This is a transcript of the register copy of the will of James Fowler, yeoman, of the parish of St Decumans in Somerset, England.
The will was written on the 16th of February 1653/4. It was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on the 16th of May 1656. The register copy of the will is now catalogued with the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills at The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, England.
Spelling and punctuation are as the register copy.
In the name of God Amen the sixteenth day of Februarie One thousand sixe hundred Fiftie three I James Fowler the elder in the parish of saint Decumans within the county of Somersett yeoman being growen in yeares and diseased in body yet of sound and perfect memorie (Thanks begin unto God) Doe make and institute and appoint this my Testament Conteyninge herein my last will in maner and forme following Imprimis I commend my soule into the mercifull hands of Almightie god through the merritte and mediation of our Saviour Jesus Christ And my body to christian buriall, Alsoe I revoake and admitt all and every Will and bequest heretofore by mee nominated and made Item I give to the poore of this parish of saint Decumans Tenn shillings Item I give unto my sonne John Fowler being my elder sonne, my furnace pann, and the bedd and all the bedding and other houshould goods which are usually in the chamber within the hall, And alsoe in other Roomes All the Table boards, Cupboards, boards, formes stoules barrells and all other timber stuffe and necessary Tooles and implements belonginge to the house Item I give to my sonne James my Tenement at Townesend late in the tenure of Thomas Dicke with one acre of land called Buckham anexed thereunto Item I give and bequeath unto my sonnes John and James my Chattle of Bromebull and Bremland ioyntly to have it att the death of my wife Beatrice to them and assignes of them, paying within one yeare off her death Fourtie three pounds and Tenn shillings toward the payment of legacies upon this my Will hereafter exprest Whereof my sonne John is to pay Thirtie pounds, whereof is Fifteene pounds to be paid to Jone my daughter, the wife of William Bynford, and five pounds to Jone the daughter of William Bynford, and then there is Five pounds to be paid to Marie, and Five pounds to Beatrice both daughters of Thomas Greenslade And my sonne James is to pay Thirteene pounds and tenn shillings (That is to say) John Bynford, James Bynford, Edward Bynford and Jone theire sister, being my grandchildren twentie shillings apeece And unto James Bynford and William Bynford sonnes of William Bynford Twenty shillings apeece And unto Jone the daughter of my sonne John Fowler Twenty shillings, And unto Edward Greenslade William Greenslade Phillipp Greenslade James Greenslade, Richard Greenslade sonnes of Thomas Greenslade twentie shillings apeece, And to Honour Courte If she be a servant here at the death of my Executrix Twentie shillings, And the Tenn shillings given to the poore Item I give to my daughter Jone Bynford, my best brasse pann, and the standing bedstead and bedinge perfourmed in the buttry Chamber Item I give to my daughter Florence the bedd whereon I usually lye perfourmde Item I give also unto my daughter Florence I give fower pounds to be paid out of my Chattle of Broomeball and Broomeland yearely soe longe as she lives If my sonnes in inioy the Chattle, John paying Fourtie shillings yearely And James paying payinge Fourtie shillings yearely My will is If my sonnes are not, neither therie assignes possest of the Chattle, these legacies given upon this my Will payable out of my Chattle of Broomebull and Broomeland shall be utterly voyd, and noe thinge thereof to be paid Alsoe my will is that my sonne James is to have my Tenement at Townesend presently upon my death, All my goods and Chattells not given upon this my last will and Testament, my debts being paid and my funerall expences dischardged I give and bequeath unto Beatrice my Wife Whom I make my Whole and sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament Wittnes the day and yeare first above Written. The marke of James Fowler the elder, Published acknowledged and subscribed in the presence of George Dawe William Bynford.
This will was proved att London before the Judges for probate of wills and granting Administrations lawfully authorized the sixteenth day of May in the yeare of our lord god one thousand sixe hundred Fiftie and sixe by the oath of Beatrice Fowler the relict and sole Executrix of the said deceased named in the said will To whom Administration of all and singular the goods Chattells and debts of the said deceased was Committed Shee beinge first by Commission sworne truely to administer the same.
- James' son, John Fowler, baptised in June 1611 in St Decumans. About 42 years old when the will was written.
- James' son, James Fowler, baptised on on the 8th of September 1616 in St Decumans. About 37 years old when the will was written.
- Thomas Dicke, previous owner of James' tenement in Townsend.
- James' wife and the sole executrix of his will, Beatrice Fowler (nee Pound).
- James' daughter, Joan Binford (nee Fowler), baptised in November 1606 in St Decumans. About 48 years old when the will was written.
- James' son-in-law, William Binford, husband of Joan. One of the witnesses of the will.
- James' granddaughter, Joan Binford, daughter of Joan and William, baptised on the 7th of September 1636 in St Decumans. About 17 years old when the will was written.
- James' granddaughter, Mary Greenslade, daughter of Florence and Thomas, baptised on the 5th of August 1633 in St Decumans. About 20 years old when the will was written.
- James' granddaughter, Beatrice Greenslade, daughter of Florence and Thomas, baptised in June 1647 in Knowstone. About 6 years old when the will was written.
- James' son-in-law, Thomas Greenslade, husband of Florence.
- James' grandson, John Binford, son of Joan and William.
- James' grandson, James Binford, son of Joan and William.
- James' grandson, Edward Binford, son of Joan and William.
- James' grandson, William Binford, son of Joan and William, baptised on the 29th of December 1639 at St Decumans. About 14 years old when the will was written.
- James' granddaughter, Joan Fowler, daughter of John.
- James' grandson, Edward Greenslade, son of Florence and Thomas, baptised on the 14th of October 1638 in Knowstone. About 15 years old when the will was written.
- James' grandson, William Greenslade, son of Florence and Thomas, baptised on the 29th of December 1640 in Knowstone. About 13 years old when the will was written.
- James' grandson, Phillipp Greenslade, son of Florence and Thomas, baptised on the 3rd of September 1642 in Knowstone. About 11 years old when the will was written.
- James' grandson, James Greenslade, son of Florence and Thomas, baptised in 1644 in Knowstone. About 9-10 years old when the will was written.
- James' grandson, Richard Greenslade, son of Florence and Thomas, baptised in 1651 in Knowstone. About 2-3 years old when the will was written.
- Honour Courte, a servant in the Fowler household.
- James' daughter, Florence Greenslade (nee Fowler), baptised on the 21st of March 1612/3 in St Decumans. About 40 years old at the time the will was written.
- George Dawe, one of the witnesses of the will.
- Reference: PROB 11/255/327, Description: Will of James Fowler, Yeoman of Saint Decumans, Somerset, Date: 16 May 1656. The National Archives online.
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