Essex wills – S

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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. The wills are either from the Essex Record Office (ERO), the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), or the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA).

Sage, Edward senior of Wivenhoe, butcher, 1811

  • To wife Ann Sage: all my real and personal estate for her natural life. After her death, to:
  • My sons Edward Sage and William Carrington Sage
  • My three daughters Ann Sage, Elizabeth Sage and Mary Sage.
  • Executors: John Carrington, Thomas Carrington, wife Ann Sage

Witnesses: Thomas Tunmer, John Thomas (hose-keepers?)

Written: 8th February 1802. He died in Wivenhoe on 25th December 1810. Proved by Thomas Carrington and Ann Sage, the two surviving executors, on 13th March 1811.

ERO ref: D/ACW 39/2/22

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Sage, Edward esq of Colchester, 1817

  • Wife Sarah Sage: all household goods, clocks, trinkets, carriages, horses & harnesses. £400 plus an annuity of £450. If she remarries, annuity to be £250 instead.
  • Daughter Harriet Sage: £2,000
  • Daughter Alicia, wife of James Barker: £1,000
  • Daughter Matilda, wife of James Rawdon: £1,000
  • Son John Sage: £2,000
  • Daughter Elizabeth Grellet: a half-yearly income based on a principal of £2,500. On her death, to go to maintaining her children, and as each reaches 21 years old, the principal to be divided between them.
  • Emily Hobbs and her brother Edward Hobbs, “two children that it has fallen to my lot to take care of.” £800 each on reaching 21.
  • Son-in-law Thomas Langston of Watling Street, City of London: £100
  • Son-in-law Philip Havens of Donyland Hall: £100
  • Sister-in-law Alicia Rawdon: £50
  • Elizabeth Rawdon, widow of my late business partner & brother-in-law William Rawdon:£50
  • Reverend Thomas Ford of Melton Mowbray: £25. If he dies, to Edward Sage’s sister Elizabeth Ford.
  • Servants: Ann Childs: £30, Mary Glass: £19
  • Caroline Childs: £19
  • Daughter Emma Langston, wife of Thomas Langston: £1,000
  • He has £20,000 invested in an Irish linen business with Mr. Richard Jennings, and has various leases and owns various property in London.

Written: 3rd October 1816, proved: 11th March 1817

PCC will.

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Slann, Elizabeth, widow of Wivenhoe, 1744

  • Son William Slann
  • Daughter Mary Slann, spinster, executrix
  • Daughter Elizabeth, wife of Joshua Arthey, baker

Witnesses: Robert Kempton, Elis Butler, Daniel Bayley

Written 14 Oct 1743, probate 6 Jan 1743/4


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Smith, William of St. Runwald’s, Colchester, Customs Officer, 1791

  • Eldest son William Smith: moiety of property copyhold of Wix Hall, in occupation of William Goodwin, mortgaged to Mr. James Thorne.
  • Son Thomas Smith: has been admitted to property in Wrabness which descended to him on the death of his mother (my former wife) by custom of the manor. Rents have been received by William senior. In lieu of the rents owed, Thomas to receive rents from William’s freehold in Wrabness, occupied by John Fox.
  • Mentions indenture dated 7th February 1753 made between William senior and his wife Elizabeth (mother of his sons). [NB. Marriage between William Smith & Elizabeth Carrington at Colchester St. Runwald’s, 4th December 1763 – is 1753 an error? Or is it a different couple?]
  • Sons William and Thomas, and daughter Carrington, wife of Samuel Hartigrave: freehold in Wrabness.
  • Rest and residue to son William Smith

Executors: aforesaid sons William and Thomas

Witnesses: Francis Rouse, Edwd. Fowler jnr, Peter Daniell

Written: 19th February 1787. Died in St. Runwald’s, Colchester, 23rd May 1791. Proved 25th May 1791

ERO ref: D/ACW 35/8/18

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Sorrell, Benjamin of Beaumont, grocer, 1850

  • I appoint my dear wife Susan executrix and my Brother Caleb Sorrell Executor of this my will.
  • I give devise and bequeath unto my said wife all my real estates whatsoever and wheresoever whether Freehold or Copyhold To hold the same to her heirs and assigns for ever
  • And I give and bequeath unto my said wife all my household furniture stock in trade monies securities for money book debts and all other my personal estate and effects whatsoever to and for her own use and benefit (subject nevertheless and I charge my said Executors out of my personal estate to pay all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses)

Witnesses: Isaac Gunn, carpenter, Beaumont and Henry Spurling, Sol. Thorpe Essex.

Written 7 Jan 1850. Died in Beaumont-cum-Moze the same day. Probate 2 November 1850.

Caleb Sorrell of Thorpe le Soken in the County of Essex Bricklayer was the surviving executor.

ERO reference: D/ACW 44/8/35.

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Sorrell, Joseph, higgler of Wix, 1792

  • Item: I give and bequeath to my loving wife Dorcas Sorrell if she should survive me for so long time only as She continues Widow, a bed & other sufficient furniture for one Room and likewise the living rent free in the Bric’t end of that my Copyhold Cottage hereafter Will’d to my Son Nathl. Sorrel, & likewise the sum of six shillings a month & to be paid her monthly (from the day of my decease, for so long time as she live & continue a Widow) by my son Joseph Sorrel out of the effects hereafter Will’d to him.
  • Item: I give and bequeath unto my Son Joseph Sorrel & his Heirs forever never to sell the same, all that my Copy-hold Messuage or Tenement which I built with yards stable & all other appurtenance whatever thereto belonging and holden of the Manor of Park Hall, situate lying and being in Weeks aforesaid and on the righthand side of the road leading from Weeks Cross to Colchester & on a Green call’d Goose Green, I likewise give unto my son Joseph Sorrell all my Book Debts that shall be owen to me at the hour of my Decease and all other Effects whatever (except what is herein otherways disposed of) be the same real or Personal He paying his step Mother according to this my Will, and all other Legacies by him required to be paid, and likewise to provide for & maintain all my Legitimate Children I leave under the age 14 until they arrive at the age of fourteen years & not longer.
  • Item: I give and bequeath unto my Son John Sorrel £12, when he shall arrive at the age of 21 to be paid him by my son Joseph Sorrell out of the effects bequeath’d to him, but if the said John Sorrel should happen to die before he is 21 years of age, then this said £12 I give to my two daughters Margaret and Susan Sorrel, share and share alike, within one year after the said John Sorrels Decease, to be paid them.
  • Item: I give and bequeath to my Son Nathaniel Sorrell that house I purchas’d of William Carrington known by no certain name, but is holden of the Manor of Park Hall, being on Goose green in Weeks aforesaid to hold to him & his Heirs for ever, he paying his half Brother Robert Sorrel as hereafter requested, my said Son Nathaniel Sorrel is to have the yard & corts & all other appurtenances thereto belonging, at the Hour of my Decease.
  • Item: I give and bequeath unto my Son Robert Sorrell £10 to be paid him when he is 20 out the premises will’d to my Son Nathl. Sorrel if the said Robert shall so long live, if not the said £10 is the property of my son Nathaniel Sorrell.
  • Item: I give and bequeath unto my son William Sorrell, when he shall arrive at the age of 21, that pightle or piece of land, containing one acre more or less, which I purchas’d of John Elmer, lying & being in Great Oakley in the County of Essex & holden of the manor of Skeig Hall in Oakley aforesaid to hold to him & his Heirs for ever, he paying his half sisters Margaret Sorrell & Susan Sorrel £5 each, within one year after my Decease to be paid them, but if the said William Sorrell should die before he arrive at the age of 21, then for the said land to be sold for the most money that can be gotten for the same, and after deducting all reasonable charges attending the selling of the same, the money so arising from the sale thereof to be immediately equally parted share & share alike between my two Daughters Margaret & Susan Sorrel, And further my Will and desire is that if either of these my Daughters die before any of the aforesaid Legacies are paid to them, then for the Survivor to have her Sisters Part of all and every of the aforesaid Legacies to them bequeath’d.

Executors: Sons Joseph Sorrel and Nathaniel Sorrell

Witnesses: Joseph Harris, Isaac Haward, Mary Wright.

Written 3 May 1792. Died at Wicks the 29 May 1792. Proved 2 July 1792.

ERO: D/ACW 36/1/21

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Sorrell, Joseph of Beaumont, farmer, 1845

  • Executors: sons Joseph Sorrell William Sorrell and Mark Sorrell
  • I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Susan all and singular the Household Furniture Plate Linen China and other Household effects which belonged to her immediately prior to our marriage.
  • I give and devise unto my son Caleb Sorrell All those Cottages or Tenements with the Land Garden Hereditaments and appurtenances in Wix in the said County and holden of The Manor of Wix Park Hall as the same now are or late were in the tenures or occupations of Thomas Ainger and William Starling And which premises were devised to me and my heirs in and by the last will and testament of my late father. Caleb to pay £120 to my executors.
  • I give and devise unto my said son Mark Sorrell all that my freehold messuage Tenement or Cottage with the Garden Ground Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging situate lying and being in Beaumont aforesaid and adjoining the High Road leading from Thorpe to Manningtree, which premises now are or late were in the occupation of Henry Read and Susan Read and which I lately purchased of him the said Henry Read, the only son of George Read (deceased) and the said Susan Read the widow of the said George Read. Mark to pay £30 to executors.
  • Sons Joseph Sorrell, William Sorrell and Mark Sorrell to sell all that my Freehold Farm with the Houses Outhouses Barns Stables Buildings Lands Hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging called Foggits Wood in Wix containing together by estimation 24 acres more or less as the same are now in the occupation of my son James Sorrell and which I purchased to me and my heirs of Mr Roper of Ipswich, Suffolk Timber Merchant. To sell.
  • I give and bequeath unto my said sons Joseph Sorrell, William Sorrell and Mark Sorrell all singular my Live and Dead Farming Stock and produce Implements and Utensils in my business of a Farmer and also all and singular my Household Goods and Furniture of Household plate Linen and China (excepting what I have hereinbefore bequeathed to my said wife as aforesaid) and my ready monies debts due and owing to me and all other my personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever of every sort kind and description Upon Trust that my said Trustees or Trustee for the time being shall and do on the Michaelmas Day which shall first happen after my decease pay thereout unto my said wife the sum of £100.
  • And it is my will and desire that my said wife shall reside in my present Dwelling house and be maintained by and at the expence of my Estate until Michaelmas Day after my deceased and also that my said son Mark Sorrell shall be paid the same wages as he now receives from me until the same time. And from and immediately after the said Michaelmas Day next after my decease I give and bequeath unto him my said son Mark all the unexpired Term then to come of the Demise or Lease of and in The Farm Lands and premises situate in the several Parishes of Beaumont and Tendring or one of them and which I now occupy, granted to me by The Corporation of Harwich.
  • And I do further will and order and direct that from and immediately after the said Michaelmas Day which shall first happen after my decease, my said Trustees or Trustee to sell fall and singular my said live and dead farming stock and produce implements and utensils household goods and furniture of household plate linen and china and all other my personal Estate and Effects (excepting what I have hereinbefore bequeathed to my said wife).
  • To grandson John Spurling the sum of £50 ? on his attaining of the age of 21 years (the money to be invested until John comes of age).
  • And whereas I have already advanced and lent to my said son Joseph Sorrell the sum of £100 –
  • To my son in law William Gifford and Mary his wife my daughter £63 and one shilling.
  • To my said son William Sorrell £200.
  • To my son James Sorrell £125 and 5 shillings.
  • To my son Benjamin Sorrell £40.
  • To my son in law Abraham Budd and Hannah his wife my daughter £200.
  • To my son Thomas Sorrell £148.
  • To my son Jabez Sorrell £165.
  • To my son in law Robert Bloom and Ann his wife my daughter £86 and 6 shillings
  • And to my son Caleb Sorrell £14 and 4 shillings.

Witnesses: Sarah & Rich. R. Barenes, both of Harwich.

Written 8 Jan 1845. The testator died in the parish of Beaumont in the County of Essex on 1 March 1847. Proved: 16 August 1847.

ERO ref: D/ABW 138/2/77

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Starlinge, Margaret of Dedham, widow, 1586

  • To the poor of Dedham: 20 shillings. To Doctor Chapman: 40 shillings.
  • To Master Parker (Pker): 20 shilings
  • To Mistress Chapman: as much stannell? As will make her a barynge cloath (baring cloth?)
  • To my sister James Starling: 5 shillings
  • To the Widow Welson (Melson?): 5 shillings
  • To John Hubbarde, my son: my best bed, my best cupboard, 6 of the best cushions (quyshyans), my best brass pot, my best silver salt, my silver bowl, and £20-worth of goods, all the corn in the house (rye at 3 shillings a bushel, and malt at 18 pence a bushel)
  • To my son Thomas Thurstone: all the land I bought in Hollonde (Great Holland?), £10 which is in his own hands already, one brass pot next the best
  • To my son Edmund Thurstone: £10 which is in my son Thomas’ possession, all my possessions at Colbyns Hall.
  • To my son-in-law Arkesden: £5 which he already has and to ny daughter Bennett, his wife: 40 shillings. To his daughter Bennett Arkesden: 40 shillings. To Ann Arkesden: 40 shillings. To the child she (Bennett?) is pregnant with: 40 shillings. To Bennett my daughter: my best had, my best cloak, my best gown, my best kyrtle, my best petticoat, half my wearing linen
  • To my daughter, Mercy Thurston: £20 in Thomas Thurston’s possession to be paid when she reaches 18, he to pay 40 shillings annually for her maintenance; the bed in my own chamber and mantel on it; my little silver salt; my glass footed with silver with covers; my best gold ring’ six silver spoons; my bearing sheet with other linen folded up with it; half my wearing linen; all to be given her when she reaches 18 or marries, whichever is first.
  • To Thomas Hearde, my daughter’s son: 6 silver spoons worth 40 shillings when he marries. To Elizabeth Hearde, my daughter’s daughter: ditto.
  • To Susan Tendring, my brother’s daughter: 40 shillings towards her upbringing. To Priscilla Tendring: one pair of cobirons with latten heads and fire shovel and tongs
  • To Bridget Starling: my spruce chest and one piece of gold worth 20 shillings. To Mary Starling: one gold ring which was my sister Starling’s, and one key clogge set in silver. To Ralph Starling: one gold ring with death’s head upon it.
  • To Mary Tendring: one double duckett
  • To my sister Oldam (abbreviation?): one angel
  • To Elizabeth Starling: one gold ring
  • To my sister Isad?: 20 shillings (referring to Elizabeth Starling? Line is squashed in)
  • To Mary Woodnett: one silver spoon worth 10 shillings
  • To Edward Wilkinson and Margaret Wilkinson: one silver spoon each worth 6 shillings
  • To Richard Coop (abbreviated from Cooper?), my godson: 6 shillings
  • To my brother Valentine Tendring: 40 shillings
  • To Joane Roase, my maid: 10 shillings
  • To Mary, my maid: 2 shillings
  • To Barrell’s wife: my cloak
  • To Winterflood’s wife (Wynterflude): one other black cloak
  • Rest & residue to be divided equally between my children: John, Thomas, Edmund, Bennett and Mercy

Executor: my son, John Hubbard Witnesses: Richard Winterflood x, Edmund Chapman

Written: 24th March 1585/6, proved: 18th May 1586

ERO ref: D/ABW 34/316

Note: it says proved 1585 on the will, but the date she wrote it was in the 28th year of Elizabeth I’s reign, which makes it 1585/6, and Margaret was buried in Dedham on 18th April 1586.

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Starling, Rafe, clothier of Dedham, 1580

  • 20 shillings a year for 6 years out of the tenements where Allin the labourer lives, for the maintenance of a preacher at Dedham. The remainder of the rent for repairs to the house.
  • Daughter Mary is left a house in London – to pay 20 shillings a year for 20 years out of the house to guardian of executor to give to the poor of Dedham, and 20 shillings a year for a poor scholar at Cambridge, from Dedham school.
  • On marrying wife Margaret, testator entered into a bond to leave her after his death £10 a year, plus £100 in money and goods. To satisfy this, testator leaves Margaret the tenemant and lands in Dedham occupied by Edward Wilkinson, with an acre and a half of meadow worth £7 a year. The guardian of executor to pay £3 a year out of testator’s mansion house for as long as Margaret lives. To satisfy the £100, Margaret to take the goods she likes best except for wool, yarn and cloth, at such reasonable prices as two honest neighbours Richard Clarke and Richard Clarke decide.
  • Daughter Bridget – house in Ipswich [doesn’t specify where in Ipswich], and £100 when 20 or on her marriage.
  • Daughter Mary – house in London doesn’t specify where in London], and £100 when 20 or on her marriage. If William Mericke of London, merchant, gives Mary £45 and assures payment of the 40 shillings a year out of the house, Mericke to buy the house.
  • A tenement in Dedham where George Barrell lives.
  • Son Raffe Starlinge to be executor
  • Kinsman Richard Starlinge to be guardian of Raffe until he’s 22. Every four years during Raffe’s minority, and once he comes of age, Richard is to give an account of his expenses to “my well-beloved” [is the word “friends” missing?] Christopher Borowe and Robert Boggas jnr, so he can be reasonably compensated.
  • The wife of my brother James Starling of Dedham: 6d weekly
  • John Starling, a boy in my house, my brown bullock to be delivered to Edward Wilkinson
  • Rest and residue of lands, tenements etc, copyhold and freehold, to son Rafe Sterling when 22. Except for the property occupied by Edward Wilkinson, if Rafe has no issue, the lands etc to daughters Bridget and Mary. If they have no issue, to Richard Starling.
  • After Margaret has chosen her goods, the remainder of the linen, brass and pewter to be equally divided between Bridget and Mary. Each daughter to have a bed out of what Margaret leaves, and the first choice out of the goods and of the beds is to Bridget.
  • If Massye Thurstone [Mercy Thurston], my wife’s daughter, reaches 18, £10 for her advancement in marriage.
  • Rent of £4 due at Christmas out of the house in Ipswich to Bridget for the house’s repairs.
  • Servants: Robert Thorne 20 shillings; then 6 shillings & 8d each to Henry Wood, William More, Henry Parpoint, and Johan Coke. To Anne Fassett: a cow which is at Boynton’s.
  • Boynton dwelling in my farm 6 shillings 8d
  • John Hubbard: one of my colts
  • Edmund Thurston, my wife’s son: £4 to be paid quarterly at £1 a year
  • Bartholomew Waye and Christopher Stone: two bushels of rye each
  • Richard Starling allowed £4 over and above his expenses.

Witnesses: Christopher Borowe, Johan Ravens widow, Robert Bogas, Richard Upcher and others.

Written: 24 Oct 1580.

Memorandum, 25 Oct 1580:

  • The house where Allin lives is to remain to the poor of Dedham forever
  • Owes brother Robert Starling £110 for wood – guardian of executor to pay him. Further debt to Robert which has lingered for some time – testator has paid him £20 of it and if he is restored to health, will pay the remainder.
  • Richard Starling to be the guardian of all testator’s children.

Witnesses: John Hubberd, Thomas Hearde of Ramsey, Robert Boggas and others.

Probate 10 Dec 1580


Transcriber’s notes: Testator buried at Dedham on 27 Oct 1580, “Ralphe Starlinge husband to Margret Starling.”

Rafe was the third husband of Margaret (see will above). Rafe and his wife Alice Young were the parents of Bridget (who married Sir Thomas Bowes of East Bergholt, becoming the mother of Sir Thomas Bowed jnr, involved in the 1640s Essex witch trials with Matthew Hopkins – then she married Charles Cardinall), Mary 1564-1595 (who married Martin Bayles. The Havens family of Colchester are descended from their grandaughter Mary Bayles, wife of William Havens), and Rafe/Ralph (who married Susan Upcher of Dedham, but they don’t appear to have had any children).

Rafe’s wife Margaret was born Margaret Tendring. Her first husband was Richard Hubbard, and her second was John Thurston of Frinton.

William Merick, mentioned in the will, left a PCC will in 1581, but no one in Ralph’s will is mentioned.

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Sterlynge, John of Dedham, 1542

Unfinished will

  • Son Robert under 22
  • Son Raffe has bought my house, paying £8. Delivered surrender into hands of William Byge, witnessed by Robert Bartillmewe, Robert Wayre, William Boke
  • John son of John Sterling under 21 [testator’s grandson?]
  • Alice, another child of John
  • Raffe’s daughter Margaret

Probate 18 Jan 1541/2 by Widow Elizabeth Sterling and “Radulpho” Sterling


Transcriber’s notes: it seems possible that Raffe/Radulpho Sterling, the testator’s son, is Ralph Starling.

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Sterlyng, Rose of Dedham, 1525

  • Wife of Robert Sterlyng
  • To be buried in Dedham churchyard
  • House and land in Boxford to her husband
  • Daughter Agnes Wall: 40 shillings to be paid on her marriage. If she dies before, the money to be divided among the testator’s other children.
  • Sister Isabell Noott: some clothing

Witnesses: Michael Hamson curate, Harry Hamson, Thomas Glover, “and many others”

Written 10 Sep 1525


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