Will of John Boston, yeoman, 1558

Herts RO 1AW12, 6AR136

John Boston was one of the largest landholders in Winslow according to the 1555/6 survey, had a contract to collect the great tithes, acted as collector of rents, and was bailiff of the market.

The will exists as a filed will (A) and registered copy (B); the text is based on A, with B used for damaged and illegible text.

In the name of God Amen the xxxth day of Juli and yn the yere of o(ur) lorde God MCCCCClviij I John Boston of Wynslo in ye Countie of Buck’ yoman ordayne & make this for my last wyll p(re)sent testament & last wyll fyrste I bequeth my soule to ye Father of heaven and to all the holy companye there my bodye to be buryed at my setes ende w(it)hin my parryshe churche of Wynslo, and for breakinge of the grounde there vi s viij d Item to ye mother churche of Saint Albans viij d Ite(m) to the hyhe alter of my parrysh churche of Wynslow for tythes forgotten yf any were iiij d Ite(m) to the mayntenance of ye Sepulchr lighte, roode lyght & to ye bells a quarter of wheate & a quart(er) of maulte and ij busshells of malt for to make the poore people drinke of fre coste att ye nexte churche ale.  It(e)m yf there be any ale for the Roode light & Sepulchre light to that yerly a busshell of wheate & a busshell of malte and yf there be no ale then to fynde a taper yerly before the Sepulchre bur(n?)inge after s(er)vys don duringe ye tyme aft(er) the olde custome Ite(m) I wyll to ev(er)y poore wyddow w(it)hin my parryshe, of Grenborow Horwood & Shipton ij d Ite(m) to every poore couple lykewyse ij d Ite(m) to every of my godchilderne iiij d & every of my wyfes god childerne ij d Ite(m) to my s(er)vant Tomlyn a lame, too Butler an newe & a lame, to my sheparde a lame to every of my maydens a lame & to Kyrby a lame Ite(m) yf my executors do recov(er) my detts then to ev(er)y of my dowghters Jone & Besse xx li at the daye of there mariage or sone after, or ells xx marks & there chamber w(i)th there apparrell, & to ev(er)y of the(m) iij sylver spones.  Yf one of them departe to God before she be maryed, the one halfe of her bequest to her syste(r) & the other parte to my childers childer there as most neade shall requyre, & I suppose

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that ys to my dowghter Christians childerne motherles & Laurens Smythes.  Ite(m) to my dyll Elizabet my yongest dowghte(r) my wyffes best beades & her best gyrdle & my masar, & to my dowghte(r) Jone my salt of sylve(r) Ite(m) to every of my childerns childerne a newe & a lambe or ells a shepe.  It(em) to my sonne Rychard my howse (tha)t Parratt holdeth w(it)h the cotage betwexte the Harte & yt w(ith) thapp(ur)ten(ances) to hym and his heires.  It(em) to my sone John my Cotage named Copped Haul (tha)t Bosworthe holdeth, & all my rigth tytle & state yt of right I owght to have as my copie dothe shew of ye malte myll granted to me by ye Abbot of Saint Albans & (tha)t of my blessinge yow bothe Rychard & George do ayede & strengthen him.  Ite(m) to my sone George my howse (tha)t I dwell yn, (tha)t as Mayne do hold, yeldinge & paying yerly to his saide brother Jhon duringe his lyffe xj s toward ye mayntenans of his howse & his rent, & after his death to his sone yf god send him any Also to my saide sonne George my howse that Kyrby holdeth w(ith) thapp(ur)ten(ances) yeldinge & payinge yerly to his brother Rychard vi s viij d tyll he be <be>nefysyd the saide Kyrby nev(er?) put forth payinge his rent, Ite(m) to my sayde sonne John yerly duringe my yeres of my patent ij lodes of hard wood & ij of under wood, Item I wyll my executors do gyve and delyv(er) ev(er)y good frydaye to ye poore people there as most neade ys iij s iiij d and uppon ye even of the burthe of o(ur) lorde iij s iiij d & to kepe an obett aft(er) my death (tha)t day as I was quycke and ded yerly for me & my ij wyffes Elizabet and Jane & to deale to ye poore yt daye there as most nede ys iii s iiij d & for non’ doyinge of ye p(re)mysses I wyll ye churchwardens or any of my childerne & oversears do dystrayne uppo(n) any of my howses yt my executors shall have, Ite(m) yf my executors do recov(er) my detts or halfe I wyll to ev(er)y of my childerns childerne v s there as most nede ys to ye motherles my daughters Christians and Agnes Smythes vi s viii d to ev(er)y of them v childerne motherles.  Ite(m) I gyve ye p(ar)sonage & Baly-

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weke to George my sonne onely, my legac(ies) payed p(er)formed and my detts payed the rest of my goods to my sonne George and my youngest dowght(er) Elizabet whom I make my executors she not to have hallffe hal my goods and the some above named to.  And yf my sonne George have no mo(re) childerne by this woman & yf he depart to god before here, than she to have all his goods that were his & hers before and v li more of my goods.  Ite(m) I wyll that Elizabet my youngest dowghter shalbe yn the tuition of Rychard Edmonds and Jone [B: John] Boston and thei and ether of them to have her stocke untyll she be maryed And I ordayne & make my ov(er)sears Rychard Edmonds and John Myllar alias Graunte to every of them for there paynes vi s viij d wytness Rychard Edmonds Anthony Wendelborow, Wyllam Jacson w(i)th other more

[Latin:] Probatum fuit presens testamentum xxvito die mensis Septembris Anno Domini 1558 coram Domino Thoma Whetherhed surrogato [B only:] venerabilis viri Jacobi Dugdall archidiaconi &c ac per eundem surr’ approbatum &c commissaque fuit administratio omnium & c Georgio uni exec’ in huiusmodi testamento nominato primitus in debita Juris forma jurat’ reservata potestate &c altr’ exc’ &c cum venerit &c Salvo &c

[translation:] The present will was proved on 26 September 1558 before Master Thomas Whetherhed, surrogate of the Venerable James Dugdall the Archdeacon etc., and proved by the same surrogate etc., and administration of all etc. was entrusted to George, named one executor in this will, having been sworn first in due form of law, with power reserved etc. to the other executrix etc. when she comes etc., notwithstanding etc.

Inventory of John Boston, 1558

Herts RO A25/275

The Inventori of the goodes moveabells and unmo(v)ables of John Boston of Wynslowe who dep(ar)tyd to god ye xviijcimo daye of Auguste Anno Domini 1558 w(hi)ch same goods wer p(ra)syd bye John Graunte, Wylliam Glenyster Anthonye Wenborow, Wylliam Jacson, Thomas Tomlen

In primis fuftyn sylv(er) spones presyd at fower
It’ a goblet of sylv(er) p(ra)syd at         
xl s
It’ a salt of sylv(er) p(ra)syd at
xvj s
It’ a maser egged w(i)th sylv(er)
xiij s iiij d
It’ a pare of bedes & a harnes gyrdell   
x s
It’ fyve fether beddes fyve bolsters viij coverings fyve Mattresses bedsteds & hangings 
viij li
It’ iiij pyllowes iij p(a)re of pyllowe beres p(ra)syd at    
ix s
It’ iij p(a)re of blanketts p(ra)syd at      
xv s
It’ xxij p(a)re of shetes p(ra)syd at       
iij li xiij s iiij d
It’ his aparell p(ra)syd at
iiij li
It’ xij coffers p(ra)syd at
xx s
It’ vj towells vj table clothes vj table napkins p(ra)syd at
xvj s
It’ ij copbords p(ra)syd at
xxvj s viij d
It’ iiij tables & iiij formes
x s
It’ ij cheres ij joyne stoles
iiij s
It’ vij coshins & ij carpetts
ix s
It’ vj panns & iiij kettells x brasse potts iiij posnetts
iiij li
It’ ij dosen of pewter platters ix potengers viij sawsers ij basens of pewter ij salt sellers
xxx s
It’ fyve basens ij chafinge dyshes iiij yoors of latten one of pewter fyve candelstycks & a strayner
xij s iiij d
It’ iij p(a)re of Cobe Ires  & vj Spytts ij fryinge pans ij gose pans        
xx s
It’ a fornes
v[?] s
It’ iij p(a)re of hangers & a bar a p(a)re of tonges, ij fyre forks & a gryd yre(n)
vj s
It’ xiiij lods of fire wood p(ra)syd at     
xlij s
It’ xij peces of Tymber             
xvj s
It’ for a vate & hobbes[?] w(i)th other Cop(er)rye ware
xx s
It’ for iiij troges
iiij s
It’ for vij hogs & a bore
xxxiiij s iiij d
It’ xiij mylche best & a bull iiij yerlyngs & ij weaners     
xv li vj s viij d
It’ vij schore shepe
xxxiij li vi s viij d
It’ iiij horse & ij mares p(ra)syd at        
vj li
It’ iiij colts p(ra)syd at
xxxiiij s iiij d
It’ ten quarters of malte
v li
It’ iij baye of wheat & Rye & iij baye of barle & otes   
xvj li xiii s iiij d
It’ the benes p(ra)syd at
iij li
It’ fortye stook[?] of haye
v li
It’ a shod carte & a bare carte w(i)th ye horse harnes p(ra)syd at
xxxiij s iiij d

Summa Totalis Cxviij li xvj s viij d

It’ in monye
viij li

[Latin] Exhibitum et approbatum xxvjto die Septembris Anno Domini 1558

[signed] J[?] Caste[?]


John Boston's first wife Elizabeth Willows was still alive in 1521, but he was married to his second wife Agnes by 1528 (Court Rolls, f.32). She is not mentioned in the will; she was the widow of Thomas Janyn, d.1506. His (third) wife was called Jane in 1543 according to the will of her cousin Isabel Jenyns.

John Boston was a friend and possibly legal colleague of Thomas Palmer (d.1518). He may be the attorney at the Court of Common Pleas, c.1520-35, listed by Sir John Baker, The Men of Court 1440 to 1550 (Selden Society Supp.Ser.18, 2012), i 338.

dyll: abbreviation or variant of dilling:  A term of endearment, sometimes equivalent to darling, sometimes, the youngest of a family, the last born. In modern dialects applied to the weakling of a litter. (OED)

masar: i.e. mazer: A bowl, drinking cup, or goblet, usually without a foot, made from a burr or knot of a maple tree and frequently mounted with silver or silver-gilt bands at the lip and base. Also: a similar vessel made of metal or other material. (OED)

A: b[ - - ], B: nefysyd: i.e. beneficed. A Richard Boston was rector of Purley on Thames 1567-1577.

latten: A mixed metal of yellow colour, either identical with, or closely resembling, brass; often hammered into thin sheets. (OED)

Cobe Ires:  i.e. cob-irons for supporting a spit

gose pans: i.e. goose pans: large stew-pans (OED)

shod carte: cart with shod wheels, i.e. edged with metal (OED).

See also: John Boston's dispute with his stepmother-in-law Joan Willows (1533-8)

Click on the pictures for full images of the documents:

The will p.1:

Will of John Boston p1

The will p.2:

will of John Boston p2

The will p.3:

Will of John Boston p3

The inventory:

Inventory of John Boston

Copyright 11 August, 2015