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The will of Sir Thomas Pettus, 1st Baronet of Rackheath

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Introduction

This is the will of Sir Thomas Pettus 1st Baronet Pettus of Rackheath.

The will was written on 5 November 1654, Thomas died on 21 November 1654. The will was proved at Westminster on 12 December 1654. It was registered at the Archdeaconry of Norwich.[1]

Spelling is mostly as in the probate copy. Abbreviated words are expanded in [square brackets]. Names of people and places are in bold introduced for ease of reading.

Line breaks are added in the text so that the lines match the probate copy. Extra paragraph breaks are added between sections for readability. Page breaks are indicated by dividing lines and in edit mode by HTML comments with page numbers.

Transcription

In the name of God Amen; The
fifthe day of November in the yeare of our Lord God according to
the computation now used in England one thousand six hundred ffifty
& foure I Thomas Pettus of Rackheath in the
county of Norff[olk] Baronet being of perfect memory though not in
p[er]fect health & well knowing the uncertain condition of this pr[e]sent life
for the better setling of that my worldly state which God of his great
goodness & mercy hath lent me, doe ordaine & make this my last will
& testament in manner and forme following ffirst and before all things
I commit and commend my soule into the mercifull hands of God my maker
and to Jesus Christ my only Saviour & Redeemer assuredly trustinge
that by & through his onely meritts bitter death & passion to be
saved and to have a joyfull resurrection & to remain amongst his
most glorious company in heaven

And my body I will to be buried
in Christian buriall in the Chancell of the p[ar]ish Church of Rackheath
aforesaid neare my lately deceased & dearly beloved wife Elizabeth
in such manner as shall seeme best to my executrix hereafter named

And I doe give to be bestowed upon repaire of the said Church for
the breaking up of the ground where my body shall be laid twenty
shillings.

Item I give and bequeath unto the poor of the said towne
of Rackheath forty shillings [2] to be paid into the hands of the Church
wardens and overseers there then being at my decease & to be &
remain for a stocke forever And that they with the consent of
the minister of the same p[ar]ish shall imploy [3] put out & use the
same for the best benefit that may be made for the good of the
said poor people. And soe yearlely & from time to time the same
to be employed used & put forth by the successive church wardens
overseers and minister and the whole profitt & benefit thereof
arising & made yearly to be bestowed by them amongst such the
poor people of the said towne where most need shall be

Item I
give and bequeath the poore of the towne of Castor St Edmund
by Norwich fforty shilling in like manner to be paid and employed
as my pr[e]cedent guift to Rackheath

Item I give to the poor of
the towne of little Ellingham forty shillings And to the poore of the
town of Salhouse fforty shillings

And to the poor of the town of Wroxham twenty shillings.

Item I give and bequeath unto Thomas
Pettus my sonne all my Tapestry Hangings in my Dyning chamber
at Rackheath aforesaid, together with all the household stuffe & furniture
belonging to the same chamber And alsoe the bed & furniture of the
chamber next unto the Dyning chamber called the Black Chamber
with the furniture of the inner chamber belonging thereof
as they are now furnished And also the bed & furniture of the corner
chamber over the hall there with all the furniture off the inner chamber


belonging thereto as now they are furnished Also I give &
bequeath unto the said Thomas Pettus my sonne the bed and furniture
of the corner chamber at the top of the staires where my said sonne
Thomas useth to lodge. And also one bedd of greene figured sattin
as now it stands in my studdy chamber

Item I give & bequeath to
the said Thomas Pettus my sonne All my armour in the armoury
chamber and in the hall All my vessels & implements of brewing
belonging to the brewhouse two long tables & a lininry cupboard
standing in the hall All those long planks lying in the drying
rooms in the bleeching yard[4] Also all the pictures hanging in the
parlour & the musicke room. Also my biggest organ in the
musicke room, two base vyalls one inlayd the other that which I bought
of one Mr Bolt, three loose treble Vyalls not belonging to the
chest[5], one tenor vyall not belonging to the chest, together
with the musique table standing in the said musique roome

Item I give & bequeath unto Augustine Pettus my sonne my large
standing guilt cupp w[i]th a christall bowle

Item I give & bequeath unto John Pettus my sonne one silver bason & ewer [6]
given by Sr Nathaniel Bacon to my late wife Elizabeth marked
with the Armes of Bacon

Also I give unto Thomas Pettus my
sonne all my library of bookes in my studdy savinge that I give
unto my loving and auncient [7] friend Mr Henry Nerford clerke[8] any one
Author out of them which the said Henry Nerford shall be pleased
to make choice of.

Item I will & devise unto my executrix untill
John Pettus my youngest sonne shall attaine to his age of one
& twenty years, all that my Tenement w[i]th all my lands & their
appurtenances in Shropham in the county of Norffs w[hi]ch I lately
purchased of Thomas Amys [9] & All that my messuages & all my
free and coppyhold lands in Thurgarton in the county of Norffs
or in any other towne there near adioyning w[i]th the appurtenances
And all that my messuages & all my freehold & coppyhold lands
tenements & hereditaments whatsoever in Felmingham [10] in the County
of Norffs or in any of the other towne there neare adioyning with
appurtenances And also all my messuages houses tenements
and lands whatsoever wherein I have any estate of inheritance
in Fee simple [11] & lyinge in the Citty or county of the citty of
Norwich or in Higham by Norwich [12] with their & every of their
appurtenances And if that my said sonne John Shall happen
to live until he shall attaine to his age of one & twenty years then
I will and devise that all & every of the aforesaid messuages, houses
lands tenements & hereditaments whatsoever being Freehold or
Coppyhold & lying in Shropham, Thurgarton, Felmingham or in any
towns there neare adioyning in Norwich Higham aforesaid or
in any of them with their & every of their appurtenances shall wholy
remaine & goe to my said sonne John Pettus & his heirs forever

But if it shall soe happen that the said John Pettus shalle dye before
he shall attaine to the age afforesaid & without heire of his body begotten
then I will and my meaninge is that the interest last before limited


to my said executrix shall cease & be void And then I doe
will and devise all & every of the said messuages houses lands
tenements & hereditaments in Shropham & Thurgarton Felmingham
or in any town there near adjoining, in Norwich Higham
aforesaid or in any of them which the appurtenances to Augustine
Pettus my second son & his heirs forever.

And whereas I
am possessed or some others stand possessed in trust for me
& in my use of & in certanie lands laying in Thurgarton aforesaid
for terme of divers(?) yeares therein to run & unexpired & of
& in two meadows lying in or near Norwich whereof one lyeth
within the precinct of the late Cathederal Church of Norwich
is now divided into three parts letten to severall y soub & the other
of the said meadows lyeth in or near the streete called Consforth (?)
streete over against the conion stath (?) on the further side of the
river for terme of divers(?) yeares therein to rune & unexpired
my will & minde is that my executrix or trustees in whom the
estates(?) for yeares of & in the said lands & meadows shall after
my death rest, shall assigne & sel over all such lands meadows
& things holden by any lease for terme of yeares & lyinge in
Thurgarton or in or neare Norwich as aforesaid with the appurtenances
unto my said sonne John upon he shall attaine to his age of
one & twenty yeares for & duringe the residue of the termes &
estates therein then to rune & unexpired respectively But if
the said John happen to dye before that age then I will & my
minde is that like assignment be made unto my said sonne
Augustine if then he be living as by intent of this my will ought
to have beene made to the said John if he had attained his age
aforesaid.

Item my will and mind is that my said sonne Augustine
shall have & enjoy & accordingly I give to hom & his heirs for
ever all my Coppyhold lands & tenements lying or being
in Thinlingfeild or in any other towne there near adjoinging
in Cheston Linstead or St James in the County of Suffolk
with the appurtenances

And if any defect shall happen to this
my will for want of Surrender to the use of my will of any
of my Coppyhold lands or tenements before willed or indended(?)
to either of my said sonnes Augustine and John or by reason
of any other mixfection [imperfection?] my will & minds is & I do strictly
charge my sonne Thomas Pettus & whosoever hereafter
shall happen to be my next heire to make surrender & due
any act that shall be requisite in law to supply any such defect(?)
or mixpection [imperfection?] & to assure a good & gofect (?) estate unto my said
two younger sonnes & their heires according to the intent of this
my will of all such coppyhold lands & tenements as be here
before willed or intended to my said sonne Augustine & John
& their heirs severally & respectively

And my will & mind
is that my deare wife for the better stay of her selfe & of such
servants as shall continue with her for some time convenient
after my death & for the ordering of things belonging to the


executrix of this my will shall have the free use of my
house where I now dwell & all the houses yards gardens
& orchards to the same by me used with free use of all the
pasture grounds now in my use & occupation in Rackheath
aforesaid for the pasturage and in manifeymige (?) of her horses
cowes sheepe & other cattell for & during the spane
of six months next after my decease And I doe earnestly
desire my sonne Thomas Pettus and my next heire whatsoever
to agree hereunto & pfonine(?) my will therein accordingly

And also to convey & assure unto her my said wife for her
life my mannors houses & lands tenements & other hereditaments
in Castor St Edmund & other the townes adjoininge in liew (?) of
the mannors lands tenements & hereditaments in Rackheath Salhouse
& other places assigned or limited for her joyuturie [13] according to
the true intent & meaning of certaine prisoes (?) in the deeds
thereof conteyned

And I will & devise unto my executrix &
her heires all my lands tenements & hereditaments in Rackheath
which I purchased of George Lockwood or of Robert Matcher
& all my meadow in Thorpe by Norwich which I purchased of
my brother Nathaniel Knyvet esq & the reversion of
the said lands tenements & meadow the same being lately by me
setled upon my now wife for p[ar]te of her joyuturie [13] upon trust
& confidence nevertheless that if my said sonne Thomas Pettus
or such p[ers]on as shall be my next heire & shall attain to the age
of one & twenty yeares shall within three months next after such
age by way of grant of rent charge or otherwise as my said
executrix or her heires shall judge to be meete & sufficient secure
the yearely paymt of three severall annuall rents vizt one
of ten pounds to my cozen Christian the wife of Charles
Ramsey Another of ffoure pounds to my servant Nicholas
Spencer duringe their severall lives respectively

That then
my said executrix & her heirs shall convey & set over the
said lands tenements meadows & hereditaments lately devised with
the appurtenances & all their interest therein to the said Thomas
Pettus or such p[er]son as shall be my next heire & his heirs

And if the said Thomas Pettus or such my heirs shall not when three
months after his age of one and twenty years & request by my
executrix to this purpose give & make such securities for the
said three annual rents then my will is that the said
lands tenements meadow & hereditaments & the estate of my
executrix therein shall be conveyed over to Augustine Pettus
my sonne & his heirs charged with or tyed for the payment of
the said three annuall rents last mentioned

And my will &
my mind is that my said sonne Thomas Pettus & my next heire
that shall be shall pay at the Guildhall porch in Norwich
unto my beloved friend Henry Nerford clerke within six
months after my decease the sum of one hundred pounds


& to my said sonne John when he shall have attained his age
of one & twenty years the sum of one thousand pounds

And I doe will & devise unto my executrix hereafter named
& her heirs upon trust hereafter declared all that my Marsh
called or knowne by the name of Bungd Marsh with the grounds
& appurtenances by me purchased of Robert Houghton esquire
& lying in Burlingham in Norfolk

Also also all that my
Marsh called or known by the name of Thurlow Marsh
with all the grounds and other appurtenances which I purchased of
Richard Fenkenson esq lyinge in Thernigby in the said county.

And further I doe will & devise unto my said executrix & her
assignes upon like trust all that Marsh called or knowne
by the name of Berts or Bretts Marsh with all the grounds &
other appurtenances which I hold by lease made by the President
& Schollers of Mary Magdalen Colledge in Oxford

And all my estate terms of years & interest in the same All which
prunipped (?) willed or devised to executrix as aforesaid I
have willed & devised to her to this intent & purpose & upon
this speciall (?) trust & confidence in her & her heirs exe[cuto]rs adm[inistrators]
& ass[ign]s by me reposed that if my said sonne Thomas Pettus
or such p[ers]on as shall be my next heir shall have attained to
his age of one & twenty years & shall be for further
assurance of such coppyhold lands & tenements as be to my
said sonnes Augustine & John respectively devised according
to the intent of my will

And shall within three months after
such age secure to the content of my said sonne John to be
paid to him the sum of one thousand pounds as aforesaid that
then my executrix her heirs & assignes shall convey over all
the said three marshes & pr[e]miss[e]s & all their severall estates
oft & in the same to my said sonne Thomas Pettus or next heire

And out of the rents & profits of the said marshes in the
meantime (?) arisinge my executrix or her assignes shall pay
to the said Henry Nerford the said sum of one hundred
pounds

And if the said Thomas Pettus or such next heire
as aforesaid shall not p[er]mitt (?) & suffer but disturbe (?) my said
wife & her servants & family quietly & peaceably to have the free
use of the said houses & other things for six months according
to my will before aforesaid then I devise the residue of
the rents & profits of the said three marshes unto my said wife
until my said sonne Thomas or his next heire as aforesaid
shall have attained the age of one & twenty years
otherwise my will is that my said sonne Thomas or next
heire aforesaid shall have & enjoy all the said residue of
the rents & profits of the said three Marshes and if my
said sonne Thomas or such my next heire as aforesaid shall
not within three months next after such request as aforesaid
doe such which shall be requisite for further assurance of all the (?)


coppyhold lands & tenements as aforesaid according to the intent
of my will before declared or shall not within three months
sufficiently secure by good security to my said sonne John the
payment of the said sum or one thousand pounds unto him at his
age of one & twenty years then my will is that my executrix
shall sell all the said three marshes & all their estates therein
& with the moneys thereof arising pay the same sum of one
thousand pounds unto my said sonne John to be paid as aforesaid
and shall with the confidence of those moneys soe farr as they
will extend recompense to my said sonnes Augustine &
John such losses damage & as they & their heires & respectively
& pportionably shall or shall be in the judg[e]m[en]t of my
executrix taking upon her the executorship likely to suple quo (?)
for default of surrender or other defect of assurance of any
of the said coppyhold lands or tenements by my heir as shall
be needfull or requisite as aforesil [aforesaid?]

Item I give & bequest unto my sonne John Pettus & his heirs all my coppyhold
lands which I hold of the Mannor of Shunpling or of the Rectory of
?ickleborow in the county of Norfolk. Now for the more sure
p[er]formance of such covenants as upon consideration of marriage
with my new wife I have made with her friends William
Hemeningham John Hobart esq & Charles Everard her brother
for the disbursing of the summ of five thousand pounds upon
purchase of lands & of taking the same & securing the paym[en]t
of three hundred pounds yearely for my wife as by indenture
thereoft more fully appeareth

I doe hereby will and devise to my
executrix the mannor of Thorpehall & all & every of the
messuages lands & tenements & hereditaments in North Pritake or (?)
elsewhere which were lately in any wise conveyed or mortgaged
or intended to be conveyed or mortgaged unto me or my use (?)
by Willm Arminger esq or any other with him to have & to hold
such & soe many of them as be conveyed to me & my heirs with
the appurtenances to my executrix & her heires & such & fore many of
them as be conveyed to me but for any terme of yeares or
otherwise with the appurtenances to my executrix during the severall
termes of yeares or any other estate therein.

And my will is that my executrix shall have all my estates in these mannor
messuages lands tenements & hereditaments to the intent that she shall
have & receive all such summes of money as are or shall be payable
for redemption of these estates or otherwise by or upon the securities
to me given thereby

And shall have all the indentures deeds
& other evidences to me belonging & touching the mannor or any
of the other premisses mortgaged or conveyed to me as aforesaid

And my will & minde is that if I dye having issue by my wife
onely one daughter that then such purchase being made as is by
my said covenants required the lands & tenements soe purchased
shall after the death of my wife & her covenants as to touching (?)
her annuall rent or yearely maintenance of three hundred
pounds & formed be conveyed to my sonne Augustine & his heires
charged & tyed as shall be meete for the payment of such p[or]tion in


money & annuall maintenance to such daughter as shall
be payable or to be paid to her by the intent & true meaning
of the said indenture of covenant. But if such purchase shall
be made & I happen to have noe issue by my now wife or noe
such issue by her that shall live untill such purchase & the death
of my wife then my will & my mind is that the purchased lands
& tenements shall be soe ordered estated & setled upon my
said sonne Augustine & his heirs as that my said wife may
be well secured to have the revenues thereof during her life
& to have the sume of one thousand pounds within six months
after her death to be paid to her exec[u]t[o]rs adm[inistrator]s or ass[ign]s; & soe
that my said sonne John shall be secured likewise to have one
other summ of one thousand pounds to be paid to him his exec[uto]rs
adm[inistrato]rs or ass[ign]s within six months after the death of my said
wife.

And if it happens that I dye & have noe issue by my now
wife, or my issue on her begotten shall dye before such purchase
be made as by my covenants is appointed then my will is if
my wife & her said friends will hereunto agree that noe such
intended purchase shall be made with the said five thousand
pounds but that money shall be soe ordered & disposed that
she my said wife shall have the summ or one thousand pounds
p[ar]te thereoft paid to her or her assignes & be secured to have
the sume or two hundred & forty pounds yearely during her
life paid as the annuall summ of three hundred pounds by
the covenant or purchase to be paid

And after her death
one thousand pounds other p[ar]te of the said five thousand
pounds shall be paid to my said sonne John and his assigns
& three thousand pounds residue of the said five thousand
pounds shall be paid to my said sonne Augustine or his
assigns

Item whereas Sr John Pettus my brother hath by
a certaine writing (?) under his hand & seale covenants with me to
pay to me or my exec[uto]rs at severall times severall summes of
money & by abund under his hand & seale stands bound [borrowed?] to me
in eight hundred pounds for p[er]formance of the said covenents
which covenants have not beene in any p[ar]te p[e]rformed my will &
minde is that my executrix shall upon and after the paym[en]t of the
said eight hundred pounds by my said brother to her or her
assignes pay as a guift & legacy from me unto my beloved
nephew Richard Pettus sonne of the said Sr John Pettus one
hundred pounds

Item I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved
wife Dame Anne Pettus & her heires forever all that my
Cottage in Beeston which I lately purchased of ... Cooke (?)
with the yard garden thereto belonging with the appurtenances as
also all the furniture household stuffe & mixlents of household
now in or belonging to the same.

Item I give & bequeath to my
beloved brother in law Charles Everard twenty pounds to be
paid out in a peece of plate for a remembrance of me

Item I
give and bequeath unto my loving brother in law Nathaniel


Knyvet esq as alsoe to Elizabeth Knyvet his daughter
my loving neece to each of them five pounds for a peece
of plate

Item I give and bequeath unto my honoured mother
in law the lady Abigael Pettus[14] to Sr John Pettus my
beloved brother to my brother in law Thomas Knyvet esq
to Mr John Knyvet his sonne to my nephew Thomas Le Gros esq
to my Cosen John Sedley esq to Captain
Thomas Cornwallys Mr Philip Cornwaleys, Mrs Ffrancis
Paston to my loving father in law Arthur Everard esq
to my brother John Everard & Mr Robert Cottrine (?) to
every one of them twenty shillings to buy them a ring for a
remembrance

Item I give & bequeath to my very loving
friends Mr John Watson Mr George Lockwood & mr (?)
Jorny [or Formy] clerke to every one of them five pounds

Item I give to my servant Edward Shepley & to my servant John
King to each of them five pounds

To my servants Robert
Peckhaver (?) five (?) pounds & to Henry Hendry fforty shillings
To my servants Phillip Hill Phillip Below FFrancis Smith
John Horkes, Henry Allen, William .... & Thomas
Ely (?) to every one of them twenty shillings all with said legacyes
before im this my last will given & bequited I [ erased: give & bequeath them ]
will & appoint them to be paid by my exequtrix according
to the tenour & true intent & meaning of the same my last
will

And I doe ordain & make Dame Anne Pettus my
welbeloved wife the sole executrix of this my last will &
testament Revoking & annhilating & disannulling all & every
other former will or wills by me made or ordained And
for & concerning all other my goods catteles Chattells
jewells plate ready money bills bonds leases trusts stuffe
solerfills (?) of houshold whatsoever undisposed & ?? by this
my last will given and bequeathed my debts & legacyes
first being paid and satisfied I give & bequeath them soly &
wholy to the said Anne my loving wife the exequtrix of this
my testament and last will. And in wittnes that this is my last will
contayning seaven sheets of paper I have to every sheete sett
my hand & to this last sheet put to my hand & seale & published
the same in the presence of those whose names be hereunto subscribed

Thos Pettus

Sealed & published in the presence of Robert Cokewyn (?)
Robert Peckhaver Jeremy Brame Edw: Shepley

This will was proved at Westminster Before the Judges on
the twelfth day of December in the yeare or our Lord
1654 by the oath of Dame Anne Pettus widdow relict
of the said deceased & sole executrix therein named To
whose administration it was comitted being in our (?) forme
of Law sworne well & truly to administer it

Sources

  1. "Will registers for the Archdeaconry of Norwich, 1538-1857" https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C39F-KCXS?i=220
  2. Fourty shillings was two old pounds (20 shillings to the pound)
  3. variant of employ
  4. Probably an area used for spreading cloth to be bleached by the sun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleachfield
  5. A vyall or viol was a stringed instrument that was played upright. https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/461/ They were often kept as a Chest of Viols.
  6. A ewer is a jug for water for washing. A matching Ewer and Basin set were common. See a 17th century silver example here.
  7. ancient - as in long standing
  8. Henry Nerford was Rector at Atleburgh in the hundred of Shropham https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol1/pp501-541
  9. Amys = Amis. the end letter is an S with the the tail going up - so the word Pettus for the same
  10. be consistent with your capital Fs. Either ff or F.
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee_simple
  12. HEIGHAM, or Higham, a parish Norwich district, Norfolk; in the W side of Norwich city.
  13. 13.0 13.1 jointure - the widow's portion
  14. Abigail was Thomas' father's second wife. So in modern terms his stepmother. But in the 17th century she would be called his mother-in-law.




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