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Fordington

The Will of Christian Lauernes [Lawrence] Widow of Fordington

©Transcribed by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington from CLDS Film 1067158 January 2009
Last updated January 2011

Note: Parish Registers for Fordington have not survived for the period 1640-1663 and may not have been kept during the Civil War. Wills during this period are therefore particularly valuable.

I have used the image on the CLDS Film 1067158 but I note that the Will is listed in the Calendar of Dorset Wills and Administrations in the Salisbury Probate Court Ref 1661/1/4. The year 1661 is incorrect. It is correctly listed in the Wiltshire & Swindon archives as 1663/P/15/9.

This Will is quite hard to read in parts so I have transcribed into modern English so that it can be read easily. A precise transcription of the text is also given in brackets underneath each paragraph to aid those wishing to check against the original images.


In the name of God amen on the 20th November 1663, I Christian LAWRENCE (1) of Fordington in the County of Dorset widow being of perfect memory do make this my Last will and Testament in manner and form as follows:-
    [In the name of God a men the 20 of november 1663, I Christin Lauernes of Fordington in the County of Dorsit widdoe being of perfet memry doe mark this my Last Will and Testament in manor and forme as follooth:-]
In the first place: I give to my son John LAWRENCE’s four children twenty shillings a piece to be paid 6 months after my decease.
    [Impremis: I Give to my soon John Lauerneses foure childrene twenty shillings a pese to be paid 6 monthes after my deses]
Item: I give to Mr CHURCHILL the Minister (2) that was late of Fordington twenty shillings to be paid one month after my decease.
    [Item: I give to Mr: Churchel the Menster that was late of Fordington twenty shillings to be paid one monthe after my deses]
Item: I give to the poor of the Parish of Fordington twenty shillings to be paid within one day after my burial to be distributed by my executor.
    [Item: I give to the poore of the parrish of Fording twenty shillings to be paid within one day after my buryell to be disstrubeted by my executor]
Item: I give to my daughter Phillipa SHEPARD one standing poster bedstead in the parlour at Whitchurch and all the money that is due to me from William MELLER of Dorchester except five pound of that I give her daughter Joane SHEPARD
    [Item: I give to my dafter Phillip Shepard one standing poster bedsted in the parlor at Whit Church and all the mony that is deu to mee from William Meller of Dorchester except five pound of that I give to her dafter Joane Shepard]
    [Note: the gender of Phillip confused me somewhat - clearly a female as referred to as a daughter and the surname would otherwise be Lawrence - The female version would be Phillipa which I have used. I also note that in the transcriptions for Dorchester Holy Trinity there is an earlier marriage of a John SHEPPARDE to a Phillip OVERY widow on the 10th of May 1568 so perhaps they did not distinguish gender when writing down the name at this date?]
Item: I give to my daughter Mary PURCHASE five pounds that is in Mr Thomas HOWE’s hands.
    [Item: I give to my dafter Mary Purches five pounds that is in Mr: Thomas Howes hands ]
Item: I give to William BUN my standing bedstead in the chamber over the parlour
    [Item: I give to William Bun my standing bedsted in the chamber over the parlor ]
Item: I give to my daughter Mary PURCHASE’s children twelve pound that is in Mary SMART’s hand now wife of John HARBIN in the Parish of Charminster to be equally divided amongst them as my executor does propose for the children’s best advantage.
    [Item: I give to my dafter Mary Purcheses childern twelve pound that is in Mary Smarts hand nou wif to Joh: Harbin the parish of Charminster to be equally divided amongst them as my executor does pose for the childrens best advantage]
Item: I give to my son [i.e. son-in-law] James FOANE one shilling and to my son Edward and his daughters Sarah and Mary and Frances to each of them twenty shillings a piece to be paid to them 6 months after my decease.
    [Item: I give to my soon James fonon one shilling and to my sonne Edward and his dafters Sarae and Mary [ the words “twenty shillings” has been erased] and [ 1 illegible word erased] Frances to ech of them twenty shillings a pese to be paid to them 6 months after my deces ]
    [Note: The reference to her son James Fonon is her son-in-law [she only left him a shilling and a small sum like this was often done to make sure that someone who might expect to inherit could not contest the will by omission. It did not necessarily mean disapproval as he would have received his wifes dowry at time of marriage]. Also note she has correctly named her son John Lauernes above. She also goes on to refer to grandchildren but the name is constantly spelt differently e.g. Fonon; Fonne; Fonen etc which I don’t recognise. I note from parish records in Fordington that these also have inconsistent spelling of names like James Fownes who married Katherine the daughter of William Lawrence 1st June 1630 and later there is a marriage between a John Foane and an Elizabeth Lawrence on 26th Dec 1724. Certainly FOANE and FOWNE are recognised surnames in later years in this part of Dorset so I have used Foane in the transcription.]
Item: I give to John FOANE and Elizabeth FOANE my grandchildren to each of them forty shillings a piece to be paid 6 months after my decease.
    [Item: I give to John fonon and Elizabeth fonne my granchildren to ech of them forty shillings a pes to be paid 6 months after my deces ]
Item: I give to Edith FOANE my grandchild ? pound to be paid 6 months after my decease.
    [Item: I give to Eadeth fonen my gran Child foner? pound to be paid 6 months after my deces ]
Item: I give to my grandchild Joane SHEPARD twenty shillings and my best petticoat and to Edward and Elizabeth and Sarah and Christian SHEPARD my grandchildren five shillings a piece to be paid within 6 months after my decease.
    [Item: I give to my grand child Joane Shepard twenty shillings and my best pettycot and to Edward and Elizabeth and Sarah and Christn: Shephard my gran Children five shillings a pese [piece] to be paid within 6 monthes after my deces.]
Item: All the rest of my goods and Chattels I give to my son John LAWRENCE whom I do appoint and make my executor of this my Last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.
    [Item: all the rest of my goodes and chateles I give to my soone John: Lauernse home I doo a pynt and mark my executor of this my Last Will and Testament in witnis where of I have heare unto set my hand and sell the day and yeare ferst a bove writen.]

The Mark of Christin [ X ] Lauerns

Sealed and declared in the presence of [Selled and declered in the presenss of ]
Thomas TAPP
William BUN


Genealogical Notes:-

(1). Christian LAWRENCE was the widow of William LAWRENCE a Yeoman whose will is at the National Archives PROB 11/196 - probate being on 19th June 1646 which refers to his relict Christian and son John. If anyone has a copy of this will I would like to transcribe it for this site.

(2). Mr Churchill was Vicar of Fordington from 1656 to 1662. He had entered Queens college Cambridge on 18 Aug 1644, and progressed to Emmanuel College in 1647/8. He was first Vicar of Over Compton Dorset in 1650 before becoming rector of Winterborne Came in 1655 and a year later Vicar of St George’s Church in Fordington. He was presented to the Assizes in 1660 for not using the Anglican Liturgy and ejected from Fordington in 1662: He later assisted Mr Benn in preaching to a dissenting congregation at Dorchester, and succeeded him in his pastoral office. In the mid 17th Century many clergy were ejected from their livings for failing to adapt to the changes introduced by a Presbyterian parliament and, later to the Anglican restoration of 1662. It would appear that he retained the support of many of his more prominent parishioners.

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