Wills are an important primary source of genealogical information. They describe
family relationships and hint at tensions. Often they note the occupation of the
testator and provide details of their possessions. Did the testator sign or mark
his will - and what does his choice of witnesses tell us of their circle of trusted
friends? In the case of Preston people, they also tell us where they lived in the
hamlet - whether in the parish of Hitchin or Ippollitts. Sometimes inventories are
included which give an insight into the day-to-day life of folk centuries ago.
What follows are epitomes of more than forty wills of people, in alphabetical order,
who were connected with Preston spanning two centuries from 1640 to 1839
BROOKS, Edward of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, labourer. Dated 15 January 1736/37
I appoint my wife, Sarah, my executor and give her all my messuages (ie the one I
live in and ‘another small tenement adjoining’) and goods.
Marked by Edward Brooks. Witnessed by ?, ? and Thomas Crawley. Proved 28 February
BROWNE, Dennis of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, brickmaker. Dated 15 August 1730.
I make my wife, Ann Browne executor and give her my copyhold cottage ‘situate near
Preston Green’ and the little piece of freehold land of 6 poles lying near my cottage
and 10 poles adjoining the land which ‘I lately purchased of Benedict Ithell’. I
also give her my monies and stock of cattle implements etc.
After her death, I give all the above to my son, Dennis Browne.
Marked by Edward Browne. Witnessed by ?,? and Abraham Chapman. Proved 7 September
BROWNE, Mary/Maria of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, widow. Dated 1 March 1716
I give Dennis Browne, my son, that copyhold cottage ‘situate and being near Preston
Green’ which is now
in his occupation and the 6 poles of land lying near it. This is on condition that
Dennis pay my grandson,
Edward Browne, forty shillings within six years of my death.
I give my grandson, Edward Browne, £4 to be given to him when he attains the age
of twenty-one years.
I give my son, Simon Browne, £10 to be paid within twelve months of my death.
I give my son, Robert Browne, my cart and wheels.
I give my grandson, John Browne a table, cupboard and bedstead from the house where
The residue I give to my daughter, Elizabeth Browne.
Marked by Mary. Witnessed by Richard Sheppard, William Field, Edward Swain and John
Proved 15 October 1717.
CARRINGTON, John of Preston in the parish of Hitchin. Dated 15 July 1693
I give my messuage in the parish of Stotfold, Bedfordshire, in the possession of
William Croft, labourer, to
John Heath of Preston.
I appoint John Heath as my executor.
Marked by John Carrington. Proved 23 June 1705.
CRABBE, Thomas of Temple Dinsley Esquire. Will dated 5 July 1824
(Thomas had seven children – the eldest, John was born in 1819c and the youngest,
in 1827. Thomas was
35 when he died and was buried at St Mary’s Hitchin on 24 June 1830)
I appoint as my executors my father-in-law Thomas Flower Ellis and my brothers-in-law
William Burr and Thomas Flower Ellis and ask that they be given £100 each for their
I appoint my wife, Fanny Crabbe and Thomas Flower Ellis jnr as guardians of my children.
I give my wife my furniture, implements of household, plate, linen, china, books,
sticks of wine and provisions
and £500 for her immediate use – and £1,000 to begiven to her twelve months after
My books, I entrust to my wife for my son, John.
I give my son John my malthouses at or near Bull Corner, Hitchin as well as two fields
in the parish of
Ippollitts opposite the public pound, occupied by John Evered and William Marshall
Proctor and the two
fields on Tatmore Hill in Ippollitts which I purchased from Christiana Times.
(Thomas was also in partnership in a banking business with Joseph Margetts Pierson
at Cock Street,
Hitchin and in another partnership in the brewing industry with John Marshall, having
a messuage and
brewhouse in Sun Street Hitchin. Thomas’ will makes provision for these partnerships.
He also had a lease interest in the Rectory and tithes of Hitchin)
I give my wife interest on one fifth of the residue of my estate – and on her death,
the principal is to be
divided equally between my surviving children.
I give four fifths of my estate to my three children (and any more born) in the proportion
that the share of
each son should be one third more that the share to each daughter. Sons could be
given up to one third
of their inheritance for their ‘advancement in the world’ at the discretion of the
(There followed detailed instructions regarding his executors and trustees)
Will proved 17 July 1830
DARTON, Joseph of Temple Dinsley. Will dated 13 August 1787 (?)
(The copy of this will to hand is hard to read in parts. The following is what can
I appoint Edward Kitchener and Edmond Evans as my executors and give them £100 for
I give my wife, Elizabeth an annuity of £200 paid quarterly from my properties at
Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
To my younger sons, Thomas, Edmond and Michael and my daughter, Betty, I give £1,000
each to be
distributed when they are twenty-one or marry whichever is first. I also give them
a further £1,000 each
when my wife dies.
I give my wife £100 immediately and ask that she live at Temple Dinsley until one
of my sons attains
I give the residue of my estate to my son, Joseph Darton
Proved in October 1795.
DARTON, Joseph of Temple Dinsley. Will dated 16 June 1807
I appoint Edward Cobb and John Marshall of Hitchin as my executors.
I wish to be buried in my family vault at St Mary’s Hitchin.
I give my property in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Middlesex and personal property
to my wife, Elizabeth.
I give each of my children £100 when they attain twenty-one.
After my wife’s death, I give my estate to my surviving children in equal shares.
Witnessed by Robert Harwood, John Young and Samuel Peete.
DEARMER, WilliamofPreston in the parish of Hitchin.
Administration granted to his only brother John Dearmer, of Preston in the parish
of Ippollitts, yeoman.
Estate of less than £200. Granted 9 February 1747. Signed by John Dearmer.
ENGLISH, Joseph and Elizabeth.Administration. Dated January 1835.
Joseph English died intestate and Thomas English, yeoman of Preston, parish of Hitchin
as his natural
and lawful son, applied for administration of Joseph’s estate. Value under £100.
Signed by Thomas English, William Hudson, grocer of Hitchin, George Stanford, carpenter
of St Pauls Walden.
FARR, John of Langley, yeoman. Dated 25 January 1671
I give to Elizabeth Farr, my daughter, all my lands and tenements at Stotfold, Bedfordshire
she releases to my executors the £20 and interest which was given to her by her grandfather,
Clinton (?), within three months of my death.
I give to Mary Farr, my daughter, £40 to be paid within one year of my death.
I give to my daughter, Sarah Farr, my messuage at Knebworth, Herts, occupied by Widow
Nash and one cupboard standing in the new room of the house where I now live.
I give to my daughter, Susanne Farr, £ (?) to be paid within two years of my death
and the feather bed
and two pairs of sheets.
I give to my daughter, Hannah Farr, £ (?) to be paid within five years of my death
and two pairs of sheets.
I give to my daughter, Rebecca Farr, £ (?) to be paid within six years of my death
and two pairs of sheets.
I give to my daughter, Hester Farr, £ (?) to be paid when she is twenty-one or when
she marries, whichever
is first and two pairs of sheets.
I give to my daughter, Judith Farr, £ (?) to be paid when she is twenty-one or when
she marries, whichever
is first and two pairs of sheets and one pair of pillowboards.
I give to William Farr, my son, my messuage at St Pauls Walden occupied by John Feild
I give my wife, Elizabeth, £8 a year to be paid by my son and one bed in the new
room and the feather bed
that was bought with it and all the furniture and clothes fitting for the beds.
I ask my executors to provide sufficient funds for the lodging and schooling of my
younger children. If any
die before they receive their legacies, then their legacy should be divided among
the remaining children.
I appoint my oldest son, John Farr as executor.
Signed John Farr. Witnessed by Robert Clinton and William Hanscombe.
Codicil dated 26 January 1671.
Elizabeth, my wife, is to continue living in the house which I now inhabit.
FIELD, John of Preston in the parish of Hitchin. Dated 14 August 1769
Residue to wife, Prudence, providing she maintains and provides for my children in
a decent and becoming manner.
After her death, my estate should be divided equally between my children: William,
John, Mary, George,
Thomas and James – if any die, then their portion should be divided among their children.
Signed by John Field. Witnessed by Robert Hinde, Mary Hinde and John Gootheridge.
Proved 12 September 1769
FIELD, Robert of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts. Dated 28 May 1640
I give all my goods to my wife, Hellin (sic) and on her death to my daughter, Joane.
Marked (?) by John Field and Edward Smith.
GOLDSMITH, Thomas of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts. Dated 14 February 1668.
I give my daughter, Ann Harden (?), £12 to be paid within a month of my death.
I give the children of my daughter Ann two shillings apiece to be paid within a month
of my death.
I give my daughter, Sarah Tristram, (wife of Robert) £30 to be paid within a month
of my death.
I give my daughter, Elizabeth Hitchin the ???? now standing in my house at Preston.
The residue I give to Edmond Hitchin and Robert Tristram of Hitchin.
Marked by Thomas Goldsmith.
GUTHERIDGE, Benjamin of Temple Dinsley. Dated 17 April 1753
Died intestate and Letters of Administration granted to wife, Mary who marked.
HEATH, John of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts, labourer. Dated 20 December 1655.
I give to John Heath and Edward Heath my eldest sons and my daughter Sarah, wife
of Thomas Guteridge,
ten shillings each.
The residue of my estate I give to my son Richard Heath.
Signed in the presence of Richard Carter and John Tuffnell.
HEATH, Susannah of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, singlewoman. Dated 14 February
I give the copyhold messuage in Preston in the manor of Temple Dinsley and all the
other property I possess
to my two sisters, Ann Brown, wife of William of Knebworth (labourer) and Hannah
Ann and Hannah were also appointed her executors.
Susannah marked. Witnesses: Edward Swain, Daniel Joyner and Charles (?) Proved 29
HILL, Charles of Preston, farmer. Dated 4 October 1839.
I give my four cottages in Whitwell opposite the Bull Inn to my daughter Charlotte,
wife of Daniel
I give to my son, Benjamin Hill, the house/farm at Preston that I now occupy – but
he is charged with the
payment of £1,200 to my executors within three months of my death who must invest
the sum in public
funds and arrange for the interest to be paid to my wife, Mary. On her death, the
interest is to be divided
equally between my daughters: Harriet, wife of William Pettinger; Ann, wife of William
wife of William Rudd; Emma, wife of William Brown and Louisa Hill.
I give my wife, Mary, three more cottages at Whitwell occupied by Gatward and another
and the residue of my estate. The furniture of the house was to be divided between
our daughters on her death.
Executors: William Brown (son-in-law) and my friend, James Titmuss, of Poynders End
Marked by Charles. Witnesses: Daniel Morgan, labourer and ? solicitor. Charles died
12 October 1839
and will was proved on 12 November 1839.
JOYNER, Daniel - carpenter of Preston. Dated 16 September 1794.
The copyright dwelling house and land at Bendish which I purchased from John Grigg
to Daniel Wren, son of Lawrence, deceased. After his death, it passed to his children
(born in wedlock)
and their heirs. I also give him £20 in trust until he reaches twenty-one.
The copyhold dwelling house and land at Bendish which I purchased from Daniel Chalkley
to Daniel Harvey, son of John Harvey. After his death, it passed to his children
(born in wedlock) and their
If one of these beneficiaries did not have children, then the property was bequeathed
in full to the other beneficiary.
The freehold cottages at Back Lane, Preston were left to Joseph Pedder, the younger
(son of Joseph
Pedder, the elder) and his heirs together with a legacy of £10.
I give the house where I now dwell and the other houses adjoining these and the carpenter’s
tools, carpenter’s stock, firewood, clock, dresser and shelves to my kinsman, Henry
Pedder (son of Joseph Pedder, the elder)
and his heirs together with a legacy of £5.
I give the house and premises (except the barn) now occupied by John English to his
wife, Elizabeth English
and her heirs.
I give the houses now in the tenure of John Brown and the barn at the west end to
Sarah Kilby, widow and
her next heir together with a legacy of £10 to enable her to keep the house in proper
I give £100 in equal parts to Susannah Harris, Daniel Harvey and Lucy Ann Harvey
(daughter of John Harvey,
the younger) and give John Harvey the younger one guinea
I give my kinsman, Joseph Pedder the elder and his brother Henry Pedder one guinea
I give Sarah Pedder of Codicote, daughter of Henry Pedder, £40.
I give to the other three younger children of Henry Pedder, £20 each when the youngest
If any died before that time, the survivors shared the legacy.
I give all my wearing apparel equally between Henry Pedder and his brother-in-law,
I give Alice Cotton (daughter of the late Benjamin Elms) £5.
I give my house-keeper at the time of my death £5.
I appoint my friends Daniel Rudd of Kings Walden and Daniel Lane of Offley, farmers
to be trustees of
my estate, giving both £20 for their trouble.
I give my household goods, debts owing to me and the rest of my personal estate to
I appoint my kinsman and kinswoman John Brown and his wife Susannah as executors.
Marked, not signed, by Daniel Joyner. Witnessed by William Swain, William Almond
and Samuel Pilgrim.
Proved 23 June 1797 – value of effects less than £1,000.
JOYNER, James of Langley, publican. Dated 19 April 1804
I give the public house, The Three Horseshoes at Langley where I reside and my messuage
and 7½ acres of arable land at Poynders End, Ippollitts in the occupation of John
Lee to my wife, Sarah
(the properties should be insured). After her death, I give the ‘Three Horseshoes’
to my son Daniel Joyner;
my Welwyn cottage to my daughter, Martha Joyner and the 7½ acres of land to my son,
I give my wife, Sarah, my stock in trade and £150 to be paid within six months of
I give my daughter, Martha, £50 to be paid when she is twenty-one and the interest
to be used for her support.
I give the residue (including money, securities etc) equally to my three children,
Daniel, William and Martha
to be paid when the youngest attains the age of twenty-one.
Signed by James Joyner. Witnessed by William Brown and James Hornett of Langley and
D Newton of Hitchin.
Proved 20 July 1804.
JOYNER, John the elder of Poynders End, Ippollitts, yeoman. Made 31 July 1708.
I give my son, John Joyner, the messuage at Poynders End which I now occupy and my
six closes of arable land, pasture, sward and woodland containing twenty acres in
the manor of Maidencroft that I inherited from
my father on condition that John pays my wife, Alice £3 a year, provides her with
fire wood and allows her to freely enjoy my hall, the chamber below stairs and the
two lofts and chambers and farm and also pays my daughters, Alice £40 and Sarah
£40. If my son, John, refuses to pay the legacies, then I give all my property mentioned
before to my wife and two daughters until their legacies have been paid.
I give my wife, Alice, my household goods – brass, pewter, beds, bedding in my house.
I give my son William my freehold and copyhold land of seven acres and one rod in
the parishes of Ippollitts
and Hitchin which was recently purchased from Robert Bromall on condition that he
pays my wife £2 a year.
I give my daughter, Dorothy, ten shillings.
I give the residue to my son, William who I appoint my executor.
Signed by John Joyner. Witnesses: William Hanssome (sic), John Martin and Mary Males.
Proved on 26 December 1710.
JOYNER, John of Hitchin, cordwainer. Made 26 February 1732.
I give my wife, Woolmerdine, my ‘three freehold houses, heretofore but one cottage’
and orchard ‘ situate
and being at Preston in the parish of Hitchin in the occupation of Anne Serjeant
and Elizabeth Heath and
now or late of John Cain, Widow Anscin (sic) and Thomas Barker. After hy wife’s death,
I give the cottages
to my brother, Daniel Joyner.
I give my brother, Daniel £40 (?) part of the sum of £140 that was settled upon my
wife before our marriage.
Upon my wife’s death, I give my sister, Sarah the wife of Henry Pedder the interest
from £100 and after
her death I give the principal sum equally to her children.
I give my mother, Elizabeth Elmes £27 to be paid after the death of my wife.
I give my (half) brother Benjamin Elmes £40 to be paid after the death of my wife..
My will is that my wife shall from time to time during her life deal with the said
two sums of £27 and £40
as she thinks fit and will take the interest.
The residue I give to my wife who I appoint my executrix.
Signed John Joyner. Witnesses: William Barker, ? and Humphrey Buck. Proved 7 August
JOYNER, William– wheelwright of Preston in the parish of Hitchin. Made 10 June 1742
I give an annuity of 40/- to my wife, Anne, (if she continues as my widow) out of
my copyhold arable field
of 4½ acres at Minsden and my freehold arable field of one acre lying in Pageants
Field in the parish of
Ippollitts (in the manor of Maidencroft).
I give the land mentioned above to my eldest son, William Joyner
I give my son Joseph Joyner the copyhold close of four acres called ‘Bennets’ in
the manor of Temple Dinsley
in my occupation on condition that he pay an annuity of 20/- to my wife, Anne and
pay my three sons, Samuel, Thomas and James Joyner £20 apiece when they are twenty-one
or when they marry – whichever is first.
I give my wife, Anne , an annuity of 30/- from my copyhold messuage and orchard at
Preston Green (occupied
by Thomas White) which I give to my son, John Joyner.
I also give my wife an annuity of £3 from the cottage and orchard ‘situate and being
at Preston Green’ which
I give to my son, Daniel Joyner.
I give my wife another annuity of 20/- out of my wheelwright stock in trade, tools
and utensils which I give to
my son, Stephen Joyner.
The residue of my estate I give to my wife, Anne and make her and my son Stephen
Joyner my executors.
Signed, William Joyner. Dated 24 June 1742.
JOYNER, William – yeoman of Preston, parish of Ippollitts. Dated 12 December 1824.
Executors: son, William Joyner and my friend, William Carter, shopkeeper of Hitchin
(to whom £5 5s 0d
was left for his trouble). The executors were given £550 (held by Henry Crabbe) to
provide for William’s wife, Esther and his personal estate in trust.
William’s property “unapplied” at her death to be divided equally among his children:
Ruth, wife of Matthew
Turpin; William Joyner; Mary, wife of Thomas Palmer; Thomas Joyner and John Joyner
or their children if
they pre-deceased Esther.
Marked, not signed, by William Joyner. Witnesses: John Newton and H. McGibbon. Proved
18 November 1835. Effects under £200.
KING, Edward of Hitchin
Letters of administration granted to his widow, Sarah. Dated 1685
MARSHALL, Jeremy of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, husbandman.
I give my wife, Anne, my messuage and land at Preston which I occupy. After her death,
I leave the messuage and the two fields lying nearest to it to my son Jeremy Marshall.
After my wife’s death, I give my daughters Anne and Elizabeth equally the other field
of three acres which lies next to Kings Walden and abutting one end of the field
lately sold to Edward Swain.
Also after my wife’s death, I give my daughters Alice and Sarah Marshall equally
the other of my fields at
Preston of two acres abutting land called Goore Lane and Lying next to the field
of Jeremy Godfrey on the
north. The residue of my estate I give to my wife, Anne.
Marked by Jeremy Marshall. Signed by John Gootheridge,Thomas Okley (sic) and William
MORGAN, Daniel – labourer of Preston, parish of Hitchin. Made 26 January 1735.
To my son, John Morgan and his heirs, my dwelling house (after the death or re-marriage
of my wife, Mary).
John was to provide “sufficient meat, drink and weaving apparel” and all other necessities
for my son,
Daniel Morgan, he “being an idiot”.
To my daughter Mary - £15
To my daughter Ann - £20
To my daughter Sarah - £15
To my wife Mary (who was appointed executrix) my dwelling house while she remains
a widow. If necessity required for Mary and Daniel’s “substinence” and maintenance,
the house was to be mortgaged or sold.
Will was witnessed by William Joyner, Benjamin Gootheridge and Thomas Crawley. Daniel
marked the will.
Probate granted to John Morgan on 16 January 1738 as Mary died in Daniel’s lifetime.
NORTH, Georgeof Preston in the parish of Hitchin. Dated 15 April 1688.
I give my eldest daughter, Ann North £30.
I give my other daughters, Hannah and Hester, £50 each.
I give my youngest daughters, Sarah and Lydia, £100 each to be paid when they reach
twenty-one or marry, whichever is first.
I give my wife, Lydia, the residue of my estate and make her my executor.
Marked by George North. Proved 6 July (?) 1688.
PEDDER, Henry of Preston
Joseph Pedder of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, carpenter swore that his grandfather
, Henry Pedder
had died intestate and that his estate should be committed to him.
A family tree was included that showed Henry’s children as Joseph, Henry and Ann
Pedder and Joseph’s
children as Joseph, Henry and Da ??
Signed by Joseph Pedder and dated 15 November 1814. Estate valued at under £20.
PEDDER, Joseph of Preston in the parish of Hitchin, carpenter. Dated 27 March 1802
I give my cottage at Preston that I occupy with outhouses and garden and my other
occupied by James Sharp and Hannah Kilby, widow, to my son Joseph Pedder.
I give my two cottages at Crannells Green in the tenures of Henry Ward and Thomas
Lawrence to my son, Henry Pedder.
I give my freehold cottage at Preston in the parish of Ippollitts occupied by John
Wilshire and a legacy of
£10 to my daughter, Susanna Brown.
I give my two cottages at Crannells Green occupied by Joseph Sharp and Joseph Osbourn
and my close
of arable land known as Cholders (?) in the parish of Kings Walden occupied by Thomas
Wrenn and a legacy
of £10 to my daughter Sarah Andrew.
I give my two copyhold cottages at Poynders End in the parish of Hitchin, occupied
by Robert Currall and Susannah Wheeler and my five acres of arable land at Poynders
End occupied by Hammah Merritt to my daughter, Elizabeth English, wife of Thomas
who is charged with paying my daughter Susanna Brown £30.
I give my messuage at Breachwood Green in the parish of Kings Walden occupied by
Thomas Wrenn, to my grandson, Daniel Wrenn and upon default if such I give them to
my grandson, William Pedder, son of Henry Pedder charged with the payment of £30
to my son Henry Pedder.
I give the residue of my estate to my son, Joseph Pedder and appoint him and Thomas
Wrenn my executors.
Signed by Joseph Pedder. Witnessed by Joseph Pilgrim, ?, George Gudgin. Proved 15
Value under £300
PILGRIM, Mary of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts. Made 28 November 1761.
I give my grandson, John Whitbread two pairs of sheets, one feather-bed, a large
pewter dish, three plates,
a tablecloth and two napkins.
I give my grand-daughter, Ann Whitbread, two pairs of sheets, a pewter dish, two
plates, a table cloth and two napkins.
I give my grand-daughter, Sarah Whitbread, two pairs of sheets, a pewter dish, three
plates, a table cloth
and two napkins.
I give my grand-daughter, Mary Whitbread, two pairs of sheets, a pewter dish, three
plates, a table cloth and
I give my grandson, Chalkley Whitbread, one gold ring, a pewter dish, three plates,
a table cloth and two
I give my grand-daughter, Dorothy Whitbread, one gold ring, a large silver spoon,
two teaspoons, two table cloths, a pewter dish and three plates,
If any of the beneficiaries dies, their share to be distributed among survivors.
I give my daughter, Sarah Whitbread, my ready money, lands, grounds and premises,
my wearing apparel
and residue of my estate. After her death, my furniture is to be equally divided
among Sarah’s children.
Executor, daughter Sarah Whitbread. Marked by Mary Pilgrim. Proved 26 January 1762
PITKIN, John of Sutfield Green in the parish of Hitchin. Made 29 November 1821.
I give all my estate to my nephew William Groom with whom I now reside and appoint
him my executor.
Marked by John Pitkin. Proved 9 January 1822.
RAMSEY, Leonard of Great Wymondley, Herts
Administration of estate granted to wife, Elizabeth.
24 January 1682.
RICHES, Johnof Preston in the parish of Hitchin, labourer. Dated 16 May 1697
I divide my estate equally between my two sisters Johanna Young and Mary Creasey
Marked by John Riches. Witnessed by Daniel Joyner, ? Hanscombe and William Petts.
Proved 13 April 1698
SAUNDERSON, Joseph of Preston, Hitchin dated 5 June 1829
Entire estate left to wife, Harriet.
On her death everything was to be sold and divided equally between his five children
– Joseph, Sophia,
Charles, Stephen and Alfred Saunderson. If any pre-deceased Harriet, the residue
was to be divided among
Joseph marked the will. It was witnessed by Stephen Swain and John Young.
Proved 10 June 1833.
SWAYNE, Edward– blacksmith of Preston, parish of Hitchin. Made 17 May 1748
To my wife Mary - all my property in the parishes of Hitchin and Ippollitts. After
her death or re-marriage:
To my son, James Swayne my freehold cottage at Ippollitts occupied by William Child
and the copyhold field
in Ippollitts in my occupation.
To my son, John Swayne, my freehold cottage at Ippollitts occupied by Henry Merritt;
the freehold field of
arable land called, “Three Cornered Close” and the one acre of copyhold field called
To my daughter Mary - £100
To my son James – an annuity of 40 shillings
To my eldest son, Edward Swayne – the residue of my freehold and copyhold estate.
To my son John Swayne – all my blacksmiths tools, utensils and trade debts owing
to me. He is to pay my
debts for iron and coal.
My wife, Mary is to be my executrix.
Will signed by Edward Swayne and witnessed by William Dearmer, Richard Morgan and
A codicil was added on the same day the will was signed, 17 May 1748. As Mary had
died, James and John
were appointed executors and all debts owing Edward which were not connected with
his blacksmith’s trade were to be divided equally between James and John.
Codicil signed and witnessed by Robert Hull, James Elliott and Thomas Taylor.
The will and codicil were proved on 20 May 1752.
SWAIN, John – Blacksmith of Preston, Hitchin dated 17 February 1793
My freehold dwelling house and land to my son William Swain – to pass on his death
to my grandson,
William Swain (second son of William, senior).
My other freehold and copyhold cottages and land at Hitchin, Ippollitts and Kings
Walden to my son William –
to pass on his death to Stephen Swain, William’s eldest son.
My personal estate to my son William Swain on condition that he pays an annuity of
£2 10/- to my son Edward Swain and my daughters Elizabeth Beech, Mary Faulkner and
Executors: William Swain and my kinsman, Stephen Swain.
Signed by John Swain. Witnessed by Daniel (?) Joyner, Henry Pedder and Samuel Pilgrim.
Proved 18 September 1794.
SWAINE, Mary - spinster of Preston Green. Dated 16 April 1764.
To my brothers, John and James Swaine - £10
To my nephews (the children of my brother John Swaine): Edward, James, William and
Samuel Swaine -
£5 when they marry or attain twenty-one.
To my nephew Stephen Swaine, son of my brother Edward deceased - £5 and the dresser
in the kitchen
and the crane there.
To my niece Mary Swaine, daughter of my brother John – my best gown, black petticoat,
black cloak, best
stays and worse, my best hat, white linen coat, a suit of my best linen, a holland
apron, my three longest
silver spoons, my bag of cutlery (?), a silver nutmeg grater, the bed, bedstead,
coverlet and blankets in my lodging room (?) and pair of my best sheets, my linen
gown, long cloak and the chest of drawers and looking glass in the same room.
To my niece Elizabeth Swaine, daughter of my brother John – my red gown, one white
apron, a cap, one pair
of gloves, a (?) handkerchief, one fan, my white cloak and chest of drawers
To my niece, Sarah Swain, daughter of bother John - my worst black gown, a cap and
handkerchief, one pair
of gloves, my flowered apron, a desk and chest of drawers.
To my niece Mary daughter of my brother William Swaine – my best black gown, my (?)
silk gown, my
green petticoat, my second best stays, my best white double woollen petticoat, my
red cloak, a black hat,
one pair of sheets, my best white blanket, one white apron, a gold ring, a small
silver spoon, a small silver
case, my best chest, two new barrels, one small tub, my large kettle, my middle skillet,
one frying pan.
The rest of my household goods, linen and woollen were left to my nieces Mary Swaine
and Mary Doggett equally.
The residue of my estate to my four nieces: Elizabeth, Mary and Sarah Swain and Mary
Joint executors – my brothers James and John Swain and my sister-in-law Elizabeth
Swaine. They were to
bury Mary in Hitchin church as near my father and mother and in like manner as my
father was buried and
to be conveyed to the grave in a hearse with four horses and the mourners to be conveyed
and to give all my brothers gloves and hatbands and my sisters, gloves and ribbons
Signed by Mary and witnessed by Thomas Taylor and Rev John P. Morgan
Proved 11 September 1864.
SWAIN, Stephen will dated 10 June 1835.
Bequeathed daughter Priscilla Swain his copyhold dwelling house at Preston Green
now divided into three cottages. This property was subject to a mortgage of £100.
The bequest was on condition that the rents
and profits from the cottages (less the mortgage interest) for the first year after
Stephen’s death were paid
to Stephen’s wife, Ann and that after that Priscilla paid Ann £2 a year.
To my son, William Swain – my freehold field in Ippollitts parish which abuts St
Albans Highway and its crops,
but he is not to take possession of the field until one year after my death
To my son, Charles Swain - £5 and all my body linen and wearing apparel.
To my son, Stephen Swain - £5 my watch and silver spectacles.
To my wife, Ann – all my household furniture and the residue of my estate.
Executors: wife Ann swain and daughter Priscilla Swain. They were directed to sell
all my farming stock,
horses, cattle, ploughs, harrows and instruments of husbandry and all the crops
growing on my farm one
year after my death and that my wife settle all debts and legacies using this money.
Signed: Stephen Swain. Witnessed by Thomas Gorham Pierson, Joseph Saunderson and
William Swain, blacksmith of Preston. Probate 8 February 1836.
SWAIN, William – blacksmith of Preston, Herts. Dated 30 September 1825
Entire estate left to wife Sarah - including copyhold cottages at Preston and in
parish of Kings Walden and
in manor of Temple Dinsley.
On her death, the cottage at Preston previously occupied by William Gentle, now William
Joyner is left to
my daughter Dinah Swain and, after her death, to my daughter Aney Palmer.
The field of one acre at Preston called “Todds Close” formerly occupied by my late
father John and now
occupied by myself and all the copyhold closes at Kings Walden were left to Aney
All my stock in trade, cattle etc left to my wife, Sarah.
Signed by William Swain and witnessed by Catherine Brown and Josiah Ison and William
Barton of Baldock.
TURNER, John of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts, yeoman. Dated 6 March 1785.
I give my son, James Turner, all my freehold and copyhold messuages in the parishes
of Hitchin and Kings Walden subject to giving my sons, John and William Turner, the
weekly sum of two shillings on every
Monday morning during their lives (and no other person) at the south porch of the
parish church of Ippollitts.
If this payment is missed for four months, I empower my sons to enter the said premises
and recover rents
for the amount owed.
I further charge my estate with the payment of £10 to each of the surviving children
of John and William Turner when they die when they have attained the age of twenty-one.
I give my daughter, Mary the wife of James Roberts the sum of £100.
The residue of my estate I give to my son, James Turner.
I appoint James Turner, James Roberts and my good friend William Crawley my executors
Signed by John Turner. Witnesses: Marey Hill (sic) of Frogmore, Joseph Wilson of
Preston and Joseph
Halstead of Hitchin. Proved 12 July 1785.
WHEELER, Henry of Preston in parish of Hitchin, labourer. Made 20 November 1757
I give to my daughter, Ann the wife of John Coe of Woodside, Hatfield, Herts my copyhold
(having surrendered it to the manor of Temple Dinsley to the use of my will) at Preston
with ‘the outhouses, barns, yards, gardens and orchards on condition that John Coe
gives Sarah my wife all the money and arrears
of interest owed to him by me.
Another condition is that Ann Coe pay an annuity to Sarah of forty shillings in
half yearly instalments and
also gives £5 to my son, John Wheeler after Sarah’s death.
I give all my goods and chattels to my wife Sarah who I appoint as my executrix.
Signed by Henry Wheeler. Witnessed by Daniel Joyner, John Swain and John Gotheridge.
Proved 6 April 1762
WILSON, John of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts. Dated 18 July 1761
I give my sister, Ann wife of Edward Bates of Kings Walden, one gold guinea. (m 19
October 1760 at Ippollitts)
I give to my brother, Joseph Wilson, my watch.
I give the residue of my estate to my wife, Ann who I appoint as my executrix.
Signed by John Wilson. Witnesses: ? Rudd, Daniel Joyner and John Gotheridge. Proved
24 November 1761
WILSON, John of Preston in the parish of Ippollitts, farmer. (Father of John Wilson
above) Dated 26 April 1776
I give to my daughter, Ann wife of Edward Bates of Kings Walden, £50.
I give to their three children, £5 when they are twenty-one. If any die, their money
is to be divided among the survivors.
I give to my son-in-law, Edward Bates, my wearing apparel, linen and woollen.
I give to my son-in-law, Thomas Gutteridge, £10.
I give the residue of my estate including the stock in farming to my son, Joseph
Marked by John Wilson. Witnesses: Samuel Pilgrim and Thomas ?. Proved on 16 September