Sonnes shall dye without heires of their Bodies lawfullie begotten male or Female / Then my Will and meaninge is that those theire porcons of Landes above given and bequeathed shalbe equallye devyded amongest my three daughters, Jane Holmden Alice Holmden and Anne Holmden / And so to remayne in Fee simple to them or somanie of them as shalbe then livinge and theire heires for ever, or to the heires of them or somanie of them forever as shalbe then Livinge /
Item I will unto Jane Holmden my Eldeste daughter and to the heires of her Bodie lawfullye begotten my house in Croydon where Robert Langley nowe dwelleth neere adioynynge unto my Mansion House, Together with all other the Edifices and Buildings Gardens Orchardes and yardes, and one Little Crofte or Feilde of grounde thereunto belonginge to enter thereuppon and so to reape and take the Benefytte and enioye the proffits thereof to her owne onelie propper use and behouffe contynuallie from the daye and tyme of her marriage /
And yf yt shall happen my saide daughter Jane to dye without heires of her Bodye Lawfullye begotten Then my will and meanynge is, That the saide house with thappurtennces shalbe equallye devyded betwixte my two other daughters Alice and Anne Holmden / And so to remayne to them or either of them which shalbe then Livinge, and the heires of them or either of them forever /
And yf there shalbe none of my Three daughters then Livinge, or that there shalbe none of the heires of theire Bodies lawfullie begotten then also Livinge Then I will that the saide Howse with thappurtenaunces geven unto my saide Daughter Jane, Shall remayne unto my Three sonnes and to be equallie devyded amonnge them or so many of them, or so manye of the heires of their Bodies lawfullie begotten of them or so manye of them as shalbe then livinge /
And yf that all my sixe Childrenne shall departe this liefe without heires of theire Bodies lawfullye begotten Then I will my saide Howses and Landes to remayne to the nexte of kynred unto me them or anie of them /
And my Will and mynde is, That my saide Three sonnes nor anie of them shall enter uppon any of theire portions of Landes above geven and bequeathed nor take anie Benefytte of theire saide porcons of Lande allotted them in manner as abovesaide till after the deathe and Decease of their mother Alice Holmden my Executrixe, But the yearelie proffitt of all the same my said Landes, I will to remayne unto my saide wiefe contynuallye, And shee peasablie and quietlie to use and enioye, to lette and sett the same att her pleasure without the molestacon or contradicon of them or anie of them for and duringe the tyme of her liefe naturall /
In witnes whereof, and that this is my true and Laste will and Testamente for and concernynge all and everie the premisses goodes and Landes to me belonginge or in anie wise apperteynynge I the abovenamed John Holmden have hereunto with myne owne hande subscrybed my name and sette my Seale the daie and yeare firste above wrytten / John Holmden / In the presence of Lamuell Darcknoll Parsone of Hayes / This was acknowledged by the abovenamed John Hamden [sic] to be his Last will and Testamente in the presence of us the six and twentith of December / 1595 / Thomas Ravis John Wise
Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud London coram venerabili viro Magistro Willmo Lewin Legum Doctore Curie Prerogatiue Cantuar Magistro Custode sine Comissario Decimo die mensis Februarii Anno Domini iuxta computacoem Ecclie Anglicane Millesimo Quingentesimo Nonogesimo Quinto / Juramento Johannis Theker notarii publici / Procuratoris Alicie Relicte et Executricis in huismodi Testamento nuiat / Cui comissa fuit admistraco Bonorum Jurium et Creditorum dicti defuncti / De bene et fidel[ite]r adm[ini]strand etc Ad sancta dei Evangelia Jurat