Saturday, October 20, 2012

Will of John Blake of Stooloford - SWRO - P2/1 Reg/62, probated 1545/46

The dating of the probate for this will of John Blake is in new style and there are no probate lines on this will but it is dated 1546 in the database on the website of the Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office Will search site. To save confusion on this page I have used the new style dating in the header.

Does this refer back to the will of Alice Blake published 18 October 2012 ( where the tything of Stofford is mentioned? This John also appears to be living at Stofford although named Stooloford in the header and Stowford in the body of the will. However, he also mentions that it is in the parish of South Newton so an error on the scribe's part or John Blake if he has written the will himself.

Who are John's parents?. Is he a blacksmith as he mentions iron wedges but also he has farm equipment and farm animals.

His family in the will consists of his wife Edith, son Thomas Blake with a son Robert, and a second son for John and Edith namely John Blake.  There is also a Robert Blake who is a carpenter living in South Newton mentioned. No relationship mentioned. Since John Blake testator has a son and grandson he is perhaps in his late 40s , early 50s or even older so born at the end of the 1400s or early 1500s. The Blake family at the end of the 1400s is an interesting place to be at for me. That is the approximate time when Nicholas and Robert Blake are born at Enham near Andover. What new information can I glean from this set of early Wiltshire wills on the Blake family in this area?

I think that owning a horse in this time period must have been considered a certain level of wealth. Not mentioning a home does tell me that he probably has property that belongs to a Lord of the Manor. However does having farm animals make you a farmer in this time period? This is the first will I have had where reference is made to saying prayers for him after he dies and supplying the means to pay for these prayers. Historically speaking Henry VIII is still King of England etc. Although Henry has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, the people of England at this point in time have not. The practice of religion was still very varied and it took the Church leaders under Henry's son Edward VI to bring about some conformity to the "Church of England" to bring all areas into a certain level of similarity which was, of course, completely undone by Mary when she was Queen as she returned the Church of England to union with the Roman Church.

This writeup on Stoford in British History Online:


All Stoford's land, c. 500 a., was in copyholds and small freeholds of South Newton manor. (fn. 211) Of 13 customary holdings in 1315 there were 4 of 1 yardland, 8 of ½ yardland, and 1 of ¼ yardland. Labour services due from the tenants were similar to those due from the tenants of South Newton but in addition each yardlander of Stoford had to find a man for 24 days every year to prepare land to be ploughed, and all Stoford yardlanders and ½-yardlanders were required to carry salt. (fn. 212)

In the mid 16th century there were three open fields, East, Middle, and West, a total of c. 360 a., and a common pasture in the north-east corner of the parish for 615 sheep said in 1567 to be of 100 a.; cattle were grazed on the common pasture of South Newton. Detached from its other land Stoford had a 12-a. common meadow between two courses of the Wylye north-west of the village. Six copyholders and a tenant at will held between them 8¼ yardlands, sharing 262 a. of arable and pasture for 405 sheep. Some labour services at haymaking and harvest were still owed. Three free tenants held 98½ a. of arable with rights for 210 sheep. (fn. 213)

Although I have not yet learned anything about the relationships in the Blake family in the Wiltshire area, I am mostly in the business of accumulating information and these wills are quite fascinating.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 17 Oct 2012
Source:  Swindon and Wiltshire Record Office P2/1 Reg/62
Name of testator: John Blake
Place: Stooloford, South Newton, Wiltshire, England
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 9 Feb 1545/46, probated 1545/46
Read: Electronic file images
Condition: 16th century, middle English, clear copy (few smudges)
[Header] Testam[ent] John Blake Stooloford in p[ar]esh S[outh] Newton

1    In the name of god amen the viiij th day of February
2    the yere of our lord god M CCCCC xlv I John Blake of Stowford
3    of the p[ar]ishe of Southe Newton of a goode mynd and of goode reme[m]
4    brancs makythe my last wyll and testame[n]t in man[ner] or forme folowyng
5    First I gyve my sowle to almyghty god to the blessyd virgine our
6    lady saynt mary and to all the goo[d]ly co[m]pany of heavyn And my
7    body to be buried in the churche yarde of saynt Andrew of Southe
8    newton Also I gyve to the churche of South Newton one wether [castrated sheep]
9    Also to the brothers of our lady one ewe Also to the high Aulter one
10    wether [castrated sheep]. Also to B Thomas Wellys one ewe Also I gyve to ev[er]y[ ea]che  of
11    my god chyldren iiijd Also I gyve to ev[er]y[ ea]che of my chyldrens chyldren
12    iiijd Also I gyve to ev[er]y[ ea]che of my chyldren one shepe Also I gyve to
13    Thomas Blake my son one old cart w[i]t[h] all apparell or all thyngys
14    p[er]teynyng therto one horse and all my rayments or apparell p[er]teynyng
15    to my Body (except ij gownys) Also I gyve to Thomas Blake my
16    sonne a plow chayne one yron wegge and a nyche Also I gyve
17    to Robert Blake sonne to Thomas Blake one yron wegge and a
18    shepe called a hogge Also I gyve to Rob[er]t Blake of South Newton
19    my best hooyse and one hogg Also I gyve to Johan Blake my s____t
20    and kynswoma[n] one ewe and a lambe Also I wyll that Edithe my wyfe
21    have for the tyme of her life xx ti shepe and one kowe to kype and make
22    a yerely obyte or dyryges for the helthe of my sowle and all christen
23    sowles And after her d[e]p[ar]tyng or d[ea]the I wyll that John my sonne
24    shall have the forsaid xx ti shepe and kowe And kypt the obit or diriges
25    yerely in lyke man[ner] And that he fynd an ordre a fore his d[e]
26    p[ar]tyng that the diriges or obite ev[er] after to be kepte The Re
27    sydew of my goods I gyve to Edithe my wyfe whic[h] y make
28    myne executrix and to distribute for my sowle as she thynkyth
29    best w[i]t[h] consell of John Blake my sonne whic[h] I make sup[er]visor
30    of this my last wyll or testament Thes Beyng witnes Robt
32    Blake the carpentar Raf Mener w[i]t[h] other

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