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Will of John Pethowse (Pettus) 1558

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This is a transcription of the register copy of the Will of John Pethowse (Pettus) of Norwich. It was written on 25 July 1558 and proved at the Archdeaconary Court of Norwich on 11 April 1559. [1] John died within a month of writing his will and was buried at the church of St Simon and St Jude on 28 August 1558.
The transcription is as per the original spelling, line breaks and punctuation. Abbreviations have been expanded in [square brackets]
This is followed by a version in modern English for ease of reading.


Persons mentioned

  • Jone his deceased wife
  • Beatrix his current wife
  • Mr Grenewood Alderman of Norwich
  • Robart Gowldinge his former tenant
  • John Pethowse his godson
  • Thomas Pethowse his son's son
  • Elizabeth Pethowse his son's daughter
  • Alexander Pethowse his son's son
  • William Pethowse a saddler (relationship unknown)
  • John Mallord a godson
  • John Scotte a tailor
  • Dorothye Pleasance relationship unknown
  • Mr John Bateman of Cambridge
  • Henry Deryke Bachelor of Arts
  • Besse his servant, unmarried
  • Thomas Pethows his son and executor

Transcription with the original spelling and punctuation

In the Name of God Amen ye
xxvth Daye of Julye in ye yeare of ou[r] lord god
1558 I John Pethowse Cytezen of Norw[i]ch
Taylor beinge of hole mynde & p[er]fyte Reme
brance thanks be to god Do make yis my testament
& laste will in man[ne]r & forme folowinge fyrst
I com[m]ende my sowle into thands of Almytye
god an[d] ladye Saynte marye & all tholye company
of heven my bodye to be buryed by ye churche
dore of ye p[ar]ishe of Sainte Symon & iude wh
reay Jone my wyfe was buryed Item I gyve to
ye highe auter on ye same Churche iiiLi to be payde
vis viiid by yere Item I gyve to ye rep[ar]acion of ye
foresaid Churche xls Item I will yt there
be bestowed At my buryall Daye & xxxte daye
to be Distributyd amonge ye poore & for other
chargesof my Funerall xiijLi vjs viijd Item I will
yt Beatrix my wyfe shall have ger dwelling
in ye howse yt I bought of Mr Grenewood
sum tyme Alderman of norwiche Duringe thole
terme of her naturall lyffe wt suche Ro[o]me
as Robart Gowldinge sumtyme my tennte
had whan he dwelled there also I gyve
unto hyar ij posted bedds as they stande iiij payre
of shette ij brase pootts ij panns iij candelstyke

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ij spets a payer of Anndorns A large panne A
cubboarde a table & trestles belongying to ye
same ij fourmes ij chayres and carpett one tab
le clothe iiij Dysshes & ij plattersItem I gyve unto
ye beatryx my wyfe yerlye & Ev[er]y yeare du
ringe hyr sayde lyfe iiijLi of lawfull money of
Englande to be payde unto her at ij tymes
in ye yere by thands of myne Executors att
which said legarce gifte & bequeste before
gyven & bequethed unto ye said beatrix
my wyfe I gyve bequethe & will yt she
shall have theym uppon this condycion
folowinge yt is to saye yt she shall not claym
or demannde anye righte tystle or intereste
for hyr Dowrye in any of my howse tenements
or gardeyns wt their appurten[a]nces being
lieng wt in ye Cyttye of Norwiche or ellse where
& ytt she shall Do all other things Quietlye
we ought trowbling or vexing my Executur
& yf she shall refuse so to do yt than my
mynde & will is yt all my forsayd legaces
to hyr given & bequethed shalbe frustrate
& voyde It[e]m I gyve to John Pethowse my
god sone my howse yt I now dwell in
after his Fathers Decesse & ye beste bedde

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in ye greate Chamber holi as it standeth
allso ye bedde in ye hall chamber as it standeth
& iiij payre of shetts It[e]m I give unto Thomas
Pethows my sonne sonne xLi of lawfull money
of England to be payde unto hym at the
Daye of his marrage It[e]m I gyve unto Elizabeth
Pethows my sonnes Doughter viLi xiijs iiijd to be
payde unto hyr at ye Daye of her marrage
& one bedde as it standethe ov[er] ye buttrye my
greate redde cheest bounde wt yron as it stondeth
in ye grene chamber wt halfe ye lynnen yt
is in ye Conntery It[e]m I gyve unto ye same
Elizabethe too brasse potts ij pannes ij spets
vi platters wch stuff I will also be deliv[er]ed
unto hyr at ye Daye of hyr marrage It[e]m
I gyve unto Alexander Pethows my sonnes
sonne vLi to be payd unto hym when he
shall Accomplishe thage of xxiiij tie yeres provided
all waye yt if anye of my sonnes chyldren
before named shall dep[ar]te yis worlde before
their legace shalbe due yt than I will ye
legacyes of them yt shall so Dep[ar]te to remayne
to my Executor It[e]m I gyve unto Will[ia]m
Pethows sadler xxs It[e]m I gyve unto ev[er]ie
one of my godchildren xiid It[e]m I gyve to
John Mallord my godsone xxs It[e]m I gyve
unto John Scotte taylour one of my olde

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Gownes It[e]m I gyve to viij poore folke
viij gownes of Frese to be worne at my
buriall It[e]m I gyve to Dorothye Pleasance
xs It[e]m I gyve to mr John Bateman of
Cambridge xls Itm I gyve to Henrye
Deryke bacheler of arte xxs Itm I will yt
myne Execut shall kepe and obyte yerely
by ye space of vii yeres after my Dep[ar]tinge
Itm I gyve to besse my s[er]vante xls
to be pd hir at yeDaye of hyr marrage
ye Residue of all my goods whatsoev[er] ych
be aswell moveable as unmoveable un
bequethed I gyve & bequethe them unto
Thomas Pethows my sonne whom
I orden[e] & make my sole executor
Desiring hym to take payns in disposing
my legaces and Bequestes as he knoweth my
mynde & will is &c testem Walter
Benyngty Byme Thomas Whall wytnes

Transcription in modern English

In the Name of God Amen the 25th day of July in the year of our Lord God 1558 I John Pethowse (Pettus) Citizen of Norwich, tailor being of whole mind & perfect remembrance, thanks be to God, Do make this my testament & last will in manner & form following

First I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God and Lady Saint Mary & all the holy company of heaven. My body to be buried by the church door of the parish of Saint Symon & Jude where Jone my wife was buried.

Item I give to the high altar of the same Church 3 pounds to be paid, 6 shillings 8 pence by year.

Item I give to the reparations of the aforesaid Church 40 shillings

Item I will that there be bestowed at my burial day & on 30 days after, to be distributed among the poor & for other charges of my Funeral 13 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence

Item I will that Beatrix my wife shall have her dwelling in the house that I bought of Mr. Grenewood (sometime Alderman of Norwich) during the whole term of her natural life with such rooms as Robart Gowldinge (sometime my tenant) had when he dwelled there. Also I give unto her 2 posted beds as they stand, 4 pairs of sheets, 2 brass pots, 2 pans, 3 candlesticks, 2 spits, a pair of andirons, a large pan, a cupboard, a table & trestles belonging to the same, 2 forms, 2 chairs and carpet, one table cloth, 4 dishes & 2 platters

Item I give unto the said Beatrix my wife yearly & every year during her said life, 4 pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto her at 2 times in the year by the hands of my Executors. At which said legacy gift & bequest before given & bequeathed unto said Beatrix my wife, I give bequeath & will that she shall have them upon this condition following (that is to say) that she shall not claim or demand any right title or interest for her dowry in any of my houses, tenements or gardens with their appurtenances being and lying within the City of Norwich or else where; & that she shall do all other things quietly without troubling or vexing my Executor. And if she shall refuse so to do that, than my mind & will is that all my aforesaid legacies to her given & bequeathed shall be frustrate [in vain] & void.

Item: I give to John Pethowse my godson my house that I now dwell in after his Father's decease & the best bed in the great Chamber wholly as it stands, also the bed in the hall chamber as it stands & 4 pairs of sheets

Item I give unto Thomas Pethows my son's son 10 pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto him at the day of his marriage

It[e]m I give unto Elizabeth Pethows my son's daughter 6 pounds 8 shillings and 4 pence to be paid unto her at the day of her marriage & one bed as it stands over the "buttrye" [2] my great red chest bound with iron as it stands in the green chamber with half the linen that it contains

Item I give unto the same Elizabeth two brass pots, 2 pans, 2 spits, 6 platters, which stuff I will also be delivered unto her at the day of her marriage

Item I give unto Alexander Pethows my son's son 5 pounds to be paid unto him when he shall accomplish the age of 24 years, provided always that if any of my son's children before named shall depart this world before their legacy shall be due, that then I will the legacies of them that shall so depart [die] to remain to my Executor

Item I give unto William Pethows saddler 20 shillings

Item I give unto every one of my godchildren 12 pence

Item I give to John Mallord my godson 20 shillings

Item I give unto John Scotte tailor, one of my old gowns

Item I give to 8 poor folk 8 gowns of Frese [3] to be worn at my burial

Item I give to Dorothye Pleasance 10 shillings

Item I give to Mr John Bateman of Cambridge 40 shillings

Item I give to Henrye Deryke, Bachelor of Arts [4] 20 shillings

Item I will that my Executor shall keep and obyte yearly by the space of 7 years after my Departing

Item I give to Besse my servant 40 shillings to be paid to her at the day of her marriage

The Residue of all my goods whatsoever (which be as well moveable as unmoveable) which are unbequeathed, I give & bequeath them unto Thomas Pethows my son who I ordain & make my sole executor, desiring him to take pains in disposing of my legacies and bequests, as he knows what my mind & will is etc.

Signature of the testator

Walter Benyngty Byme, Thomas Whall witnesses


  1. Will of John Pethowse in Archdeaconry Court of Norwich Probate records, Hitchcocke L. 12 folio 243. Norfolk Record Office, Norwich, Norfolk, England. Image on FamilySearch Accessed 17 November 2021
  2. Maybe in the chamber over buttery
  3. a coarse cloth
  4. probably a cleric

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Comments: 3

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Good. There was a Buttery Chamber with "one Bedsteede with Featherbed and all the Furniture therevnto belonging" in the Probate Inventory on Mr William Thorowgood of Grimston’s death in 1625 (your Will of Rev William Thorowgood, Grimston, Norfolk, England 1625 note 3). Do you want me to add my transcription of it or is it on Wikitree somewhere already? Don't feel obliged to say yes.
posted by Adrian Brockett
Hi Jo

A really brilliant job you have done here, and in the overall https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Transcribing_and_Interpreting_English_Wills. You have given me an idea to put up some of my transcriptions :) Re your note 2 to this Will of John Pethowse, yes the buttrye will have been the buttery, but I believe the word before it (but one) is ou' rather than on', i.e. ou[er] or modernised over. So I imagine there would have been some sort of small chamber, or perhaps storage space, over the buttery with a bed in it. Does that sound right?

posted by Adrian Brockett
Thanks for the kind words Adrian - you are bang on with the abbreviation of over, and I have made the change accordingly. Jo
posted by Jo Fitz-Henry