These wills are from a variety of sources – some from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, and others from county record offices. Most of the wills have been transcribed to include all the names mentioned, but not necessarily all of the details of what each person received, so please see the originals for complete details.
Panton, Eleanor, widow of John Panton, deceased, 1619
Several times in her will and in her codicil, Eleanor pleads that the wardship of her daughters will be given to the executors she names in her will. At the time, wardship was decided by the Court of Wards and Liveries. Minors with large inheritances and marriage portions were easily exploited by this system as the wardship and “marriage” could be bought. It would mean someone enjoying the vulnerable minor’s wealth and quite possibly diminishing it. Eleanor’s insistence on her choice of wardship shows how strongly parents felt about the system, and how anxious they were for the future of their children.
Executors, desiring them to have the wardship of her daughters Alatha Panton and Eleanor Panton: John Williams DD, Dean of Salisbury; Thomas Cooke, gent “my old and true friend”; John Warburton, gent, servant to my cousin Mr Justice Warburton
Sister Alice Bath to bring the girls up. £100 and the testator’s bed in the house in Westminster.
Executors to buy two diamond rings, or £100 each: one for “my most honourable lord, the Earl of Arundel” and the other for his wife the countess: “humbly desiring them to accept of them as a testimony of my love and thankfulness for all their honourable favours”
Overseers: Earl of Arundel, “Mr Sergeant Crewe, the King’s Sergeant-at-Law”.
“And do most humbly beseach my said honourable lord to be a means that the wardship of my said children my be granted to my said executors.”
Witnesses: Richard Prythergh, Robert Lloyd, Francis Kempe
Written 24 Nov 1619
Her “hearty desire” that the wardship of her daughters shouldn’t be granted to her brother Sir George Booth, knight, nor to Sir Thomas Panton, knight, “nor to none other of my husband’s friends.”
Cousin Dorothy Bunnington £20
Sibill wife of Anthony North £6 13sh 4d
Thomas Merrill £5
Servant Richard Bassnett £10
Elizabeth Groves £5
Sarah Langfeilde [Longfield?] £5
£20 to be divided among Lord Arundel’s servants
Executor John Warburton £100, and 40s each to the other executors
Dean of St Paul’s: a gold ring worth 40sh.
Witnesses: Robert Baldwin, Thomas Merrill
Written 26 Nov 1619, probate 4 Dec 1619
Transcriber’s notes: Eleanor Panton was the “cousin” of Robert Bouth (mentioned in his will), and the sister of Sir George Booth of Cheshire. John and Eleanor were both buried in Westminster Abbey, but no memorials remain for them there.
“Mr Sergeant Crewe” is presumably Sir Ranulph Crewe. His wife, Julian Clippesby, was Robert Bouth’s niece. Robert was the steward of Gilbert Talbot and Mary (née Cavendish, daughter of that famous woman from the Tudor period, Bess of Hardwick), Earl and Countess of Salisbury, and Julian was in the Salisbury’s household where she met Crewe. The Earl of Arundel’s wife was Alathea Talbot, the daughter of the Earl of Salisbury. It seems that one of the Panton’s daughters was named after her, and given the conventions of the time, was probably their daughter’s godmother.
Thomas Coke/Cooke, one of Eleanor’s executors, is perhaps the same man who witnessed her husband’s will, also worked for the Salisburys, and I wonder if he was one of Crewe’s relatives – Julian’s mother, Lettice, had a sister Winifred, who was the mother of Sir Edward Cooke/Coke (1552-1634), attorney general.
Panton, John, of Westminster, Middlesex, 1619
Wife Eleanor Panton [Ellenor in the will], sole executor
Three daughters: Anne, Alathea and Ellenor, all under 18
A lot of land is mentioned in this will, which he divides among his daughters. Had bought land from Sir Thomas Middleton, knight; Hugh Panton, gent; William Middleton esqr. He bought land in Denbighshire by letters patent of the king.
Witnesses: Richard Baker, Thomas Coke, Thomas Merrill
Written 27 May 1618, probate 27 March 1618/9.
Transcriber’s notes: husband of Eleanor, above.