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Will of John GREENE [d.1614/5]

Merchant of Dorchester

Will dated 10th September 1613: Proved PCC 11/125 on 7th February 1615

Modern English Transcription below - Link to Original Transcription

Transcribed by Michael Russell OPC Dorchester - January 2011 queries in red
for Nancy Frey of Newcastle, Ontario, Canada
who has kindly agreed to this being displayed on the OPC website.


In the Name of God Amen: I John GREENE (7) of Dorchester in the County of Dorset Merchant being sick of body but perfect of mind thanks be to God do make this my last will and Testament the tenth day of September one thousand six hundred and thirteen in manner and form following

first I bequeath and commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my maker and of Jesus Christ his only son and my only saviour by whose death and passion I do fully assure my self to have remission of my sins And for my body I do bequeath it unto the earth to be buried in Saint Peters Church so near unto my wife's grave either on the one side or the other as conveniently may be unto which parish Church of Saint Peters I give ten shillings

Item I give unto the poor of the Almshouse ten shillings and unto the residue of the poor of Dorchester fifty shillings

Item I give unto Mr Francis ASHLEY Esq for an assured pledge of my love one gold ring to the value of twenty shillings with this inscription (Amico fideli nulia compapatio)


Example of a 17th Century posy ring (1)

Item I give unto Mr John WHITE preacher upon the same consideration a gold ring of the value and inscription And moreover I give unto him towards the re-edifying of his house forty shillings

Item I give unto my cousin ELRINGTON (2) for an assured pledge of my love a gold ring of the like value and inscription

Item unto my brother francis SNELLING and his wife two gold rings to the value of ten shillings a piece with the like inscription

Item unto Mr Henry WHITE one gold ring of the like value and inscription

Item unto my cousin John HARDY (3) and his wife two gold rings of the like value and inscription

Item unto Mr John YEAT my best hat

Item unto my cousin William ROMAN a gold ring of the like value of ten shillings and inscription

Item I give unto my son-in-law Thomas DAVIDGE (4) and his wife two gold rings of the like value and inscription And moreover I give unto Thomas DAVIDGE my best gown and unto my daughter his wife a gown of flanders serge (5) and the hangings of doringe in the bed chamber (6) and the sheets I now lie in

Item I give unto my son-in-lawe John MELLEDGE and his wife two gold rings of the like value and inscription

Item I give unto my son-in-law Robert BEKE and his wife two gold rings of the like value and inscription Moreover unto my sonne Robert BEKE I give a featherbed
a pair of sheets and a rug

Item I give unto my cousin Elliot JOHNSON and his wife two gold rings of the like value and inscription

Item I give unto Richard PERRY my second best doublet and hose and my best stockings

Item I give unto my grand child Sarah DAVIDGE twenty pounds to be paid at the day of her marriage

Item I give unto Edith TIGGONS I give five pounds to be paid {at the day of her marriage}

The Rest of my goods my debts paid and funeral discharged I give to my sonne Gyles GREENE whom I make my sole executor And I do earnestly entreat my cousin John ELRINGTON my cousin John HARDY my son-in-law Robert BEKE and Thomas DAVIDGE to be my Overseers of this my last will and testament for the better performance thereof

In Witness whereof I have here unto put my hand and Seal this twelfth day of September in the year of our Lord god one thousand six hundred and thirteen witnessed unto the sealing hereof John WHITE Ro: BEKE

It was my fathers pleasure after the sealing of this his last will that my brother DAVIDGE should have the board and cupboard in the broad chamber.


PROBATUM: [Note:- My Latin leaves a great deal to be desired and I am quite happy to be corrected by someone who actually knows what they are doing but I have attempted a rough translation as follows]
    This testament was approved at London before the venerable Johannes Benet Doctor of Law at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 7th February in the year of Our Lord 1615 --to Gyles GREENE son and executrix appointed in the testament.

Genealogical Notes:-
(1). The "posy" ring was the most common type of love ring in use since the Middle Ages. The name "posy" was derived from the amatory inscription which this type of ring bears and which is usually in rhyme or "poesy". These rings were widely used in the Middle Ages (but are now hard to find). Posy rings were usually given by both men and women as an expression of regard, friendship, attachment, or even love. The posy ring reached its peak of popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. The posies on medieval rings were usually inscribed on the outside of the hoop (which was flat). In later times, they were usually inscribed inside and the hoop was more rounded. By the 17th and 18th centuries, most posy rings were used as wedding rings. Although some of the inscriptions were originated by the donor, there were also a number of standard inscriptions which could be bought already engraved on the rings. I found this example for sale on the web at £1,700. My Latin is not very good but the inscription appears to be a pledge of close & faithful friendship I would welcome a proper transcription from someone who knows medieval latin.
(2) His son-in-law Thomas Davidge also left a ring to a John Elrington on his death in 1614 when he made him overseer of his will - see Note (4) below.
(3). This is probably the same John Hardey the younger of Beaminster who witnessed the will of Thomas Davidge see Note: (4) below
(4). Thomas Davidge (d1614) his son-in-law via his daughter Sarah Green - link is to his Will and genealogical notes on the family
(5). 'Flanders Serge' The gown would have been made from a loosely woven worsted twill cloth imported from Flanders. As a merchant he had ready access to such goods and for it to have been left in the will to his own daughter would have been of the finest quality.
(6). In the 17the century the bed was one of the most important pieces of household furniture. It was made up of a bedstead, a full set of hangings, a mattress, sheets, a bolster generally the width of the bed, pillowties and a coverlet. Bed hangings provided protection against cold drafts and a semblance of privacy and were often worth more than the bedstead upon which they were arranged. As in this case the best hangings were often bequeathed to the wife or eldest son/daughter. They generally consisted of a tester (canopy) tacked to the frame, a valance, a head cloth (a panel that hung down from the top behind the bed head), head and foot curtains and a base or skirt.
(7). John GREEN was a successful merchant of Dorchester, a constable of the town in 1583, a capital burgess in 1586, and named as one of the original 15 burgesses of the town when Charles I signed the Charter dated 26 June 1610. [See Municipal Records of Dorchester pages 41,46, 365 and 706]. His two children Giles his son and heir and Sarah who married Thomas Davidge are both mentioned in the will.

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