In the name of God Amen I Thomas GARDNER of Little Bourton in the parish of Cropredy in the County of Oxfordshire Yeoman being touched with the consideration of my own mortality not knowing whether God will be pleased to give me so good use of my memory hereafter and now in these days of my health do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following vitz:|
First: I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it confidently trusting in his mercy through Jesus Christ's ministries to be saved and I will that my body be buryed in the Churchyard of Cropredy aforesaid about four yards from the Chancel door southward And as for the lands and goods that God hath blessed me withall I dispose as follows:-
First: I give unto Robert HARRIS of Hanwell in the County of Oxfordshire Clerk, William ALLIN of Banbury Ironmonger, and Elizabeth GARDNER my wife and to their heirs and assigns for ever all that my Messuage or Tenement and yardland and one half yard meadow thereunto belonging situate and being in the town of Great Bourton and in the fields of Great Bourton and Little Bourton and all profits and appurtenances whatsoever with and now in the tenure possession and occupation of Anthony ELKINGTON his assign or assigns to the end and purpose that the said Robert HARRIS, William ALLIN and my aforesaid wife shall sell the same and my wife to have and receive all the money for and the payment of the lagacies hereafter mentioned.
Sealed, signed and published in the presence of the persons underwritten. Witnesses
Robert HARRIS, Thomas HANKES his mark
Probate: This Will was proved at London before John Henry Marten doctor at law on 27th day of November 1633 when administration of his estate was granted to Elizabeth GARDNER relict and executrix
(1).The Rev Robert HARRIS MA (1581-1658) of Hanwell was from Gloucester a pleb. of Magdalen Hall Oxford where he matriculated on 10th June 1597 aged 16. He was awarded a B.A. Degree on 5th June 1600; and a B.D. on 5th May 1614 before undertaking a 10 year study of theology. He was president of Trinity College 1648-1658 and created a Doctor of Divinity on 12th April 1648. As shown in the above will he was Rector of Hanwell in Oxfordshire from 1607 to 1642 when he became minister of St Botolph in Bishopsgate and a member of the Assembly of Divines of which Elizabeth's brother Rev John White, Patriarch of Dorchester was also a member. He was also Rector of Petersfield, hants, one of the parliamentary visitors of the university in 1647 and Rector of Garsington, Oxfordshire. He died on 12th December 1658 and was buried in Trinity College Chapel.
(2). Thomas's wife Elizabeth GARDNER (nee WHITE) was the younger sister of the Rev John WHITE (1575-1648) the Patriarch of Dorchester. Elizabeth Gardener is also a beneficiary under her sister Mary Terry's will dated 6th October 1637 which was proved on 12th Feb 1637/8 when she received 30 shillings and her daughter Katherine Hopf received £5. Her second marriage appears to have occurred shortly after this date (when she was well past child bearing age) to a Mr Allen [Allin] who Rose Troup speculates might be the William Allen of Banbury the overseer of her husbands will. She is referred to as 'my sister Elizabeth ALLEN' in Rev. John White's will dated 29th March 1648.
(3).William ALLEN was an Ironmonger of Banbury and to be appointed as Overseer would have been a close trusted friend of Thomas Gardner. If he subsequently married Elizabeth GARDNER nee White he would have become stepfather to her children and a natural choice for a witness to her eldest son Josiah's will written in 1650 and proved in 1656. This will is important as a Mr William WHAYLIE was appointed executor. When this will was proved the registrar spelt his name as William WHEATLEY and this name appears appears as a witness on William Allen's will of 1670 thus linking the two familes.
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