Will of William Griggs 1646.

"Considering the frailty of this life, although there is nothing more certain than death, yet there is nothing more uncertain than the tyme of the cominge thereof"

By David Miller

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of William Griggs 1646.' page


Although this sheet is signed and witnessed at the bottom, there is in fact a second page of the Will which has not been copied.  The contents of the second page are shown in the Transcript.

Note the quaint sentiments expressed in the first few lines of the Will.  Note also that the legacies have to be paid by the Executor 'in the Church Porch' - a means of making sure that the payments are open and honest and can be witnessed by all.

It is possible that the dwellinghouse where William lived in 1646 is now no. 55 High Street, as a John Griggs is shown as living there in the 1686 map.  It is not the only house owned by the Griggs family however, and they must have been comfortably off to judge by the legacies of £20 each to the girls of the family.  If John did not pay these legacies, then he was to lose all his benefits under the Will. The Testator describes himself as "yeoman" which denotes someone a bit higher up the social scale than cottager or farmer.

Note the provision that the Wife was to have a choice of two pieces of land each year to be cropped with wheat and barley.  Would this have been sufficient to keep her?  It was quite a common way of providing for the wife in Orwell at this time.

There is an entry in the Parish Registers recording the death of William Griggs the elder in 1649.


Transcript of the Will of William Griggs 1646

In the name of God Amen.  The Eight and twentieth day of October in Anno Die 1646. I Willim Griges of Orwell in the county of Cambridge yeoman beinge of good health of body and in perfect and good memory thankes be given to god for ye same. Considering the frailty of this life, although there is nothing more certain than death, yet there is nothing more uncertain than the tyme of the cominge thereof, And now intendynge the disposition of my lands and testamentary goodes and Chattels in this tyme of my good health and memory for the better quieting and satsifyinge my minde and conscience whensoever it shall please god to visit me with sickness, Doo therefore ordayne and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following, viz: First I commend my soule into the hands of Almighty god who gave it me assuredly trusting trough the death and passion of his son Jesus Christ to be saved, and my body I commit to the earth from whence it came, to be buryed in the Church or church yard of Orwell aforesaid. Item I give and bequeathe unto my sonne John Grigs and to his heires and assigns All that my Messuage or Tenement wherein I now inhabite or dwell in Orwell with the appurtenances being freehold, together also with all my freehold lands lying and being in the parish and fields of Orwell aforesaid with the ??? appertaining Provided always and notwithstanding that he the said John  my sonne his heires or assigns, shall pay out and for the sayd premises the sume of twenty pounds of lawfull money of England unto his sister Martha Grigs att or inn the Church porch of Orwell aforesaid within on yeare next after my decease And also I give and bequeath unto Beatrix her sister being bothe my daughters the like sume of twenty poundes within two years next after my death att the place aforesaid. And my will and mynd is that if the said John Grigs his heirs and assignes shall refuse or neglecte to paye the said legacies of twenty poundes unto the said Martha and Beatrix or either of them att the tyme and place before appointed for the payment thereof, that then I will give and bequeath all the said freehold premises with the appurtences unto them the said Martha and Beatrix equally betwixt them part and part alike, and unto their heirs and assigns for ever Item I further give and bequeath unto the sayd Martha my daughter the sume of ZZZ of like lawfull money of England to be payd her att the tyme and place aforesaid by my executor hereafter named. And I also give unto the said Beatrix my daughter the like summ of ten poundes of current English money to be payd her att the tyme and place aforesaid by my executor hereafter named

Witnessed Mathew East   John Griges X his mark

                                 Willim Griges X his mark

Item I give and bequeath unto William Griggs my sonne and to his heires and assigns all those my ?seven? acres and a half acre ??? rood? Of arable land with the appurtenances being freehold lying and being in the fields of ?Haslingfield? in the said County of Cambridge Item I give unto my sonne in law Symon Gray the summe of tenne shillings, and to his children twenty shillings a piece Item my will and mind is that Ezibella my wife shall and may yearly upon St. James his day during her life make choice of one half acre of wheate and one half acre of Barley to be tilled and sown at the charges of my said sonne John Griggs his heires or assigns out of all or any my lands either coppie or freehold in Orwell aforesaid to her use and benefit provided that the said John shall or may first choose one acre of wheat and one acre of Barley out of the said lands at his best liking Item I give unto ????  ????  presse cupboard and one cheste in the hall [and my bedd she usually lies upon] also the bedding and other furniture thereunto belonging Item all the rest of my goodes and chattels whatsoever unbequeathed wholly give and bequeath unto the said William Griggs my son whom I ???? my sole executor of this my last will and testament he paying and ???? my debts and performing this my last will and testament and bringing my body decently to the ground in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and yeare first above written.                    William Griges his mark

These being witnesses Mathew East and John Griges his mark.


This page was added by David Miller on 26/01/2013.

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