A group of CCHS volunteers has taken on the task of transcribing all the Wills, Letters of Administration and Probate information of people living in Campden and surrounding areas, nearly 1000 of which are stored at Gloucestershire Archives.
Two of our members are expert at reading the writing from the 1500’s and 1600’s while the rest of us struggle with the later years. A database is being developed which will enable researchers to make links with other sources of information.
The documents have been photographed with a digital camera and each volunteer has taken responsibility for transcribing them into easily readable documents which can be accessed by researchers.
Wills give a small insight into the lives of local people. Unfortunately the location of land and buildings are rarely identified so it is not often possible to link a family with a particular property but the bequests to individual people can throw up delightful personal touches and sometimes intriguing family disagreements!
Transcription of the Will of John Days, Pipemaker
In the Name of God Amen I John Days of Chipping Campden in the County of Gloucester pipemaker being of sound Mind and Memory do make this my last Will and Testament in manner following first I recommend my Body to the Earth (to be decently Interr’d at the discretion of my Executor hereafter Named) and my Soul to God that gave it Hoping to find Mercy through the merits of our Blessed Redeemer Jesus Christ, and as to my Worldly Effects I dispose of as follows I Bequeath unto my beloved Son John Days One Guinea, unto my Grand-Daughter Mary Days as now lives with me five pounds, with all the rest and residue of my property whatsoever or wheresoever can or may be found I Bequeath unto my beloved Son Francis Days whom I appoint Sole Executor of this my last Will, but will with this proviso that He the said Francis shall take proper Care and provides sufficient Maintenance and Cloathing for his Brother Nathan Days /during his Natural Life/or upon refusal of so doing shall be Obliged to pay unto the Hands of his Trustee or whom the Trustee shall appoint to receive it three Shillings and six pence per Week for the support of the said Nathan. And I hereby Nominate and appoint my Cousin John Hale of Broadway in the County of Worcester Weaver to be Trustee for my beloved Son Nathan Days Hoping he will Act as such if required as it is my sincere request In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the 8th Day of July 1775 John Days (Seal)
Signed Sealed and delivered
By the Testator as and for his last
Will and Testament in the presence
Of us who have Subscribed our
Will of Elizabeth Hill, Spinster, 26th October 1827
This will is fascinating for the insight it gives into practices and beliefs of Methodists in the early nineteenth century.
…Imprimis I direct that my body be laid in a strong plain coffin and interred in a very plain way; no pall, no bands or scarfs, no useless or vain trappings whatever accompanying the corrupting mass on the point of being concealed from mortal eye And that all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease My mind and will is that no funeral sermon be preached for me and that no account of my religious experience be published I have passed through deep and varied trials from a very early age and God through Christ has been my continual refuge To him be all the glory None of my natural friends are in want or even in straitened circumstances (all possessing incomes far superior to mine) Neither did I derive any of my property from those of them now alive therefore the dear children of God our common parent have the first claim on me…
Download a transcription of the whole will below.
From the Will of Mary Horne, 1628
Item I give to my brother William Hiron my husband’s best breeches and jerkin Item I give to my brother Thomas my husband’s next best breeches and his hat Item I give to my mother my best hat and my green apron Item I give my sister Anne Wood my medley gown Item I give my brother Charles Wood my husband’s doublet Item I give my sister Alice my violet coloured gown All my other goods movable and unmovable cattles chattels whatsoever I give and bequeath to my daughter Katherine Horne; to be left in the hands of my mother Katherine Hiron for the good of my daughter and her education And so do ordain my mother my sole Executrix And I entreat Mr Robert Lilly of Campden and my uncle Thomas Rose of Broad Campden to be the Overseers of this my last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have put to my hand the day and year above written
Item I give to my sister Sibbell Hiron a band, cross-cloth, a pair of shoes and my best petticoat
Item My will is that my daughter shall have that portion I have given her when she comes to the age of 18 years
From the will of Catherine Read, 1775:
I give unto my said neice [sic]Two feather Beds Bedsteads Bolsters and Blankets thereunto belonging and my best Quilt and also my High Chest of Drawers a large Mahogany Table Two looking Glasses with Gilt and Mahogany frames one half of all my table linnen and the one half of all my Pewter Also I give unto my said Neice a small Tea Board a Tea Chest and all my Wearing Apparel of whatsoever and linnen hereunto…