1618 Sir Robert Digby of Coleshill


In the name of God Amen; the nine and twentieth day of April in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and eighteen [29/4/1618] I ROBERT DIGBYof Coleshill in the County of Warwicke Knight[1] being in whole mind and in good and perfect remembrance (laud and praise be to Almighty God) do ordain and make this my last will and testament in manner and form following; that is to say: first I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my maker hoping assuredly through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be made partaker of life everlasting; and I commend my body to the eareth whereof it was made; and as touching the disposition of my manors lands tenements and hereditaments goods chattels wherewith all it has pleased God to bless me I do bequeath limit and appoint them as hereafter follows: first I give and bequeath to my loving and most dear wife LETTICE the Lady Offaly all that my manor of Coleshill in the said County of Warwickshire with all the rights members and appurtenances therewith or thereunto belonging (except hereafter excepted) to have and to hold to her and her assigns for and during her natural life according to the true intent and meaning of a conveyance heretofore made by me thereof to Sir Christopher Blonnt and Sir Edward Blonnt Knights (excepting all those my lands tenements and hereditaments in Coleshill aforesaid distended unto me from my uncle SIMON DIGBY which lands so distended as also the manors of Sheldon Radon and Colebrook I have conveyed to other persons for certain estates and to certain purposes as by the several deeds concerning the same may appear which lands and manors last mentioned so conveyed do by these present s will and devise to the said persons parties to the said deeds according to our true intent and meaning expressed in and by the said deeds part between us under our hands and seals; and as concerning my wife’s lands in Ireland had I power to dispose thereof as I know I have not yet could I have no will to do it otherwise then byu request of her and with her good liking albeit she well knows that in regard of the long suits and great expense I have been put unto in recovering the same it has been dearly purchased by me having spent a good part of my own estate therein some should outiright and much of the rest incumbered by me and whereof and of a fair jointure which I have made to my said wife in England as aforesaid I am not able to provide for the children whom it has pleased God to bless us with according to my mind; and do therefore heartily desire my wife as she has ever been a most virtuous loving kind wife to me and a tender affectionate natural mother to her children that she will vouchsafe to dispose of her said Irish lands for the benefit of our children after this manner; that is to say: first for a convenient maintenance of our eldest son according to her discretion next for some certain annuities for our younger sons of forty pounds by year apiece during her life after they sahall severally attain to eighteen years of age and next for so much as together with one thousand pounds now resting in the hands of my honourable brother Sir JOHN DIGBY for securities of some part of an annuity of three hundred pounds by year to my mother (for which I have now lately given other assurances) may raise our daughters portions of one thousand pounds or one thousand marks apiece as she in her discretion and [  ] goodness shall find the estate fit to bear this I entreat her to perform as she loves me and them with this further request unto her that where she well knows how honestly and faithfully we have been served by Robert Floud Edward Amnet Simon Jefferys and Tege Mulbican and that we have had a purpose to have bestowed upon them severally some parts of the said Irish land in recompense of their service that she will be pleased to perform the same according top our good intention aforesaid wherein I desire her to distinguish their proportions according to the distinction of their qualities and demerits towards us which she of herself best knows and is able to judge.  ITEM; I give to our maid servants Maudlin Wise and Elizabeth Towers in the same manner as my other servants according as my loving wife shall think good in her discretion.  ITEM; whereas I have made no provision for my younger sons but left them to the care and charge of my wife not doubting but that she according to my earnest request will lovingly and really perform the same during her life in regard I shall not so long have power and means otherwise to provide for them; but after the decease of my wife my will and meaning is and I do hereby give and bequeath to each of my younger sons an annuity of forty pounds by year during their several lives and respective lives to be issuing and going out of all my manors lands tenements and hereditaments in England each of their said annuities to commence immediately after the decease of my said wife and payable half-yearly at the feasts of St Michael the Archangel and The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary by equal portions the first payment to begin at such of the said feasts as shall first happen after the death of my said wife and if any of the said annuities or any part or any of them be unpaid contrary to the intent aforesaid my will is that the party to whom default shall be made shall and may distrain for the same in any my manors lands tenements or hereditaments and the distresses to impound and detain until he be of the said annuity and arrears thereof (if any shall happen to be fully satisfied).  I give the one thousand pounds afore mentioned remaining in my brother Sir John Digby’s hands my debts discharged towards the raising of portions for my daughters according to my meaning hereinbefore expressed.  ITEM; all other my plate household stuff goods chattels and debts whatsoever as well in England as Ireland (my debts and funerals paid and discharged) I give and bequeath to my most dear and loving wife whom I make and ordain my executrix of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills and testaments whatsoever heretofore made or intended by me.  In witness whereof I have set hereunto my hand and seal and published the same for my last will the day and year first above written – Ro: Digby – we were present at the sealing hereof and are witneses to the same – Fra: Knollas Philippe Ingbye Robert Iland Edw. Hamnett


Proved 23rd June 1618 by Letice (relict and executrix)

[1] Background Information: From National Archives A2A website – Birmingham City Archives:

Marriage settlement between Robert Digby of Coleshill and Sir Christopher Blunt of Drayton Basset, Staffs, on the marriage of Robert Digby and Lettice, daughter of Sir Christopher Blunt, which will take place on or before 31 October. Concerns the manors of Sheldon and Coleshill.  MS 3888/A 916  1597

Indenture between Robert Dygby of Coleshull Coleshill co. War., esq., of the one part, and Sir Christopher Blunt of Drayton Basset Drayton Bassett co. Staff., knt., and Edward Blunt of Kethermister Kidderminster co. Worc., esq., being a settlement upon the marriage of the said Robert and Lettice, his wife, of the Manors of Sheldon, Coleshull, Colebrooke and East Raddon Colebrook and Raddon Court, both in Devon, and Horton [co. Buckingham, lands in Colbrooke Colebrook, Horton, Langley Marris Langley Marish Wye Rarsbury Wyrardisbury and Iver all in co. Buckingham and the rectory of Horton.  MS 3888/A 934  4 October, 40 Eliz I 1598

Letters Patent of James I being a licence of alienation from Thomas Throckmorton, esq., Agnes Throckmorton, widow, and Robert Throckmorton, esq., to Robert Digbie, knt., and Lettice, his wife, of the Manor of Sheldon, with messuages, lands and appurtenances in Sheldon. Parchment.  MS 3888/A 1012  1 August 11 Jas I 1613
Great Seal.
Language:  Latin

Bargain and sale from Thomas Throckmorton of Weston Underwoode Weston Underwood co. Buckingham esq., Agnes Throckmorton of Weston Underwoode, widow of John Throckmorton, esq., deceased, son of the said Thomas, and Roberte Throckmorton, esq., son of the said John, to Sir Roberte Digbye of Coleshill, co. War., knt., and Lady Lettice, his wife, Baroness of Offalye Offaly, of the Manor of Sheldon, with appurtenances. Consideration: £250. Parchment.  MS 3888/A 1013  27 August 11 Jas I 1613
Language:  Latin

Plea of trespass in a cuase between Sir Thomas Ashe, knt., and Cow’ Mac(?) Teiye O’Connor, concerning holdings in Annaghormay and Ballaghamoyn, both in King’s County Ireland. Leased to Sir Thomas in November, 17 Jas. I 1619 by Lady Lettice Digby for five years. Paper.  MS 3888/A 1080  ? November 1619

Grant from Lady Lettice, Baroness of Offaly co. Kildare to Adam Loftus, knt., Chancellor of Ireland, Henry […] Docwra, knt., the King’s Treasurer for war in the Kingdom of Ireland John Moore of Croghan, King’s County, knt., Robert Lloyd, gent., and Edward Hamnet, gent., of the Barony, Lordship and Manor of Geshill Geashill King’s County, the Monastery of Killeigh King’s County, the advowson of the rectory or prebend of Geshill, with all lands and appurtenances belonging to the said Barony and all other lands and appurtenances belonging to Gerald, late Earl of Kildare, grandfather of the said Lady Lettice; to hold for uses recited with appointment of Richard Wake, gent., and John Meale, clerk, as attorneys to deliver seisin. Parchment.  MS 3888/1087  16 August 1620
Language:  English and Latin

Indenture of mortgage from the Rt. Hon. Robert, Lord Digbye, Baron of Geashell Geashill, the Rt. Hon. Dame Lettice, Baroness of Offaly, his mother, and Phillipp Digbye of Colshill Coleshill co. War., esq., to Sampson Hopkins of Coventrey Coventry, co. War. alderman, of four cottages and land in the parish of Colshill and land in the parish of Aston iuxta Birmingham. Parchment.  MS 3888/A 1097  17 February 1620/1

Indenture of mortgage from the Rt. Hon. Robert, Lord Digbye, Baron of Geashell Geashill in Ireland, to the Rt. Hon. Lady Lettice, Baroness of Offaly, late wife of Sir Robert Digbye, knt., deceased, of a capital messuage called Kingshurst alias Kingshurst Hall in the parish of Colshill Coleshill co. War., and land with appurtenances in the parishes of Colshill, Sheldon and Aston. Parchment.  MS 3888/A 1100  19 February 1620/1

[source: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/A2A/records.aspx?cat=143-ms3888_2&cid=0]

From Collins Peerage:
Sir George Digby (son of John Digby and his wife Anne Throgmorton) received the honour of knighthood, 28 Eliz. from Robert, Earl of Leicester, for the service he performed at the siege of Zutphen, in Flanders, and married Abigail, daughter to Sir Arthur Heveningham (Henningham) of Ketteringham in Norfolk, Knight-Banneret (who remarried with Edward Cordell Esq.) and they lie buried at Coles-Hill under a tomb in the south-east corner of the chancel, thus inscribed:

“Here lyeth interred Sir George Digby, who died the 4th February 1586.   He married Abigail, daughter of Sir Arthur Henningham, Knight-Banneret, by whom he had issue George who died young; Sir Robert Digby, who succeeded his father; Philip his third son, john his fourth son, created Earl of Bristol by King James; Eliz. married to Sir Baldwin Wake, Knight-Baronet”

Sir Robert Digby of Coles-Hill was knighted at Dublin in 1596 by Robert, Earl of Essex, and having his education in the University of Oxford, took the dgree of AM July 10th 1598.  In 1613 he was returned to Parliament with Walter Weldon Esq. for the borough of Athy, was called into the Privy Council by King James I and appointed, May 20th 1615 of the Council for the Province of Munster.  He married Lettice, daughter and heir of Gerald, Lord Offaley, who died before his father, Gerald, the eleventh Earl of Kildare and departing this life May 24th 1618, lies buried at Coles-Hill with the inscription on a half pillar fixed to the north wall of the chancel:

“To the Memorie


Sir Robert Digby, Kt.

who wedded the Lady Lettice,

Baronesse Offaly, Heir general

to that Ancient Family of the

Earles of Kildare in Ireland;

and departing this Life 24th May

Ao. 1618. Lyeth interred here

amongst his Ancestors”

He left issue seven sons (viz. Robert, created Lord Digby of Geashill in Ireland, George, Gerard, John, Simon, Essex and Philip) and three daughters (viz. Lettice, married to Sir Roger Langford, Knt., Mabel, to Gerald Fitz-Gerald Lord of the Decies in Ireland, and Abigail, who died a child).


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