From the Thorley Archives
The Will of Edward Wyllay of Thorley dated 11th November 1522

 

One of the pleasures and privileges of being the church archivist is that you receive unexpected packages from unexpected sources. In January this year I was sent a bundle of documents by a Mr Killick who, it later transpired, was a Bishop’s Stortford resident in the 1950s. Now in his 90s, Mr Killick is revisiting local documents that he had previously researched and which are now safely deposited at the County Record Office. Amongst his treasures was a 1522 Will of a Thorley farmer, Edward Wyllay which he has kindly ‘translated’ for me from ‘Tudor English’ into ‘present day English’. This Will gives a fascinating insight into the character of Thorley church in Pre-Reformation times when St. James followed Roman Catholic traditions. It also leads me on in my own parish researches to track down old field and family names and adds to my appreciation of our own church history.

Mr Killick’s bundle consisted of a photocopy of the original Will, two A4 sheets of ‘translation’ and explanatory notes. The full copies are on display in the St. Barnabas Centre. Included below are some of the ‘edited highlights’ from the original Tudor English.

Amongst the questions or reflections that arise from these extracts are: -

 

I edward Wyllay of thorlay husbandman holle of my mind & gud memerie
I Edward Wyllay of Thorley, husbandman, whole of my mind and good memory

........ make & ordyn thys my testement & last Wylle ........
........make and ordain this my testament and last Will ........

........ my body to beberyd in the cherchyard of thorlay under Santmychaelles wyndow ........
........ my body to be buried in the churchyard of Thorley under St Michael’s window ........

I geffe & bequeth to the hyghe Auter for all forgotten tythes XX d ........
I give and bequeath to the High Altar for all forgotten tithes 20d ........

I geffe & bequeth V pond of wax for to mak a taper to Sepulcare lyght ........
I give and bequeath 5lb of wax for to make a taper to Sepulchre light ........

........my tenement colde allgodes standyng & lyng in thorlay to john my Son ........ and to hys hareys lawfully begottyn ........
........my tenement called Allgods standing and lying in Thorley to John my son ........ and to his heirs lawfully begotten ........

........I Wille that whosever have the seyde tenement calld allgodes Sall paye or doo to bepayed for a yerely obbt ........ to the valer of iiij s. Fyrst to the parson yerely vii d. leghte j d.ob  the Socrastane j d.ob  brede & alle xxj d.   fyeffe purer nybures v d. and to mantenynge of a taper at Sepullcae leyghte a noder afere our lade of pette yerely xii d. ........
........I will that whosoever have the said tenement called Allgods shall pay or due to be paid for a yearly obit ........ to the value of 4s. First to the parson yearly 7d. light 1d. the sacristan 1d. bread and ale 21d. five poor neighbours 5d  and to maintaining of a taper at (the) Sepulchre light another before Our Lady of Pity yearly 12d. ........

 

Bill Hardy June 2001

From the Archives