Will of Elizabeth Farchild 1615

"I give to them that ringe at my buriall five shillings eight pence"

By David Miller

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Elizabeth Farchild (or Fairchild) married into the Butler family by her first marriage to Nicholas Johnson (alias Butler). There were seven children by Nicholas, who died in 1601. She then married Richard Fairchild, but there were no further children. She was buried on the 9th May, but you won't find her in the Parish Records until you look under 'Fayerchilde.' There are numerous other ways of spelling this name, too.

There is a skeleton family tree (Margaret Spufford's name for it) in her book about Orwell called 'Contrasting Communities' which explains the importance of the Butler family to the history of Orwell. The family as a whole had considerable wealth, and Thomas Butler was called to the Bar at Grays Inn. He used his legal training to defend some of the villagers' pasture rights, but then went on to usurp them himself. He ended up very unpopular, and the villagers drove their herds of cattle on to the disputed pasture just to prove the point.

There are some pages (p. 108 on) devoted to the Butlers by Spufford which deals with their general approach to how the family land is divided up between several sons - always a problem which can cause all the landholdings to be too small to be viable.


In the name of God: Amen: this foure and twentieth daie of Aprill in the thirteenth year of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord King James and in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and fifteen I Elizabeth Farchild of Orwell in the Countie of Cambridge Widdowe being sicke in bodie but whole in minde and of good remembrance (praised be God) Doe make this my last will and testament as followeth First I comend my Soule into the hand of God that gave it me And my bodie to the earth from whence it was taken to be buried in the North ayle in the pashe Church of Orwell when it shall please God to take me out of this present worlde And of my goodes First I give and bequeath to William Butler my sonne Tenne shillings to be paid unto him within one month after my decease Item I give unto Lawrence Butler my sonne all my cropp I have growing in the field this yeare of wheate barley and pease and he discharging the rent and all the grayne in the Barnes excepting five quarters pease Item unto the poore of the towne of Orwell fortie shillings to be paid at my burial to be distributed to them at the discretion of Nicholas Johnson and one of the Church wardens for the tyme being Item I give and bequeath unto Beatrice Johnson Sixe and twentie shillings eight pence to be paid to her within three months after my decease Item I give unto Henry Lyle Minister of Croyden Twentye shillings if he preache at my burial Item I give to them that doe carry me to the Church twentie shillings Item I give to the parish of Orwell towards the shooting the third bell Thirtie three shillings four pence to be paid within sixe months after my decease Item I give to them that ringe at my buriall five shillings eight pence Item I give to Joanne Johnson twentie five shillings eight pence to be paid to her within foure months after my decease All the residue of my goodes unbequeathed and not given I give unto George Butler my sonne whome I make my whole Executor in consideration to paie my legacies and to see my funeral be discharged In witness thereof I have sette my hand in the presence of Nicholas Johnson and Richard Johnson The mark of Elizabeth Farchild

This page was added by David Miller on 05/06/2020.

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