Will of Robert Willett of Little Horwood, yeoman, 1583

National Archives, PROB 11/66/112

In the name of God amen: the xxixth  daye of July And in the fyve and twentithe yeare of the raigne of oure soveraigne Ladye Queene Elizabethe etc: I Robarte Willett of Litle Horwoodd in the Countie of Buck yeoman sicke in bodye and of god and perfecte minde and remembraunce (Laude and praise be given to allmightie god therfore)  doe ordeine and make this my laste will and testamente in manner and fourme followinge: First I bequeathe my soule to allmightie god my Creator trustinge that he throughe his mercie and goodnes sett forthe in the precious blood of his onelye and dere sonne Christe Jesus oure saviour and onelie redemer will receive the same and place yt in his glorious Kingdome in the Fellowship and Companye of his heavenlye Aungells and blessed Saintes; And my bodye willinglye and withe a free harte I give it over Committinge yt unto the earthe whereof it cam(m)e stedfastlye belevinge that at the greate and generall daie of resurrection I shall receive it againe, not as nowe it is a synnefull and mortall bodye but a glorious and an immortall bodye: And I wil the same to be buried in the parrishe churche of Saincte Nicholas in Litle Horwoodd nere to my Father: Nowe as concerninge my worldlye gooddes my will and full meaninge is that ymmediatlye after my deceasse All my gooddes and cattalls bothe moveable and unmoveable shalbe praised by indifferent menn, and after theye are praized, Firste my debtes and Legacies & funeralls expenses to be deducted, And the rest of my saide gooddes to be devided into eighte partes, Wherof I give three partes to Lettice my welbeloved wife, And thother fyve partes I give and bequeathe to my seaven childrenne nowe lyvinge, viz, Roberte, Alice, Elynor, Richarde, Anne, Rachell and Sara to be devided by even porcions, and to be delivered theme at the daie of theire marriage or at the age of one and twentie yeares, whiche shall comme first: And if it shall fortune annye of my saide childrenn to deceasse before he, she, or theie shall have received my Legacs givenn and bequeathed theme in this my will, Then my will is that the parte and porcion, of him her or theme soe deceassed shalbe equallye devided betwixte the Survivoure or Survivours of theme by even porcions: Furthermore I give, bequeathe and by this my laste will and testamente doe yealde upp and surrender unto Lettyce my wife One messuage and twoe yarde Lande in Litle Horwoodd aforesaide, the whiche Messuage nowe is in the tenure and occupacion of one Roberte Carter withe all howses buildinges, barnes, stables, yardes, orchardes, gardens, Londes, meadowes, commons, pastures, wooddes, and underwooddes withe all and singuler emoluments, proffitts, and commodities to the same nowe belonginge or in annye manner of wise apperteyninge, or whiche at annye tyme heretofore have beene reputed, taken, knowen, or occupyed as parte percell or member of the same, or whiche nowe are or at annye tyme heretofore have beene belonginge or apperteyninge to the same, To have and to houlde the premisses withe all and singuler theire appurtenaunces to the saide Lettice my wife from the Feaste daie of Sainte Michell Tharchaungell nexte ensuinge the date hereof, untill the full ende and terme of Eleaven yeares from thence nexte and ymmediatelie followinge and fullye to be complete and ended: All w(hi)ch saide Messuage and Tenementes withe all singuler thappurtenaunces as aforesaide, I give and bequeathe to the saide Lettice my wief duringe the tyme and terme aforesaide for and in consideracion of her marriage money whiche I received of her Father with her and towardes thee education of her my childrenn: Provided allwaies and my full will and meaninge is, That if the saide Lettice my wiffe shall refuse to take the sayde Messuage and Tenement withe thappurtenaunces thereof as aforesaide, wheare the saide Robert Carter nowe dwelleth, in full recompence satisfactioun of her Joincter and thirde parte oute of all my Landes and Tenementes as well freehoulde as coppiehoulde at thende and expiracion of the saide Eleaven yeares, but will clayme or challenge annye parte thereof for her Joincter; Then my will is, that after thende of the saide eleaven yeares \she/ shall have her Joincter oute of the saide Messuage and Tenemente as she shall have oute of the rest and no more. Item my will is, that my rente of fyve marcks by thee yeare whiche is due to my Aunte Smythe shalbe paide to my Execut’, And that my Lande shalbe discharged of it, And that it shalbe takenn as no parte of my gooddes. Item I give and bequeathe to my saide sixe daughters nowe lyvinge All my Landes and Tenementes aswell freehoulde as coppyehoulde withe theire appurtenaunces lyinge and beinge in the towne and feildes of Greate Horwood and Northmarston, To have and to houlde the same to the saide Alyce, Elnor, Rycharde, Anne, Rachell and Sara, and theire heires and assignes, accordinge to the

[p.2] Custome of the Mannor: Provided allwaies that if Robert my sonne his heires executors and administrators or assignes shall paie or cause to be paide to everie of my sayde sixe Daughters the full and iuste Summe of Tenne poundes of good and lawfull monney of Englande w(ith)in the space of twoe yeares nexte after \he shall acomplishe his full age of xxi yeares or w(ith)in the space of twoe yeres next after/ my saide Aunte Smithe shall deceasse  owte of this life whiche of theme shall chaunce to comme laste, And also to paie to the Survivor or Survivors of theme the parte and porcions of her or theme deceassed before theye have receyved the saide Somme of Tenne poundes a peece; Then I will that my saide Landes and Tenements in Greate Horwood and Northmarston withe all and singuler the appurtenaunces shall remayne and be to Roberte my sonne and to his heires for ever \anye thing in this my will to the contrarie notwithstanding/ Furthermore I give and bequeathe to my said \sonne/ Roberte and to theires of his body lawfullye begotten All those my Landes and Tenementes, and all and singuler theire appurtenaunces as well freehoulde as coppiehoulde not given nor bequeathed in this my laste will and testamente sett lyinge and beinge in Lytle Horwood, Greate Horwood, Northmerston, Greate Brickhill or in annye other place wheresoever: And for lacke of suche issue the Remainder thereof to my saide sixe Daughters, viz, Alice Elynor, Richard, Anne Sara, and Rachell and to theire heires for ever. Item I give to everie of my godchildrenn fowre pence apeece.  Item to everie of my sisters, one sheepe. Item I give to my Lorde Grayes gent’, keep(er)s and yeomen to make theme merrye at the eatinge of a peece of Venison Twentie sixe shillinges eighte pence. Item I give to everie poore Cottage w(i)thin Litle Horwood sixe pence. Item I give towardes the Reparacions of the Churche of Litle Horwood in respecte of my buriall there Sixe shillinges eighte pence. Item I give to my cosen Richarde Barton Tenne shillinges. Moreover I doe constitute ordeyne and make Executors of this my laste will and testament my Welbeloved wiffe Lettice Willett anad my loveinge freindes John Wattes vicar of Brackley in the Countie of North(ampton) and Thomas Lowends, vicar of Swanborne in the Countie of Buck in this manner and uppon the condicionns hereafter expressed, That is to saie, That yf my saide wiffe doe w(i)thin fowretene dayes next after requeste to her made by the saide John Watts and Thomas Lownds becomme bounde to the saide John and Thomas in the somme of one hundred poundes and twoe sufficient suerties withe her that shee the saide Lettice her executors administrators or assignes shall and will well and trewlie contente and paie or cause to be contented and paide All suche Sommes of monneye and other Legacies and bequestes as I have given and bequeathed by this my childrenn will to everie of my childrenne at such daye and tymes as I have appointed the same to be paide, Then I will and ordayne that after suche obligacion made, sealed, and delivered or tendered, to be delivered to the sayde John Watts and Thomas Lownds, the sayde Lettice my wife shalbe and remaine my full sole and onelie executrix, And that then and from thenceforthe the full power and authoritie of the saide John and Thomas shall cease: But yf my sayde wyfe shall refuse to be bounde with twoe sufficient suerties as aforesaide, or shall not or will not becomme bounde in fourme aforesaide unto the saide John Watts and Thomas Lowndes, w(i)thin fowretene daies nexte after requeste to her by theme or annye of theme made: Then my will is that the sayde John and Thomas shalbe my onelye executors, and that then and from thenceforthe the wholle authoritie of the saide Lettice shall cease, be frustrate and utterlye voyde. Item I gyve to the saide John Watts and Thomas Lownds to either of theme for theire paines herein to be takenn Thirtene shillinges fowre pence.
Robert Williat
Sealed, subscribed & redd in the sight and presence of John Watts clerk, Thomas Lowndes clerk, Rob(ert) Daunce clerk, Chr(isto)fer Goodson, John Foscott, Newman Williatt.

[Probate at London before Dr William Drury commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 7 November 1583 on the oath of Letticce the relict and executrix.]


The children named in the will were baptised at Little Horwood between 1572 (Robert) and 1582 (Sarah); the surname was usually given as Williatt, which is how it was spelled later. Rachel was buried in 1589. The name given here as "Richarde" has been transcribed from the 1575 burial register as "Rickardie"; perhaps it was Richarda or Richardine.

Several people with the same surname are listed in Little Horwood in the 1556 survey of the manor: George Wylliotte held the freehold called Agnells Fee as well as copyhold property. It passed to his son Robert according to the VCH, who is probably the Robert who made this will. His son Robert was married by 1598.

Lord Grey was the owner of Whaddon Chase; hence the reference to a piece of venison.

Copyright 7 March, 2019