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:-
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.
I give: unto Elizabeth my wife the third part of all other my lands whatsoever during her natural life
Item: I give unto
Josiah GARDNER my eldest son and to his heirs forever the Messuage and Mansion House and Homestall wherein I now dwell in Little Bourton
aforesaid together with all barns, stables, houses, orchards, gardens, backsides, and also the close and house standing therein called the 'over Close' and also one parcel of arable land called Hardwicke parcel in number seventeen lands with the two hay lands Also I give him one yard meadow throughout all the meadows in the fields of Great and Little Bourton which I have over and besides the three yards of meadow hereafter bequeathed
Item: I give and bequeath unto my said son Josiah GARDNER and to his heirs for ever one cow as common and four
sheep commons called Lama Commons belonging to the house wherein I now dwell and also one other cow common and four other sheep commons likewise called Lamb Commons sometimes belonging to the house wherein Anthony ELKINTON dwelleth
Item: I give unto my said son Josiah GARDNER and unto my second son Stephen GARDNER and unto my third son Timothie GARDNER and to their heirs for ever all my three yardland now in my occupation with all common and commons of pastures together with three yards meadow throughout all the meadow of and in the fields of Great and Little
Bourton and all profits and appurtenances whatsoever to the said three yardland's and three yard meadows belonging or in anyway's appertaining with said three yard lands with the appurtenances
I have divided in three parts and have written them a true terrier which I have written in parchment with my own hand and having so divided both lands and
leas every one of my said three sons shall have and enjoy to him and his heirs forever such third part and have and enter upon the same when they shall come each one of them one after another to the full age of twenty four years and not before.
My will is that my wife Elizabeth shall have and enjoy the forsaid house in Little Bourton wherein I now dwell and the aforesaid three yardland's and the piece of Seventeen lands called Hardwick plus the one yard meadow and Lamas Commons with the appurtenances whatsoever until my said three sons shall come to the age of twenty and four years aforesaid, when the eldest doth come to that age then she to leave his part and to the others who shall have each part towards their bringing up and paying the legacies I have after mentioned.
Item: I give unto my daughter Hannah FRENCH forty pounds over and above the three score pounds which I now owe
and am indebted to her to be paid unto her within twelve months next after my decease
Item: I give unto Katherine HOPF my second daughter thirty pounds to be paid unto her within six months next after my decease
Item: I give unto Mary KINGSTONE my third daughter five shillings and further my will is that if my Overseers find that my wife be able well to pay threescore pounds to my said daughter Mary KINGSTONE more then she already hath according to my conditional promise made to her husband before her marriage I will it be so.
Item: I give unto
Martha GARDNER my fourth and youngest daughter the sum of fourscore pounds to be paid her at her marriage with her mothers consent or when she shall come to the age of twenty years which cometh first
I give: unto Elizabeth GARDNER my beloved wife all the rest of my goods and chattels both moveable and unmovable (except the wainscot in my plon?)
whom I make my sole executrix of this my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the first day of November in the eighth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland defender of the faith Anno Domini 1632
Item: I make
Mr HARRIS of Hanwell and Mr William ALLIN of Bambury my Overseers of this my last Will and Testament and do give either of them ten shillings for their
Sealed, signed and published
in the presence of the persons underwritten. Witnesses
Robert HARRIS, Thomas HANKES his mark
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.