The will of Walter Narramore (c.1560* – 1659)

Walter is a 10 x great grandfather of mine.

Dying shortly before the restoration, before the restoration, that is, of Bishops and Archdeacons and their courts as well as of the monarchy, Walter’s will could not be proved locally, and like all wills proved during the protectorate had to be proved in London. Thus it survived the bombing of Exeter in 1942.

*Date of birth

A memorial stone to Walter in Ideford Church gives his age as 99, suggesting he was born in 1559 or 1560. Obviously the accuracy of this has to be wondered about, not just because living to this age was rare (but happened) but also because it implies his last child was born when he was about 91! See more notes on Walter’s genealogy page.

Narramore or Northmore?

One unusual feature of this will is that whilst Walter refers to himself as Walter Narramore, he refers to his children with the surname Northmore. ‘Narra’ means North so both versions have the same meaning. In my line of descent from Walter the surname Narramore continued to be used intermittently with Northmore by his son (Richard) and grandson, before becoming fixed as Northmore and the family of his son Walter, full brother of Richard, also all became Northmores. I haven’t researched at what became of the family of Bartholomew, son of Walter by his first marriage. Walter’s son Richard married Elizabeth Sweetland, granddaughter of one Richard Narramore; the name Narramore is still used by Richard’s descendants.

In the name of God the Author ^{and finisher} of all good Amen I Walter Narramore of Ideford in the Countie of Devon yeoman though perfect of minde and memorie and in health of body ^{praise be unto God forit} yet being stricken in yeares and seeing dayly before my Eyes Spectacles of the uncertaintie of this life Doe this seaven and Twentieth day of August in the yeare of our Lord God One Thousand six hundred Fiftie and fower make and ordaine this my last will and Testament in writing in manner and forme following First I yeeld upp willingly into the hands of Almightie God my Soule whoe gave it trusting through his meere mercy in Christ he will receive the same and place it in everlasting blisse And my bodie when it shall please God to separate it from this life I Commend it to decent burial Imprimis I give and bequeath unto the poore of the parish of Ideford Tenn shillings to be distributed att the tyme of my Funerall Item I give towards the reparation of the parish Church of Ideford ^{aforesaid} tenn shillings to be paid within Three moneths after my decease Alsoe whereas I purchased of John Elford of Chister Esquire these Messuages Lands and Tenements called Chubstone otherwise Scotland lyin in Shutstor aforesaid for nynty and nyne yeares if Richard Northmore Walter Northmore and Agnes Northmore my sonnes and daughter soo long live my will and meaning is and I doe hereby give and bequeath unto my said sonnes and daughter the said Chattle Lease and all my right therein or thereto equallie to be devided amongst them as they shall attaine the age of one and Twentie yeares Provided always and my will and meaning is that Joane my wife shall have and enjoy the said Messuages Lands and Tenements called Chubstone otherwise Scotland till such tyme or tymes as they shall attaine the age of one and Twentie yeares if she soo long continue a widow paying unto every of my said sonnes and daughter Three pounds a peece yearely by quarterly payments (to witt) The Twenty fift day of December The Five and Twentieth day of March the Fower and Twentieth day of June the Nyne and Twentieth day of September or within Tenn dayes after the said quarters And from and after such tyme as any one of them shall attaine there full age of one and Twentie yeares Then he or she immediately from and after such accomplishment shall have and enjoy one equall Third part of the Chattells and the said Three pound Annuitie to him or her soe accomplishing the age of one and Twentie yeares to Cease, and my will and meaning is that if one or more of them die before he she or they accomplish the said age of one and Twentie yeares That then the survivour or survivours of them shall have the part & portion of him her or they soe dying Alsoe I give unto my said sonne Richard Northmore and Walter Northmore and to my daughter Agnes Northmore five pounds a peece to be paid to every of them as they shall attaine the age of one and Twenty [p.2] yeares Also I give unto my daughter Mary Northmore Threescore and Tenn pounds to be paid to her when she shall attaine the full age of one and Twenty yeares Alsoe all my Goods and Chattells not before herein given I doe hereby give and bequeath unto Joane my wife whome I make and ordaine to be my whole and sole Executriie of this my last Will and Testament and for the more faythfull payment of my said Legands and perormance of this my will and Testament I doe appoynte my loving Frind William Wilcox[1] of Shitstor in the County of Devon and John Endacott my sonn in Lawe to be my Overseers in trust desiring and hereby authorizing them and either of them to require an exact performance of this my last Will and for theire paines I doe hereby give unto them tenn shillings a peece to be paid within six monethes after my decease and now revoking all former Wills I publish this to be my last will and testamt.

In witnesse whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale yeoven the day and yeare first above written signe of Walter Narramore signed sealed and the word Tenn betweene the six and Twentieth and Seaven and twentieth Lines was interlined before the publishing and delivery hereof in the presence of us John Coysh Andrew Chobwich

Alsoe att the Tyme of the sealing hereof I give unto my Daughter Thomazine the wife of George Foster of Brent Tenn Tenn shillings and to Ibbott my daughter the wife of John Endacott tenn shillings and to Bartholomew Northmore my sonn Tenn shillings to be paid them within six moneths after my decease in the presence of John Coysh Andrew Chobwich


The Fourteenth day of September One thousand six hundred fifty Eigh Walter Northmore mentioned did Entreate and will mee to strike out the Legacie mentioned and given to his daughter Johane within mentioned as att whch tyme he was in perfect memory for that she being marryed and hath a greater portion then the Legacie wittnes John Coysh

[ the copy of the will does not contain any mention of Johane – presumably the struck out part was not copied ]

Probate Statement

This will & Codicill was p[ro]ved att London the Eight day of June in the yeare of our Lord God One thousand six hundred Fiftie and nyne before the Judges for probate of Wills and granting Administration lawfully authorized by the oath of Joane Narramore the Relict and sole and only Executrix named in the above written last Will and Testament of the deceased To whome Administration of all and singular the Goods Chattells and debts of the said deceased was grannted and and faithfully to administer the same.

[1] Shitstor is an old spelling of Sheepstor. Walter’s second wife was one Joan Wilcox, and he left her a home in Sheepstor, so it seems likely that William was a relation of his wife; I suspect it was the friendship that led him to meet Joan. Sheepstor has been spelt a variety of ways, but the first here, ‘Chister’ is unusual in beginning with a ‘C’, it usually beings with an ‘S’. It looks like it may have been a mistake, a mis-reading by the scribe writing out the register copy, who, with the will being proved in London, is extremely unlikely to have known any of the places mentioned. The second reference, ‘Shutstor’ appears to have the first letter changed from a ‘C’ to an ‘S’.


Walter’s will was proved during the interregnum when there were no Bishops or Archdeacons, and all wills had to be proved centrally in London. There was no Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) either, as that was the Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, but the wills proved in London at that time are deposited with the PCC wills.

 TNA ref: PROB 11/292/172 (more details about source on Walter’s page)

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