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 Suffolk Record Office (ERO), the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), or the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).
- Hedge, Robert, clothier of East Bergholt, 1573
- Hedge, Robert, clothier of East Bergholt, 1583
- Hill, Simon, gentleman of East Bergholt, 1551
- Hill, William, gentleman of East Bergholt, 1529
- Howes, Thomas, butcher of Hadleigh, 1699
Hedge, Robert, clothier of East Bergholt, 1573
Poor of East Bergholt £5
Wife Jone £30, and all household stuff she brought to me [lists goods, beasts and farm stock]
Son Augustine Hedge, under 24: £6, a loom, certain furniture and household goods
Sons Stephen Hedge, Christopher Hedge, Samuel Hedge, George Hedge: £6 each when 24
Son Thomas Hedge
Daughters Elizabeth Hedge, Margaret Hedge, Martha Hedge: £5 each (to Elizabeth and Margaret within 6 months, to Martha when 21 or married, whichever happens first)
Specific household goods to sons Christopher, George, Thomas, Robert, William and Richard, and his daughters Elizabeth, Margaret and Martha.
Every child that my son Robert has on the day of making this will: 6s 8d each
Grandchildren, the children of my son Richard: Thomas Hedge, Agnes Hedge, Anne Hedge: 6sh 8d each
The children of Stephen Rudland: Robert Rudland, John Rudland, Andrew Rudland, William Rudland, Mary Rudland: 6sh 8d each
Executor: son Augustine. A house called Freristent to be sold. Rest and residue to Augustine.
Supervisor: Robert Hedge at the “wayer” [weir?]
Witnesses: Robert Wylis, Nicholas Hedge, Edmund Sayge, Robert Wilis the younger
Written 20 Sep 1573, probate 28 Nov 1573
Transcriber’s notes: Alice Burrough, the sister of Christopher Burrough of East Bergholt and Wix (who was married to Ann Cardinall), married Nicholas Hedge. Robert Hedge may have been a relative of his.
Hedge, Robert, clothier of East Bergholt, 1583
Poor of East Bergholt 40sh
Master Dr Cricke 13sh 4d, as long as he continues as a preacher at East Bergholt
Son James Hedge: my house where I now dwell and the house adjoining, when 21. Wife Anne to have the house until James comes of age. If James died under 21, the house to son Robert Hedge when 21. If Robert dies underage, the house goes to son George when 21. If George dies underage, the house to be divided between my daughters.
Son George: £30, and some property when 21. If he dies under 21, to son Robert, on condition he pays his mother £10 when 21.
Son James: £20 when 21
Son Robert £40 when 21
Daughter Elizabeth Johnson £10
Daughters Katherine Hedge, Margaret Hedge, Alice Hedge: £30 when 20
Brother Nicholas Hedge: legacies to George, Catherine and Margaret.
Sisters and daughters George, Catherine, Margaret and Alice: all moveable goods and household stuff not already bequeathed when 21, as per an indenture.
Margery Boxe, Anne Barker and Elizabeth Barker: 40sh each when 20
Niece Margaret Bramstone, my sister’s daughter: £30 6sh 8d when 20, and certain household goods as per the indenture.
Brother Nicholas to have the children’s bringing up (George, Catherine and Margaret), and George’s lands while he is under 21.
Wife Anne to have the legacies and upbringing of children James, Robert and Alice. Anne to put in a bond with Christopher Boroughe of East Bergholt, clothier, and Henry Tostock of Hopton to pay the legacies at the children’s respective ages.
Executor: wife Anne
Supervisors: Christopher Burrough and Henry Tostock
Witnesses: James Lewes, Nicholas Hedge, Edward Riche scriptor, with others.
Transcriber’s notes: Robert Hedge appears to be the brother of Nicholas Hedge, who married Alice Burrough, the sister of Christopher Burrough. Robert’s sister appears to have married one of the Bramstones: Christopher’s wife, Anne Cardinall, had a sister, Judith, who married John Branston of East Bergholt, so was presumably related to them.
Hill, Simon, gentleman of East Bergholt, 1551
To be buried at East Bergholt church.
Son William, when 21, to have the leases of the “Balywick of Barfolte” and the Fen, paying £40 each to his other children:
John Hill, Anne Hill, Margaret Hill, Letyce Hill, and Edith Hill
Leases of Bramford meadows held of Sir John Clere to be sold by wife Elizabeth
Executor: wife Elizabeth, to have rest and residue
Supervisor: brother William Cardinall
Witnesses: Robert Skynner, John Cley, John Ive, Thomas Samuell curate
Probate (In Latin) William Cardinall and Lettice his wife, and Thomas Gawdy and Etheldred (Audrey) his wife swore to administer. It seems that Elizabeth, Simon’s widow, died before being able to administer.
Written 17 July 1551, probate 19 Aug 1551
Transcriber’s notes: Elizabeth, Simon’s wife, appears to have been a daughter of William Knightley of Norwich. The 1558 Essex Visitation for Knightley says that Elizabeth, William’s daughter, married John Hill (by whom they had a son called John who married Joyce Woodnoth, and that John jnr and Joyce had two children, Henry and Anne). However, it would appear that the Visitation is wrong and that the name of Elizabeth’s husband should be Simon. Among William Knightley’s other daughters were Lettice, wife of William Cardinall, and Audrey, wife of Thomas Gawdy. When Simon names his “brother William Cardinall” as his supervisor, he means his brother-in-law.
The Essex Visitation only gives William Knightley one wife, Anne, daughter of Thomas Hare, and sister of Sir Nicholas Hare. However, it seems that he had in fact been married twice, his other wife being Margaret, the daughter of Andrew Pawe of Norwich, who died in 1510. The Gawdy papers contain a reference to the 1548 marriage settlement of Audrey Knightley, and Thomas Gawdy. This says that Audrey was the niece of William Pawe, the vicar of Belaugh in Norfolk, who was settling land on Audrey which he had inherited from his father – Audrey’s grandfather. So we know at least that Audrey was Margaret Pawe’s daughter. The settlement mentions Simon Hylle of East Bergholt among the feoffees in trust.
Simon was already related to the Pawes. Andrew Pawe was married twice – his first wife was called Catherine, and his second was called Margaret. It’s not clear which woman was the mother of William and Margaret, but as Margaret’s 1549 will mentions neither child, it’s possible she wasn’t their mother. Margaret married Philip Hill of Norwich. Philip’s father, William Hill of East Bergholt, names Simon and Humphrey Hill as his nephews. And in Philip’s will, he mentions “my brother’s children Simon and Humphrey”. It’s possible that by “nephew”, William Hill meant his grandsons, as I’ve seen that before in wills from the 1500s. This seems especially so as William leaves as much property to Simon as he does to Philip and his wife. Philip wrote his will in 1517, and said that Simon and Humphrey were under 16.
Hill, William, gentleman of East Bergholt, 1529[This will mentions a great deal of property in detail, including location, who rented it and who it had been bought from, not all of which I have transcribed]
- To be buried in East Bergholt church
- Money to churches, religious houses, etc
- Bound to Sir John Wiseman and others to leave nephew Simon Hill (under 21), on my death, lands worth 20 marks per annum. Default of issue, the lands to Simon’s brother Humphrey (under 21).
- Bound to Thomas Boucham and Thomas Audeley of Essex to leave wife Margaret, late the wife of William Jobson of Colchester, alderman, after my death, property worth 20 marks per annum for life. After her death, to Simon Hill. Default of issue to his brother Humphrey.
- Bound to Wiliam Hart of Norwich, alderman, to leave Philip Hill, “son of me the said William Hille, and Margaret his wife, lately the wife of Andrew Pawe of Norwich, gent” land worth 20 marks per annum for life.
- Nephew Simon Hill: mansion in East Bergholt where testator then lived.
- Wife Margaret: lands in Little Wigborough and Lawford, Essex for life, after her death to Humphrey Hill.
- Certain lands reserved for 10 years for performance of will.
- Wife Magaret to have all her household stuff that she brought with her on their marriage.
- Nephew Simon movable goods worth £40.
- Nephew Humphrey £20
- Remainder of movables to be divided at the discretion of son Philip.
- Executor: son Philip. If he died before administering it, executor to be Simon. If he dies before, executor to be Humphrey. If he dies before, executor to be John Davys of Washbrook.
Witnesses: wife Margaret, Philip Hall, John Davys, William Debenham, Walter Jacob, Nicholas Frere and others.
- Wife to have room in the mansion in East Bergholt if she wishes, and as long as she doesn’t remarry. Son Philip to have Simon’s properties until he’s 21. If Simon dies under 21, Philip to have the properties until Humphrey is 21.
Witnesses: Philip Hill, Margaret wife of testator, Margaret wife of Philip Hill, Sir Robert Lewys priest.
Written 23 April 1528, probate 30 Jan 1528/9
Transcriber’s note: William mentions Simon Hill in his will, who is presumably the man (above) who died in East Bergholt in 1551.
Howes, Thomas, butcher of Hadleigh, 1699
- Son Thomas Howes
- Second son Robert Howes, and third son James Howes, to be overseers of the will
- Son Jonathan Howes
- Son Joseph Howes
- Daughter Dorothy Nevil
- Grandson Thomas Nevil
- Daughter Alice Church
- Wife Dorothy Howes, executrix
Witnesses: Samuel Norrice, Nathanial Bann, John Parfett
Written 24 Mar 1696/7, probate 2 March 1698/9
Transcriber’s notes: the testator was buried in Hadleigh on 22 June 1698. His daughter Alice was married first to Joshua Nunn, in 1673, and after his death, she married Isaac Church.