This copy of Richard Gwinnett’s will of 1615 was found in the Court of Wards and Liveries collection held at the National Archives. [TNA Ref: Ward 7/51/231] It has not been found elsewhere.
In the name of God, Amen, the eighteenth day of February in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and fifteen, I, Richard Gwynett of Great Shurdington, in the county of the city of Gloucester, yeoman, being sick in body but of perfect memory, thanks be given to Almighty God, do make my last will and testament in writing and form following:
First I give and bequeath my soul into the hand of Almighty God my maker and redeemer and my body to be buried according to the discretion of my executrix; and touching the settling and disbursement of my worldly wealth and goods which God hath endowed me withall.
First I give and devise and bequeath unto my eldest son George Gwynett and to his heirs forever, all that capital messuage or farmhouse called or known by the name of the farmhouse of Crippett wherein I do now dwell with all arable land, meadow, leasows, pastures, feeding and other profit and commodities whatsoever thereunto belonging which I purchased of Sir John Kenady and the lady Elizabeth his wife and others and also one half acre of meadow called the Bayliffe Half Acre lying in a meadow called Down Hatherley Lower Mead and also the Signory Royalties and chief rent of the manor of Badgeworth which I purchased of the said Sir John Kenady and the lady Elizabeth his wife and the Earl of Northampton and others.
Item, I give and bequeath to my said son George Gwynett and his heirs forever ten acres of arable land lying in a field called Houlbrooke in Badgeworth aforesaid which I purchased of one John Edwardes.
Item, I give and bequeath to my son Richard and his heirs forever all that one messuage or tenement with the appurtenances in Great Shurdington in the parish of Badgeworth and all lands, meadows, leasows, pastures and feedings thereunto belonging which I, amongst other things, purchased of the said Sir John Kenady, the lady Elizabeth his wife, the said Lord of Northampton and others provided always and my intent and meaning is that if my said son George Gwinnett do and shall within the space of one year next and immediately after such time as the said George shall be married pay or cause to be paid unto my said son Richard or his assigns the sum of three hundred pounds of lawful money of England, then my mind, intent and meaning is and I do hereby give and devise the said messuage and land to my said son George Gwinnett and his heirs forever.
And if the said George Gwinnett shall not be married before the said Richard, my son, accomplish the full age of one and twenty years then if the said George Gwynnett do and shall within one year after the said Richard shall accomplish the same age of one and twenty years pay or cause to be paid unto the said Richard the said sum of three hundred pounds then I give the said messuage and land to the said George and his heirs forever but my intent and meaning is that until the said sum of three hundred pounds shall be paid unto my said son Richard in money as aforesaid he, the said Richard, shall hold and enjoy the said messuage or tenement and all land, meadows, leasows, pastures and feeding thereunto belonging.
Item, I give and bequeath to my said son Richard Gwynnett the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto him within six months next after such time as the said Richard shall accomplish the age of twenty eight years, the same to be paid by my son George Gwinnett. And if my said son, George Gwynnett shall refuse to pay the said sum of one hundred pounds to my said son Richard at the time aforesaid then my will and meaning is, and after such refusal, I do hereby give and devise unto my said son Richard and his assigns during the natural life of the said Richard, one annuity or yearly rent of twenty pounds to be issuing perceived, received, had and taken forth of my said farm of Crippetts and out of the land thereunto belonging. And that for non-payment thereof, it shall be lawful for the said Richard and his assigns to enter and distrain for the same. And the distress and distresses there taken to lead, drive and to detain or impound and keep until the said sum of twenty pounds shall be paid together with all arrearages of the same if any such shall happen to be.
Item, my will, intent and meaning is that William Mill, my tenant shall dig at his pleasure any stones at any quarry or quarries of stones in Badgeworth and the same to sell, give and dispose to his own benefit for and during the time of seven years next after my decease without paying any rent for the same and shall have free egress, ingress and regress to the said quarry or quarries for the having and carrying away of the stones these provided always that my sons, George and Richard, shall have or take any stones, these for their own use, paying the said William reasonable wages for the digging thereof .
Item, my will intent and meaning is that my said son, George, not enter into the possession of any of my land and tenement to him before by me devised and bequeathed or take the profit thereof until he shall accomplish the age of one and twenty years; to that end and purpose, my executrix with the profit thereof until that time may raise money for the payment of such legacies and bequeaths as are by me bequeathed.
Item, my will and mind is that if my said son, George, shall die without issue of his body lawfully begotten then I will that all the said land and tenement to him before by me given and bequeathed shall remain and come and I do give and bequeath them to my son, Richard, and his heirs forever.
And my will, intent and meaning is that my wife, Mary, shall have, hold and enjoy during the term of her natural life to her own use the third part of all my land and tenements before by me devised and bequeathed to my said sons to take the issues, profit and commodities thereof without the let and interruption of my said sons or any of them or any claiming from, by or under them or either of them.
Item, my will is that my wife shall have the use and occupation of the parlour in the house wherein I do now dwell and the use of all the implements therein during the term of her natural life. And the said implements after her decease to remain to my son George if he be then living. And if the said George be not then living then my son Richard to have the same implements of household in the same parlour.
Item, my will is that John [?Canford?] the elder and Joane his now wife shall have the house they dwell in and the residue that is in their occupation at the yearly rent of twenty shillings so long as either of them shall live provided that they shall keep it in good reparation during the time.
All the rest of my goods, chattels and cattle as well, movable and unmovable, my debts paid, all my legacies discharged, I give unto Mary, my loving wife, whom I make my sole executrix of this my last will and testament and do hereby revoke and make void all former wills whatsoever.
And by these present I do constitute and appoint my well-beloved friend Master Edmund Estcourt, my brother in law, Jasper Estcourt, gent, William Poole my brother in law and John Newton my overseers of this my last will and testament. And I do give to either of them for their pains two and twenty shillings in gold to make any of them a ring.