Francis Shakerley of Ditton: will

In the name of god amen The father the sonne and the holy spirite I Frauncs Shakerley of Ditton in the county of kent gent Doe this thirty fourthe yere of the raigne of oure most gracious ladye and Queene Elizabeth and in the nyntye and one yeere of myne age make and ordaine this my testam[en]t and last will being I moste hartely thancke god therefore of good memory and in suche healthe of bodye as those my greate yeares may afoorde. Firste therefore I recomende my soule to the blessed mercy of god in christe not doubtinge but that he will as mercyfully save it as he hathe deerely boughte it my body I desier to be buryed by the discrecion of myne executrix hereafter named in the Chauncell of the p(ar)ishe church of Dytton aforesaide so neere (to) the wall thereaboute the place where my sonne Robert was buryed as convenientlye maye be done And I bequeath to everyone of my god Children sixe shillings and eighte pence in monye and to the p(ar)son of Ditton other (blank space) shillings and eight pence in monye Also I gyve to Richarde Shakerley my sonne my standinge cuppe wth the cover both beinge sylver and guilte w(hi)ch were sometyme the ladye Packingtons to be had unto him after the deathe of my welbeloued wyfe Erasme and to suche as shall from tyme to tyme inherryte and inhabite my dwellinge house called Brookes in Dytton aforesaide as an heirlome to him and them successivelye one after an-other forever and I will that my saide wyfe have the use thereof during all her life. Also I bequeath to George my sonne my silver and p[ar]cell guilte goblett and cover thereto the w[hi]ch togeather wth one of my kyen at the choyce of my saide wife I will to be deliuered by hir unto him within convenient tyme after my decease togeather also with all my books of learninge w[hi]ch I likewyse bequeath unto him Also I bequeath to the said Richard and Georg my sonnes all my wearing apparell excepte rings and Jewells Also I bequeath to master Richard Platt of London and to misteris Alice his wife Foure old Royalls of goulde. All the residue of my goodes and Chattells reall and psonall of whatsoever kindes after my funerall p[er]formed my debts payd w[hi]ch be very fewe and smale and my legacies deliuered I wholy give to the saide Erasme my welbeloued wife whome I make and ordaine the whole and sole executrixe of this my present laste will and testament Desieringe her to have consideracon and care for the mainetennce (in livinge) of my sonne Peter oute of my lease of the mannor of Wickham St Paule in the county of Essex w[hi]ch nevertheles I doe wholy referr to her motherly disposition to be temped according to his necessitye and his duetyfull caringe of him selfe towards her and his bretheren. Also I desier the saide Mr Platt and my good freends Mr William Lambert and mr Thomas Culpepper of Aylesford to be Overseers of this my saide will and to advyse my side wyfe in the execution therof as my faythfull trust is in them
And as towching the disposition of my landes tenements and hereditam[ents] I will that suche of them as bine heretofore Established by me by severall indenturs to rayse and execute Vses thereof shall stande and continiuewe according to the severall purportes of the same Indentures And that suche landes as bine heretofore conveyed or meant to be conveyed or meant to be conveyed by me for the Joyncter of my saide wife during her saide life shall also be and continuewe to her duringe all her saide llyfe. And further I will and my mynde is that my saide wife shall have and Enioye during her naturall life thone halfe or moyetye of all the reversion and of the yerely rente of eighteene poundes fifteene shillings wch I haue of and owte of those marshelandes lyeing in the pishe of Selling in the saide county of kent wch I late purchased of Richard Sun(?) the nowe maior of the towne of maydestone and wch he holdeth of my d[e]uise for div[er]se yeres yet to come for the saide yeerely rent. And I will that the said George my sonne shall haue the other moyetie or halfe of the saide reversion and rente duringe all the saide yeres yetto come in the saide marshe landes And I will that after the saide yeeres ended my saide sonne George shall have to him the heires of his body lawfullie to be begotten thone moyetye of all the saide marshe landes with thappurtenncs and for defaulte of yssue I will the one the other moyetie thereof all soe that is to saye all and and singuler the saide marshe landes wthall and every their appurtenncs and landes to the saide Richard my sonne and to the heires of his bodye lawfullie to be begotten and for defaulte of suche yssue to Margarett my daughter and the heires of her bodye lawfully to be begotten and for defaulte of suche yssue to saide Richarde my sonne and to his heires forever. Also I will that for defaulte of such yssue my said sone Goerge theother moyety of all the said marshe landes shalbe to the said margarett and to the heires of hir bodye lawfully to be begotten and for defaulte of suche yssue to the saide George and the heires of his bodye lawfullye begotten And for defaulte of suche yssue to the saide Richarde my sonne and the his heires forever And I will that if any of my saide sonnes or daughter or the heire or heires of any of theire bodyes shall doe or attempte any effectuall acte towardes the discontynuance of any of the saide intailes limited specially in this saide will of or in ye saide marshe landes either touchinge the whole or any pte thereof then the estate of him or hir so doinge or attemptinge shall cease and be determined as if suche pson so doinge or attemptinge weare then naturally deade and then the next accordinge to my saide entayles to enter and have the saide marshe landes or suche pte thereof concerning the wch any suche acte or attempte shalbe. Also I giue and bequeath to my saide welbeloved lyfe and to her heirs forever all and singuler my landes ten[amen]ts and hereditaments in the p[ar]ishe of Birlinge in the saide county of Kent whereof I have nott heretofore made conveyance in my lifetime. In witnes whereof I have to this my saide last will and testament put my hande and seale the fourthe daye of January in the said thirtye fourth yeere of her ma[jest]ties raigne in the p[rese]nce of p[er]sons whose names be subscribed p[er] me Fraunciscus Shakerley. Theis wordes for defaulte of suche yssue of my saide sonne George in the last page were enterlyned before thensealinge hereof William Lambarde, William Lambard wryter of the said will Thomas Kewe(?) George Howes Marye Lee Frauncis Bourman. Be it knowne that the twenty eighth Daye of September in the foure and thirteth yeare of the raigne of our soueraigne lady Elizabeth Frauces Shakerley esquire being in p[er]fect memorye hathe ratyfied and confirmed this laste will and testament in the p[rese]nce of theis undernamed p[er] me Edmond Goddin Clarke John Jaxon Valentyne Harryson William Pangborne John Carpenter

The will was proved on 29th January in the year (by the computation of the Anglican Church) 1592.

The body of the will itself uses the regnal year system for dating, but when granting probate the PPC used the ecclesiastical system.

Regnal date: The 34th year of Elizabeth's reign lasted from November 1591 - November 1592.
Calendar date: According to the church's calendar, the year 1592 began on 25th March 1592 and ended 24th March 1593.

Consequently, according to modern dating, the timeline was as follows:-

  • The will was signed and sealed on the 4th January 1592
  • It was ratified in the presence of witnesses on 28th September 1592
  • It was proved in London on 29th January 1593.

William Lambard
The will records the name of the man who wrote it down, William Lambard. As the antiquary William Lambard lived some five miles away at this time, and as he had at one time received some legal training, I think it quite probable that he is the man who wrote out and witnessed Francis Shakerley's will.

When was Francis Shakerley buried?
An 18th century extract from the vanished Ditton registers records the burial of Francis Shakerley in October 1593. As his will was proved 29th January 1593 his burial appears to have taken place ten months after his death, which seems an inordinately long period. Certainly persons of rank might be buried months after their deaths, especially if their bodies had to be returned from some distance for burial in a special place. This seems unlikely in the case of Francis Shakerley, so perhaps the person making the extract misread 'October 1592' as 'October 1593'? In the absence of the original register it is impossible to check this. If so however it would mean Francis probably died and was buried a short time after finally ratifying his will. It is still hard to explain why there should be a gap of some three or four months between his death and the granting of probate in London, but that seems less of an anomaly than a ten-month-delayed burial.