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Will of Margarett Cowper of Hingham, 1581

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This is a transcript of the registered will of Margarette Cowper of Hingham. It was written on 14 January 1580/1 and proved at Norwich on 23 May 1581.[1]

The image quality was fair and the handwriting very legible.
Spelling, punctuation and line breaks are as per the original document.
Crossings through have been included struck out
Paragraph breaks at change of bequest, and bold text are my own for ease of reading.
Where present, the obsolete letter Thorn has been rendered as th, and ff has been rendered as F
Abbreviations and breviographs have been expanded in [square brackets]


Persons mentioned:

  • Peter Cowper, [deceased husband]
  • John Cowper, my sonne, executor
  • Lorde Morley
  • John Longe?
  • Thomas Cowper, my sonne, executor
  • Peter Cowper, son
  • George Cowper, son
  • Robert Cowper, son
  • Richarde Cowper, son
  • Anthonie Cowper, son
  • Bridget Cowper, son
  • Joanne Sansome
  • John Cadie of Greate Elingham, supervisor
  • Willi[a]m Stavelie, witness
  • Richard Wright, witness
  • Roberte Constable

In the name of god amen
This fourtenthe daye of January in the xxiijth yeare
of the raygne of our sovereigne ladie Elizabethe by
the grace of god quene of Englande Fraunce and
Irelande defender of the faythe &c. I Margarette
Cowper of Hengham in the countie of Norff[olk] widowe
late the wieffe of Peter Cowper deceased beinge in
good and hole mynde praysed be god doe ordeyne & make
this my presente testamente & Laste Will in manner &
forme followinge (refusinge settinge voyde & adnullinge
all other testamentes and willes by me made in tymes
paste) Firste I bequeathe my soule unto the mercie
of almightie god And my bodie to be buried in the
churchyarde of Hengham aforesayde

Item I will
that myne executors shall doe suche deedes of charitie
unto the poore in the day of my decease as by therie
discretion shall seeme moste conveniente.

Item I do give
and bequeathe unto John Cowper my sonne to his executors
& assignes all my terme tyme & intereste that I
have of & in one inclose conteyninge by estimac[i]on
fyve acres sometyme in the occupienge of John Longe
nowe deceased lienge in Hengham aforesayde which I
nowe have & holde with certeyne other groundes by
vertue of a leace thereof to me made by the righte
honorable Lorde Morley To have & to holde the
sayde Inclose soe conteyninge by estimac[i]on fyve acres
to the sayde John Cowper his executors administrators
and assignes from the day of my decease untill the
ende of the terme specified in the sayde Lease yeldinge
unto the Lorde of the same close yearelie duringe

[Page 2]
soe longe as the same John or his executors or assignes
shall soe occupie the same xiiijs[?] as p[ar]cell of the yearelie
rente reserved by the sayde leace Item I doe give and
bequeathe unto Thomas Cowper my sonne to his executors
administrators & assignes all my terme tyme and intereste
which I have of & in all & singuler the reste of those
groundes that I holde by leace of the sayde Lorde Morleye
The same Thomas his executors and
assignes yeldinge and payinge yearelie unto the
Lorde thereof duringe soe longe tyme as he the same
Thomas his executors & assignes or any of them shall
soe occupie the same all the reste of the yearlie rente
or ferme reserved by the sayde Leace that ys to saye
viijs vjd Item I doe give & bequeathe unto Bridget
Cowper my daughter to her executors & assignes my
beste gowne my thirde gowne my worsted kirtle my
twoe beste peticoates my beste pere of upe seamed sheetes
of x yardes twoe bearinge sheetes all my kerchers rayles
napkins and one double rayle to be delivered unto her
ymediatelie after my decease Item I doe give and
bequeathe unto Johane Sansome sometyme my s[er]vante
my worste freese gowne my ij worste peticoates twoe
smockes ij workingday aprons Item I will thatt all
suche debtes as I doe owe shalbe payde oute of my
goodes accordinge to the rule of good conscience Item
all the rest of my goodes stuffe of householde cattelles
and debtes not before nor hereafter given nor bequeathed
I doe give and bequeathe them unto Thomas Cowper
John Cowper Peter Cowper George Cowper Robert
Cowper Richarde Cowper Anthonie Cowper and Bridget
Cowper my children Equallie to be devided amonge them
Item I doe constitute ordeyne and make the sayde Thomas
Cowper and John Cowper my sonnes the executors of this
my presente testamente and Laste Will and I will
that John Cadie of greate Elingham to be supervisor of

[Page 3]

this the same my testamente and Last Will for & to
that entente that he maye see and cause the same
to be trulie p[er]formed accordinge to my meaninge afore
specified unto whome I doe give & bequeathe for his
paynes herein to be taken vjs viijd and his costes
In witness whereof hereunto I have set my seale
the daye & yeare first above written Theise beinge
witnesses Will[ia]m Stavelie Richarde Wrighte &
Roberte Constable Junior and my selfe John Cadie

[translated from Latin]

This testament was proved at Norwich before the Venerable Master William Maister, Doctor of Laws, Vicar-General of the aforesaid Bishop in spirituals, on the 23rd day of the month of May in the year of Our Lord 1581 etc. Administration of the goods etc was granted to the executors named in this testament, to well and faithfully administer the same etc. personally sworn on the Holy Gospels etc saving rights etc inventory examined


  1. Will of Margarette Cowper 1582, Episcopal Consistory Court, Archdeaconry of Norwich Regd. copy wills vol. 82 1580-1582, Norwich Record Office; digital images, FamilySearch, FHL Digital Collection, DGS 8076495, image 263-4 of 652.] Accessed 7 February 2022

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