Essex wills – H

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Some wills have been transcribed in full, whereas others are a paraphrased transcription. If they are paraphrased, they contain the names of all those mentioned in the will, with the gist of what they were (or were not!) bequeathed, but to find the full details, such as the names of property, requests as to how they were to be buried etc., please contact the relevant archive.

Hill, Humphrey, gentleman of Ardleigh, 1559

[Original will. The writing is very difficult]

To be buried in Ardleigh church.

Lands in Wigborough to be sold by William Cardinall the elder esq and William Rouef? Of Lawford.

Daughters Margaret Hill, ? Hill, and Grace? Hill: £10 each on their marriages

Sons Thomas Hill and Steven Hill: £10 each

Executor: wife Jone.

Witnesses: Henry Colle, William Hecford?, William Affylld


Transcriber’s notes: Humphrey’s brother Simon married Elizabeth Knightley, the sister of Lettice Knightly (with of William Clippesby and William Cardinall) and Audrey Knightley (wife of Thomas Gawdey). So when Humphrey requests William Cardinall the elder to sell his lands, he’s referring to his brother’s brother-in-law. Humphrey’s grandfather, William Hill of East Bergholt, left him lands in Little Wigborough (see his will).

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Hill [Hyll], Lettice, singlewoman, dwelling with John Dyer of Frating, 1573

Sister Anne Hill, wife of John Dyer, £20

Sisters Margaret Hill and Ede Hill £10 each

Executor: sister Anne, rest and residue

Witnesses: John Wenend, Geoffrey Allyn of Frating, husbandmen

Non-cupative will written 14 Apr 1573 [Lettice was buried on 6 April, so the date is when her verbally-given will was written down by someone else], probate 11 Nov 1573


Transcriber’s notes: this very short will tells a sad tale. Lettice was a daughter of Simon Hill (see his will) and Elizabeth Knightley, making her a niece of Lettice, wife of William Clippesby, then William Cardinall, and Audrey, wife of Thomas Gawdey. The testator was perhaps Lettice Knightley/Clippesby/Cardinall’s goddaughter, given that they share the same name. Lettice’s parents appear to have died very soon after each other, in 1551 – her mother was her father’s executor, but she died before executing the will. The job was taken over by Elizabeth’s sisters Lettice and Audrey, and their respective husbands. The will was executed not long after Simon’s death, so Elizabeth must’ve died soon afterwards. Simon’s will mentions sons William and John, and four daughters: Anne, Margaret, Lettice and Edith. As you can see, Lettice names all four of her sisters in her own will, but doesn’t mention her brothers.

Given that the Hills had been living in East Bergholt, it seems possible that the orphaned children were taken in by their mother’s family. The Gawdeys lived in Norfolk, but the Cardinalls lived in Great Bromley, Essex, which is perhaps where some, if not all of them lived. This would explain why Anne married a man who lived in Frating, as it’s in the parish next door to Great Bromley.

Anne had perhaps married John Dyer of Frating by 1560 (see his will). Six children of John’s were baptised there between 1560 and 1570: John (died in infancy), John, Elizabeth, Lettice, George and Anne. Then, in 1573, the burials for Frating show that, once again, several deaths happened in the family in close succession: Lettice was buried on 6 April, John senior on 5 May, Anne (presumably John’s daughter) on 12 May, and Lettice Dyer (presumably another daughter) on 15 May. A year later, the widowed Anne married John Tucke and they had two daughters, Mary and Parnell. Anne died in 1577, and at the end of the year, John married Margaret Berife. It appears that they subsequently moved to Elmstead, but I have lost track of them after that.

The will of Lettice’s uncle Humphrey Hill is above.

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Haven, John, clothmaker of Dedham, 1540

Sons Robert, John and Edward £20 each when 21

Daughters Alice and Jone £6 8 shillings 4d each when 21 or married, whichever comes first

Sons to be apprenticed

Wife Alice: rest and residue, to be executrix

Richard Lawrence of Dedham, clothmaker 20 shillings

Overseer: William Ellynet of Dedham, clothmaker, 20 shillings

Witnesses: Robert Bogas, William Cardinall, William Litlebury

Written 7 Jun 1540, probate 17 Dec 1540


Transcriber’s notes: John Haven’s wife Alice was the daughter of John Cole (d 1534). William married Alice’s stepmother, Joan Gurdon, after John Cole’s death. The testator appears to be one of the Havens family.

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Higham, Edward of Faulkbourne, farmer, 1798

To my wife Margaret Newton Higham: copyhold messuage and 30 acres called Godfreys
otherwise Crackborns in White Notley, Essex, and all my other copyhold in White Notley, for her natural life. After her death, to be sold and the proceeds to be divided between my

Margaret, wife of John Barnard of Faulkbourne, farmer

Elizabeth, wife of William Humphreys of White Notley, victualler

Jane Higham

Julia Higham

(and also) To my daughters Julia and Jane Higham, £50 each after my wife’s death

To my son Edward Higham: £5, two guns or fowling pieces, and all the rest, residue and
remainder of my estate.

If there is enough for my daughters above mentioned to have £150 each, then to include my daughter Ann, wife of John Grimwood of Kelvedon, farmer, share and share alike.

Execs: wife Ann, friends Joseph Nunn of Rivenhall and Abraham Barnard of White Notley

Witnesses: Wat., J. & M. Gullifer

Written: 26th December 1797, proved: 21st September 1798

ERO ref: D/ABW 114/1/60

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