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 "

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658' page

This Will is of particular interest because the Testator expresses his hopes that his children will 'carry themselves as dutiful and obedient' and that his Wife and eldest son John will 'peaceably and lovingly live together' after his death.  We do not often get an insight into the hopes (and doubts?) of the Testator to this extent.

John Godfrey must have been comfortably off.  He gave a number of legacies (several of them of £20) and he gave a small cottage and some land to his second son.  The main house and land goes to his first son John, and his Wife is to share in everything for the duration of her life.  He has six daughters, the four youngest of whom get the right to be looked after until they attain twenty-one, when they get their legacies.

It is probable that the house and land shown as belonging to John Godfrey on the 1686 map of the village centre is the property dealt with in this Will.  The house still stands, and is now known as Town Green Farm.  Another small piece of land is also shown on the 1686 map as belonging to Godfrey, this lying between the Brook and Fisher's Lane. Town Green Farm now has its own page on this website, with more pictures, and some internal shots. Click here.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658' page
 
Photo:Town Green Farm 1937

Town Green Farm 1937

Transcript of the Will of John Godfrey the Elder 1658

In the name of God Amen I John Godfrey the Elder of Orwell in the Countie of Cambridg being sound of mind and in perfect memorie but weake in body and considering the uncertaintie of this frayle life Doo make this my last Will and testament in manner and forme following Inprimis I bequeath my Soule into the hands of Almightie God hoping to be saved only upon the attaint of my deare Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and my bodie to be buried at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter mentioned Item my will is that all my Children doo carrie and behave themselves as dutiful and obedient Children to theire loving Mother Joane Godfrey my loving Wife whom with my eldest sonne John Godfrey I joyne as my sole Executors of this my last Will Item my will is that my said Wife and sonne John shall peaceabley and lovingly live together and enjoy the said house wherein I now live with all my Copiehold lands excepting the Lande given to my sonne Clement lying and being in the Parish of Orwell aforesaid with all my Goodes and Chattells they iointly paying the Legacies hereafter mentioned Item I give to my said sonne Clement Godfrey a cottage with a croft adioyning ??? with two Acres of Coppyhold Land belonging to it lying in Orwell and all my ?land? late of William Barton Item I give unto my said sonnne Clement All that my Free Land in Orwell according to common Estimation Three Acres Item I give to him Twentie pounds to be paid within two years after my decease to be paid by my wife and sonn John jointly Item I give him the browne Colt and this is in full of his portion Item I give to my daughter Mary Twentie pounds within one yeare of my decease to be paid by my said Executors Item I give to her the Table with eight joint stooles which was bought by mee with the moneie given by my Wives Mother Item I give to her the bedd and bedding belonging to it which is in full of her Child’s portion Item I give to my daughter Mathew Ten pounds which is her portion Item I give to my daughter Isbell Twentie pounds which is her portion Item I give to my daughter Elizabeth Twentie pounds which is her portion my will is that my daughters Isbell and Elizabeth shall be paid theire portions when they are one and twentie years of age Item I give to my daughters Joane and Jane which are my youngest to each of them Twentie pounds to be paid at the age of one and twentie years Item I give to the poore of Orwell Towne XX shillings according to the discretion of my Executors All the rest of my goodes and Chattells I give unto my deare Wife and to my oldest Sonn John Godfrey whom I make joint and sole Executors of this my last will and Testament In confirmation of the premises I have putt my hand seale This Two and Twentieth day of March In the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred Fifty and Eight the word excepting the Land given to my sonne Clement were interlined before the sealing hereof John Godfrey his mark in the presence of Willoughby West William Calcott his mark

Codicil

This Witnesseth That the meaning of This my Will is that my Wife and sonne John shall hold the house and Grounde within mentioned together during the naturall life of my Wife and that my sonne John shall have them after her decease to him and his heires for ever And that my sonne Clement shall have the house and Grounds hereby bequeathed to him To him and his heires for ever and that my wife and sonn John shall keepe and provide necessaries for my Fower youngest Daughters till theire severall portions shall become due and payable And in Testimonie thereof I have hereto sett my hand this Twenty first of March One thousand six hundred Fifty nine And my will further is That my sonne Clement shall have my Lease and Grounds I hold of Richard Adams as the Grounds are now sowne and the Corne now growing thereon during my whole Terme John Godfrey his marke soe witnesseth Amb. Benning  Thomas Caldecott his mark.

 

This Will and Codicil  were proved at London the Twentie Eighth day of the month of June in the Yeare of our Lord God One thousand Six hundred Fifty and nyine before the Judge for the granting of probate of Wills and graunting Administration lawfully authorised by the oath of Joane Godfrey the Relict and John Godfrey the sonne and joint Executors named etc.

 

This page was added by David Miller on 23/10/2012.

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