The will of Sampson Halke ( – 1601/2)

Sampson Halke is a 10 x great grandfather of mine.

In the name of god amen The sixteenth
day of the moneth of October in the there and for
teth yeere of the reigne of our sovereigne ladye
Elizabeth by the grace of God Queene of Engla[n]d
France and Ireland defender of the fayth &c I
Sampson Hauke of the p[ar]ish of Byrcholt in the Cou[n]=
ty of kent yeoman beinge sicke of body but of good and
p[er]fect remembrance thanks be geven to allmighty god
doe make and ordeine this my last will & testament
in manner and forme followinge that is to say First
I bequeath my soule to Jesus Christ my saviour and
redeemer by whose death and passion I assuredly
trust to be saved and my body to be buryed after the
manner of Christians Item I geve to old Morris [1] of
Bircholt aforesaid thre shillings foure pence [2] of
lawfull English monie Item I geve to Tuttallis wydo.
twelve pence Item I geve to the poore people
of Braborne twelve ten shillings of lawfull Eng=
glish monie to be distributed amongst them where
most neede is at the discretion of myne executor
Item I geve unto Jane my wyfe ten pounds of
lawfull English money to be paid unto her wthin
one moneth next after my decease Item I geve
unto the said Jane my wyfe one of my best feth[e]r
bedds in my house one fether bolster two fether
pillowes three blancketts one coverlet in goodnes
next the best [3] and halfe the lynnen wch she
hath in my house as sheets, table clothes, nap-
kins; pillowbeeres and such like Item I geve un=
to the said Jane my wyfe the two greate chests
wch she hath in her keepinge wherin her best
lynnen lyeth Item I geve unto the said Jane my
wyfe the two sylver spoones that her unckle
did geve to me Item I geve more unto the said
Jane my wyfe one bedsteddle of wallnut wood
one lyvery cupboard of wallnut wood wth adrow [a drawer?]
to it one little table & one large deske box Item
I geve unto Alice my daughter wyfe of Symo
Smith als Browne fifteene pounds of lawfull
English monie to be paid unto her the said Alice
[p.3]
in manner and forme followinge that is to say
ten pounds therof wthin two moneths next after
my decease and the other five pounds therof wth
in six moneths next after my decease Item I
doe geve to every one of the Children of the said
Alice my daughter three pounds six shillings eight [4]
pence of lawfull English monie to be paid to every
of them at there severall ages of twenty one
yeeres or at the severall daies of there marriages
wch shall first come Item I will and geve unto Jane
morrys my daughter wyfe of Richard morrys the
like sume of fifteene pounds of good and lawfull mo-
nie of England to be paid unto the said Jane my
wthin fix moneths next after my decease Item I geve
unto every one of the Children of the said Jane my
daughter thre pounds six shillings eight pence of
lawfull English monie to be paid unto each of the[m]
at theare severall ages of twenty one yeares or
at there severall daies of marriages wch shall first
come Item I give to Elizabeth Muschamp [5] my wifes
sister wyfe of John Grey ten shillings of lawfull
English monie Item I geve to William Mountague
my kinsman [there are several words practically unreadable, possibly deliberately crossed out, but it could be bleed through from the other side – need to see original to be sure] ten
shillings of lawfull English monie Item I geve un=
to mary mountague my kinswoman the same Coin
wch I did lend unto her and also I doe geve unto
the said mary ten shillings of lawfull Englishe
monie Item I doe geve unto Sampson mount my
godsonne five shillings of lawfull English money
Item I geve unto Alice white my servant a good
yonge Cowe to be delivered unto her the said Alice
at the feast of St George next after my decease
Item I geve to ev[e]ry one of my servants as well (?men)
maids as boyes that be dwellinge wth me at the
tyme of my decease to each of them two shillings
Item I will & my minde is that William hauke my
[p.4]
sonne whome I meane to make myne executor
shall pay unto the said Jane my wyfe for the
increase of her maintenance foure pounds of law=
full English money by the yeere to be paid unto
her quarterly duringe the tearme of her naturall
lyfe in manner and forme followinge that is to say
at the feasts of the anntiation of the blessed virgin
mary, St John Baptist, St michaell the arch=
angell and the birth of our lord by even portions
the same to be paid or wthin ten daies next after
either of the said feasts And the first paymt ther-
of to begin at anie of the feasts aforesaid that
shall first happen next after my decease And
for the better accomplishment & p[er]formance
of wch said payments well & truely to be done
p[er]formed & done I will and my mynde is that yf
the said Wylliam my sonne shall notpay unto
the said Jane my wyfe the said summe of foure
pounds quarterly in manner and forme as is be=
fore specifyed wthin ten daies next after the
same shalbe lawfully demannded Then I will
that he the said william shall pay unto her the
said Jane in lue therof the sume of forty pounds
of lawfull English monie over & above all other
legacies before geven unto her Item all the re=
sidue of my goods and Chattells and debts owing
unto me aswell reall as p[er]sonall not geven or be=
queathed I geve unto the said william hauke my
sonne whome I doe make & ordeine to be my sole
exetor of this my last will & testamt And I will
th[a]t he shall pay & discharge all y my debts & legacies
wittnesses hereunto by me Sampson Hauke wit=
nesses hereunto Raynold keall /.
Probatum fuit … xiiii Martii 1601 …

[1] maybe his daughter Jane’s father-in-law?

[2] three shillings and four pence may seem a strange choice rather than a round amount, but at one time the gold coin the Noble was worth 6/8 (80 d.), so this was half a Noble (half Noble, and also quarter Noble, coins were also produced). As the value of gold increased so did what a Noble was worth, but a new issue of the Noble, the Angel was also originally set to be worth 6/8. It would not have seemed the slightly randon amount to Sampson the way it may at first to us.

[3] I’m sure Sampson’s leaving ‘one coverlet in goodnes next the best’ to his wife will cause others to think, as it did me, of the famous bequest of Shakespear, who left his wife his second best bed. Although Shakespear’s bequest to his wife is often taken to be a snub the No Sweat Shakespear website points out that it is probably the bed he slept in with his wife, as wealthy people would have had the best in a guest room. Sampson was clearly comfortably off; I do not know if he was sufficiently wealthy to have a guest room but perhaps he had a similar reason for leaving Jane the coverlet ‘next the best’.

[4] this amount may also seem a strange choice, rather than a round amount, but it is a round number of pence – 800 d. (or of course, following on from footnote 2, 10 Nobles)

[5] Some useful information here about the family Sampson (that he had Montague relations) and possibly of my 10 x great grandmother.

But it is not clear. Why was the wife of John Grey referred to as Elizabeth Muschamp rather than Elizabeth Grey? I think it probably indicates that her miaden name was Muschamp. I have seen references to widows who had remarried by both married surnames (e.g. Mary the wife of John BROWN who had previously been married to Joe BLOGGS might be referred to as ‘Mary BROWN otherwise BLOGGS’) and also to a married woman also by her maiden name, when this name showed the link. E.g. a woman involved in a marriage licence for her daughter who had remarried since that daughter’s birth would be shown with both married names, her current one and the one that matched the daughter’s, while a married woman granted execution of her brother’s will would be shown with her married and maiden name, the latter matching her brother’s. Since Elizabeth is described as the sister of Jane, then it would seem to follow that the inclusion of Muschamp in the will is because it matched Jane’s maiden name.


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

This is a transcript of the register copy, CCA ref: PRC17/52/155 (more details about source on George’s page)

The original will also survives (CCA ref: PRC16/118 H/10); I have a copy but have not yet compared this.


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