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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Weeley Church: abstracts from Wills dated from 1510 to 1550: Transactions 'n.s.' Volume 21 Part 1

Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, ‘New Series’, Volume 21 Part 1 (1933)
Archaeological Notes

Weeley Church: abstracts from Wills dating from 1510 to 1550. - The existing wills of Weeley folk down to 1550, in the Commissary Court of London (Essex and Herts) and the Archdeaconry Court of Colchester, at Somerset House, have recently been searched, mainly for bequests relating to the church.  The meagre results are embodied in the following notes, and with the exception of the two wills in the Commissary Court, of which full abstracts are given, the references are to wills preserved in the latter Court. When a will is devoid of interest it has seemed desirable to record the name of the testator, with the date of execution, in order to complete the list. The few place·names that occur have also been noted, and these are enclosed in square brackets.

GEORGE STONE of Wily.- 6 August, 1510.  (Clerke 171b.)

WILLIAM BURWELL Wely. - 13 May 1512.  To be buried in the churchyward of St Andrew at Wely.  [Parcel of ground called Rogers.]  To Poully's pardon, 6d.  To the pardon of St. Thomas of Rome, 4d .  To the making of the church stepull, 10s.    (Clerke 197b .)

This, and a subequent will, shows that the church has preserved its ancient dedication.  For "Paul's Pardon" see Trans. E.A.S., vol. xx, p.52. {Essex Wills at Canterbury (Part 1} "St. Thomas of Rome" is evidently an allusion to the chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury at Rome, the site of which is now marked by the chapel of the English College.  Weeley church was entirely rebuilt about 50 years ago, with the exception of the massive tower of red brick.  The reference to the "making" of the latter corroborates the architectural evidence that it is of early sixteenth-century date.

KATERYN TANNER of Wyly. - 31 December, 1518.  To the church, a sheep to help buy a "crose" cloth; and 6s. 8d. to buy such ornaments as shall be to the honour·of God and the health of my soul at the "sithe" of Master Parson. (Francys 92b.)

The cross cloth is often confused in glossaries with the rood cloth, and even the N.E.D. defines it as a cloth or hanging before the rood.  Actually, it was a processional cross bann er, and is represented by the littl e banner hanging from the cross staff generally depicted as borne by th e Ag nu s Dei, or as held in the Hand of the Risen Christ.  It is not unusual to find the cross cloth associated with the processional cross in inventories of church goods, as for example, St. Mary the Great, Cambridge, 1508: "a cross of silver, with Mary and John silver, with a staff copper and gilt, with the cr oss cl oth"[1]; "a cross of copper with the banner and staff to the same" also occurs in the inventory of Castle Hedingham Priory, 1536.[2]  These cloths, which were commonly made of silk, were sometimes elaborately stained or embroidered with various devices, as in the case of the "cross cl oth, with the images of the Crucific, Mary and John, layd with gold," which Thomas Pedecok, vicar, bequeathed to Holy Cross, Canterbury, in 1501.[3]  The cross cloth of St. Margaret Pattens, London (1470), was decorated with repr esentations of the Ass umption, SS. Margaret and Katherine and the Five Wounds of our Lord, and had two small bells on the staff.[4]

JOHN BATEMAN of Wyley. - 17 April, 1520.  To Poules pardon, a cow.  To the church of Wyley, for that is most needful, 10s.  [To Barford bridge, 12d.] (Francys 96.)

MARGARET MARTYN of Wyley. – 1520 (Francys 103.)

JOHN WRIGHT of Wyly. – 8 February 1520[-1].  [Houses called Berforddes and Westhowses]. (Francys 107b.)

HENRY PETERSON of Wyley. – 16 November 1525 (Francys 191.)

JAMES WODE of Wyley. – 13 December 1530.  To be buried in the churchyard of St Andrew.  I bequeath a cow, the best of three that be with John Sager, for a foredrove and for tithes negligently forgotten.  To the church, 2 kyne for to ffynde with for ever bell ropes. [Highway between my house and Brettes cawsey, 40s.; land called Brokhowse; Barkers in Thorpe.] A cow to find a light afore St. Katheryn yearly at Wyley church. (Francys 230.)

For the observance of the "foredrove,"a rare Essex word for a special mortuary offering, see Trans. E.A.S., vol. xx., p. 53.

ROBERT BROKE of Wylye – 13 April, 1541 (Sargeant 154).

JOHN BROKE of Wylye. – 28 February, 1542[-3].  To be buried in the church. (Sargeant 190).

The names of William Brooke and Agnes his wife appear as donor·s on the second bell, which can be dated about 1508. Although William Brooke's will has not been discovered, it is recorded that that of Agnes  Brooke, dated 1509, is in existence[5]; but a wide search has failed to bring it to li ght.

THOMAS TONE, clerk, parson of the parish church of Wyleye. – 3 August 1547.  To be buried in the chancel, before the Blessed Sacrament.  I bequeath all my goods to Thomas Lawrens, my kinsman, whom I make my executor; and Sir Rauff Gyson, vicar of Lyhill Clastyn, supervisor.  Witnesses: Sir James Rothewell, parson of Tendering; Sir John Sherman, vicar of Much Bentley; Sir John Hopson, curate of Thorpe. (Comm. Ct. Land – Essex and Herts.: filed will.)  {Now held at the Essex Record Office and available online on Essex Ancestors: ref. ERO D/ABW 39/49}

Thomas Tone (or Toone) was rector of Weeley from 1516 until his death, in 1547. Ralph Gibson was vicar of Little Clacton, 1538-60; James Rothwell, rector of Tendring, 1546-54; and John Shereman, vicar of Great Bentley, 1541-57.

The following will has little reference to the church, but as one of the most interesting of the Weeley wills it seems to merit a full abstract.

THOMAS HAYMER of Weley, yeoman. – 8 March, 1549[-50].  I desire to be buried in Weley churchyard.  I bequeath to Elizabeth, my wife, 2 feather beds and so forth: to her and my daughter, Alice Roger, 9 silver spoons; to the latter, a bed.  To my wife, one of my 29 milk beasts and a bull, a gelding, 3 score of sheep, and 26s. 8d. every year out of my farm of Weley Hall for 12 years, to be paid to my son, Thomas Haymer; also my gown faced with tawney chamlet, a chest and hutch in the parlour, 10 of my store pigs.  To my wife and son, Thomas, a quarter of salt fish, all my cheese, half a hundred hops, all my bacon, my rye which is sown in Much Bentley, 2 seam of oats, 7 bushels of wheat, 5 seam of malt, 2 bushels of peas, and the better part of all of my poultry, hens, capons, geese and ducks; all her own pewter and brass; to her and my son, Thomas, a piece of russet of 18 yards.  To Joan Curtys, 40s. To my son-in-law, William Roger, 20 marks and another 20s., and to his wife, an angel noble, and to his children, an angel noble each.  Nicholas Combe to take an “indifferent man” and make his ditch, and if it be proved that no part of the tree be “my Lady Marys gracys”, then the said Nicholas to have for his tree which was burnt, 3s. 4d.  To Joan Swallow, my wife’s daughter, an old angel. To John Crowe, my servant, a doublet and jacket; and to my servants, Alice Maschele and Joan Rande, 12d.  To Thomas Sadler, Thomas Mausser, Ellen Houlte, Joan Coper, John Mylleward, small money legacies. Residuary legatee and executor: my son, Thomas, and he to have the lease of Weley Hall Farm. Supervisor: Thomas Swallow. Witnesses: John Clarke, priest; William Swallow; John German.
Proved 8 April [1550]. (Comm Ct Lond – Essex and Herts: filed will).  {Now held at the Essex Record Office and available online on Essex Ancestors: ref. ERO D/ABW 18/92}


[1] Churchwardens’ Accounts of St Mary, ed. J E Foster p.11
[2] Trans. EAS, vol ix (n.s.) p.291
[3] Testamenta Cantiana (East Kent) p.48
[4] Quoted, with similar references, by H J Feasey, Ancient English Holy Week Ceremonial, p.37
[5] Deedes and Walters, Church Bells of Essex, p.443

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