In the name of God Amen; this present the sixteenth of June in the year of our Lord God one thousand five hundred ninety one, I Thomas SKEFFINGTON of London, doctor of the Civil Law being whole of body and mind and of good and perfect memory, thanked be Almighty God, and calling to remembrance the uncertainty of my life and surety of my death, hearing the voice of God’s holy word in his immutable ordinance upon all flesh continually sounding in my ears: set thine house in order for thou shalt die and shalt not long abide in this vale of misery and mortality, yet wholly trusting that through God’s inestimable memory and by the shedding of the precious blood of his dearly beloved son Jesus Christ my only Saviour and Redeemer who died for the sins of the world and from the chiefest of sinners to be one of those chosen to whom he will not impute their wickedness but of his mercy and only grave will grant me to be a member and partaker of his heavenly and immortal kingdom which he has prepared from the beginning of the world for his chosen and beloved, do therefore, for quietness of my mind and for establishing of worldly things by me possessed, declare make and ordain this my testament and last will in manner and form following: First into thy hands O Lord I commend my spirit for thou hast redeemed me O Lord God of Truth that souls which thou hast treated immortally and given unto me, wash it O Lord in the blood of this beloved son and receive it to thyself again, deliver it from the filthiness of my body and from corruption of sin and this my corrupt and frail body I willingly yield according to God’s everlasting decree to be committed to the earth from whence it came which I am assured by faith Christ Jesus will raise up in the last day to glory and salvation for that I know my redeemer liveth and that I shall behold him with these eyes and with none other and I steadfastly believe that my Saviour the Son of God is the resurrection and the life, and that he that believeth in him, yea though he were dead yet shall he live, and as with most hearty repentance I ask pardon of Almighty God for my great and manifold sins committed against his divine majesty and against man his creature my brother and neighbour, so do I most heartily and freely forgive all offences and offends committed against me by any, as I look to be forgiven in that day when all hearts shall be laid open, yet desiring Almighty God in this not to judge me in my infirmity but to strengthen me with his grace with whom no creature may compare in mercy and goodness. And I ordain and make the true and lawful executors of this my last will and testament Elizabeth my well-beloved wife and my loving brothers James SKEFFINGTON and Richard SKEFFINGTON whom I will that they shall principally foresee and that forthwith all my debts to be paid which I owe to any by law or conscience. And first for that final portion of land which God has left me by inheritance lying in the parish of Hornsby and Highgate in the County of Middlesex being by yearly rent but eight pounds fourteen shillings, my will and mind is that it shall be given and disposed, and I do by these presents give and dispose it in this manner and to these uses following: First if God give me one child or any son or daughter then I will that this land shall be and remain to them and to their uses for their better bringing up and after to the heirs of their bodies lawfully begotten forever, and for default of such issue I will the said land shall remain to Elizabeth my wife during her natural life; and after her decease then to remain and be to the uses of my said brothers James and Richard Skeffington during their natural lives equally to be divided between them or wholly to the survivor of either of them, and after their decease is o these uses following, that is to say: I give and grant out of the said lands forever to the Free Grammar School of (Brend) in the County of Stafford four pounds seven shillings yearly to be paid to the said school and to issue out of my said lands as a rent charge or perpetual annuity, or by what other name the law will term it for the better performance of this my will and meaning, which said yearly rent my mind is shall be to this use only, that is to say, two pounds yearly shall be given to the increase of the schoolmaster’s wages, and the other one pound seven shillings yearly to the increase of the usher’s wages. The like portion of three pounds seven shillings yearly I give out of the said land forever to the school of Highgate aforesaid and to be apportioned and to remain to the like uses and to be in all respects as is aforesaid of the gift and grant to the free school of Brende saving that I will that all charges and levies due to the prince or to the Chief Lord of the Copy by reason of the said lands shall be levied and taken only and wholly out of this portion given to the free school of Highgate aforesaid. ITEM; I give to the parish of Hornsby and Highgate aforesaid yearly to be paid forever one pound lawful money to issue and come out of the said lands which shall be to this use following, that two Godly sermons may yearly be preached in that parish church, the one at or about the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord God, and the other at or about the Feast of Whitsuntide, and to begin at either of those feasts which shall happen next after my decease and for every such sermon preached to be allowed to the preacher ten shillings. Also I give to the parish wheresoever it shall please God I be buried the like sum of one pound yearly to be paid and to issue out of my said lands forever, and to be disposed to the same use and in the same manner as is said of the former one pound given to the parish of Hornsby and Highgate; and my very will is that all and every these parcels of land aforementioned given and granted to the School of Brewde or to the School of Highgate or to the parish of Hornsby and Highgate or to the parish where I shall be buried, upon the dissolution or discontinuance of the said schools for three whole years together or of the said sermons for the like space or for employing the said annuities to any use or to other uses than I have given it for shall then be forfeited and made void by every particular place so making default and the annuity thenceforth utterly to cease and that land to revert to my right heirs forever, and if it shall so come to pass that before my death I shall not make this surrender in the Lord’s court of the said lands to the use of this my last will and testament, then I will that my executors shall do their best endeavours to make this gift good and perfect by all good manner they may to the performance of the premises, and if any contention, let or hindrance shall arise for the performance of the foresaid gifts and grants by reason that I receive a certain yearly rent to the value of those portions above given and granted but not out of any certain lands possessing them jointly with my brethren by nature of the tenure and as yet undivided, then I will that portion to be made at their costs and charges to whom it is given by this my last will and testament. Now as concerning that small portion of goods moveable which God has given me my very will and mind is that it shall be given and bestowed in manner and form following, and first whereas I am become bound to my father in law Richard COTTON of London Citizen in one thousand pounds to leave after my decease to Elizabeth my wife the sum of one thousand marks lawful money, my will and mind is that it shall be well and truly performed according to the tenor of a defeasance made to the statute aforesaid. ITEM; I give to my brother Richard Skeffington two hundred pounds lawful money for the discharge and payment of my part of one annuity of forty pounds yearly to be paid to Alice Thimblebie during her life, sometime the wife of my late brother George SKEFFINGTON deceased as appears by a bond made by the said George to Sir Ambrose Nicholas, Knight, late Alderman of London, and, as appears by the last will and testament of the said George Skeffington which leads the true use of the said bond. ITEM; I give to Elizabeth my wife one hundred pounds; also I give her these parcels following, that is to say: my basin and ewer of silver being part gilt, also two silver salts with the covers double gilt, also my two silver pots, also the two great silver bowls and one little white bowl given at her marriage, also one dozen of silver spoons, also one casting bowl both silver and gilt; also I give unto her the chain of gold which she does ordinarily wear, also the bracelets of gold, the collar of gold buttons, also the diamond and all other rings of gold which heretofore I have given her and which she has usually worn in my life time; also I give her all her apparel whatsoever and all furniture of her body usually worn at any time before my decease. ITEM; I give to my brother James Skeffington one hundred pounds lawful money; also I give unto him my buttons of gold being nine in number; also I give to my sister his wife one of my little white bowls of silver. ITEM; I give to my brother Richard Skeffington one hundred pounds lawful money; also I give to him my tablet of gold with the pearl thereunto, and also to my sister his wife my other little white bowl of silver. ITEM; I give unto my father in law Richard Cotton my ring of gold with a mermaid engraved; and I give to my mother in law Elizabeth Cotton my little gilt bowl; and to my brother Nicholas COTTON, and to my brother and sister (FONES), to my sisters Constance, Ann and Judith COTTON to every of them a ring of one pound price. ITEM; I give to my cousin Skeffington of Skeffington and to his wife to either a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM; to my cousin HORNBLOW and his wife to either a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM; to my cousin DAVENANT and his wife to either a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM; to Doctor Coussin, to Mr Martaine Williams, Mr Oxbright Jacob, Mr Christopher Hampton to every of them a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM: to Sir Edward OSBORNE a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM; to Richard Heathe and his wife to either a ring of twenty shillings. ITEM; I give to my cousin Doctor Bell my single (general) ring. ITEM; to my cousin Ursula SMITH my little (turquesse). ITEM; to my nephew William SKEFFINGTON my great (turquesse); and to his sister Elizabeth my ring of gold hand in hand. ITEM; I give to every of my sisters, that is to say, Elizabeth Ffourk, Ursula Woolridge and Marie Cumberforde ten pounds to make them bracelets of gold. ITEM; I give to every of my said sisters’ children twenty shillings. ITEM; I give to my brother Roger Fourk ten pounds. ITEM; I give to Mr Henry Wilkenson five pounds. ITEM; I give to my brothers James and Richard Skeffington all my apparel. ITEM; I give to Elizabeth my wife all my household stuff excepting my pictures and instruments of music which I will shall be divided equally between my three executors as they can agree. Also I give to Trinity College in Cambridge for the increase of the library there all such my books printed or in written hand as the master and two fellows of that college shall make choice of and think fit for that purpose only and none other excepted always out of this gift all such books which any of my executors shall make special choice of for their own private reading and not for other use, in every which books so ever by the said college and placed in the library I will that by some of the college to my name be underwritten this: Additum quondam socius collegii, and after this sentence ante pelarge iam seruo, Also I give to the poor students of Trinity College aforesaid twenty pounds to be divided by the discretion of the master and seniors for the time being. Also I give to the poor students of the university of Cambridge twenty pounds to be distributed according to the discretion of the Vice Chancellor and the master of Trinity College, yet I will that the poor students of Trinity College shall have no part hereof, and if it please God that I depart this life at London , then it may so seem good to the Doctors of my profession to accompany my funerals if it be in the term time I will there be bestowed three pounds in the Doctors Commons upon a dinner or a supper made, and if it happen in the vacation, then one pound only to be bestowed. Also I will my executors shall cause to be made one white bowl of silver of two pounds price with my name and arms engraved upon it which I will shall be given to the said Commons of Society. ITEM; I give to the relief of the poor prisoners in Ludgate, Newgate, the two Compters, the Fleet, the King’s Bench and the Marshalsea twenty-one pounds equally to be divided to each prison. ITEM; I give to the poor strangers of the French Church six pounds. ITEM; to the poor of the Dutch Church four pounds. ITEM; to the poor of the Italian Church two pounds. ITEM; to the poor of the parish of St Andrews in the Wardrobe two pounds. And to the poor of the parish where I shall be buried forty shillings; Also I give to the poor of the town of Brewde aforenamed six pounds. And to the poor of the town of Tonge three pounds. And to twenty poor scholars of the Grammar School to such as be (towardly) in learning twenty nobles equally to be divided among them. ITEM; I give to twenty poor couples at the time of their marriage twenty nobles equally to be divided. ITEM; I give to forty poor widows twenty nobles equally to be divided. ITEM; I give to every of my godchildren towards their godly education twenty shillings. ITEM; I give to every of my servants dwelling with me at the time of my death the value of one whole year’s wages so that they have continued with me the space of one whole year otherwise to receive according to the case of the time of their abode. I give to my wife and servants wearing apparel such as is convenient, but I utterly forbid any other mourning cloth to be given to my best friends as a matter of superfluity and contention [unless] I will that for the clothing of the poor twenty pounds be bestowed upon twenty poor men’s gowns and the said men to attend my funeral; and now calling to my mind the secret work of God which may be done by his almighty power, I have thought good to make provision of a conditional bequest in a case uncertain and to me as yet unknown, knowing that we are all bound in some good measure to provide for our posterity, the neglect whereof is compared to infidelity, therefore my will and mind is that if my wife shall conceive and become with child in my lifetime and after bear a son or a daughter that then the execution of this my last will and testament shall be deferred and put out for the space of one whole year after the birth of any such child for and concerning only these special respects hereafter mentioned, that is to say, if the said child be then living for the further preferment thereof a default or an abatement to the half part shall be made of all legacies and gifts given heretofore either to my friends or to godly uses, and the same moiety or half so deducted to be conferred or bestowed upon the same child and reserved by my executors to his use until it come to lawful age except always and [foreprized] out of this default or abatement one thousand marks assured to my wife which is a debt of absolute right and also excepted two hundred pounds given to my brother Richard Skeffington in consideration of the amity as is aforesaid which is a debt of conscience, also excepted all plate, jewels, apparel, books or household stuff which were mine at the time of my death which I will shall wholly pass as they are given heretofore. Also excepted the legacy to the Society of the Doctors, the reward of my servants and the twenty poor men’s gowns, all which I will shall stand as is before appointed. And further I give unto the said child if it be a son my seal of arms of gold; otherwise I will that my brother John SKEFFINGTON shall have it and enjoy it, desiring him after his decease to to leave it to my little nephew John SKEFFINGTON. ITEM; I give unto the said child my standing cup and cover, silver and gilt, and for default of such issue I give it to my brother Richard Skeffington. ITEM; I give to the said child in manner aforesaid my jewel set with diamonds and rubies and for default to come unto Elizabeth my wife. The residue of all my goods unbequeathed my debts being paid and my funerals discharged I give likewise unto the said child in manner as is aforesaid, and for want thereof I give it to my forenamed executors, and I will that’s some little memento or remembrance be made for me in some wall or pillar near to the place of my burial containing my name and arms over which shall be engraved these words: “Christus mihi vita mors mihi lucrum”, and under some few catten verses made by some friends mentioned in this will; and I the said Thomas Skeffington do only allow ratify and make good this my last will and testament, and my very mind is that it shall only be and stand in force before all other, also I renounce and utterly make void all former wills and testaments other than this present written throughout with my own hand, subscribed with my own name and signed with my own seal the year and day above written – by me Thomas Skeffington
This codicil or schedule being an addition to my last will and testament as of things more lately come to my remembrance to be given and bequeathed or to be altered and revoked otherwise than is contained in my said testament and last will was begun the seventeenth day of June in the year of our Lord God one thousand five hundred ninety one and is henceforth to continue unto the day of my death and is written and set down with my own hand, therefore I will that it shall be and stand in such force as in any wise the law will yield and allow to the better performance of that which hereafter is declared to be [Dom]. Inprimis I give to Master Chapman in the Poultry and to Grissell his wife to each a ring of of ten shillings price. ITEM; I give to Charles Philippes sometimes my servant twenty shillings. ITEM; I give to John Hasebrowde sometime my servant ten shillings. ITEM; I give to Agnes Lame sometime my servant ten shillings. ITEM; I give to widow Hall forty shillings, and to her son William twenty shillings. ITEM; I give to my watchman, to Father Walker, to Jasper and to my water bearer to every of them five shillings, but if any of these four last named shall happen to have poor men’s gowns at my funeral then I will these their legacies shall be void.
Proved 25th October 1592