The Will of Anne Cruse of Moretonhampstead, Cruwys Morchard and Rackenford

Proved 9 April 1586

© Crown Copyright

National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/69,
Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Windsor Register Folio 19

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

Anne CRUSE née KEYNES was the daughter of Humphrey KEYNES of Winkleigh. The KEYNES are a very ancient Devon family who at one time wielded considerable power in the county. Not long after the Norman Conquest the manor of Winkleigh was divided into two parts - Winkleigh Keynes and Winkleigh Tracey. Charles WORTHY suggests that "Winkleigh Keynes was in the possession of the family of Keynes as early as the reign of Henry II [1154-1189], and continued with them for fifteen descents ... In all probability land at Winkleigh was first bestowed upon Sir Wm. Keynes as a reward for services rendered to Robert, Earl of Gloucester, who, having first retired beyond the sea, renounced his allegiance to King Stephen, and landed in England with his half-sister, the Empress Matilda, and a small retinue of knights in 1139."1 Several generations later Thomas KEYNES married Joan, the sister of Walter STAPLEDON, Bishop of Exeter, who was unceremoniously beheaded in 1326 by the citizens of London at the "great cross in Cheap". Bishop STAPLEDON was later interred with much splendour in Exeter Cathedral where his tomb can be seen on the north side of the choir. John KEYNES from the same illustrious family was also a man of considerable influence for, in 1399 in the first year of the reign of Henry IV, he was appointed High Sheriff of Devon. The KEYNES family gave their name to Keynes Castle in Winkleigh which was formerly the manor house and was, according to Charles WORTHY's description, an imposing structure: "It must have once been a place of great strength, and stood upon an oval mound, 144 feet across from north to south, and 104 from east to west, and 44 feet high, and it is still nearly surrounded by a deep moat."2 The manor of Winkleigh Keynes was sold by John KEYNES at an unspecified date, probably in the early 1500s. By the time of the 1524-1527 Subsidy Rolls there are no KEYNES living in Winkleigh and the largest landholder in the parish is Thomas COPLESTON.3 By 1630, when WESTCOTE wrote his "View of Devonshire", the castle was "ruinated by time and overgrown with tall trees".

Anne KEYNES was probably born in the early 1520s during the reign of Henry VIII. Her family must still have had substantial wealth and influence for Anne married John CRUWYS, the son and heir of John CRUWYS, the Lord of the Manor of both Cruwys Morchard and Great Rackenford. No record of their marriage has survived but it seems likely that the marriage took place in the early 1540s. Anne bore her husband six sons, Humphrey, Thomas, Robert, James, Arthur and John, and five daughters, Elinor, Mary, Anne, Joan and Jane. Her husband John died in 1577 leaving a will dated 18th February 1577 which was proved on 4th May 1577. He appointed his wife Anne as the sole executrix. A transcription of his will is published on a separate page on Genuki. Four years later the 1581 Subsidy4 gives an indication of the family's status. The tax was only levied on those people with a minimum yearly income of £3 in goods or £1 from land and the assessments bore little relationship to the real wealth of the people being taxed but they do at least give some idea of their relative wealth. In Cruwys Morchard "Ann CREWSE widow" heads the list of taxpayers with a yearly income from land of £8, followed by her son "Humphry CREWSE ar[miger]" with an income of £7, again from land. In Winkleigh Thomas CRUES was receiving an income of £3 a year from land and in Cheriton Fitzpaine John CREWYS was earning £4 a year from his landholdings. Anne's son in law Robert SOUTHCOMBE, who married Elinor in about 1560, was living in Satterleigh with an income of £4 from land. Henry SOTHERON [SOUTHERN], the husband of her daughter Mary, was living in the parish of St Martin in Exeter with an income of £4 from goods. Anne's will was signed on the 12th March 1583 and proved on 9th April 1586. It is therefore assumed that she died towards the end of 1585 or early in 1586. She was probably buried either in Cruwys Morchard or in Moretonhampstead but unfortunately the burial records for this period from both parishes have not survived.

In the Name of God Amen: In the twelveth daye of Marche and in the xxvith yeare of the reigne of our Soveraigne Ladye Elizabeth5 our Quenes maiesty that nowe is & c[etera] I Anne Cruse of Morton Hamsted in the County of Devon widowe beinge sick of bodye and perfect of minde and memorye make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following First I bequeathe my sowle to Almightye god, and to Jesus Christ his sonne my maker and Redemer by whose deathe and passion I hope to be saved and by none other And being in perfect love and charitye I forgive all myne enemies desyring them to forgive me And my bodye to be buryed in christian buryall there to remaine untill the glorious com[m]ing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the last resurrection Item I give to the poore people of the parrishe of Morton tenne shillinges to be distributed by the discreation of my overseers and by the collecto[u]rs of the parrishe aforesaide Item I give to the poore people of Cruse Morchard tenne shillinges to be distributed as aforesaide Item I give to the parrishe of Rakenford five shilling[es] to be distributed as aforesaide Item I give to the parrishe of Trymylin6 in the County and citye of Exon7 five shillinges to be distributed as aforesaide Item I give unto Humfrye Cruse my sonne all my bordes8 formes9 cubbordes and bedsteds at my howse at Morchard Item I give unto James Cruse my sonne a nagge and also my bedd performed10 in the Chamber over the hall in considerac[i]on of one bedd his Father gave him uppon his last will and testament Item I give to John Cruse my sonne a nagge Item I give to Anne Ellis my daughter all suche oxen and kyne11 as she hathe of myne Item I give to my sonne Arthur Cruse twoe oxen to be delivered by the discreac[i]on of my overseers Further I give to my sonne Arthur Cruse my twoe beddes with the furnitures where I lye over my Parlo[u]r in the newe howse Also more I give to the saide Arthur Cruse all suche howseholde stuff as is in the olde hall kitchin and chambers at More12 namely pott[es] pannes and all other howseholde stuff there And also all my ploughe stuff and furnitures to the same And also all the stuff in the chamber over the stabell with all my corne in the feilde [sic] and in the barne uppon condition to finde my executrix and suche as have bene of my howseholde before sufficiently with meate drinck lodging for them theire cattell horses and sheepe for one quarter of a yeare after my decease Item I give to Christofer Isaack my serva[u]nte foure poundes Item I give to John Ware my serva[u]nte all suche debtes as he is indebted to me for the bargaine he hathe taken of me at Morchard Item I give to every of the children of Henry Southern and Marye his wyfe every of them tenne shillinges Item I give to every of the children of Ellyno[u]r Southcome late deceased Five shillinges apeece Item I give to Agnes webb13 daughter of William webb tenne shillinges Item I give to John Ellis sonne of Thomas Ellis tenne shillinges Item I give to John Baker my olde serva[u]nte twenty shillinges Item I give to every of my godchildren xiid a peece Item I give to Robert webb my kitchen at Exeter for terme of his life and one bedd performed over the butterye at Moore The residue of all my goodes and cattell[es] not given nor bequeathed I doe give and bequeathe to Joane my daughter whome I make and ordayne to be my wholle executrix to see this my last will performed Also I ordayne Humfrye Cruse my sonne to be one of my rulers and overseers and he to have for his paynes twenty shillinges And also I ordayne my cosen John Cruse of Rakenford an other of my overseers and he to have for his paynes six poundes thirtene shillinges foure pence And also Alexander Morres clerk an other of my rulers and overseers having for his paynes twenty shillinges And for one more of my rulers I ordayne Robert Webb whoe shall have for his paynes twenty shilling[es] In Witnesse this to be my last will and testament those names hereunder written Anne Cruse the testatrix marke Robert Webb Arthur Cruse John Cruse Richard Hart John War

Probatum fuit testamentum suprascriptum apud London coram m[agist]ro Will[iel]mo Mowse Legu[m] Doctore surrogato venerabilis viri m[agist]ri Will[iel]mi Drury Legum doctoris Curie Prerogative Cant[uariensis] Mag[ist]ri Custodis sive Comissa14      Nono die mens[is] Aprilis Anno D[omi]ni Mill[es]imo Quingentesimo Octagesimo Sexto Juramento Petri Johnson notarii publici procur[ator]is Joanne Cruse filie dicte def[uncte] et executric[is] in h[uius]mo[d]i testamento no[m]i[n]at[e] Cui com[m]issa fuit administrac[i]o & c[etera] De bene et fidel[ite]r administrand' & c[etera] Jurat[e]


This above-written will was proved at London before Master William Mowse, Doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Worshipful Master William Drury, Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or [Commissary] of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on the ninth day of the month of April in the year of our Lord, One thousand five hundred and eighty six By the oath of Peter Johnson, Notary Public, Proctor of Joan Cruse, daughter of the said deceased and the executrix named in this will, to whom was committed the administration etc., for well and faithfully administering etc., having been sworn.


I would like to thank the members of the Latin Words-L Rootsweb mailing list for providing a transcription and translation of the probate section of this will and for helping with the transcription of the will. I would also like to thank Elizabeth Glover Howard for all her invaluable advice and assistance.

1 Charles Worthy, The History of the Manor & Church of Winkleigh in the County of Devon, William Brendon & Son, Plymouth, 1876, p12.
2 Ibid, p23.
3 Stoate, T.L. (Ed). Devon Lay Subsidy Rolls 1524-1527. Lower Court, Almondsbury, Bristol, 1979. Published on CD by Bernard Welchman.
4 Stoate, T. L. (Ed.). Devon Taxes, 1581-1660, Lower Court, Almondsbury, Bristol BS12 4DX, 1988. Published on CD by Bernard Welchman.
5 1583
6 There is no parish called Trymylin in Exeter. There is a parish called Holy Trinity. It is possible that the clerk, when copying out the will, misread "Trynytie" as Trymylin.
7 Exeter.
8 Tables.
9 Seats or benches.
10 A bed complete with all the bedding and hangings.
11 Kine. An archaic word for cattle.
12 Moore is possibly Moore Barton, an old farmhouse situated about two or three miles from Moretonhampstead. The estate came up for sale in 1791 and 1797 when it was said to consist of "a very good Farm-House, Barns, Stables, convenient Outhouses, and upwards of 324 acres of Arable, Meadow, Pasture, and Wood Land". The Moretonhampstead History Society's website has pictures of the farmhouse and further information about the various sales.
13 The scribe has used upper case letters for all other names apart from Webb. It may well be that what appears to be a lower case "w" in this name is in fact the scribe's version of a capital W.
14 There is a blank space after the word "Commissa" where the words "constituti legitime" were omitted. "Commisa" should have been written "commissari". The scribe might have been thinking ahead to "commissa fuit".