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The Will of Margaret Nashe

(Original spelling and punctuation)

Original source supplied by the Ipswich branch of Suffolk Record Office. Their reference is: Will of Margaret Nashe (widow) 1589 - Ipswich Record Office - Archdeaconry Court of Suffolk ref: IC/AA2/32/225.

In the name of god Amen

this second daie

of December In the yere of our lord god
1589 and in the xxxii yeare of the reiyne
of our most gratious sovereigne ladie quene
Elizabeth ~ I Margeret Nashe of Lowestofte
In the countie of Suffs widow beinge of
sound and pfett remembrannce thankes be given
to god do ordeine constitute and appoint this my
last will and testament In manner and fourme
followinge vis Imprimis I comend and yeald
my soule Into thand of almightie god
hopinge to be saved in the kingdome of heaven
by the onelie meritte and passion of my lord
and saviour Iesus Christ and my bodie to be
buried where it shall please god to assigne
Item I give and bequeath unto my sonne
Thomas Nashe my fetherbedd the bolster
the bedsteade the coverlett which I do laye one
a silver spone ii dyaper napkins a tablecloathe
for a rowne table ii payer of sheets which are
layde up together: Item I give all my pewter
uppon my cubbord heade and in the butterie and
the candlesticks to be equally devided betwixt
my seide sonne Thomas and Israell my
sonne Item I give and bequeath my best bed steade
in the hall the featherbede ye coverled with
all the furniture thereto belonginge unto my
sonne Israell. Item I give unto Marie the
wiefe of Thomas Atkinson beinge my late
husbands daughter halfe a dozen tablenapkins
a payer of sheets which are layed up together
Item my will is that my sonne Israell~
shall deliver (if god call me) unto one Gilian
the packe of his which he left in my hand
conteyninge iiii payer of sheetes and pillow bare
ii towels a table cloathe & a shirt Bond Item
I give unto Elizabeth Blancher my kinswoman
a payer of shetes Item I give unto Elizabeth
the wiefe of Mathew wytchinghm my kinsman
a payer of shetes Item I give a payer of Shetes
unto Stephen witchingham my kinsman Item I give
and bequeath all my other goods moveables utinsells
whatsoeve ungiven and bequeathed unto Israell my
sonne whom I assigne and constitute to be my sole
executor witnesses hereof Stephen Phillipp

     signam X whiberow mahew

There are six lines in Latin below, legal notes to the effect that the will was registered 21 February 1589 in the archidiaconal court at Beccles, by Israel Nashe. (In Elizabethan times the New Year began officially on March 25: hence although Margaret died in December 1589, it was still 1589 when her will was entered the following February.)

Note: I'm greatly indebted to Lowestoft local historian Mr. D. Butcher for much new information regarding this document. Having transcribed over 500 local wills he is confident the original of this one is in the hand of Stephen Phillip, master of the local school, whose wife Mary (nee Witchingham) was Margaret's niece.

It's worth mentioning here that two copies of Margaret Nashe's will exist. There's the one made at her bedside, so to speak, which is in the hand of her kinsman-by-marriage, Stephen Phillip: this is now at Ipswich Record Office, where it has the reference IC/AAI/30/169. The transcription above however is not of this, but of the official copy made by a clerk when the will was proved. Although substantially the same there are slight variations between the two. In the original, the bequest to her stepdaughter Mary Atkinson originally read 'half a dozen table napkyns a payre of (old) shetes which are layd vp together'. Phillip has neatly crossed through the word 'old'.

There is more evidence of editing further on. The last paragraph begins 'Itm I gyve (vnto Mary ye)'...:the words I have enclosed in brackets are crossed through in the original, and the sentence then continues as in the official copy 'and bequeathe all my other goods' etc.

In other words Margaret Nashe was clearly about to begin a bequest to her niece Mary Phillip, wife of the man taking down her will, when presumably Phillip himself intervened to tell her this was unnecessary. Perhaps he suggested it would be enough for her to tell him what she wished to leave; or perhaps he told her no bequest was necessary at all? The Phillips were hardly in need of Margaret's sheets or napkins; when Stephen Phillip's own will was proved on 25th February 1605/6 he left his wife 'my tenement wherin I now dwell', an annuity of 10 apiece to his two younger sons, and to his wife and eldest son 'all my other landes as well free hold, as coppy hold, my cattell, leases, & all my other goodes...' It sounds as if life had been kinder to him than it had to the widow of a country parson.

As well as taking down Margaret's will Stephen Phillip also acts as witness, along with "Whiborow Mahew", who turns out to be his mother-in-law, the former wife of Margaret's brother George Witchingham. (Whiborow married a John Mahew after the death of her first husband, George.) There is also a third witness whose name has been partly erased.

Whiborow Mahew's second husband, like her first, was a mariner, and in fact many of Nashe's maternal relations seem to have been mariners. For more about the Witchinghams, and Margaret's other legatees, select here.

Site maintained by R.Lamb:   Last updated 8 April 2001