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Will of Francis Reade, Yeoman of Devizes, Wiltshire. 1632

In the name of God Amen.

I, Francis Reade of the Devizes in the County of Wilts, yeoman, being weake in body but of good and sound memory (thanks be given to god) do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following. First I revoke all former wills by me heretofore at any time made and I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God who gave it me, and my body to be buried in the Church or Churchyard of St John in the Devizes aforesaid at the discretion of my Executrix hereinafter named. 

Item, I give and bequeath unto my son Michael Reade my house wherein I now dwell together with the backside or orchard thereunto belonging after the decease of his mother which house is there situated in the new parte of the Devizes it has on the East side the Common highway or street on the South Mr Drews lande, and the West the Coffle Bank, and the North Mr Grubb’s lande. 

Item, I give unto him the said Michael half of my wood laying and being in the said house and backside; half my grounds which I hold of Mr Michael Drew; half of the grounds which I hold of Thomas Collins of Wicke; half my Park grounds half my beasts and horse cattle and half my crops now being and growing or hereafter to be and grow upon all or any of my forenamed grounds; and lastly I give him that parte of my Orchard which I hold of Mr Robert Drewe being next the little lane. 

Item, I give unto my son Francis Reade my house commonly called by the name of Customs house and those two other houses which I hold from William Whittaker together with the backfield and orchards and other the appurtenances thereunto belonging with the Close thereunto adjoining and the other half of my grounds cattle woode and crops aforesaid not already given nor bequeathed. Lastly, I give him one table board and frame and one chair usually standing in the parlour of this my dwelling house. 

Provided that both my before named sons do live and inhabit with their mother and do her service as formerly they have done for me and that they suffer her quietly and peacably to enjoy all the premises during her widowhood, and after the same manner as I myself have formerly enjoyed the same. Provided always that no part or parcel of the aforesaid leases chattels, houses, tenements, rents, gardens orchards or backfields be at all solde let or set by my Executrix or the properties at all altered, unless it be by the consent of the aforesaid legatees, and the approbation of my hereafter named overseers and that moreover none of my goods or chattels diminished or the property thereof altered unless it be for the payment of legacies hereafter mentioned by the consent and approbation of my overseers. 

Item, I give to my daughter Margaret Reade the sum of fifty pounds of lawful English money to be paid her within six months after her marriage or to be disposed of by her as she shall think fit at her hour of death whichsover of these first happeneth. Provided always that if the aforesaid Margaret Reade do marry or be married without the consent of her mother her friends and Overseers of this my last will and testament that then the said legacy shall not be paid as aforesaid but it shall be lawful for her mother and other friends consenting together with the Overseers to put to use the foresaid sum of fifty pounds and the profit only shall be paid her duly and yearly towards her maintenance. 

Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Susan Reade the sum of fifty pounds of lawful English money to be paid after the same manner and form as to my daughter Margaret Reade is to be paid and not otherwise and with the same provisos. 

Item, I give and bequeath unto my godson Francis Bayly the sum of six pounds of lawful English money to be paid at the Annunciation of our blessed Lady next ensuing the date hereof and then to be put out to use or interest by my hereunder written Overseers for his best behoofe and gain until he accomplish his full age of xxi years at which time I will that it be paid unto the aforesaid Francis together with the surplusage and interest thereof. 

Item I give unto George Bayly brother unto the aforesaid Francis four pounds of current English money to be used and employed paid as Francis Bayley’s is and not otherwise. 

Item, I give to Anne Kingsman daughter to my daughter Elizabeth Kingsman and to her other daughter Elizabeth Kingsman twenty shillings apiece to be paid, used and employed as George and Francis Bayleys monies are to be employed and not otherwise. Moreover, I give unto them all such standing household stuff as was left by me in their father’s house equally to be divided between them. 

I give unto my sister Hilary Fox the sum of ten shillings and to Philipp the son of Elizabeth Franklin my sister’s daughter ten shillings to be paid both at the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin aforesaid. 

Moreover my will and meaning is that my loving wife Margaret shall be sole Executrix of this last will and testament and I do give and bequeath unto her all my goods, chattels, chatell leases, household stuff and utensils whatsoever not before given nor bequeathed my debts and legacies being paid and funeral discharged. 

Lastly I do make and ordain Mr Michaell Drewe the elder, gentleman and my son in law Philip Kingsman, schoolmaster, Overseers of this my last will and Testament desiring them both to direct and assist my said executrix in the execution of this my last will and testament, according to the terms intent and meaning of the premises. Moreover I do enjoin my said executrix and legatees by this my last will and testament, that if any strife or variance shall hereafter arise about any part or parts of any legacie above mentioned or any thing else that may concern this my last will and testament that they wholly refer the same to be ended and determined by my aforesaid Overseers. And for their pains herein to be taken I give to each of them five shillings. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the 5th day of May 1632 in the presence of:


Francis Reade

Francis Forges

William Lamb

Elizabeth Kingsman

Michaell Drewe

Phillip Kingsman           Overseers

Last updated 23 December 2011