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Will of Alice Heydon of Watford 1558

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Watford, Hertfordshire, Englandmap
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This is a transcription of the original will of Alice Heydon of New Street in Watford.[1]
The will was written on 1 May 1557, with a codicil added on 28 November 1557. The will was proved at the Court of the diocese of St Albans on 4 January 1557/8.

Spelling, punctuation and line breaks as per the original.
Paragraph breaks (at start of new of bequest) and bold text are my own for ease of reading.
ff has been rendered as F, and ligatures and abbreviations have been expanded in [square brackets].
The first page of the will was folded in quarters, and the fold lines have torn making the text difficult to read at these points.

Persons mentioned:

  • Alice Heydon Testator and widow of William Heydon
  • William Heydon decease, husband of the Testator, buried at the parish church of Watford
  • Dorothy Shoredich or Shordifhe in the codicil - daughter of Testator
  • my son John Heydon
  • my son Jerome Heydon deceased
  • my son Thomas Heydon
  • Elizabeth Heydon eldest daughter to my son Anthony Heydon
  • my son Anthony Heydon
  • my brother John Heydon Elder deceased brother in law of Testator, brother to husband William
  • my son Raf Heydon also spelled Raphe
  • my daughter Cornewall
  • my daughter Heydon of the Grove the wife of Testator's son Henry
  • my son Henry Heydon esquyre eldest son and executor of the will
  • the Prior of Westminster overseer of the will
  • F[athe]r Est pryor of westmi[nster] William Este or East, former Archdeacon of St Albans, Hertfordshire, instituted as Prior of Queen Mary I's revived Catholic Westminster Abbey

In the name of god the father the Son and the holly gost Amen The first day of May in the yere
of our lord god a thousand fyve hundred fiftye and seven I Alice Heydon of Newe Strete in the
p[ar]ishe of Watford in the Countye of Hertford wedowe beying of good and p[er]fit memory and hole of body
(lauded be god) make this my last wyll and testament in man[ner] and forme followying First and
principally I bequethe my soule unto our lord god my Redemer and Savour trusting through the
merits of his passhion to be saved my body to be buryed in Seynt Kathereyns Ile [2] in ye p[ar]ishe
Churche of Watford aforsaid by my late husband Will[ia]m Heydon esquyer / Item I will that
my executor shall bestowe at my buryall unto priests Clerks Ryngers lights [3] and pore folke
accordyng to his discretion xiijLi vj s viijd And at my monthes mynd [4] for the like thre pounds vj s
viijd And at my twelve monthes mynde in lyke man[ner] to bestowe oth[er] thre pounds vj s viijd

Item I wyll that immedyatly after my decesse ther may be a prieste provyded to syng masse
in Saynt Katheryns Ile aforesaid for one hole yere and he to have to pray for the soules of my
late husband and me and other my friends soules and he to have for his wage tenne pounds

Item I bequethe to my daughter Dorathy Shoredyche the fetherbed and all the thapp[e]rten[an]ces that
lye upon in newe strete aforesaid and a cupb[oar]d standing in the hall ther and tenne pounds p[ar]cell of [the]
debt of my son John Heydon that he oweth me by a byll subscrybed w[i]th his hand / Item I beq[uethe]
to ev[e]ry one of my childers childeren beyng my godchildern vj s viijd Item I wyll that where my
son Jerome decessed was Indebted unto [me] in the su[m]me of sixtene pounds in Angell nobles [5] a[nd]
viij s the pece which I give unto my son Thomas Heydon the said dett and the same nowe in
my lif tyme I geve hym frely he to req[ues]tre the same at his executors hands of my said Son

Item I geve and bequethe to Elizabeth Heydon eldest daughter to my son Anthony
Heydon the dett of her father that he [o]weth upon an obligac[i]on made to my brother John Heydon
Elder decessed beyng foure pounds xiijs And where I have a certeyne byll of dett of tenne pounds
of my son Raf Heydon subscrybed w[i]th his hand I will that the same byll of dett be delyverd to my said son
Raf if he doe overlyve me /

Item where my daughter Cornewall standith indebtith unto me of the
sume of syxtene pounds iijs vijd r[--]ement of fourty three pounds & xs I wyll that the
sayd mony & debt be payd to my Executor

It[e]m I wyll that my vestement for a priest to
syng In w[i]th an Albe [6] and all other things belongyng thereunto and a corpores and also an Alter clothe
be dysposed and appoynted to s[er]ve the Alter in the said Ile of Saynt Kathyren by myn Execu[tor]
and his heyres from tyme to tyme at the dysposic[i]on and pleasure of my said executor and his
heryes as is aforesaid The residue / It[e]m I wyll and my mynde ys that all the Apparell
[text lost in fold] my body be dysposed and bestowed amonge my children having beyng myn
owne doughters att the dystrec[i]on of myn Executor Saving my worsted gowne faced w[i]th foynes
which I geve and bequethe to my daughter Heydon of the Grove / The residue
of all my goodes my detts and legacyes paid & my fun[er]alle don[e] and this my last wyll and
testament duly p[er]formed I will that myn executor shall dyspose at his distrec[i]on for the
Welth of my soule / And of this my last will and testament I make my son Henry Heydon
esquyre my soule executor and I bequethe unto hym for his paynes and labours in that behalf
to be susdyned All suche debts as he shall owe unto me at the tyme of my dep[ar]ture owte of
this transitory lyf And I desyre F[athe]r Est pryor of westmi[nster] to be overseer of this my
said last will and testament and he to have for his labor a xs of gold / In wytness whereof
I the said Alice have to this my said last will & testament substrybed my hand & sette my
seale the day and yere above wretyn
X [seal]

Wytnysses p[re]sent at the sealing and making hereof
ffrauncis Heydon / Alice Palmer
Brygett Heydon / John Heydon
Katheryn Heydon / Thomas Bedyll / John Skellsin? Vicare
William Heydon / Alice Chapell / by me T Heydon
Alexander Heydon / Abraham Heydon / Anthony Edilll
Marie Heydon / Elizabeth Heydon / [the mark of ]Thomas Alby
Mychaell Heydon
Thomas Palmer
Elizabeth Palmer

[Second page] xviij die Mensis Novembris Anno D[o]m[in]i I Alyce
Heydon of Watford wydowe being syck in body but having good
and perfect remebrannce (god be thanked) Doo confesse that I
have made my wyll all ready the Somer paste. But never
theles Doo adde therunto my wyll and mynde howe that will
shall be ordered and howe my other legacyes and gyfts that
I entend to gyve and bequeath nowe shall be also gyven and
dysposed That is to saye ffyrst I gyve to my sonne
Henry Heydon all the bylle of Debtes that he oweth me
to this entent that he shall trewly perform my wyll all
ready wrytten and besydes that also shall at hys charges
fynde one preyst to syng and saye servyce in the prayer
and in Sainct Katherynes yle in Watford church for terme
of one yere after the rate xLi by the yere And I gyve to
my sayd sonne Henry my table formes trestells and
Carpett in my hall where I nowe dwell. And my greatest
chest bounde w[i]th yron / And my mynd and wyll ys that
my sayd sonne Henry [scribbled out] shall gyve frely to my
Doughter Dorothy Shordyfhe one yerys Dwelling in my
house wher I nowe Dwell [seven words scribbled out]
[whole line scribbled out] ym=
medyately after my decease / To all which requests and
desyres / the sayd Henry Henry Heydon doth wyllingly agree
and ye content to performe and fullfyll by these presents
according to his sayd mothers my desyre. And also I the sayd
Alyce doo gyve to my sonnes Henry Thomas Anthony Raphe
and John to eche of theym A Sylver Spoone / And to Frauncis
Heydon son of Henry Heyson / one Sylver Spoone / And I also
gyve to my son Henryes wyfe my beste Gowne fured w[i]th
ffoynes / And I gyve to my doughter Dorothe Shordyfhe
all my other goodds and moveable substence nowe in and
abowt my sayd Dwelling howse what names so ever
they beare Uppon this condyc[i]on that she shall at her dys
cretyon gyve to her syster in Essex so moche thereof as she
shall thynck mete and covenyent / And I gyve my son
Raphe a byll of Debt of xLi that he oweth me / And my
wyll and mynd ys, that all other Gyftes contayned in my
wyll all ready wrytten, shall stand styll in full strength
and effect as many of theym as shall not be hurtfull to
these my laste gyftes / These being wytnessys
John Skellffin vicar
John Kyrton

Probatum [in Latin] of the testament of Alice Heydon fourth day of January in the year of our Lord before said.


  1. Court of the Archdeaconry of St Albans, Original wills, 1558-1573, will of Alice HEYDON, widow, of Watford, proved 4 January 1557/8; images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ : accessed 15 January 2022) DGS no. 8083157, images 132-133 of 953 (can be viewed at Family History Centres and Affiliate Libraries); Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, ref. 1AW55.
  2. St Katherine's aisle in the church where the chantry chapel built by the Heydon family was
  3. candles and torches at the funeral service
  4. The Months Mind - a mass for the soul of the deceased a month after the funeral
  5. The Angel was a gold coin with variable value. In 1557 it was worth 10 shillings, before 1550 it was worth 8 shillings. Wikipedia contributors, "Angel (coin)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Angel_(coin)&oldid=1048500212 (accessed January 18, 2022).
  6. alb, a vestment for a priest at mass

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