1658 Francis Rous


This is my last will and Testament, I FRANCIS ROUS Provost of Eton College wrote and made March the eighteenth one thousand six hundred fifty-seven forasmuch as to put houses in order before our departures is pleasing to the God of order I do dispose my affairs and estate in manner following: there is a youth in Scotland concerning whom, because they call him my grandson, it is perchance expected that I should do some great matters for him, but his father marrying against my will and prohibition, and giving me and absolute discharge before intermarriage under his hand not to expect anything from me if he did marry contrary to my prohibition, I hold myself discharged from the father and consequently from the son or that father, the son naming no interest in me but by the father; and I hold it a good example, for the benefit of the Commonwealth, that matters of discouragement should be put upon such marriages that others may not care to make and fit and for Britain marriages being assured that parents will not disinherit or lessen them especially if they have but one son, and that which Solomon says is to be considered an understanding servant shall have rule over a son that makes ashamed and both my son and his son in Scotland have both made me ashamed the one in the match the other by a sad mischief of danger one consequence and fatal and though his mother is bound to maintain him yet because I wish he might yet be a useful member of church and Commonwealth (towards which I think she is not well able to give him an answerable education) I have in this my will taken course for a competent maintenance for him towards a profession and in it utterly appalling to give him and estate at the trust of idleness; wherefore to the forementioned purpose I desire my executor to give him fifty pounds a year so long as he shall be in preparation towards a profession or shall really and seriously be in the practice of it and as many of my books as may be fit for him in the profession he shall undertake and shall not be given to Pembroke College I desire my executor to give unto him; but if he or a guardian or any other shall sue or impede or call my executor into question to his trouble or cost I leverage to my executors choice whether he will pay this maintenance of fifty pounds per annum or any part of it. I give to master Clifford my pastor at Acton twenty pounds; I give five pounds per annum for ever to be disposed in buying Bibles, catechisms or for encouraging poor children to read and answering catechising in the parish of Dittisham in the County of Devon, the place of my nativity and baptism, which sum shall be bestowed according to the discretion of the Minister there for the time being; and to the present Minister I give twenty pounds. I give to the poor of Acton each five shillings. I give to the poor of Westminster Kensington and Knightsbridge half years rent of that which they used to receive. I give mistress Bartlett of Windsor twenty pounds. I appoint one hundred pounds to be lent to my nephew WILLIAM ROUS which he must pay by ten pounds a year to my nephew Richard Rous his son by ten pounds a year. I give THOMAS ROUS of King’s College six pounds per annum for two years. I give ELIZABETH ROUS at Penrose in Cornwall twenty pounds. I give ANTHONY ROUS at Eton School five pounds per annum for seven years. I give to my niece RUDYARD and her sisters Skelton and Dorothy each twenty pounds. I give to Margaret Baker ten pounds. I give to a poor Christian woman in Dartmouth mistress Adams ten pounds; to Robert Needler I give a black suit and cloak; the like to William Grantham and ten pounds to my niece PORTMAN now in my house. I give fifty pounds to my other friends of more ability. I leave it to my executor to give such memorials as he shall think fit. To the poor of Eton I give twenty pounds. To each of my servants that are with me at my decease I give black suits and five pounds; and to Peter Finedon who is now endeavouring to get a place of [commercial] ten pounds; I give to Thomas Rolle at Eton and Robert Vard each ten pounds. I give to Christian now the wife of master Johnson twenty pounds. I give to the young Winnington at Eton ten pounds. I give forty pounds per annum out of the parsonage or tythe of Great Bookham to maintain two scholars in Pembroke College in Oxford.  I also give twenty pounds per annum unto one scholar more in the same college out of the tenement in the manor of Wootton in Cornwall during two lives of two Bigfords and after their decease out of a tenement of mine in Cowlbury in Devon for ever, the scholars to be chosen are to be poor not having ten pounds per annum apt to learning and to be to the posterity of my relict or my brothers ROBERT RICHARD or ARTHUR ROUS or of my sister NICOLL or my sister UPTON and if no such shall be tendered then they are to be chosen out of the two highest forms in Eton College.  I give power to my executor to choose them during his life and desire and will the advice of my dear kinsman AMBROSE UPTON Prebend of Christchurch in Oxford to settle and order all things for the sure and useful continuance of their allowances to scholars so qualified as before and of good conversation, and that they study divinity, and some time before they be Bachelors of Arts, they make good proof of their studying Divinity and that they continue in their several studies but seven years and then others to be chosen in their rooms.  What shall be above forty pounds per annum arising out of the tythe of Bookham [abovesaid] and above in rates and taxes I give to the Minister of that Parish.  And I give the parsonage to my respected kinsman SAMUELL ROUS Esquire of that Parish yet so that if he die before my executor, my executor shall receive it during his life and after it shall go to the heirs of the said Samuel Rous it being bestowed that those dwelling being those who will be careful for their alone souls.  I do make and constitute my dear kinsman Anthonie Rous Esq of Wotton in the County of Cornwall commonly called and known by his name of [Sir Anth.] Rous to be my whole and sole executor and I give and bequeath to him all my lands tenements my interests in the parsonage of Great Bookham in Surrey all my leases chattels plate money and other goods whatsoever, as also my copyholds, which shall, according to custom, be made over to him in Acton or Branford, hoping that he will faithfully dispose them according to my will and intention made known to him; and I give him one hundred pounds and lend him two hundred pounds more for seven years, which he may bestow in defence of himself as to law suits, if any be brought as concerning my estate, or if there shall be none to bestow, in some charitable use as he shall think fit. I desire my body may be interred and put to rest in the chapel of Eton College, a place that has my dear affections and prayers that it may be a flouring nursery of piety and learning to the end of the world. And for a profession of any faith, I refer myself to the works which I not long since published in one volume, wherein I have professed a right and saving faith and hope to continue therein until faith shall be swallowed up of sight, laying hold of the free grace of God in his beloved Son as my only title to eternity, being confident that his free grace, which took me up lying in the blood of his regeneration, will wash away the guilt of that estate, and all the cursed fruits of it by the precious blood of his Son, and will wash away the filth of it by the spirit of his Son, and so present me faultless before the presence of God’s glory with joy; the twenty-fourth of March one thousand six hundred fifty seven – Francis Rous

The Right Honorable Francis Rous, Esq., acknowledged this to be his last will and testament, the 12th day of April, 1658[2], in the presence of me, Abel Borsett, endorsed, upon a paper wherein the original will was folded and sealed up, thus, viz., “My last will, attested by Mr. Humphreys and Mr. Borsett.”


Proved 10th March 1658/9 by Anthony Rous


Comments or questions are welcome.

* indicates required field