Peter Brown Family History

Will of William Brown 1547


Name Place Date
Date Proved Ref. Main People Identified Fam Grp
Transcript or Copy: readability
William Brown East Grinstead, Sx 12/04/1547   LEWES A1.P140 Sons: John (executor), James, Richard, Thomas, George
Grandchildren: Thomas son of Richard, Jane daughter of Thomas, & Joane daughter of George
Others: Edward Phillippe (overseer)
Witnesses: John ____, Andrew Ledger, ___ ___ of Stone, George ____, ____ Browne, and James Baldwyn with others
Property: Farm called Overweald?
BrW1480 Transcript


The following is a transcript of the Will provided to me and made by Jane Wicks (March 2013)

In the name of god amen the xij day of Aprill 1547 I William Browne of estgrenested in the county of Sussex being hole of mind and of good remembrance do make and orden this my present testament and last will in manner and forme following (that is to say) first I gyve and bequeth my soule to almyghtie god my maker and redeemer and to all the holy company of hevyn and my body to be buried within the church yard of estgrenested
Item I gyve and bequeth to James Browne my son the sum of ix li vj s viij d of good and lawfull monye of England to be paid within one quarter of a yere after my decease
Item I bequeth to Richard my son iij li vj s viij d also I gyve and bequeath to the said Richard other iij li vj s viij d to the use profet and behoof of Thomas Browne his son to be payed and delyvered within the space of a quarter of a yere after my decease
Item I will that Jane Browne the dowghter of Thomas Browne my son and Joane Browne the dowghter of George Browne my son shall have one annuitie of xx s by the yere betwixt them the space of iiij yers immediatly folowing my decease to be raysed and levied out of my farm called the overweald ? to be paid at suche dayes and tymes as it is or shalbe dew by the service thereof to be paid
Item I will that my burgage and ___land lying in the towne of estgrenested with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging shall remayne to John my son to George my son and to Richard my son and to every of them and theire heirs forever
Item I wyll that there be bestowed at my buryall and monthes day xx s for my soule and all Christian souls at the discressyon of my executor the resydew of my goods not bequyst my debts paid and the legaces of this my will fulfilled I gyve and bequeth to John Browne my son whom I orden and make my lawfull executor and Edward Phillippe to be myne overseer of this my last will and he to have for his labor iij s vij d these beyng witness
John ____, Andrew Ledger, ___ ___ of Stone, George ____, ____ Browne, and James Baldwyn with others


Note: there is a query raised by John Howes of whether son James should be Harry.

John Howes commented:

I looked at the disputed James and Harry under great magnification and compared it with the name Jane later in the script. Superficially it looks like a J at the beginning of both words but in Jane the upward sweep to the "a" goes directly to the top of the "a" whereas in the James/Harry  there is a small but distinct downsweep between the first letter and the "a", somewhat obscured by the y of my in the line above. Also the rest of the word looks more like "rry" than "mes".

Jane Wicks replied:

From a modern perspective I can see how you can get Harry from this name and looking at John's argument in modern type script it looks like a convincing argument. However this is a 16th century secretary hand, the first letter is definitely not an H and would be very inconsistent with the style of an h in this hand and this document. I have also compared it with the name Harry in John Brown's will which is written in the same hand and is exactly how I would expect it to look and completely different to the occurrence in William's will. The downward sweep between the J and the a that John mentions is not as solid as the rest of the script and is actually an ink smudge from the opposite page. 

In my opinion the most likely transcription is James, with a long s, however I have a feeling that this is a mistake on the part of the scribe and should actually be John, which would be more consistent with the overall tone of the will. I'm pretty sure the name here is not Harry.

I'll see if I can find a way to demonstrate my argument visually. I am convinced that the name in William Brown's will is indeed James. I've attached something to demonstrate this. I hope you can make it out, it is very clear to me, having compared both the names James and Harry written in the same hand in different wills. You have to look at it from the view of a 16th century reader and not from our own modern understanding of letter and word form.

The following is a copy of the original 'Will' I obtained from the Lewes Will Microfilm