Will of Thomas Foster, tallow chandler, 1745 (proved 1745/6)

National Archives, PROB 11/744/323

Thomas Foster of Winslowe in the County of Bucks Tallowchandler makes his last Will this 29th day of December 1745 I desire my Aunt Lydia Collins Will may be performed in all things according to the true meaning of the same I give to my loving Wife Sarah Foster and her Heirs for ever all my piece of Meadow Ground called Oxheys in the Parish of Winslowe aforesaid being Freehold with the Appurtenances And also all my Goods Chattells and Personal Estate whatsoever upon this special Trust and Confidence nevertheless that the said Sarah Foster and her Heirs shall in the first place sell and dispose of my said real and personal Estate and pay all my just Debts and shall pay and dispose of the overplus of the Moneys for which my said Estates shall be sold to and amongst my said Wife Sarah and my four younger Children Sarah George Frederick and Richard in such Shares and proportions as my said Wife Sarah shall think fit I make and appoint my said Wife Sarah sole Executrix of this my Will hereby revoking all former Wills I declare this only to be my last I give to my two Sons Thomas and John whom I have already provided for one Shilling each  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this nine and twentieth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty five

Tho(mas) Foster

Signed Sealed Published and Declared in the presence  of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator and of each other

Matthew Deely    James Hall    John Markham

This Will was proved at London before the Worshipfull Thomas Salisbury Doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Right Worshipfull John Bettesworth also Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted the twenty ninth day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty five by the Oath of Sarah Foster Widow the Relict  of the said deceased and Sole Executrix named in the said Will to whom Administration was granted of All and Singular the Goods Chattells and Credits of the said deceased being first sworn duly to Administer Ex(ecute)d.


Thomas Foster was bap. 15 Feb 1684/5, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Foster (d.1736). He was married to Sarah, daughter of William Gyles the younger (d.1713). He was also connected to Elizabeth (nee Perkins), wife of Sarah's brother William Gyles; Sarah and William both referred to him as "brother". He was not brought up as a Baptist, but according to Clear (p.94) "there is a tradition that Thomas Forster was pastor of Keach's Chapel in the early part of the 18th century", and the Strict Baptist Historical Society records him as pastor until 1728. Apart from the children mentioned in the will, Thomas and Sarah had two named Sarah and Dick who died young and were buried at Keach's Meeting House. See Gyles Family page.

"Mr Thomas Forster" was buried at Winslow on 3 Jan 1745/6. Thomas' business was located at the former Angel Inn, now 2A High Street. George Foster may be the grocer of Winslow who is mentioned in various documents from the 1760s and 70s.

Brother Thomas Foster was an elder of the Baptist Church at Chesham from at least 1712, and was proposed for ordination as a messenger in 1718, when it was reported that "he hath lost his yokefellow". In 1719 he was expelled for marrying "out of the way of the Lord". As Sarah Gyles was still unmarried in 1717, it seems likely that she was his second wife, and that she was not herself a Baptist by this date. Source: English Baptist Records I: The General Baptist Church of Berkhamsted, Chesham and Tring 1712-1781, pp.1-53.

Lidia Collins, wife of John Collins of Tring, gent. and probably from Chesham originally, made her will in 1739 under the terms of her marriage settlement (National Archives, PROB 11/744/366). She left £50 to "Thomas Foster son of Thomas and Sarah Foster of Winslow in the County of Bucks Tallow Chandler" when he was 21. After another legacy of £50, the residue was to be distributed "amongst the Children of Thomas and Sarah Foster of Winslow aforesaid (accordingly as my Executor herein after named shall think proper)". Thomas Foster senior was the executor, but died before proving the will, and on 4 Feb 1745/6 administration was granted to Sarah Foster, widow, as mother and curatrix of Sarah, George, Frederick and Richard Foster. The older sons Thomas and John were "now severally in parts beyond the Seas".

Oxheys or Ox-eye was left to Thomas by his brother-in-law William Gyles in 1714. Sarah sold it to her cousin William Gyles of London (d.1760).

Sarah Foster was still at the former Angel in 1757, but after selling her property in Winslow, she moved to Chesham, where she made her will on 3 July 1772, proved 15 May 1773 (National Archives, PROB 11/988/134). She left £20 to her son "Fredrick Foster of Honslow Breechesmaker", and her property at Monks Risborough along with the residue of her estate to her daughter Sarah, wife of Samuel Hinton of Chesham, staymaker. Samuel and Sarah were appointed executors.