The inventory of William Burr (1606 – 1629/30)

William Burr is my 10 x great uncle, he was the brother of my 9 x great grandmother Jane Burr. Although this inventory suggests William owned very little, he was only aged 23 and single when he died so was probably still living at home with his mother, step-father, sister and half-sisters.

When he reached the age of 21 he should have come into an inheritance of a tenement (described as ‘newe’ in 1612) with some land. However, the grandfather from whom he inherited this specified that if William died without issue it should go to Henry, this William’s uncle, so there would have been little point in William in writing a will of his own. It was probably his ownership of the land and the need for this to be dealt with, though, that led to his step-father seeking adminstration. The land is not mentioned in the inventory as they only listed personal goods, not the ‘real estate’ (freehold property) of a person. The purpose was to assess what charge should be made for the granting of administration or probate. A lower fee was charged for those with less than £40, as it  clearly was here.

[Inve]ntory of the goodes & Chattelles of William Burr Ju[n] [1] late of
[Marden] deceased made & prized the Tenth day of May Anno Dom 1630

[Geo]rg May & Jacob Sum[m]er as followeth

[Itm] his girdle & mony in his purse

vid

Itm his wearing aparell prized at

xiis

Itm two shirtes & two faling bandes [2] prized at

isvid

Itm two Chestes [3a] prized at

iis

Itm one Chaier

vid

Itm thinges forgotten & not seene

vid

Itm in Redy mony ^ {debtes due to him by legacie or otherwise} [3b]

iiiili

Sum[m]e totall is – iiiili xviis

Georg May
[the] marke L of Jacob Sumer

Bonor[um] h[uius]mo[d]i Thomas Blush de Marden
thatcher socer et Creditor d[i]c[t]i def[un]c[t]i
peti[i]t ad[ministracion]em &c ob[ligan]tur c[o]r[a]m eod F[ran]c[is]cus
Walter de Marden b[ono]r[um] ead[em] ad[ministr]an[der] in 10li

My attempt at translating the administration statement

These goods Thomas Blush of Marden
thatcher father-in-law [4] & Creditor of the said deceased
requested administration of and was bound before the same Francis
Walter of Marden to adminster the same goods £10 [5]

Please note that I am no expert and both this and my attempt at transcribing the Latin (above) and at working out the word that had been abbreviated may well have errors. I am particularly uncertain about the words in red.
If you think you may be able to help I would appreciate it, and can send you a copy of the document.

Footnotes

[1] Junior – It seems to me a little suprising to see William referred to as ‘Junior’ because his grandfather William had died in 1612 and while he had also had two uncles who shared the name the first died in infancy in 1577, the other about a year before this William. It may be the death of the latter being quite recent that led to the use of the qualifier ‘junior’ here, probate was granted for the uncle in April 1629, but it appears the execution of his will was not complete – see note [3]. ‘Junior’ would then help to distinguish documents referring to the admin. for this William from anything relating to his uncle. I have not seen evidence of another William Burr in Marden at this time.

[2] Falling bands – a falling band was the name given to the white collar we are familiar with in pictures of roundheads and cavaliers and others.
‘Falling’ because they followed starch collars and ruffs that stuck out.
This website has some good pics and more particulars.

[3a] Two chests seems excessive for the small amount of items William owned, but he was left one by his uncle William the previous year, which is probably why he owned two. [3b] His uncle William also left him £4 – presumably the £4 ‘due to him by legacie …’ – although the will requested this be paid within one year of (uncle) William’s decease (the year was up about the time this William died).

[4] Socer – Thomas Blush appears to have been William’s step-father. ‘Socer’ is Latin for father-in-law, not step-father, but father-in-law, son-in-law etc. were also used in the past to mean the relationships we call step-father, step-son, etc.

[5] The administrator had to undertake to pay a penalty if certain conditions were not met. According to Westcott* in the C16th and C17th the bond which was the legal undertaking was for a value about equal to that of the goods, but later on was sometimes double. In this case it clearly was approximately double.

* Westcott, Brooke 2013 “Making Sense of Latin Documents for Family & Local Historians” p.29


The inventory was exhibited in the Consistory Court of Canterbury and is viewable on microfilm at the CCA or KHLC.

CCA ref: PRC/28/16/537 (more details about source will be on William’s page). With thanks to Ray Jarvis for sending me a copy of this inventory.


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