Will of Silvester Force of Norwich 1600

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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, Englandmap
Surnames/tags: Force Wells
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Will of Silvester Force of Norwich, proved at the Episcopal Consistory Court, Norwich 30 March 1600. [1]

Silvester Force was a worsted weaver who lived in the parish of St George Colegate, Norwich, here referred to as St George Beyond the Water. He wrote his will (being sick in body) on 28 March 1599, and was buried at that church on 18 December 1599.

Silvester mentioned a wife Elizabeth, son Silvester and daughter Mary, all of who he left property in the parish of St George Colegate.

He left money and a ring to his friend, the Reverend William Wells, to preach a sermon at his funeral. This William Wells would marry the widowed Elizabeth Force on 1 February 1600/01.

The copy will is the first in the folio and has a beautifully illuminated first page.

Illuminated first page of the will of Silvester Force

The transcription below has spelling and punctuation as per the original.
Ligatures and abbreviations have been expanded in [square brackets].
Line breaks and bold highlighting are my own for ease of reading.

In the name of God Amen
The Eight and Twenty daye of March in the one and Fortieth yere of the Reigne of Sov[er]igne Lady Quene Elizabeth &c and in the yere of ou[r] Lord god one thousand Five hundred Fower Skore and nintene
I Silvester Force of the Citty of Norwich Worsted weaver being sicke in Body but whole in minde and of good and p[er]fect Rememberaunce Lauded be god doe make and ordaine this my Last Will and Testament as followeth vidzt

First and principally I give and bequeathe my Soule into the mercifull handes of Allmightie god my creator and his only sonne Jesus Christ my Redeemer and my savio[ur] through whose onely death and pass[io]n and not by my onely merits

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And my body to be buryed in the p[ar]ish church of St Georges beyound the Water within the cittie of Norwich wherein I nowe dwell for the breaking up of the ground whereof I will & my mind is that my Executrice shall paye the church Wardens to the same p[ar]ish towads the amendm[en]t and Rep[ar]acon of the same Church so much as hath ben Accustomably payd in like Case and I give more to be put into ye p[ar]ish church Chest of the same p[ar]ish to be used and ymployed at the good discretion of the p[ar]ishnours there Fortye shillings

Item I give & bequeathe to Mr Will[iam] Welles preacher of the Word Twenty shillings in money and a gold Ring desiring him to make a Sermon at the time of my buryall

Item I will and my minde is that my Executrice shall cause to be bestowed amongest the poore at the tyme of my buryall Five poundes at hir discretion

Item I give and bequeath to Elizabeth all that my Capitall messuage w[i]th the howse yardes gardens and growdes there unto belonging as the same as nowe used by my selfe And nowe occupyed in my owne handes p[ar]te of the grownd whereof was sometime belonging to my other tenem[en]ts there were adioying & nowe se--ed by a stonewall w[hi]ch wall belong unto my capitall messuage scytuate lying and being within the Citty of Norwich

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To have and to hould the same my capitall messuage and other p[re]mises above menconed to be bequeathed with their appurtenances p[er]fetts and commodities to the same Elizabeth my wife her Executors and Assignes for the daye of my decease untill my sonne Silvester Force shall or may attaine unto his full Age of one and twenty yeres And then I will & my mynde is that the same Silvester my sonne when hee shall attaine unto his said Age of xxj yeres shall have my fore said capitall messuage and all and singular the aforenamed p[re]misses above to my Wyfe bequeathed w[i]th thee appurtenannces To have & to houlde the same Capitall messuage and other pr[e]misses to the same Silvest[e]r my sonne his heires and Assignes for ever

Notw[i]thstanding my minde and will is that my said sonne Silvest[e]r shall paye or cause to be paid unto my Daughter Marye Force w[i]thin one yere next insuing after he shall Attaine unto his said Age of one & twenty yeres for recompence of such grownds as late belonged to my other Temem[en]ts and nowe united unto & occupied w[i]th my said Capitall messuage xx Ls

And that yf default of paym[e]t thereof be made then I will and my mind is that the same money my daughter shall have to hir & hir heires for ev[er] all the fore said grownds late belonging to my other Tenem[en[]ts and and purchased w[i]th

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The same in as Ample mann[er] as the same heretofore belonged to the same

Item I doe further give and bequeathe to the same Silvester Force my sonne one hundreth pounds to be paide unto him by my said Wyfe being my Executrice at his full Age of xxj yeres

Item furthermore I doe give and bequeathe unto the same Elizabeth my Wyfe All those my my Tenem[en]ts w[i]th the yardes & growndes therto adioyning and now occupyed w[i]th the same scituate lying and being with the same Cittye of Norw[i]ch nere unto my said Capitall Messuage wherin John Howell and others nowe dwell To have and to hould the same Tenem[en]ts w[i]th the yards grownds and appurtenances nowe thereunto belonging as the same are nowe in the occupying of the same John Howell and others to my said Wife he Executores and Assignes from the daye of my decease until Marye my Daughter shall or may Attaine unto her Age Nintene yeres And then I give and bequeath And my minde and Will is that the same Marie my Daughter shall have the same Tenements and other the pr[e]misses last abovementioned with the Appurtenances in such mann[er] as the same are bequeathed to my said wife To have and to hould the same Tenem[en]ts w[i]th thappurtenannces to the same marye my Daughter her heires and Assignes for ever

I doe further give & bequeath

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To the same Marye my daughter one hundreth marks to be payde unto hir by my said wife Moreover my mind and Will is that if it fortune eyther of the fornamed Silvester Force my sonne and the same Mary my daughter to dye & dep[ar]te this lyfe before he or she shall attaine unto their sev[er]all Ages above lymitted w[i]thout yssue of their bodies lawefully begotten That then the survyvor of the same Silvester of Mary shall have to him or her and the his or their heires such p[ar]te and porcyon of my said messuage Tenem[en]ts and growndes as to him or her so deceasing is lymitted & appointed as above said And futhermore my minde and will is that yf both my said son Symond [sic] and my said daughter Mary doe dye before they doe Attaine unto their sev[er]all Ages above lymitted not having yssue of one of their bodyes lawfully begotten lyvinge That then the foresaid Elizabeth my said Wife shall as as well my said Capitall messuage as also my said Tenements w[i]th all and singular my houses yardes grounds gardens and appurtenances to the same belonging To have and to hould the same to the same Elizabeth my wife her heires and Assignes forev[er]

Item Furthermore I doe give & bequeath unto my sonne Silvester Force the filde bedsted w[i]th the fetherbed bolster pillowes blanck[et]s sheetes covering and all that belongeth thereunto as it nowe standeth in the Chamber on my litle new p[ar]lor

Item moreov[er] I doe give unto my daughter

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Mary Force the bedstead fether bed bolster pyllow blanck[et]s sheets & cov[er]ing of Tapestry and all that belongeth thereunto as it now standaeth in my P[ar]lor nere streetes sid[e]

And I give unto Will[ia]m Pawling my mackerell wale goune [2]

The residue of all my goods & chattelles debts plate Jewelles howshould stuff [3] moveabeles before not bequeathed my debts my Legacies & funeralles discharged I give them wholly to the aforenamed Elizabeth my welbeloved Wyfe Whome I ordaine constitute & make sole Executrice of this my last will & testament

And I doe also make my trusty good frend Mr Wm Letteringham Supervisor of the same praying him as my trust is in him to be ayding & assisting to my said Wyfe as occasion shall requier
And I give him for his paines herin to be taken xl s

In Witnes wherof to this my pr[e]sent Last Will & testam[en]t being contained in iiij sheets of pap[er] I have sett my hand & seale gyven the daie & yere first above Written

These being Witness p[er] me Georgin[-] Pendendleton Thomas Cooke & me Hen: Pendelton

Probate granted at Norwich xxx die mensis martij Anno Dom 1600 (30 March 1600)


  1. Will of Silvester Force 1600 in: Probate records for the Episcopal Consistory Court, Archdeaconry of Norwich Regd. copy wills vol. 96 1600 Force Folio 1 full images on Family Search Accessed 5 June 2021
  2. probably an overgarment, but I am unable to find a reference for this
  3. house-hold stuff

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