In the name of Almighty God Amen; the seventeenth day of the month of November in the year of our Lord God 1536 and in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King Henry VIII; I Nicholas LEVESON Citizen and Mercer of London and Merchant of the Staple at the town of Calais being of whole mind and of good perfect memory thanks be Almighty God, considering the frailty of man’s life how that death to every creature is certain and the hour and time of coming thereof is uncertain, not willing therefore with God’s grace to die intestate for the health of my soul, do ordain and make this my present testament and last will as well of all my goods and chattels moveable, as of all my lands and tenements with the appurtenances which I have in the City of London and in the Counties of Stafford, Essex and Kent or elsewhere within the realm of England in manner and form following, that is to wit. First and principally I bequeath and recommend my soul to the mercy of Almighty God my creator and redeemer and to the most glorious Virgin our Blessed Lady Saint Mary his mother and to all the company of heaven and my body to be buried within the tomb made before the upper pillar on the north side of the parish church of Saint Andrew Undershaft of London; that is to [wit] between the high altar and the altar of the north aisle; and I bequeath to the high altar of the same church in recompense of my tithes forgotten if any be six shillings and eight pence. ITEM; I bequeath to the brotherhood of our Lady and Saint Anne within the said church six shillings and eight pence; also I will that my executors of my goods shall lay out bestow and expend in and about the charges of my burying and funerals and for black cloths for gowns to be given against my said burying and for the dinner then to be made and for other charges and things needful and convenient to be had and done at and for my said burying the sum of one hundred pounds or Moore as shall be thought convenient by the discretion of my executors whereof I will that twenty pounds shall be delivered distributed and disposed amongst poor householders dwelling in the said parish of Saint Andrew and in other parishes near thereabouts and to other poor people coming to my said burying and mass of requiem on the morrow following. ITEM; I will that soon after my burying and funeral done, such debts as I shall owe at time of my decease being first [reckoned] paid and deducted that all my goods and chattels wools ready money and separate debts as well beyond the sea as on this side the sea shall be divided in three equal parts or portions, whereof I will and reserve one part to my self and to my executors thereof to bear the charges of my said burying and funerals and to perform me this present will and the legacies therein contained and all other charges and things concerning me, and the other part thereof I bequeath to Denys my wife for her full part and portion to her belonging by the law and custom of the City of London of all my said goods chattels and debts, and the third part of the same my goods chattels and debts I bequeath to all my children living and not married at time of my decease between them equally to be divided for their full part and portions to them and every of them belonging by the said law and custom of London of all my said goods chattels and debts, and I will that every of my said children shall be other’s heirs that is to wit if any of them happen to decease before his or her lawful age or marriage that the part and portion of him or her so decreasing shall remain to all the other of them surviving equally to be divided between them and so of every of them, of the which my own part and portion to me and my executors reserved as is aforesaid I make the bequests hereafter specified that is to wit: first I bequeath to my wife for a remembrance to pray for my soul a hundred pounds sterling. I bequeath unto my brother James LEVESON for such service and pleasures as he has done for me heretofore and hereafter with God’s grace shall do for me the sum of one hundred pounds sterling and a ring of gold of the value of ten pounds for a token of remembrance and to my sister his wife I bequeath another like ring of gold of the value of ten pounds for a token also of remembrance for my soul, and to my sister Margaret [GELL] to pray also for my soul six pounds eight shillings and three pence and I will that my executors shall provide and find a secular priest of honest conversation and of good and virtuous disposition to sing and say his mass daily when he shall be thereto disposed in the parish church of Saint Andrew in London praying for my soul and for the souls of my father and mother by the span of ten years next after my decease and also shall cause an obit or anniversary to be kept yearly by rote during the said ten years that is to wit yearly the day of my decease if it may conveniently be kept the same day or else as soon after as conveniently may be in the said church of Saint Andrew by the priests and clerks of the same church in good and convenient manner after the use there accustomed for my soul and the souls of my said father and mother and for the salary and charges of the said priest and yearly obit so to be kept aforesaid I bequeath a hundred marks and ten that is to wit for every year of the said ten years ten marks for the parish and one mark for the obit to the priest and clerk and other necessaries and the rest to be given to poor people. ITEM; I bequeath to the making and repairing of highways about the City of London to be bestowed by the discretion of my executors a hundred marks. ITEM; I bequeath to the exhibition and funding of some well disposed student or students at the University of Oxford twenty pounds to be disposed by the discretion of my said executors and in like wise to the funding and exhibition of some well disposed student or students in the university of Cambridge by like discretion of my executors other twenty pounds. The residue of all my said part and portion after my said legacies paid and this my present testament fulfilled I will shall be divided to and among my children equally to be divided amongst my sons John Thomas Nicholas and William and all my daughters that is to wit to every of them her part whenever he or she shall come to his or her lawful age or marriage, and if the said John my son happen to decease before that he shall come to his lawful age I will that the my executors under named shall distribute and dispose the same his part of the said residue amongst all my children that then shall be living when they shall come to their full age or marriage, and I will in like wise that if any of my sons Thomas Nicholas or William or any of my said daughters happen to decease before their lawful age or marriage that then the other of them then living shall have the part or portion of the said residue which should come to him or them that so deceased equally to be divided amongst them in form abovesaid and so of every of them, and if my said sons John Thomas Nicholas and William and all my said daughters happen to decease before their lawful ages or marriages as God decides I will that then all their said parts and portions of the residue of my part and portion shall be distributed and disposed by my said executors in deeds of alms and works of charity that is to wit in like manner and form as their other parts and portions of my said goods chattels and debts been afore specified to be distributed and disposed after all their decease. ITEM; I give to the parish church of Cookstone to buy any ornament that the said church shall need ten pounds sterling. ITEM; to my son Sadler twenty pounds. ITEM; to Raffe Daverrell twenty pounds. ITEM; I bequeath to my cousin Guy CRAFFORD twenty pounds. ITEM; I bequeath unto [ ] John Buttell the parson of Cookstone to pray for my soul ten shillings. ITEM; I give unto Sir Thomas Twydell vicar of Halling to pray for my said soul ten shillings. ITEM; I will that any servant to the number of three that does pertain and belong to my brother James Leveson shall have a black gown. ITEM; I will that the foresaid Denys my wife shall have two standing pots six bowls with [xxx] parcel gilt and six bowls with [xxx] chain gilt which were sometime her mother’s. ITEM; I give unto the said Denys the [one] half of my own third part and portion of all the rest of my plate and implements of household stuff that is now in my dwelling house at London anything ordinance or promissory in this my will given or declared to the contrary notwithstanding. ITEM; I give to Robert [Wem] of Wolverhampton Henry [blank] and unto all other my household servants of London as well men as women dwelling in my house at Hornes Place thirteen shillings and three pence. ITEM; I give unto Grisell my daughter a gilt cup of the price of six pounds thirteen shillings and three pence with my arms to be set upon the same cup for a token of remembrance and the same cup to be bought by my executors. ITEM; I give to my daughter Jone Daverrell a cup of silver and gilt of the value of six pounds thirteen shillings and three pence.
ITEM; this is the last will of me the above named Nicholas Leveson made as to the disposing of all my lands and tenements above specified in manner and form as follows, that is to wit: I will that John LEVESON my son shall have as well all such my lands and tenements rents and reversion and premises with the appurtenances in the County of Stafford as came to me by inheritance after and by the decease of Richard LEVESON my father as all such my lands and tenements rents and reversions and premises with the appurtenances which I have bought and purchased lying in the said County of Stafford and in the parishes of Estham and Westham in the Countie of Essex Middlesex Huntingdon and Hartford there with one parcel lying in the parish of Chatham in the County of Kent to have and to hold the same lands tenements rents reversions and premises with the appurtenances to the said John Leveson my son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten, and I will that my executors shall have the rule and guiding of all the same lands and tenements with the appurtenances to the use of my said son till he shall come to his full age of twenty-one years, and if it happen that the said John my son to decease without heir lawfully begotten I will that then all the said lands and tenements with the appurtenances shall remain unto the next heir of me the said Nicholas Leveson to have and to holds them my next and right heirs and to their heirs and assigns forever. ITEM; I will that Denys my wife shall have my messuage or house with the appurtenances wherein I now dwell with the garden belonging unto the same messuage set lying and being in Lime Street in the parish of Saint Andrew Undershaft of [Lombardy] and also all other my tenements with the appurtenances set lying and being in Lime Street aforesaid to have and to hold the same messuage gardens and tenements set lying and being in Lime Street with all their appurtenances to the said Denys and her assigns during her life she keeping the necessary and mindful reparations of the same messuage and tenements with the appurtenances. ITEM; I will that Denys my wife have all my Manors lands and tenements with their appurtenances set lying and being in the towns and parishes of Halling Cockstone Byrling Snodland and Luddesdowne in the County of Kent unto her own use and unto such time as Thomas and Nicholas my sons come to their full and lawful age that is to say the age of twenty one years and at such time as the said Thomas and Nicholas shall come to that age then I will the moiety of the said manors lands and tenements unto the said Thomas and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten and for default of issue the same moiety to remain to John Leveson my son and to his heirs for ever, and the other moiety to Nicholas in like manner and for default of such issue the foresaid manors lands and tenements with their appurtenances to remain to my daughters Grysell Johanne Alice Mary and Denys and to their heirs and assigns forever. ITEM; I will that Denys my wife have my manor or tenement called West Thurrock in the County of Essex with all the stock of cattle and all such lands and tenements with their appurtenances now being in the tenure and occupying of one Cose to have and to hold to the said Denys my wife during her natural life and after the decease of my said wife then I will that the foresaid manor or tenement with their appurtenances called West Thurrock with the stock aforesaid to remain to William Leveson my fourth son and to his heirs of his body lawfully begotten and for default such issue then I will that the foresaid manors or that is the appurtenances to remain to the right heirs of me the foresaid Nicholas Leveson. ITEM; I would that my said wife have to her during her natural all my lands and tenements with their appurtenances lying and being in the parish of Gillingham in the County of Kent the which I late purchased and now is in the tenure and occupying of one John Godfrey, and after the decease of my said wife then I will that the same lands and tenement with their appurtenances shall remain to John my son and to his heirs forever and whereas before I have willed my messuage and tenements with their appurtenances set lying and being in Lime Street in London unto my said wife term of her life I will that the same messuage and tenements with all their appurtenances after her decease shall remain and go to John my son and to his heirs forever and of this my testament and last will make and ordain my executors that is to say Denys my wife and the foresaid James Leveson my brother. In witness whereof to this my testament and last will I have put to my seal and subscribed my name the day and year above written these being witnesses: Gye Crayford, John Sadler and John Buttyll parson of Cockstone per me Nicholas Leveson
Proved 13 October 1539