Will of William Drake
Proved 19 May 1625
© Crown Copyright
PROB 11/145/666, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Transcribed by Kathleen Noye
In the name of God amen the fforth day of December in the yeare of our redeem[er] One thousand sixe hundred and Nineteene and in the seaventeene yeare of our most gratious soveraigne Lord James by the grace of god King of england ffrance and Ireland defender of the ffaith &c and of Scotland the three and fifteth I William Drake of Viscombe in the countie of Devon gent[leman] being of indifferent health in boddie and of perfect memory praised be god allmighty : god doe make and ordaine these presents my last will and testament in manner and forme following ffirst, my sowle I Commend and bequeath vnto Jesus Christ, who with the ransome of his pretious blood hath redeemed it from hell and the prince thereof to be presented by him when it shall forsake my vile, earthly, and corruptible boddy, vnto God the father my Creato[ur] and hath sanctified it by the worth of god the holighost, vnto god my Creatour, god my redeemer, and god my sanctifier, three persons and one god be ascribed all power honour praise and glorie foreueuermore so be it, My boddie I committ to the earth from whence it pleased god first to derive all mankinde, there to be consumed to dust and earth vntill that glorious and hopefull daie shall come when all Creatures shalbe dissolued and our redeemer Christ shall in glory appeare to iudge [judge] both quick and deade then to be raised and vnited with my sowle to live immortall and eternall in the heauenly Jerusalem Amen ; Item I give vnto the poore of the parishe of Southly [Southleigh] fforty shillinges and to the poore of the parishe of Sudburie fforty shillinges , And whereas my worthy and welbeloued Cosen John Drake of Ashe esquier , my verie loveing brothers Henry Drake of Childehay esquier and Nicholas Drake of Rosehall esquier doe stand bound with me and for my debt in divers obligations for paiement of moneyes , To the end that they my said Cosin and brothers with divers other my freindes that are engaged and doe stand bound in obligations with me for whom I doe earnestlie entreate my abouenamed Cosen and brothers to haue an especiall care to free and saue harmeles from anie indempnities that should or might [g-----] or arise vnto my said engaged freindes I doe hereby will and devise give and bequeath vnto my said worthy beloued Cosen John Drake, my deere and faithfull loveing brothers Henry Drake and Nicholas Drake abouenamed for ye reposed trust and confidence I haue euer assuredly found in their loves all those my howses growndes and demanies of Wiscombe commonly called Wiscombe Parke with the rightes members and appertenances therevnto belongeing w[hi]ch right appertaineinge; for and dureinge the terme of Threescore and tenne yeares, if if Phillipp Drake my wife, Thomas, and John Drake my sonnes, solong shall live, in trust by them to be disposed as hereafter in this my last will shalbe expressed, and to no other vse & purpose And first my will is and I hereby expresse that they my said Cosen and brothers doe stande & shalbe seased [seized] for the tearme abouesaid of threescore and tenne yeares after my decease of all ye howse and howses, barnes, stables and stalls in and vppon Wiscombe (excepting ye warren lodge) with all gardens orchyardes hopgarden, crofts and waies, and all those parcells of grounds comonly knowne and called by the name or names of the plott and Hempground behinde the howse, the litle meadowe and pitlawne garden, ye midle meadowe, ye meadowe vnder ye walke the two closes called North and South pitlawnes, ye closse called Estground ye closse called woodcockepitt, the two closses called the lawnes adioyneing to the east and south side of ye barne, the Closse where ye Marle pitt is called ye lesserbroome closse, and the other closse called the broomeclosse adioyneing to ye Mill, the closse called ffayerwill Moore and the meadowe called the Linch meadow lying west from the howse, and the other part of the grounds called the Estground lying from ye North gate south and southeast which is bounded with an old dike from the wicked that cometh out of the Lawne and goeth upp vnto the North gate, All which howses and growndes abovenamed together with the Mill my will is and hereby I doe expresse that my now wife Phillippe Drake shall enioy to her onely vse and behoofe and all other my groundes not before expressed, that is to saie, the greate meadowe being in two parts, the closse called Whitmore, the closse called old Court with all the hill groundes from the Eastground formerlie named lying west called Northdowne Holmenquarth ye greate ball Where ye warren lodge standeth and ye Lodge therein, the litle Ball Sarehole highditch the westdowne [bevil?] hall ye westerpart of Southdowne and ye Easterpart of Southdone now in the occupation of one Simon Potter together with the ground called ye wood which is now in the occupation of M[r]s Clide These latter groundes named with the lodge on ye greate Ball and all other groundes in Wiscombe, if anie be not before devised and bequeathed vnto my wife, my will is my cosen John Drake, my brothers Henry Drake and Nicholas Drake, shall dispose sett lett and sell for ye tearme of yeares aforesaid vnto anie person or persons if Phillipp Drake my now wife Thomas Drake and John Drake my sonnes so long shall live either part or ye whole for raiseinge of moneyes to paie such debts as at the time of my death I shall owe if anie be and not otherwise provided for, and for ye paiement of such legacies vnto my children or others as in this my will shalbe bequeathed Provided that my said wife shall yearelie paie towards the rent due vnto my lord Peter ffortie shillings, and for ye composition vnto Mr Potter ye Parson of Southlie ffower pounds, the other the other ffortie shillinges vnto my lord Peter and ffower pounds vnto Mr Potter shalbe reserued uppon the other part of the groundes not deuised vnto my wife, And further I doe provide and my will is that neither my said wife nor anie other or others that shall possesse anie th’other grounds shall make anie wast to the value of ffortie shillings whereby my lease from my lord Peter and others maie be impaiered and forfeited, And whereas I haue formerlie made a lease and grantes my lease which I hold of the titheing and garbe belongeinge to the Rectorie of Sudburie from ye Deane and Chapter of Exon vnto my foresaid Cosen Drake of Ashe and vnto John Drake now Sir John Drake knight his sonne which Grant beareth date to certaine vses as in the said grant doth appeare and whereas my Cosen Drake and S[i]r John Drake haue ioined with me in two severall grants of part of the said tiethinge and garbe, The one Grant vnto Henry Tothell and Henry Drake Esquier to the vse of my brother Nicholas Drakes wife for paiement of ffiftie poundes yearelie at two severall paiements and the other grant, vnto my brother Nicholas Drake for the like paiement of ffiftie pounds by the yeare, in both which grants I haue couenanted [?] to paie the rent of twentie pound by ye yeare and to saue them harmeles against the Deane and Chapt[er] for ye non paiement of rent is vppon forfeiture of the whole lease, Now my will is for ye [m--?] grant vnto my cosen Drake and Sr John Drake is but in trust for ye paiement of debtes and performance of legacies after my decease That they my cosens John Drake and Sr John Drake, shall sell the residue of the tiething and garbe not formerlie by vs granted as aforesaid reserveing by good securitie the paiement of twentie pound[es] rent vnto the Deane and Chapter, whereby former grants maie not be p[re]iudiced, which remainder not yet sold by vs is yearelie worth one hundred pound aboue the rent of twentie pounds, whereof moneyes shalbe first made toward[es] ye paiement of my debtes, and what shall remaine vnpaid to be raised vppon those groundes in Wiscombe heretofore devised, Provided that if my said sonne Thomas Drake or anie other my sonne or sonnes shall discharge my debtes and legacies, that he or they shall enioie [enjoy] the said lease of tieth and Garbe of Sidbury and those grounds in Wiscombe w[hi]ch are appointed for paiement of Debtes during my hole tearme of yeares vppon lives, w[hi]ch I haue of the said grounds by grant from the lord Peter and others, And for the howse & howses of Wiscombe before in this my will devised to the vse of my wife with all those groundes, my will is and I doe bequeath the said howses and groundes vnto my sonne Thomas Drake, if he be liveing after ye decease of my wife Phillipp Drake. And if my said sonne Thomas shall not be liueinge Then my will is and I doe bequeath it to my sonne John Drake my said sonne Thomas or John to paie vnto my sonne William Drake within sixe monethes my said wife shall decease one hundred poundes of lawfull moneyes, Item I give vnto Phillippe my beloved wife sixe of the best kine I shall haue at time of my death and so much corne as shall serue for her vse and sixe persons for one whole Item I doe further giue vnto my said wife two of my faierest and best siluer bolls a guilt Cupp w[i]th a Cover which my vnckle [uncle] Richard Drake gave me, More I doe further give vnto my wife two of my best bedds with their furniture and linnen fitt for them and three other bedds for seruants w[i]th their furnitures, these poore and vnworthie guiftes for so true and loveinge a wife, I groane with sorrow I am not able to better, desieringe her that as she hath even vndergone all sorrowes troubles and car[es] with greate patience and comfort vnto me that this world haue laid on me. So she wilbe contented and I beseech god to blesse her with grace that she maie with patience vndergoe this poore estate whereunto I shall leave her And had it not been (that to my knowledg it wonld haue been two heavy for her to vndergoe the trouble I would haue left all that my poore estate I haue vnto her Item I give vnto my daughter Amy a hundred poundes to be paid sixe monethes after my decease Item I give to my daughter Johan a hundred poundes to be paid her sixe monethes after my decease, which moneyes I wish maie be made out of my plate and my stock of corne, Catle, horses and sheepe, which I shall haue at time of my death and not bequeathed in this my will, But I well knowe my debts by law are first to be satisfied before my legacies, yet if my deere freindes beforenamed, my Cosen John Drake and brothers Henrie and Nicholas, cann so provide to paie my poore daughters in manner abouesaid, and if my debtes maie be satisfied and anie remainder of those thinges which I haue appointed For it, My will is that my said good freind and brothers shall paie one hundred pounds more to ech of my daughters: Item I giue vnto my wife the best horse gelding or mare I shall haue at time of my death fittest for her owne vse and two other naggs or mares for necessarie seruice Item I give vnto my servant Henry Hayne my second best horse, mare or geldinge I know it a vanitie and follie to give out of that which the lawe forbidds me, for all my goodes must first goe to ye paiement of my debtes, yet through the care and travell [travail] of my freindes if these my poor? legacies maie be performed those vnto whom they are bequeathed haueing no other meanes I hold it greate conscience to remember, and doe entreate and beseech god to reward their travells that shalbe helpful and ayding to such a poore ruined posteritie as I shall leave vnto theire care, ffor ye small furnitures I haue in and about my howse I wish they maie remaine vnto my wife, and my sonne Thomas Drake mutuallie if there maie be prouision to paie my debtes otherwise, And I beseech [??] god so to blesse him that he maie recover meanes to redeeme this poore estate which I gaue disposed for paiement of debtes, and lett him not thinck it strange I haue left him nothing when he looked back vnto the estate I haue and to my debts which cheefelie [chiefly] haue eaten into me by vserie [usury], out of which disease I never was since my father died, God blesse him from it And I doe make my sonne Thomas Drake my executour of this my last will and testament my debt[es] being paid my legacies satisfied, and my boddie without solemnitie buried All the rest of my goodes and chatteles I give and bequeath vnto him, And for the better assistance vnto my Cosen Dracke of Ashe my brothers Henry and Nicholas Drake and my executo[rs] Thomas Drake my sonne in this troublesome busines, for ye execution of my will I do entreate my trusty and loveing freind M[r] Nicholas Putt and my cosen William Drake of Hartford to be the ouerseers for performance of this my last will and testament In witnes I haue sett my hand and seale the daie and yeare abovewritten : William Drake teste Barnard Drake Henry Hayne
Probatum fuit huiusmodi testamentum apud London coram venerabili viro D[omi]no Henrico Marten milite legum D[o]c[t]ore Curia Prerogative Cantuariensis mag[ist]ro Custode sive Comissario l[egi]time constituto Decimo nono die mensis Maij Anno domini mill[es]imo sexcentesimo vicesimo quinto Jura[men]to Thoma Drake filij dicti defuncti et executoris in eodem testamento nominate Cui Commissa fuit administratio omnium et singulorum bonorum iurium et creditorum dict[i] defunct[i] de bene et fidel[iter] administrando eadem vigore Commissionis Coram Symone Porter Cl[er]ico in ea parte al[ia]s manat ad sancta dei Euangelia iurat : Ex[ed]. /
Translation: This will was proved in London before the venerable Sir Henry Marten knight, Doctor of Law, Master, Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, lawfully constituted, on the nineteenth day of the month of May in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred twenty-five, by the oath of Thomas Drake, son of the said deceased and executor of the same will, to whom administration was granted of all and singular the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased, sworn on the Holy Gospel to well and faithfully administer the same, by force of a commission by Symon Porter clerk [cleric] in that respect issued at another time. Examined.