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"

By David Miller

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of Thomas Caldecutt 1659' page
Photo:This is the Probate Court copy, made by the Court for its own records. It is not the actual will signed by the Testator.

This is the Probate Court copy, made by the Court for its own records. It is not the actual will signed by the Testator.

Commentary.

This Will is of interest because it shows how a testator attempts to provide for his Wife and three children. It seems to be taken as read that the Wife (or Widow, as she would be by then) will have the right to stay in the house, even though the house would pass to the eldest son as the legal heir. The Will says that if he does not maintain his mother in the way provided in the Will, then the house (and the land) is to go to her for her lifetime. The testator cannot deprive the heir at law for a longer period than that.

The legacies to the two girls represent a considerable sum of money, so much that the testator makes it payable in two stages, one at a year after his death, and the second a year after that.

There is always the problem that if too much is given to the younger children in order to obtain equality, then the eldest will not have enough of an inheritance to maintain his mother, and himself. In a farming family, in particular, dividing the land between all the children to achieve equality can be counter-productive since none of the resulting smaller plots will be self-sustaining.

In this case, the testator's task is somewhat easier, because his two younger children are both girls, who in the usual course of things will marry and be supported by their husbands.  The £80 legacies will make a very nice dowry for each of them. They would not be short of proposals! Lydea would have been 25 when her father died, and Martha was 19. There are no records of their marriage.

Richard Caldecutt (presumably the one mentioned here) appears in the Hearth Tax returns to have had a house with two hearths. The Caldecutt family, some 25 years later, have a house and land just behind the present village shop. See the Chicheley Map of 1686. 

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of Thomas Caldecutt 1659' page

 

Transcript of the Will of Thomas Caldecutt 1659

 

In the name of God Amen – the second day of May in the yeare of our Lord God One thousand six hundred and fiftie nine I Thomas Caldecutt of Orwell in the County of Cambridge husbandman being sicke in body but of perfect memory I give God praise doo make and ordaine this my last Will in manner and forme as followeth First I bequeath my soule into the hands of Almighty God and my body to the ground from whence it came to be decently buried att the discretion of my Executors And for those worldly goods which God of his mercy hath given mee I will and bequeath as followeth In primis I will and give to Richard Caldecutt my sonne All my Tenement and Lande lying in the bounds of Orwell to him and his heires provided that he shall pay unto Jane my Wife yearly during her naturall life the sum of forty shillings and to let her Choose also out of the Croppe of the aforesaid Land halfe an Acre of wheate and half an Acre of Barly to be ready sowne by him only he may except one Acre of each sort of Corne before she make Choyce and in case my sonne shall neglect or refuse the aforesaid payment being lawfully demanded by her my will is that she shall have all the said house and Land during her life Item  I will and give to Lydea Caldecutt my daughter the summe of thirty pounds of lawfull money to be paid to her within one yeare of my decease and the like summe of thirtie pounds one yeare after that also 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 Item I will and give Martha Caldecutt my daughter the summe of thirty pounds of lawfull money to be paid to he att the age of one and twenty years and the like summe of thirty pounds within one yeare after Also I give to her a brasse pott fower paire of sheetes fower pewter dishes a paire of pillows and a payre of pillowberes a Coverlett and a payre of blankets also & my Executors my will is shall provide for her all necessaries att theire Charge until she come to the age of one and Twentie years All the rest of my goods and chattels whatsoever unbequeathed I will and give to Jane my Wife and Richard my sonne equally between them my funeral discharged and my debts discharged whome I make sole Executors of this my last will and Testament In witness whereof I have hereto sett my hande and seale the day and yeare first before written  Thomas Cook  Thomas Caldecutt Witnesses Lawrence Johnson and  William Houlder

 

Probate at London the 8th June 1659 to the Executors named.

This page was added by David Miller on 25/03/2013.

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