The will of Rachel Burr née Beale (d. 1614)

Rachel Burr (née Beale) was the 2nd wife of my 11 x great grandfather William Burr.

In the name of God Amen the twelveth
daie of Maye in the yeare of our lord
God 1614 I Rachaell Burre widowe of
Marden beeing of wholle minde and in
good and p[er]fect remembrance Laude and
praise bee to Allmightie God made and
ordaine this my present will & testamt
Concerning thearein my laste will and
testant in manner and forme following
That is to saie First I comend my soule
unto Allmightie God my maker and
redeemer and my bodie to bee buried in the
parrish Churche [1] or Churcheyard of the parrish
of Marden Item I give unto William
Burre my eldest sonne the some of ten Pounds
of good and lawfull money of England
betweene this and Michellmas next coming
Item I give unto Henry Burre my
sonne of five pounds of good and lawfull
money of England and all the wheate
and maulte paying unto John Thurcher
my sonne in lawe sixe bushells of the
same maulte Item I give unto Willm
Burre and Jane Burre the children of
Edward Burre decead [2] the some of
fortie shillings of good and lawfull
money of England equallie to bee devided
wthin one yeare next after my decease to
bee paide by my executor yf anie of the
said Children doe die I will that the
other shalbee the heire of the same
Item I give unto the poore people of
the parrish of Marden the some of vs
of good and lawfull money of
England to bee devided betweene them at the
daie of my buriall Item I give unto John
Thucher my executor all my goods
whatsoever unbequeathed and unsould my
Generall expences p[er]forrmed and this and
theise debts paid Conteyned in this my
present testement fulfilled and my
debts to bee paid wthin one yeare after
my deceasesse The marke of Rachaell
Burre: Wyttnesses thearein to John
Walter John Smeede his marke and
Gyles Huffenden his marke
Probatum fuit h[u]moi testam[en]tum
24o die mensis Maii Anno dni
1614 [24 May 1614] …


[1] I was surprised by the mention of possible burial in church – only the better-off (well-to-do yeomen upwards) were usually buried in church, so this as a possibility would seem to suggest Rachel was from a comfortably off family, though the sums of money mentioned in her and her husband’s will are less than I would expect for those buried inside the church. The small sums of money may be due to the decline in the broadcloth industry having hit the family.

As William had already been buried surprising she didn’t specify with him. Was he with Margaret? Maybe amongst Wickham graves?

Or did no request that she should be buried near William sugguest a lack of affection?

William made her executrix of his will, so clearly trusted her but he didn’t refer to her as his ‘beloved’ or ‘loving wife’ or similar.

[2] This will seeems to me, through the bequest to Edward’s children, to suggest that Rachel had a close relationship to her step son Edward – thankfully, as he was only 6 when she married his father, and had only been abt 20 months when his own mother died, so Rachel was probably the only mother-figure he really knew.

I was surprised by this will having no mention of Rachel’s daughters, though the husband of Rachel was named as executor, and the bequest to him was really a bequest to the whole family. The other daughter, Mary, I now believe to have been buried along with her husband the day before her mother wrote her will. Rachel was clearly still living as her brother named her (as sister) in his will written in 1628/29.

The will was proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury and is viewable on microfilm at the CCA or KHLC.

This is a transcript of the register copy, CCA ref: PRC/17/59/373b (more details about source will be on William’s page). With thanks to Ray Jarvis for sending me a copy of this will.

The original will also survives (CCA ref: PRC/16/149 B/33); I have not checked the copy against this.

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