If Edith (1540-1601) was the mother of Robert Bent, why was he not named in her will?

+3 votes
164 views
WikiTree profile: Edith Bent
in Genealogy Help by
Perhaps he was of independent means or perhaps he they were no longer in contact.
Or, She's an old lady, maybe she just forgot. Or maybe the transcript is wrong and Robert was under a blob of ink, or faded beyond recognition.
Good question! Another one is what's the source for her LNAB being Johannes?
Actually I now think her 'Cozen' (cousin) Richard is actually what we would call her nephew so her son Robert IS mentioned in her will - although not given anything. Simply looking at her late husband's will on his profile should convince you that Robert is their son.

Matthew, I thought that when I looked quick too, but  "I give and bequeath to my Cozen Richarde Bent, the sonne of Robert Bent one Lambe," Richard Bent would be her nephew. His father  Robert would be her brother, in this case brother-in-law) so her husband John Bent should have a brother Robert. If she was speaking of Richard, son of her son Robert, she would have called him grandchild.  Cousin is frequently nephew but I've never seen cousin mean grandchild.

Oops you're absolutely right, I thought the same but managed to somehow switch back to my previous thought. I agree that cousin would never be used for a direct descendant.

3 Answers

+4 votes

I don't know the conventions in England at the time, but there are a few possiblitlies. 

  • He may have been given his share prior to her death
  • There may have been a falling out, although that frequent will list the child but specifically give nothing
Basically, a will can tell you who is IN the family but not necessarily who is OUT.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (415k points)
Oh, yes, the falling out. Or maybe didn’t give enough attention. I’ve seen this in a couple of wills in my lines.
+4 votes
This is an alarm bell for me and I think the reaction should be to re-check the evidence rather than explain it away.

The profile is in a poor state with data from ancestry and geni which makes it dubious to begin with. I found the marriage for daughter Agnes (and added it to her profile) so it's based on genuine people but the details may be wrong. In particular I am highly sceptical about the claim that Edith's LNAB was "Johannes". I feel this is almost certainly a misreading of a Latinised name, probably of her father.
by Matthew Fletcher G2G6 Mach 9 (96.2k points)
There always needs to be evidence for including someone but the lack of someone in a will does not prove anything. It could be a hint but nothing more. I agree that the profile needs a lot of real work and all the will does is show that some of the supposed children existed. All else needs real work.
+2 votes
In feudal England, everything went to the heir-at-law by default.

The point of a will was to try to divert some stuff to other people, at the expense of the heir.

Anything not specifically bequeathed still went to the heir-at-law.

There was no point in making a bequest to the heir, because it would be coming out of his own inheritance.

In this case, John makes his will when his daughters are all still unmarried.  Possibly none of his children is of age yet.  They all get a bequest, including Robert, because everything else is being explicitly left not to the heir but to the widow.

But this only covers cash and chattels.  No property is mentioned.  Since there's livestock, there's obviously an interest in property, which will descend to the heir (Robert) unless otherwise entailed.

When Edith dies, Robert is again the heir, but much older now.  There's no mention of property, but a widow's dower rights end on her death.

My guess would be that Robert has taken over his father's farm, probably when he got married, the year after his father's death.  Edith gave him whatever household goods and livestock he needed, and is now living in a second house, as her widow's thirds, which has been settled on David on her death.

So she leaves the younger kids some selected bits and pieces they can use, then says everything else in the house goes to David, ie. it just stays with the house (where David is living).  There's no need to leave any pots or bedding to Robert at this point, he needs them least.  She has no cash.

Purely a speculation.  Other theories are available.
by Anonymous Horace G2G6 Pilot (566k points)
edited by Anonymous Horace
Feudalism had long ended. The basic default rule was that widows got at least half the estate, or a third if there were children.

I hadn't realised that John Bent's will was helpfully on his profile and it makes perfect sense: all his children get "xls" which I presume is 40 shillings - except for daughter Edith who gets some unclear amount, doubtless because she was already married. The rest goes to his widow Edith.

One anomaly is his failure to mention his supposed youngest son John who was born in 1585. As the will was dated 1588 it seems likely that John was not his at all. Forty-five year old women don't often give birth. His grandson perhaps?

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