Will of Martha Burch, widow, 1731

National Archives, PROB 11/647/15

In the name of God Amen I Martha Burch of Winslowe in the County of Bucks Widow being weak in Body but of sound and perfect Mind and Memory praised be God therefore and considering the Certainty of Death and the uncertain time thereof do this seven and Twentieth day of July 1731 make and Ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) First and principally I commend my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God who gave it hoping through the Merrits of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be made partaker of everlasting Life and my Body I committ to the earth to be decently buried at the Discretion of my Executor hereinafter named and as for such Worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and dispose thereof as followeth Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my Father Norman my Gunn and my Cane to be delivered \un/to him \by my Executor/ within one Month next after my death Item I give and bequeath unto my Mother Norman my best Bed and all the Furniture that is menc(i)oned in the Inventory of my late Husbands Household Goods to belong to the best Chamber and also my Silver Coffee pott and my Copper Coffee pott and my white Sattin Cloaths and my black Silk Cloaths to be delivered unto her by my Executor within one Month next after my death  Item I give will devise and bequeath unto Mr Burch who lives att or near Bristoll my late Husbands kinsman my best Silver Tankard Item I give and bequeath unto my Nephew Samuel Norman son of my Brother William Norman my Gold Watch and my Horse   Item I give will devise and bequeath All the Rest of the Household Goods which were given to me by my late Husband Thomas Burch deceased and mentioned in an Inventory made thereof by Mr How and Mr John Newman dated the fourth of August last past (Except that part thereof which was Sold to Mr Richard Burch my Brother in Law for Thirteen pounds) unto my Brother William Norman my Executor hereinafter named  Upon Condition that he the said William Norman my Brother his Executors or Administrators do and shall within six months next after my death - pay or cause to be paid the full value thereof in Money unto the persons hereinafter mentioned and in such manner as is hereinafter mentioned (Vizt) ten pound of the value thereof unto my Kinsman William Alderidge of Winslowe aforesaid five pounds more of the value thereof unto my Kinswoman Susannah Aldridge of Winslowe aforesaid five pounds more of the value thereof unto John Foster Son of my Kinsman Thomas Foster of Winslowe aforesaid five pounds more of the value thereof unto Samuel Gyles Son of my Uncle Daniel Gyles of Winslowe aforesaid and the remaining part of the value thereof unto my said Nephew Samuel Norman Son of the said William Norman my Brother  Item I give and bequeath unto my Cousin Sarah Foster the Wife of my said Kinsman Thomas Foster my blew Damask Habitt and my black Silk Capp and unto my Cousin Elizabeth Gyles my Camblet Habitt and unto my Cousin Mary Emerton my work’d Night Gown and unto my Cousin Joannah Morris my work’d Rideing Habitt and unto my Cousin Grace Aldridge my strip’d Sattin Gown and unto my Cousin Susannah Aldridge my Red Lutestring Gown and unto my Neice Mary Norman the Daughter of my Brother William Norman my Wedding Suit of Cloaths and my Diamond Ring and unto Miss Sarah Barnett my Mother of Pearl Snuff Box and unto my Mothers Maid Servant Ann Con my Lutestring Red and White Night Gown and Dimothy Coat my old stays and a Black Silk Hood and all my Night Capps and Mobbs and half a Dozen of white aprons and unto Elizabeth the Wife of John Hicks my Short green Silk Apron to be delivered unto them by my Executor hereinafter named within one Month next after my death  Item I give and bequeath all the Rest of my wearing Apparrell both of Woollen and Linnen and all my peices of Gold and Silver which I call my pocket peices and the rest of my Rings which are not mentioned in the Inventory of my late Husbands Household goods unto my Mother Norman to be delivered unto her by my Executor within one month next after my death  Item my desire is that my Executor do bury me in Linnen and in a white satin Gown made in the manner of a Mans Night Gown and lined with white Silke and that he do give unto my paul Bearers six Mourning Rings and also Scarves Hatbands and Gloves  Item I give and bequeath the four hundred pounds and Interest which is due to me from the Executors of my late Husband Thomas Burch deceased by virtue of the Bond or Settlement which was made about  the time of my Marriage and also all the Rest \of my Goods/ Chattells and Personal estate whatsoever  and wheresoever unto the said William Norman my Brother  He paying my Debts Legacies and Funerall Expences and also all such sum and sums of Money as I have herein before appointed him to pay for the Household Goods hereinbefore bequeathed unto him and I do hereby make Ordain and appoint the said William Norman my Brother full and Sole Executor of this my last Will & Testament  And lastly I do hereby Revoke and make void all former Wills by me before made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament  In Witness whereof I have to this my  Will contained in two Sheets of paper sett my Hand and seal this seven and Twentieth day of July Anno D(omi)ni 1731

Martha Burch

Signed Sealed published and Declared in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses in the presence of the Testatrix and of each other John Hicks Peter Goldsworth John Goldsworth

[Latin] Probate at London 2 Oct 1731 on the oath of William Norman, executor.

Memorial slab of Martha Burch

Notes

Martha, relict of Thomas Burch, daughter of Samuel Norman, died 29 Aug 1731 aged 36 according to her memorial at Keach's Chapel (photo above). She was a member of Winslow's two leading Baptist families: her mother Martha was the daughter of William and Mary Gyles. She married Thomas Burch the younger of Hemel Hempstead at East Claydon on 4 July 1719. His brother Robert was apprenticed to her father Samuel Norman in 1720. Thomas Burch was also a Baptist, and a draper. In his will, proved on 19 Nov 1730 (National Archives, PROB 11/640/391) he left money to poor widows "only that are dissenters" in Hemel Hempstead and Leighton Buzzard, and to the dissenting minister in Hemel. He left Martha the interest on £1,600 if she remained a widow or on £800 if she remarried, "in lieu and Bar of a Bond of four hundred pounds which I gave upon my marriage". He also left her all his "household Goods Furniture and Implements of household whatsoever Plate Rings and Jewells" if she had a child by him, but otherwise she should give them "to such of my Relations as she likes". Martha apparently interpreted this to include her own relatives, and she seems to have insisted on her marriage settlement rather than her husband's alternative arrangements. Her interest in clothes and her plans for an ostentatious funeral are very surprising in a Baptist of the period. Her nephew Samuel had an Anglican baptism in 1734, so her brother must have left the Baptists.

Coffee: Coffee-houses became popular in the second half of the 17th century, but this is the first reference to anyone in Winslow drinking it.

Camblett = Camlett, fine cloth that could be made from wool, silk or angora, or combinations thereof.

Lutestring: glossy silk fabric.

Dimothy = Dimity, a stout cotton fabric woven with raised stripes or other figures.

Linnen: Burial in linen would involve an extra charge as the Burials in Woollen Act still applied.

 

 

Copyright 20 August, 2015