Will of Benjamin Bigg, postmaster of Yardley Gobion, 1707 (proved 1708/9)


National Archives PROB 11/500

In the Name of God Amen I Benjamin Bigg of Yardley Gubbeon in the County of Northampton Postmaster being weake in body but of sound mind and understanding all possible praise be given to Allmighty God therefore But considering the certainty of death Doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament. First and principally I commend my soule into the hands of  Allmighty God hoping through the Meritts Death and passion of Jesus Christ my saviour to be made partaker of everlasting life: And my body I commit to the Earth to be buried neare the Tombe of my late Father att Winslow in the County of Bucks at the discretion of my Executors herein after named. And as for such Temporall Estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and dispose thereof as followeth. Imprimis I give and bequeath unto Anne my loveing Wife all and every my freehold lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever for the Terme of her naturall life. And after her Decease I give the same unto Ann Bigg my daughter and her heirs forever. And to prevent all Disputes Misunderstandings and Missinterpretations that may be had and made of the Devise of Richard Scrivener my late Brother in Law touching the said Freehold Land I desire my said Wife to continue this Devise by Deed unto my loveing Brother Richard Bigg and such other person as She shall think fitt to the uses aforesaid. Item I give and bequeath unto the said Ann my loveing Wife: all and every my household goods whatsoever upon Condition that She performe my said Devise. Item I give and bequeath unto the said Ann my loveing Wife all and every my Goods and Chattells whatsoever not herein before bequeathed to be sold and disposed of for the payment of my debts. Item I having made a Surrender of all my Copyhold lands Tenements and Hereditaments held of the Mannor of Winslowe cum Membris in the County of Bucks to the use of my last Will and Testament. As to all those Copyhold Lands lately surrendered to my Use by Gilbert East and Mr [blank] North my will and meaning is And I doe hereby declare the Uses thereof to be to the said Ann my Wife and Richard Bigg my Brother and their Heires. To the Intent that they shall sell and dispose of the same for the best price that can be had or gotten for the same And with the Money arising by the Sale thereof to pay and satisfye all such of my said Debts as my said personall Estate shall not be sufficient to answer and pay. And the Overplus thereof my desire is shall be placed out att Interest from time to time in the Names of my loveing Wife and Brother for the Benefitt of my younger Children Mary Bigg and Jane Bigg. And upon this further Trust until Sale thereof to dispose of the profits thereof for their benefit alsoe. And Whereas I have settled Two hundred pounds upon my said Wife and younger Children which is secured to me by a Surrender of the Copyhold lands of Robert Gibbs scituate in Winslowe aforesaid And Whereas my part of the Bell Inne in Winslowe stands charged with the payment of Two hundred pounds to the Grandchildren of my said late Father payable upon the Death of Mary Bigg my Mother. And as to my parte of the said Bell Inn and all the Lands Tenements and hereditaments thereto belonging my will and desire is that the said Two hundred pounds soe as aforesaid settled on my said Wife and Children shall att the Death of my said Mother be paid in Discharge of the said Legacies of my said Father. And in consideration thereof I doe hereby declare the uses of my said part of the said Bell Inn to the said Ann my Wife for her life and my said younger Children and their heires. And further in case the said Two hundred pounds soe as aforesaid secured by the Copyholds of the said Robert Gibbs should not be paid in during the life of the said Mary Bigg my Mother my will and desire is that the same may be againe placed out att Interest within the Mannor of Winslowe aforesaid. And in case it should soe please God that all my Children happen to dye unmarried without Issue Then my will is And I doe hereby give and bequeath all the Benefitt of all my real and personall Estate after my Wifes decease unto the said Richard Bigg my Brother his heirs Executors and Administrators And I doe hereby nominate and appoint the said Ann my Wife sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament. And Lastly I doe hereby revoke all former Wills by me heretofore made and doe declare this only to be my last Will and Testament which is contained in three Sheets of paper. In Witness whereof to two of them I have sett my hand and to the third my hand and Seale this Eighth day of August Anno Domini 1707 Nevertheless my mind and will is that in case the said Anne my Daughter shall not att the next Generall Court after She shall attaine the age of one and twenty surrender with effect all her Reight to all the Copyhold Lands and Tenements in Winslowe which She may claime as heire of the Body of me and my said Wife to the use of the said Mary and Jane my Daughters And alsoe pay unto the said Mary and Jane the Summe of Thirty pounds a piece Then I doe hereby bequeath my said freehold lands unto the said Mary and Jane and their heirs.

Ben: Bigg; Signed Sealed published and declared in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses in the presence of the Testator Theophilus Stilton Robert Seeares Nicho: Merwin

[Probate granted at London on 7 Feb 1708/9 to Anne Bigg, widow and executrix]


Benjamin Bigg was buried at Winslow on 30 Aug 1707.  He was the second son of Stephen Bigg, postmaster at Winslow, d.1704.  He was baptised at Winslow on 21 Dec 1673.  His daughters were baptised at Winslow: Ann on 2 June 1697, Mary on 30 Nov 1700 and Jane on 9 April 1703. Arrangements according to Benjamin's will were made at a special manor court on 8 Sep 1707. His widow Ann, living in Winslow, died in 1724. Ann the daughter married John Dudley and Jane married John Turner.

Stephen Bigg's will does not mention The Bell specifically, but refers to copyhold estate surrendered to Benjamin so that he could pay an annuity of £11 to his mother Mary. Stephen was postmaster, and his elder son Richard probably succeeded him before holding higher office in the Post Office.

In 1749, Benjamin's grandaughter Mary Goldsworth (nee Dudley) was admitted at the manor court to her grandparents' property adjacent to The Bell. In the recital of previous ownership Benjamin is described as "carpenter", which was presumably his job before he went to Yardley Gobion to be postmaster.