John Goatham is probably a 9 x great uncle of mine

About this will

John’s will is one of the few family wills I have found in which details of furniture and furnishings are given. I particularly enjoy reading these.
Making his will on 3 Oct – according to the Old Style calendar so more like mid September to us – and presumably seeing his death as imminent (he died 18 November) he must have realised winter was coming and Joan would need fuel wood so he also makes provision for this. (At least, I presume it was connected with winter, but was it? – wood would have provided the fuel needed for cooking all year around)

John had 5 sisters; one had died in infancy, another I think was probably the Jane who died in Burmarsh, I guess living as part of John’s household in Burmarsh.  I don’t know how many of the other 3 survived him but he left a bequest to just one, Susan.
Was she his favourite? Or in particular need of money?
Maybe she had given him assitance when he had (twice) been left a widower, the second time with young children and it was in gratitude for this. I did think Susan may not have married and so been free to help him; she hadn’t married the first time he was widowed, but by the second time I think she had married and got a young family of her own. In any case, he quite quickly remarried both times so any assistance may not have been needed for long.

Perhaps significant is the description of Susan’s husband as ‘a poor man’ when he was buried, the year after John wrote his will. Perhaps it was due to his sister’s poverty, possibly exacerbated by having a sick husband, that led John to remember her in his will.

His largest bequests were to his two surviving children, both daughters, though sadly the older followed him to the grave just 15 months later, while his last wife died about a year after that. Margaret’s fate is uncertain, but I think she was very likely the Margaret who married in Herne in 1636.


The line breaks are mine, I have tried to keep the spelling and punctuation as in the copy I transcribed.

In the name of God amen. The third day of October in the year of our Lord god one thousand six hundred twenty and two I John Gotam of the parish of Burmarsh in the County of Kent husbandman being sicke in body but yet of good and perfect memory praysed by god, do make and ordanye this my last Will and Testament in means and forme following,

First I bequeath my soule to Almightie god my maker and Redemer, and my body to be buryed in the Church yard of Burm/h aforesayd

Item I doe give and bequeath unto Joane my welbeloved wife one standing bed wharon I usually lye fully furnished with two payer of sheets, and all other things necessary thereunto belonging, halfe a dozen of pewter, two kettells wch were formerlie my sayd wives one brass bason one scupnel(?) two Chests and one forme which were formerly my sayd wives two tubbs, two barreles, two keelers, two chayres, two table Clothes, six woodden dishes and one Chafing dish.

Item I doo give and bequeath unto my sayd wife twelve pounds of good and lawful money of England to be payd unto her by my Executrix hereafter named at two sev[e]rall payments that is to pay within three months next after my decease six pounds thereqz(?) p[ar]cell and within one whole yeare next after my decease other six poundes residue of the above sayd sume of twelve poundes

Item I doe further will unto my sayd wife three reasonable loads of fuel wood to be set out for her use within one month next after my decase. Item I will and give unto my sister Susan twenty shillings to be payd unto her within one year next after my decease

Item I doe will and give unto my daughter Margaret five and twenty pounds of good and lawfull money of England to be payd unto her when shee shall attayne to the age of two and twenty years or within one halfe year next after the day of her marriage which shall first happen,
Item my will and meaning is my Executrix shall pay unto my said daughter Margaret the sume of fifty shillings by the year for the life of her paid porcon untill the tyme come that shee shall receive the same for and towards her maintenance in the meane tyme,
Item my will and mynd is, that if my sayd daughter Margrett shall happen to dye before her sayd age of two and twenty years or day of her mariage, Then I doe give unto Richard Gotam my brother five pounds to be paud him by my Executrix within one month after the decease of my sayd daughter Margaret out of her sayd porton of five and twenty pounds,

All the residue of my goodes Chattells houshold stuffe money debts and all other things my funerall debts and legacyes being payd and satisfyed, I doe give and bequeath unto Margery Gotam my daughter whome I doe make and ordayne sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament,

And also I doe appoynt my trusty and loving friend John Swanton of Alkham, Avery Norington of Selling, and Richard Gotham my brother overseers of this my last Will and Testament And I doo Will and give unto John Swanton tenn shillings to Avery Norrington tenn shillings and to my brother Gotan twenty shillings to be payd them by my Executrix with in one moneth after my decease, for the paynes that they shall take in assisting my Executrix.

In Witness wereof I the sayd John Gotham the Testatur have hereunto set my hand and seale, the day and yeare above written. The m[ar]ke of the above named John Gotam Read sealed and dilivered as his last Will and Testament in the presence of Samuell Chandler, John Godfrey, and John Chilman Sig


The will of John Goatham (c.1566 – 1622) — No Comments

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