Will of Stephen Bigg, blacksmith, 1756

Herts RO 194AW2

In the Name of God Amen I Stephen Bigg of Winslow in the County of Bucks Blacksmith being very aged and infirm in Body but of Sound Disposing Mind Memory and understanding Considering the uncertainty of this Life do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in Manner and Form following that is to say First I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my Grandson Bigg Tokefield and his Heirs All that my Copyhold Messuage or Tenement wherein I now Dwell scituate and being in Winslow aforesaid in the said County of Bucks with all and every the appurtenances to the said Messuage or Tenement belonging and also all other my Messuages or Tenements Hereditaments and all and their and every of their appurtenances (in whose occupation whomsoever the same or any part thereof may be) scituate and being in Winslow aforesaid and also all those my several pieces and parcells of arable [land?] Ley or Swoard Ground scituate lying and being in the Common Fields of Grandborough in the said County of Bucks by Estimation Four acres be the same more or less (All which said premisses are Copyhold and which I have or shall Surrender to the use of this my Will) together with all and singular Hereditaments and Appurtenances whatsoever to the said Land and premisses belonging or in any wise appurtaining To hold the same unto the said Bigg Tokefield his Heirs and Assigns for ever Also I Give Devise and Bequeath unto the said Bigg Tokefield and his Heirs and Assigns All those my several pieces and parcells of freehold arable land Ley and Sword ground scituate and being dispersed in the open Common Fields and Parish of Mursley in the said County of Bucks by Estimation Ten Acres more or less now in the Occupation of John Symonds with their and every of their Appurtenances To hold unto the said Bigg Tokefield his Heirs and Assigns for ever Subject nevertheless to the true and just payment of the two legacies herein after mentioned that is to say Also I Give and Bequeath unto my Grandaughters Grace Tokefield and Joannah Tokefield and to their Executors Administrators and assigns the {the} Sum of Sixty pounds apiece to each of them of Lawfull Money of Great Britain To be paid to each and every of them respectively and to each of their respective Executors Administrators or assigns by the said Bigg Tokefield his Heirs or assigns within twelve Kalender months next and immediately after my decease And I do hereby charge all the said Messuages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and premisses with the true and just payment of the same as aforesaid  Also I Give and Bequeath unto them the said Grace Tokefield and Joannah Tokefield all and every my Household Goods and Furniture Moneys Goods Chattels and personal Estate whatsoever and wheresoever and of what Nature Kind quality soever the same maybe which I shall be possessed of Interested in or Intituled to at the time of my Decease \to be equally parted between them/ they paying off and discharging my small Debts that I shall owe at the time of my Decease Funeral Expences and Charges for proving this my Will And I do hereby Make and Ordain them the said Grace Tokefield and Joannah Tokefield joint Executrixes of this my last Will and Testament Hereby revoking and making void all former and other Wills by me at any time heretofore made do Declare this present to be my last Will and Testament I\n/ Witness whereof I the said Stephen Bigg the Testator have hereunto Set my hand and Seal the Twenty second Day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and fifty six

The Mark of
Stephen  Bigg

Sealed Published and Declared by the said Stephen Bigg
the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the
presence of us who at his request and in hispresence have
subscribed our Names as Witnesses  The words  to be
Equally parted between them being first interlined and
razures made before the execution hereof
James Budd
Robert Blake
Wm. Huggins

The first day of March 1756 The within named Grace Tokefield
& Johanna Tokefield the joint Executrixes were duly sworn before me
Jno. Rawbone   Surrogate


There were several Stephen Biggs in Winslow; this one was not Stephen Bigg the postmaster (his uncle) and until 1704 was usually called Stephen jr to differentiate him. He seems to have been the son of Nicholas and Mary Bigg (both d.1683), and therefore born 1665 or later. He was the brother of Mary Bigg (d.1745).

In 1691-2 (see also 1693, when his wife Martha is mentioned) Stephen Bigg had a dispute with his neighbour William Gyles jr. This means that he lived on the north side of the Market Square, probably where 21-23 is now. He also encroached on the south-east corner of the churchyard in 1698. The property was shared with his brother William and divided between them in 1702. It may have extended as far as no.27, which later belonged to the Tofield grandchildren.

Ann daughter of Stephen Bigg was bap. 29 Dec 1689. She married (1) 9 April 1714 Robert Bowden, farmer of Great Horwood; (2) 29 Oct 1715 Joseph Tofield of Winslow, baker (d.1742). She was presumably the Ann Tofield buried on 9 May 1755. Her children were:

Edward Bigg of Swanbourne, yeoman, in his will of 1736 (Centre for Bucks Studies D/A/Wf/81/72) left his freehold property in Mursley to his wife Alice for her life, then to his brother Stephen Bigg, then to "my kinsman William Tofield son of Joseph Tofield of Winslow baker". William, who died in 1748, left the reversion to his mother Ann Tofield.

Stephen Bigg had a Chancery case against his son-in-law Joseph Tofield which is summarised below. The outcome is not known. The Baldwins appear to be the same people who, with others, sold the tithes of Padbury and some property in Leckhampstead and Gawcott to William Gyles in 1713 (National Archives, CP 25/2/909/11ANNEHIL).

National Archives, C 11/1204/29

18 Jan 1726/27. Complainant: Stephen Bigg of Winslowe blacksmith

William Baldwyn the elder late of [Buckingham] yeoman deceased and his son William Baldwyn the younger of Tingewick in April 1714 applied to Bigg to lend them £20.  They entered into a bond dated 26 April 1714 making them jointly liable for a penal sum of £40.

Afterwards a marriage was concluded upon between Joseph Tofeild of Winslowe and Bigg’s daughter Ann, which took place on 12 Nov 1715.  Bigg, being obliged to give a portion with his daughter and being pressed by Tofeild, proposed to let him have the bond as part of the portion. 

The Baldwyns had duly paid the interest on it to Bigg or Tofeild until shortly before Baldwyn the elder’s decease in 1718.  He had an estate of over £200.  He made his will with Baldwyn the younger as executor.

The £20 and some arrears of interest being unsatisfied, Bigg and Tofeild often applied to Baldwyn the younger for payment.  Baldwyn the son and Tofeild combining and confederating with each other and contriving to defraud Bigg now say that the £20 was never lent and the bond never executed.

Baldwyn pretends that the bond has become void because Bigg’s name as obligee appears to be erased and the name of Joseph Tofeild inserted, which was done with the Baldwyns’ consent because they insisted that the giving of a new bond was unnecessary.  “Your Orator being a Blacksmith by trade and the said Tofeild being a Baker and neither being Acquainted with the Nature of Bonds or Deeds”, on 10 Jan 1715/16 the alteration was made.

The Baldwyns father and son continued to pay interest to Bigg or Tofeild after the alteration.  After the father’s death, Baldwyn the son refused to pay principal or interest to Tofeild, who insisted on Bigg taking back the bond and paying him the principal and interest.  Baldwyn the son has refused to pay Bigg, although “frienldly entreated”.

Baldwyn the son refuses to declare his father’s assets.  He should be compelled to provide an inventory, and he and Tofeild should be ordered to appear in Chancery.

William Baldwin’s will was proved at the PCC on 22 Dec 1719.  He charged William his son with payment of his debts but no details were given.

Copyright 1 February, 2018