The will of William Burr (1585/6-1628/9)

William Burr is a half 11 x great uncle of mine.

William probably died shortly before his 43rd birthday, presumably at the home of a sister-in-law and her husband, with whom he was living when he wrote his will.

William appears to have had no children, at least none who survived him, nor to have left a widow, so almost all bequests are to siblings, nephews and nieces, and the will is therefore very useful in doing much to confirm the relationships between the Marden Burrs. It is particularly useful where my ancestor Jane is concerned as no record of her baptism has been found.

If he had married and had children there seems to be no record of them in Marden; maybe he had lived in a neighbouring village before returning after being widowed to live closer to or with his family. We cannot tell from his will whether he had lived with his ‘sister’ Mary for long or only after becoming ill when he needed someone around to care for him. I suspect he would not have lived alone, but may have boarded elsewhere. He may well have continued to live with his parents until they had both died, some 15 years before his own death. By the time his mother died all his siblings were married, though his brother Henry just 3 weeks before.

The exception to the will’s usefulness in establishing or confirming relationships is that he refers to a ‘sister’ Mary – but from other sources it seems clear that he was referring to his sister-in-law Mary, i.e. the former the wife of his brother Edward, and that his own sister Mary had died some years earlier.

Line breaks and page numbers as in register copy of the will.
[] indicate something I have added – whether letters in a word abbreviated in the document or a comment or link to a footnote. {} indicates text is inserted above the line. Spelling as far as possible as in the register copy; names of those not on the tree (and so not linked) are in bold, not in register copy but to make them easy to spot here.

In the name of God Amen the 11th Day
of January Anno Dni 1628 I William Burr of the
parishe of Marden in the Countie of ^ {Kent} Broadweaver[1]
beinge of whole mynde and in good and perfect remem=
-brance laud and prayse be given to god doe make & ordaine
this my last will and testamt in manner and forme
followinge Vizt First I commend my soule to allmightie
God my Maker And Redeemer and my bodie to be
buried in the p[ar]ishe Church Churchyard of Marden
aforesaid First I give unto the poore people of the
fore said parishe of Marden xs to be paid by my Exe=
=cutor where most neede is at the day of my buriall. Itm
I will and bequeath unto my sister Rachell the wife of
John Thecher xxs to be paid her wthin one whole yeare
next and ymediatly after my decease by my Executor.
Itm I give unto John Thecher the sonne of John The=
-cher xxs to be paid him wthin one yeare next after my
decease by my Executor. Itm I give unto Henry
Thecher the sonne of the forenamed John Thecher xxs
to be paid him wthin one yeare next after my decease by
my executor Itm I give unto Susan Thecher the
daughter of the said John Thecher iiiils to be paid her
wthin one yeare next after my decease by my executor. Itm
I give unto Rachell Thecher the daughter of John
Thecher aforesaid xls & one Joyned Chest[2] stand in my
bedchamber in the house of Thomas Blush where I
now dwellth wch said Chest to be delivered unto her
pr[e]sently after the day of my buriall and my minde is
that my Executor shall alow unto the said Rachell
Thecher for the use of the said fortie shillinges two
shillinges a yere untill she shall come unto the age of
twentie yeres or at her day of marriage wch shall happen
first or else the said fortie shillinges to be paid wthin one
yere after my decease as my Executor shall thinke best
Itm I give unto Elizabeth Thecher the daughter of
the said John Thecher xls to be paid her wthin one
yere next after my decease by my executor or else to
alow her two shillinges a yere untill she shall come to
the age of twentie yeares or at her day of marriage wch
shall happen first for the use of the said fortie shillinges
as my executor shall thinke best, and my minde is that yf
any of these aforenamed shall die before the tymes of
[p.2]
payment be expired that then his or her porcon shalbe
equally devided amonge these that shalbe then liveinge
Itm I give unto William Burr, the daughter {sonne} of
Edward Burr iiiils & one chest standinge at the foote
of my bed to be delyvered him pr[e]sently after the day of
my buriall & the iiiils(?) to be paid him wthin one yere
next after my decease by my Executor: Itm I give
unto Jane Burr the daughter of Edward Burr [3] ^ {&} one
bed whereon I lie one bolster & two blankets & one
kiveringe to be delivered her pr[e]sently after the day
of my buriall and iiiili: to be paid her wthin one yere
next after my decease by my Executor, and if eyther
the said William Burr or the said Jane Burr shall
happen to die before the time is(?) expired then ther
his or her parte shalbe paid to him or her that shall
then liveing Itm I give unto Mary Blush the
daughter of Thomas Blush xxs to be payd her
eyther wthin one yere next after my decease or else xiid:
a yere untill she shall come to the age of twenty yeres
or at her day of marriage wch shalbe first for the use
of the said twenty shillinges wch my Executor shall
thinke best. Item I give unto Sara Blush the daugh=
ter of Thomas Blush xxs: to be paid her eyther
wthin one yere next after my decease or else xiid: a yere
untill she shall Com to the age of twenty yeres or at
her day of marriage wch shall com first for her use of
the sayd xxs as my executor shall thinke best. Itm I
give unto my brother in law Thomas Blush all my
wearinge app[ar]ell both lynnen & woollen, and my Mare
one saddle to be delivered him pr[e]sently after my decease
by my Executor. Itm I give unto my Sister Mary
Blush the wife of Thomas Blush vs to be paid
wthin one yere next after my decease by my Executor
Itm I give to Jacob Summer iu [ju[nior]?] vs to be paid wthin
one yere next after my decease by my Executor Itm
I give to Ellen Burr the daughter of Henry Burr iiiili
to be paid wthin one yere next after my decease by my
Executor. Itm I give to Elizabeth Burr Attained
Burr & Margaret Burr the daughters [sic – Attained was a son!][4] of Henry Burr
xxs a peece to be paid wthin one yere next after my
decease by my Executor Itm my ^ {will} & minde is that Jasp[er]
Danne shall have xs: for makeinge of my Coffen to
be paid at my buriall by my Executor Itm my will &
minde is that my Executor shall bestow for a sermon
& my byriall xls: whereof vis viiid shalbe for the sermon
Itm I give to John Thecher Jun [a nephew] Jacob Summers Ju,
James Borne & John Jaret xiid: a peece for carryeinge
of me to my grave to be paid by my Executor All the
the residue of my goods unbequethed I give unto my
Executor. And of this my present testament I make
& ordaine Henry Burr of Marden aforesayd my whole
Executor : In witnesse whereof I have sett to my hand
& seale the day and yeare first abovesaid The marke
of William Burr Read and sealed in the pr[e]sence
of George May the marke of John Smeed the
marke of James Browne Ju.

Probate statement

(words in red I find particularly unclear and haven’t managed to make sense of)

[p.3]
Probat[um] fuit hu[ius]mo[d]i testa
mentum retroscript[um] Willi[a]m
Burr nup[er] dum vixit p[ar]ochia de
Marden Arch[idiaconatum] Cant[uariensis] defunct[i] decimo
sexto die mense Aprilies Anno Dm
1629 Coram D[omi]no Willimo Stede
Legum d[o]c[t]ore Offi[cia]le &c Juram[en]:to Henrici
Burr executor in eod[e]m testam[en]to: no[m]i[n]at
Ac inde approbat[um] et insinuat[um] &c Om[n]isque
execuc[i]o[n]is euisdem testam[en]:to d[i]c[t]o Execut[or]is
Comissum fuit princibus in Juris forma
Juratias tacla &c salvo Jure Cuiuscumq[u]e

Exciatur./

My attempt at translating the probate statement

The before-written will of William Burr who lived until recently in the parish of Marden in the Archdeaconry of Canterbury deceased was proved on the 16 April in the year of Our Lord 1629 before Sir William Stede doctor of Laws Official etc. by the oath of Henry Burr named executor in the same will And then was approved and favoured etc. And execution of all by the same will to the said Executor was committed he having been in the first place sworn in form of the law ?? etc. and saving the right of any person whomsoever

Footnotes

[1] – a broadweaver was presumably a weaver of broad cloth. the Weald (the name given to that part of Kent and Sussex in which Marden was situated) had long association with weaving. Zell (Early Modern Kent, 2000) shows that by the late C16th different types of cloth were associated with different centres in Kent, and links broadcloth, as well as kersyes, with the Weald.

[2] – i.e. a chest made by a skilled joiner, a quality piece of furniture, not a basic piece.

[3] – it looks like something was missed here, probably the four pounds referred to below, judging by the format of bequests to others.

[4] – then as now, most wills, apart from holographic ones, were probably not the words of the testator / testatrix, but rather of the scribe to whom the testator had explained his wishes. Thus it seems to me likely that the scribe wrongly assumed the unusual ‘Puritan’ name ‘Attained’ to be that of a girl and so described the 3 together as ‘daughters’ rather than ‘children’, not that William himself was confused and thought a nephew was a niece!


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/17/67/82b (more details about source will be on William’s page)

The original will also survives (CCA ref: PRC/16/192 B/3); I have not checked the copy against this.

The Canterbury Probate Records Database includes an entry for an inventory of a William Burr of Marden dated 1630. Given that inventories were generally produced very shortly after a death, I think this must be for William’s nephew, son of Edward, who was buried in Marden in 1629/30, rather than for this William.


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