Suffolk wills – R

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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 Suffolk Record Office (ERO), the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), or the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).

Rolf, Robert the elder, of Hadleigh, 1552

  • wife Rose
  • Sons John and Roger
  • The children of son-in-law Thomas Green, all under 21
  • Son William, under 21
  • The children of Peter Blosse, under 21
  • Daughter Rose, unmarried and under 21
  • The Children of daughter Mate [Martha?] Blosse, under 21
  • Grandchildren, the children of son Robert
  • Daughter Elizabeth Greene
  • Daughter Johane Blosse
  • Mary Scotesmore, under 21
  • Servants Alice Smythe and Robert Abs

Executors: Thomas Halybred, and sons Robert and Roger

Witnesses: John Raven, Robert Bromell, John Wenlocke

Codicil, written 15th January 1551/2

  • Increased legacy to daughter Rose, but she is to receive nothing if she isn’t “ruled” by executors in her marriage
  • Eight broadcloths hanging in Thomas Hunt’s house in London to be sold, and the proceeds to be distributed among the poor
  • Increased legacy to wife, and servant Alice Smythe
  • Son William not to have his legacy of £100 if he won’t be apprenticed at the will of executors

Written 3rd year of Edward 6th (1550), probate 26 Mar 1552


Transcriber’s notes: the father of Robert and Roger (see their wills below). See the Rolfe of Hadleigh pedigree in Metcalfe’s Suffolk Visitation. The testator is the Robert Rolfe at the top of that tree.

A Rose Rolf married William Gall in Hadleigh in 1563 – I’m not sure if this is the testator’s widow or his daughter.

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Rolfe, Robert, clothier of Hadleigh, 1588

  • Wife Anne, executrix
  • Houses bought from Mr William Forth, and Mr Clarke
  • Land in Ramsey, Essex, bought from Mr Lucas of Ramsey
  • Son and heir Robert, executor
  • Grandson William, son of Robert “and his sisters” [unnamed]
  • Money to servants [unnamed]
  • Witnesses: William Gale, John Purpett, John Ranson, George Brampton

Written 3 Feb 1587/8, probate 15 Mar 1587/8


Transcriber’s notes: The testator was the High Constable of the Hundred of Babergh, and was buried in Hadleigh on 13 Feb 1587/8. His widow, Anne, was buried in Hadleigh on 11 Oct 1593.

the son of Robert Rolfe (d1552, see will above) and the brother of Roger (d 1563 or 1564). Few people are named in his will, but the Rolfe of Hadleigh pedigree in Metcalfe’s Suffolk Visitations tells us the following:

  • He married the daughter of (John) Butler of Dedham, Essex,
  • His children were Susan, wife of Purpett of Newbourne, Suffolk; Robert of Carsey Abbey [Kersey?] who married and had children but his wife isn’t named; Anne, wife of William Colman of Waldingfield; and another Robert, who married Bridgett Wright.

It’s not clear if his wife Anne in the will is the mother of all, or any, of his children, or if she’s the same wife who was the daughter of John “Butler”. Muskett in his Suffolk Manorial Families says that Mary, the daughter of John Butter of Dedham, married John Gurdon of Dedham, and that her eldest sister (unnamed by Muskett) married Robert Rolfe of Hadleigh. Then one of John Gurdon’s daughters by his wife Ann Colman married William Butter of Dedham.

Marriages at Great Waldingfield show an Edward Colman marrying an Anne Roff in 1564, and William Colman marrying Margaret Roff in 1569. Unless the marriage transcriptions or original register are wrong, it seems that the pedigree is wrong. In 1582, Anne Rolf married John Purpett – if she is the testator’s daughter, then the pedigree is wrong too, and it should be Anne, not Susan, who married “Purpett of Newbourne”.

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Rolfe, Roger, clothier of Hadleigh, 1564

  • Wife Anne, executor
  • Son Robert, under 21
  • Brother Robert
  • Nephew Robert, son of brother Robert
  • Brother Veysy
  • No witnesses

Written 17 Oct 1563, probate 10 July 1564


Transcriber’s notes: The son of Robert (died 1552) and the brother of Robert (died 1588).

His “brother” is presumably one of the Hadleigh Veseys, a son of Robert Vesey (died 1559, perhaps). But what kind of brother he is, remains mysterious. He could be a brother-in-law, as in one of his sisters had married a Vesey, or his wife was a Vesey. Or his mother had married again after his father’s death, to a Vesey, and so he had a stepbrother, known as brothers-in-law or just “brother” at the time. He had a sister Rose, who was unmarried in 1552, who could have married a Vesey, but then again, between 1552 and 1563 (when his father wrote his will, and when Roger wrote his own), one of his three married sisters could have been widowed and remarried. A Rose Rolf married William Gall in Hadleigh in 1563, who could be either Roger’s sister or mother.

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Rous, Anthony, gentleman of Badingham, 1555

  • To be buried in the chancel of the church in Badingham
  • Executors to have the manor of Badingham Hall, the manor or grange of Jurdies in Peasenhall, and his other property (unnamed) in Suffolk for eight years to pay debts and bring up his children.
  • His mother: Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Fuller of Finborough, an annuity, in recompense forher jointure with testator’s late father Reinold Rous.
  • John Thwarwarden alias Karner rents a house from testator called Dorantes
  • After the eight years, wife Mary to have Badingham Hall Manor, and some other land for life, on condition that she pays son Reynolde Rous £20 a year. After her death, the manor to said son Reynolde.
  • Also after eight years, Jurdies and some other property to son Reynolde, as long as he pays the aforesaid Elizabeth Fuller her annuity, and pays 40 shillings a year to each of testator’s sons: Edward, Thomas, John and Francis Rous.
  • When 21, son Reynold Rous to release his interest in land in Ubbeston called Saxleis to the possession of William Baldrye.
  • After death of wife and mother, testator’s brother Arthur Rous to be paid 40 shillings a year.
  • Daughter Prudence Rous

Executors: wife Mary; brother-in-law Robert Gurdon of Little Waldingfield, gent; the Right Worshipful Sir Edmund Rous; Robert Thorpe of Brindley, gent; Right Worshipful Mr Michael Haare of Bruisyard esquire.

Witnesses: George Rous, Anthony Storer, William Baldrye, Nicholas Lingewood, William Castleton, James White, John Harmon, Thomas Myles, Thomas Baldrye, Thomas Skynner, Roger Perse, Thomas Plu_ton (abbrevation after 3rd letter of surname), “and others.”

Written 22 Nov 1554, probate 19 July 1555


Transcriber’s notes: according to Muskett’s Suffolk Manorial Families vol 1, Anthony Rous married Mary, the daughter of Robert Sexton of Lavenham (who died in 1518), and his second wife Agnes Jermyn. Robert Gurdon, Anthony’s brother-in-law, was the second husband of Rose Sexten, Mary’s sister.

How does he fit into the Rous families given in the visitations of Suffolk? He’s not Sir Anthony Rous of Dennington, because he’s plain old Anthony Rous in his will. But it seems that the Reginald mentioned in the will is the husband of Catherine Knightley, as appears in the Essex Visitation for the Knightleys, which says she married Reginald Rous of Badingham. She was buried in Badingham on 29 Mar 1598, as “Katherine wife of Reginald Rous.”

The 1664-68 Suffolk Visitation features a tree for Rous of Badingham, starting with Owen, one of Reginald and Catherine’s sons. Their arms include 18 different families, among which are the arms of Sexton – which again argues for Reginald Rous in Anthony’s will being the husband of Catherine Knightley and the father of Owen.

Tracing the Manor of Badingham backwards, and looking at evidence in wills, it appears that Anthony was the son of Reginald Rous and Elizabeth (unknown maiden name), who had died in or before 1554. Reginald was the son of Edward Rous, who died in 1506 in Badingham, and his wife Margaret Liston. And going further back, Edward was the fourth son of Reginald Rous who died in 1464, and his wife Elizabeth Denston. The members of the Rous family in the Suffolk Visitations for 1561 and 1612 are descendants of Edward’s brothers Henry, Thomas and Humphrey.

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Rous, Rayghnold, gentleman of Peasenhall, 1627

  • Wife Mary, executrix
  • Son Thomas
  • Bridget Tockley (relationship not given)
  • Daughter Lawter “my marrying ring that was her mother’s” (implying that her mother was a previous wife)
  • Son Reighnold Rous
  • The poor of Badingham, Peasenhall and Wenhaston
  • Three daughters: Elizabeth Rous, Katherine Rous, Annes/Agnes Rous
  • Cousin Arthur Cooke
  • Reignhold Rous of Badingham (relationship not given)

Witnesses: William Shynning, Nicholas Barefoote

Written 15 March 1623/4, probate 2 May 1627


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