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Will of Gabriell Donne 1558

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This is a transcription of the register copy of the 1560 version of the will of Gabriell Donne a Cannon of St Paul's Cathedral London, and the last Abbott of Buckfast Abbey, Devon at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Gabriel Donne wrote his will on 5 February 1557/8, a day towards the end of the joint reigns of Philip and Mary. He added a verbal codicil on 5 December 1558, the day of his death. His will was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury initially on 14 December 1558 when the executor was Mr Anthony Huse. [1] The will was represented to the PCC on 7 December 1560 and administration was granted to the other executor Mt Henry Harvey. [2] In each case the full text of the will was transcribed into the register, so it appears twice in the records with minor variations.

Spelling, punctuation and line breaks are as the register copy of the will and now catalogued with the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills at The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, England.
Paragraph breaks at the change of subject in the text, and highlighting are my own for ease of reading.
Abbreviations have been expanded in [square brackets]
Capital F has been rendered as F rather than ff.

In the name of god amen The Fifthe daye of Februarie in the fowerthe
and five yeres of the raignes of ower soveraigne Lorde and Ladie Phillipp and Marie by the grace of
God Kynge and Quene and Englande Spaine Fraunce bothe the Cicilles [3] Jerusalem and Irelande
deffendors of the faithe Archdukes of Anstry / Dukes of Burgundie Millayne and Brabante Counts
of Haspurge [4] Flanders and Tiroll, being the yere of ower Lord God a thousand five hundreth fiftie
and seven. I Gabriell Donne preste / considering all men to be mortall and subiecte to deathe
The hower wherof ys uncertaine myndinge to set all soche goods as god hathe sente me in this vale of
mysterie in suche a state and order, that whensoever hit shall pleace god to call me oute of this
worlde to his mercie there shall rise no contenc[i]on or cause of scrif for then for that I declare the
disposic[i]on of the same to be made and done in suche order as hereafter ensueth in this my Tesamente
and laste will, and by the persons named in the same, whome I have elected and chosen to accomplishe
my mynde will and intente for that in them I have and do repose uppon mainy Juste experiences my
speciall truste and confidence I beinge in good mynde and perfecte remembrance doe make this my laste
Will and Testamente of all my gooddes and Chattalls in manner and forme as herafter shalbe declared

Firste I bequesth my sowle to the mercie of almightie god, and to the intercession of the blessed virgin
ower Ladie Sainte Marie mother of ower Lorde Jesus Christe and to the hollie compainie of heaven &
my boddie to be buried in suche place as myne executors shall thinke moste mete, accordinge to the
godlie and laudable usage and ceremonies of the churche of Englande with suche funeralls, suffrage
and expence to be had and expended at the same as shalbe thoughte moste conveniente and requisite accor
dinge to the discression of Mr Anthonie Huse, who knoweth my mynde for the place of my sepulture
within the Churche of St Pawle of London, yf hit maie convenientlie be had I will and give to
eache of my serv[a]nts beinge with me in my service at the daie of my buriall theire hole yeres wage
And to everie one of them a morninge Cote of an honest price

Item to everie one of myne olde serv[a]nts
That shalbe in my service at thower of my deate that is to said / To Will[ia]m Walter John Wood and
Thomas Newin, everie of them XLi in monney besides theire wage and one monethes bourde. Item to
Alice Gibson my woman serv[a]nte tenne pounds To Robert Noytwell fower pounds Item to Robin
Coker five pounds. Item to Edwarde Cowp[er] five poundes, the same tenn poundes to remaine in
the handes of Mr Huse to imploye for theire benefite as he shall thinke god

Item to Bruton my
serv[a]nte fortie shillings. Item to Mr John Haywarde Cardinall of Powells fortie shillings
To Mrs. Christcabell Cely widdow fortie shillings To John Jucente fortie shillings /

Item I
Will to my frendes herunder named certaine rings of golde of the values underwritten / First
to eache of myne executors one ringe of xxs. To Mr Laurence and Will[ia]m Husey and their mothor eche
of them one Ringe / To Sabastian Wescote six poundes thirtene shillings and fower pence. Item
to Mr Freman Scole master of Paules Scole fortie shillings.

Item I will to Mr Henrie Cromwel
one Ringe of xxs, Item that Alice Gybson shall have the bedd that she lyeth on with allthings
belonginge to the same And I will and give to eache of my god children beringe my name A

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Silver Spone of the value of tenne shillings. Item I give unto Fraunces Cromwell als Will[ia]ms xxLi
to be delivered unto hym at xxj yeres of age Whiche I will shall remaine in the custodie of Mr Huse
my executor Whome I wyshe to have the educac[i]on of the same Fraunces. Item I give and bequeath to
Phillipp[a] Warner Wyddowe five poundes in monney with a gowne, and a kirtle to be made newe for
her accordinge to the discrssion of myn executors / I give unto the ij doughters of my Cosen Anthonie
Burley twentie poundes to be equallie distributed betwene them / And I will to be paied to the executors
of person paige fortie shillings. I give and bequeath to my Cosen Ambrose Barker my ringe with the
Turcas and tenn poundes in monney / And to his wyef my ringe with a Diall in hit / And I will that
my Executors doe cause to be distributed to poore people at the daie of my buriall twentie poundes in
monney, Whereas they shall thinke moste requsite / I will that my plate shalbe sowlde for the p[er]for
mance of the Will, and charges of the same / And the monney that shall arise therof after that all things
shallbe well discharged (yf any thinge shall remaine I require Mr Huse to tender and consider my
serv[a]nts especially suche as wilbe ordered and bend them selfe to lyve honestlie in the worlde, And yf
hit maye pleace hym to enlarge to them as he shall see my things will amounte unto, he using his
discression as he shall finde them faithfull and true to hym after my deathe, accordinge to such chardge
and exhortac[i]on as I have given them. /

Item I bequeath to the three prisons of Newgate Kings bench
the mershallsee [5], and to Betholem five poundes, to be distributed to the poore prisoners there as by
Mr Huse shalbe thoughte good /

Item I will that the leace of my house in Ive lane shalbe offered to the Deane and Chapter of
Pawles to be sowlde, yf they will redeme the same for three hundred poundes to be paied to my executor
And they to have the same leace for that some / And yf they shall refuse to give three hundreth poundes
for my saide leace and terme / Then I will the same leace to be solde for as moche as my executors
maie have resonably for hit / And Mr Husse to have the prefermente of hit yf he will give as moche
as anie other person will doe for hit / The monney procedinge of the saide leace I will be distri
buted by myne executor accordinge to his conscience, and suche declarac[i]on as I have made to hym
uppon some ornaments of the highe Alter of Paules in plate as basons Sensors Candlesticks
and suche lyke to the value of one hundreth poundes.

Item for my Sepulture with an Alter
or monumente of the salutation of our Ladie, yf my brethern the Dean and Chapter shall
thereunto accorde withe myne executor to be made there in Alabaster or other matter as to
the saide Mr Huse shall seme good for thornamente of the Church godds glorie and my poore

Item I bequeath to the common beniffitt of the pettie Cannons xx Li in monney. /
Item to the vicars Chorall xLi And to the Chorysters of Paules xLi. Item to the late barnard
Colledge in Oxforde soche nomber of my bookes as myne executors shall thinke good. Item
I give to Mrs Huse my lyttle stone potte / And to Mr Huse my greate stone pote, eache of
them armed with silver and gilte. Item I will a grate of Iron to be made at my charges
before the highe Alter of Paules to bare the people from the Mynysters at Masse tyme
yf hit shall be thoughte so conveniente. I will the ij Challesis which I have shalbe
restored the one to the belfrie of Paules thother to Master Deanes Chappell on the
southe side of Paules / And I will that my executors demande and aske of Sr Thomas
Denice knight of Devonshire one hundreth pounds whiche he doth owe unto me w[hi]ch
I lente unto hym to purchase lande of Kinge Henrie the eighte of the whiche hundrethe
poundes I bequeath and give to my Ladie Denys his wief, And my sister xl Li if she
be a lyve at the tyme of my deceace / or elce the same xl Li to be given to Gabriel Denys
my godson, yf he lyve, or elce to my god doughter my Cosen Robarte Dennys doughter
The residue of my goodds and Chattells (yf any shalbe) I require myne Executors to bestowe
at theire discrecions to the advancemente of poore maidens mariages Releef of Scollers,

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And Students specially to soche as myne Executors shall thinke metest as shalbe towarde lerninge disposed to be preests and ministers of Christes Churche. I will Sr Andrew Judd to be paide those fortie shillings which I owe him. I give to Mr Huse my Advowson of Grantham [6], he frely to dispose of the same where hit shall pleace him / And also I give to Mr Henrie Harvie one of my mawdelyn boxes of silver and gilte he to have his choice of them.

Of this my laste will I make constitute and ordaine Mr Anthone Huse Esquire (to whome I have given specill charge, and in Whome I repose my singular truste and confidence) myne executor, requiringe also Mr Doctor Henrie Harvye to be one other of my executors / And I give to the saide Mr Harvye for his paines xx Li And to Mr Huse other xx Li for his paines, over and above the legaces above menc[i]oned to them given. And to eache of them a morninge gowne / The costs charges and expences of theire travells aboute this my will to be borne, and sustained of my goods. I will xij gownes to be given and made to xij poore men at the daie of my buriall / They to be suche as shalbe thoughte moste metest by the discresion of my executors to have them. And so to see me honestlie broughte to my buriall And yf any ambiguytie or dogughte shall rise by any legacie or clause contained in this my Will and Testam[en]t I will the same to be expounded and declared by the same Mr Huse, for that he best knoweth my mynde which I have declared unto hym. And all men that shall have beniffite by this my Will to stande to his declarac[i]on without sute or contention uppon paine to lose the thinge and things to hym or them bequeathed. In witnes whereof to this my present Testamente and Laste Will I have subscribed my name with my owne hande in the presence of the witnes undernamed, yeven [7] ye daye and yeres above menc[i]oned, by me Gabriell Donne preeste Cannon Residenciarie and stagiary of the Cathedrall Churche of Sainte Paule in London / ex Anio / by me Robert Wigge, by me Thomas Waye by me John Wight, by me Nicholas Jugloude./

Memorandum the Fyfte daye of December Anno 1558 / being the firste yere of the Raigne of ower Soveraigne Ladie Quene Elizabeth by the grace of god etcr. The saide Mr Gabriell beinge of good and parfect memorie in the morninge of the same daie by waye of Codecill reservinge his former will gave to certaine p[er]sons the legacies ensuing, that is to saye, to Mr John Harpesselde Doctor of Theologie Archdeacon of London a little image of golde of a lidions hed / Item to Master Henrie Cromwell a rounde Rynge of golde withe letters of A. And B. engraved on hit. Item to Fraunces Cromwell a round hoope of golde with a Scutchin or armes engraved in hit. Item to Mrs Margaret Argall, the wyef of Mr Thomas Argall a lyttell ringe with a smalle Rubie, and one other stone / Item to John Wore and Will[ia]m Walker his serv[a]nts a rounde hoope ringe of golde p[ar]te able betwene them. Item to Alice Gibson the woman sev[a]nte a Jewell of golde. Item to Master Anthony Huse his executor a ringe of golde with his armes then and there beinge presente Master John Harpesfeild Mr John Haywarde Sebastian Wescotte John Jucene and other p[er]sons. Item at afternone of the saide daye, the saide Testator gave and bequeathed to Donne a scower of Capps in the olde bayly a blacke gowne and six shillings eight pence in monney. Item to Mr John Fryer Doctor of Fissicke a littell ringe of golde with a dedmans hed graven on hit.

Probate in Latin - seventh day of the month of December Annon Domini 1560 appeared personally Mr Henry Harvye one of the named executors

Will of Gabriell Donne 1558 in: Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 43 Mellershe (1559-1560) The National Archives, Kew, England. Image on Ancestry Accessed 21 August 2021.

The will is also transcribed in folio 16 of 42A: Welles https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/5111/images/prob_11-42a-00250?ssrc=&backlabel=Return The only material difference is this version has:
"Item I give and bequeath to the poore people of Stebenhithe x Li" after the bequest to the prisoners of Kings Bench, Marshallsea and Bethlehem.
Probate granted 14 December 1558 to Anthonij Husse the executor named.


  1. Will of Gabriell Donne 1558 in: Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 42A Welles (1558) folio 16 The National Archives, Kew, England. Image on Ancestry Accessed 21 August 2021.
  2. Will of Gabriell Donne 1560 in: Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Series PROB 11; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 43 Mellershe (1559-1560) The National Archives, Kew, England. Image on Ancestry Accessed 21 August 2021.
  3. Both the Sicilies
  4. Hapsburg
  5. Marshallsea prison
  6. Grantham, a parish in Lincolnshire
  7. yeven, an archaic form of given

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