In the name of God, Amen, the seventh day of May in the year of Our Lord God one thousand six hundred and twenty seven, I, William Bridge of the parish of Bosbury in the County of Hereford, yeoman, being of good and perfect memory thanks be given unto Almighty God therefore, revoking all former wills by me made, do constitute, ordain and make this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say First I bequeath my soul unto Almighty God my maker and redeemer and my body to be buried in Bosbury’s churchyard near to the chapel there called Morton’s Chapel. And my will is that my grave shall be covered with a broad stone two foot high from the ground; then after my funeral is discharged my will is that all my goods and chattels shall be disposed and distributed as by this my will is expressed and declared.
First I give unto the churchwardens of the parish of Bosbury for the time being the sum of twenty shillings to be used and employed as a stock for and towards the relief of the poor of the said parish of Bosbury forever.
Item I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Bridge, the sum of two hundred pounds to be paid unto her within one month next after my decease.
Item I give unto my daughter, Margaret Bridge, the sum of two hundred and twenty pounds to be paid unto her within one month next after my decease.
Item I give and bequeath unto his [?my] son, John Bridge, the sum of one hundred pounds to be paid unto him within one month next after my decease. I give and devise further unto my said son John Bridge and his heirs forever, all that my parcel of pasture or meadow ground with the appurtenences called or known by the name of the Court orchard together with my Cottage or Tenement with the appurtenences thereunto adjoining, all which are situate and being in the parish of Ashperton in the county of Hereford to have and to hold the said parcel of pasture or meadow ground with the appurtenances and the said cottage or tenem[en]t with appurtenences to my said son John Bridge, his heirs and assigns for ever.
Item I give and bequeath unto my son, James Bridge, the sum of two hundred and forty pounds to be paid unto him within one month next after my decease.
Item I give and bequeath unto my son, Thomas Bridge, the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds to be paid unto him within one quarter of an year after my decease.
Item I give and devise further unto my said son Thomas Bridge his heirs and assigns forever, all that my houses, lands, ten[emen]ts and hereditaments whatsoever situate, set, lying and being within the parish of Hanley Castle in the county of Worcester to have and to hold the said houses, lands, ten[emen]ts and hereditaments in the said the parish of Hanley Castle to my said son Thomas Bridge, his heirs and assigns for ever.
Item I give and bequeath unto my son, Richard Bridge, the sum of two hundred and twenty pounds to be paid within one year next after my decease together with convenient and necessary meat, drink, fire, lodging and apparel and schooling to be maintained by mine Executor until my said son Richard shall come to the age of eighteen in years.
Item I do give and devise unto Margaret Bridge, my wife, for and in recompence and in place and stead of her dowry one annuity or yearly rent of sixteen pounds of good and lawful money of England to be issuing and going out of all my free lands and tenements lying in Upleadon in the said parish of Bosbury called or known by the several name or names of the messuage called Showles, or Showmells, the messuage called Orchards and the messuage called Woodyend, and out of all the lands, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever to the said several messuages belonging or in any wise appurtaining, to have, hold, receive, perceive and enjoy the said yearly rent of sixteen pounds unto my said wife, Margaret Bridge, and her assigns for and during the term of her natural life payable at two feast days or terms in the year that is to say, the feast day of St Michael the Archangel [29 September] and the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin St. Mary [25 March] by equal and even portions. And if it happen the said yearly rent of sixteen pounds to be behind and unpaid in part or in all by the space of one month after any of the said days in which the same ought to be paid and it being lawfully demanded at the now dwelling house of me, the said William Bridge, that then it shall and may be lawful to and for my said wife [to go] into the said premises or into any part thereof to enter and distrain, and the distress or distresses there so had and taken, to lead, drive, take, carry away and detain until that she, my said wife, her executors or assigns be of the same and of the arrearages thereof if any shall be fully satisfied and paid.
Item my will is further that if it shall happen the said yearly rent of sixteen pounds to be behind and unpaid by the space of one month next after any of the said days in which the same ought to be paid in part or in the whole that then I will and devise into my said wife the sum of 40s to be paid weekly unto her out of all my said messuages, lands te[emen]ts and hereditaments lastly mentioned until the said sixteen pounds shall be fully satisfied and paid unto her and a weekly forfeiture (noie... ..ne) to be forfeited unto her in non payment of the said £16 by the space of one month next after any of the said feast days, wherein my will is further that the said last mentioned ands and ten[emen]ts shall be distrainable for the said weekly payment or paying of 40s. by my said wife when as often and the same shall be so unpaid and that it shall and may be lawful to and for my said wife into the said premises to enter and distain for the same and the the distress and distresses therefore found had and taken to lead, drive, take, carry away and detain until the same with the arranged thereof shall be fully paid.
Item my will is that my said wife shall have the chamber over the parlour in my now dwelling house to her own only use for and during so long time as she shall continue sole and unmarried and shall make that house the place of her dwelling. And my will is further that she shall have during that time free liberty to come and enjoy the use of the fire, and the benefit of the oven for her necessary use in my said dwelling house and one hogshead of the best cider there yearly during her said widowhood and time of dwelling there. And that during that time, that she shall have the sowing of half a bushel of hempseed or linseed in what part of the said lands belonging to my said house and shall please her and the increase thereof arising to take to her own use..
Item I give unto my said wife further the bed and furniture thereunto belonging being in the chamber over the parlour and for the bedstead there to make use of it in that place, but during her widowhood, where in my will and mind is that her liberty for dwelling in the said house and using the said land for hemp or flax as aforesaid shall be not cause of bar, impediment or cause of any suspension of the said rent or (noie.. pene) to her devised by any means whatsoever. But yet my will and meaning is that if she shall make claim to her dower [dowry] in any my lands that then she shall take not benefit of this my will.
Item I give and bequeath unto my son, William Bridge, all the residue of my household stuff; utensils and implements of household, and all my waynes and tack of team and implements of husbandry, my armour, mustmill and maltmill, and four oxen and four kine.
Item my will is that if any of my said children shall happen to die before the time they should have their legacies according as is hereby appointed, that the part or portion of him, her or them so dying shall be equally divided amongst the rest of my children then living, excepting my said son, William Bridge.
Item my will is further that if any over plus shall arise out of all my goods and chattels after my funerals and legacies hereby bequeathed, discharged then the said overplus to be equally divided amongst my said four sons, John, James, Thomas and Richard.
Item my will is and I do further bequeath that my said wife and all my said children and son in law shall for mourning apparel have every of the women decent and convenient mourning gowns and hats and the men cloaks and hats viz. each woman a gown and a hat and each man a cloak and hat to be given and delivered unto them with as much convenient speed as may be after my decease.
Item my will is further that there shall be prepared and made ready to be spent at my now dwelling house on the next Sunday or the Sunday se’night next after the day of my burial fit and convenient provision for a dinner there to be spent of the best beef, bacon, mutton and veal as conveniently may be gotten except banqueting dishes, entreating my cousin, Thomas Lawrence, and his wife, Mr Wall, our vicar of Bosbury and his wife, and four messe† of other of our neighbours and friends as are next dwelling in this my neighbourhood as my executors shall make choice to be guests at the said dinner.
Item I give and bequeath unto my nephew, Anthony Barkeley, twenty pounds to be paid unto him within a year after my decease. Item I give to all my sisters children 2 shillings apiece. Item I give to my grandchild, William Northen, five nobles to be paid to him at his age of 16 years. Item I give to Francis Spicer my second suit of wearing apparel and to his daughter 20 shillings to be paid her at her age of 14 years. Item I give to my workman, John Alcott, a black frieze coat.
Item I give to every poor householder dwelling in the parish of Bosbury a peck [two gallons = 9 litres] of muncorn apiece.
Item I give to such that shall help to carry my corpse to be buried 8 pence apiece,
and to him that shall preach at my burial 6s.8d., and to such poor persons as shall ring at my burial 6s.8d to be
divided amongst them; and my will is that three penny dole be given to the poor people that
shall be at my burial.
Item my will is that if it shall happen that my goods and chattels shall not be sufficient to discharge the said legacies hereby bequeathed, which I do think and hope it will, then my will is that so much thereof as shall be wanting after my funerals discharged shall be raised out of the issues and profits of all my lands and tenements in the said parish of Bosbury, for and towards the full and perfect making up of the said legacies bequeathed as aforesaid.
Item for the further disposition of all and singular my messuages, lands, tenements and hereditaments situate, set, lying and being in the said parish of Bosbury and of a certain moiety of a certain messuage and lands in the parish called Marriotts. And to the end and purpose that the same may continue in my name and blood for so long time as it shall please Almighty God; therefore my will is and I do hereby devise and bequeath all and singular my messuages, houses, edifices, buildings, gardens, orchards, meadows, leasowes, pastures, feedings,* lands, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever set, lying and being in the said parish of Bosbury and County of Hereford unto the said William Bridge, mine [= my] oldest son and to the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten, and for default of such issue unto John Bridge, my second son, and to the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten, and for default of such issue unto James Bridge, my third son, and to the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten, and for default of such issue to Thomas Bridge my fourth son and to the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten, and for default of such issue to Richard Bridge, mine youngest son, and to the heirs males of his body lawfully begotten, and for default of such issue to the right heirs of me, the said William Bridge, for ever.
And of this, my last will and testament, I do constitute, ordain, name and appoint my eldest son, William Bridge, my sole executor, and my loving brother in law, John Vaughan Esquire, and my said loving cousin, Thomas Lawrence Esquire, overseers of the same, and unto my said overseers for their pains therein I do give unto them 6s.8d. apiece. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand the day and year first above written.
Item I do give and bequeath to Thomas Alcock, my apprentice servant, the sum of ten shillings to be paid to him at my decease. Item I do give and bequeath to Joan Long, my maid servant, the sum of 5s. to be paid unto her at my decease if she be then dwelling with me.
Item I do further hereby will that my said wife shall have the use of all my brass and pewter during the time of her widowhood and dwelling in my said dwelling house for her needful use only, there to be employed and used and not elsewhere.
Item I do further give unto my eldest daughter, Mary Northen, two pieces of gold of twenty shillings apiece. And to my two sisters 5s. apiece and to my daughter, Jane, the wife of John Ridley, two pieces of gold also of 20s. apiece; the mark of the testator.
Witnesses T. Lawrence, scriptor, George Wall, clerk, John Bridges
Probate granted: 21 November 1627
† messe means a serving group of four people at a meal * feeding is an obsolete term for grazing or pasture land