Wills

Our 'List of Early Orwell Wills' shows all the pre 1800 wills which can be seen at the Cambridge Record Office. We suggest that you should insist on the Record Office producing the originals - their microfilm copies are invariably very difficult to read.

In some cases, the original will of the Testator is shown.  Other copies are not of the original will, but of the copy made by the Probate Court at the time for its own records.

We have also provided copies of the Inventories of some of the Testators.  These are valuations of the property of the deceased, and provide an insight into the goods and belongings of the deceased, and in some cases they give a list of the contents of each room in the house.  This helps to establish the size of the house and the number of rooms it had at the time.  The Hearth Tax returns can then tell us how many of the rooms had a fireplace.

Further Wills of Orwell people can be found at The National Archives. These date from 1508 to 1917, and copies can be had on payment of a small fee.

Page link: List of early Orwell Wills in the Cambridgeshire Record Office
List of early Orwell Wills in the Cambridgeshire Record Office
Most Wills from this area were proved in the Ely Court. However, a few were proved in the main Probate Court at Canterbury. These are listed first, some being available from The National Archives. Pages 1 - 5 give the Cambs Record Office holdings.
Page link: Will of Christopher Adams 1685
Will of Christopher Adams 1685
A seditious conventicler?
Page link: Will of Elizabeth Adams 1680
Will of Elizabeth Adams 1680
Includes an Inventory of her belongings. Was she a "Phanatick?"
Page link: Will of William Addams 1676
Will of William Addams 1676
"I give to my son William Addams my twelve nights of folding"
Page link: Will of Edmund Barnard 1575
Will of Edmund Barnard 1575
What do you give if you have no money?
Page link: Will of Michael Barnard 1640
Will of Michael Barnard 1640
"I bequeath my soule to god my maker hoping to be saved by and through the merit of Christ Jesus my saviour and redeemer "
Page link: Will of Richard Barnard 1685
Will of Richard Barnard 1685
"my body I commend it to the Earth to be buryed in Christian and Decent manner not doubting of the raiseing of it again at the Generall Resurrextion by the Might and power of God"
Page link: Will of Richard Barnard 1736
Will of Richard Barnard 1736
See also an Inventory of the house contents covered by this Will.
Page link: Will of Nicholas Barton, Tailor, 1662
Will of Nicholas Barton, Tailor, 1662
'Household stuffe and lumber'
Page link: Will of John Beale 1735
Will of John Beale 1735
This Will was not proved in common form because the Executrix departed this life before she had taken on the burthen thereof
Page link: Will of Thomas Caldecutt 1659
Will of Thomas Caldecutt 1659
" I give her my biggest brasse pott and fower pewter dishes fower payres of sheetes a payer of pillows and a paire of pillowberes a Coverlett and a payer of blankets"
Page link: Will of Edward Caldecutt 1690
Will of Edward Caldecutt 1690
"In the dairy one nedding trough and a pandering trough one tub and Kettel." With Inventory.
Page link: Will of Roger Davies 1580
Will of Roger Davies 1580
"One half of my cheese, all the salt and a potl of butter"
Page link: Will of William Fairchild  1711
Will of William Fairchild 1711
"my Worldly Estate which God of his infinite goodness has blessed me with"
Page link: Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658
Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658
"my will is that all my Children doo carrie and behave themselves as dutiful and obedient Children to theire loving Mother Joane "
Page link: Will of John Godfrey 1700
Will of John Godfrey 1700
"unto my loving wife during the term of her natural life ye hall and chamber over it with the goods in them and one acre of wheat one acre of barley and half acre of peas every year except she marrey again."
Page link: Will of John Griggs 1588
Will of John Griggs 1588
"I give to Mary Griggs my daughter one redd cowe"
Page link: Will of William Griggs 1613
Will of William Griggs 1613
One of the earliest Orwell Wills
Page link: Will of William Griggs 1646.
Will of William Griggs 1646.
"Considering the frailty of this life, although there is nothing more certain than death, yet there is nothing more uncertain than the tyme of the cominge thereof"
Page link: Will of William Jeape 1694
Will of William Jeape 1694
"To William Jeape my eldest son one shilling"
Page link: Will of Thomas Jeepes 1706
Will of Thomas Jeepes 1706
"to him and his eares for ever"
Page link: Will of John Merry, butcher 1738.
Will of John Merry, butcher 1738.
"Executors they paying and receiving all my debts and Legacys and bringing my body decently to the ground to be buried in good Christian like manner "
Page link: Will of Thomas Rowninge 1625
Will of Thomas Rowninge 1625
"I Thomas Rowninge weaver being sicke in body but whole in minde I praise god for it "
Page link: Will of Peace Sadler 1723
Will of Peace Sadler 1723
One of the few Orwell women who left a Will
Page link: Will of Richard Sadler, 1707
Will of Richard Sadler, 1707
To my Wife Peace Sadler the dwelling in my Hall house in Orwell
Page link: Will of William Swann 1688
Will of William Swann 1688
"I give unto her two silver spoons, seaven payres of sheetes, six pillow-biers, one dozen of napkins, one long table cloth, two pewter dishes of the middle sort, the best feather bed in the kitchen Chamber." With Inventory.