Bedfordshire Historical Record Society. cn.

Publications of the Bedfordshire historical record society (Volume 4) online

. (page 1 of 17)
Online LibraryBedfordshire Historical Record Society. cnPublications of the Bedfordshire historical record society (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook








3 1833 00729 0312

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center







1 303G54


The Will of Roger Benetheton, 1438-9. By the late

the Rev. R. M. Serjeantson 1

Ancient Bedfordshire Deeds : No. II.— Deeds Relat-
ing to Elstow. By F. A. Page-Turner ... 5

Ancient Indictments, 134 1-2. By G. Herbert Fowler 53


Selections from Jury Lists. By the Rev. J. E. Brown 61


(Explanatory of the symbols used in the text.)

1. Words underlined, underdotted, or crossed
through, for deletion from the original manu-
script, which form no part of the final record,

are enclosed in brackets .... {Ricardus}

2. Additions and interlineations, which form
part of the final record, are in half-round
parentheses ...... (uxor eius)

3. Marginal notes by the scribe are similarly
in ( ), but are marked by an asterisk in

addition (*misericordia)

4. Interpolations and additions by the trans-
criber, other than the usual expansions, are

in square parentheses .... [given]

5. Omissions by the transcriber are shown by ...
dots, or by etc. in square parentheses . . [etc.]

6. Letters, words, and phrases, of which the
reading is uncertain, are enclosed in square
parentheses with a query . . . . [ ? tandem]

7. Terminal expansions, especially of place-
names, when the right ending is uncertain,

are left with an apostrophe . . . Stacheden'

8. Unreadable words or passages are shown by


In transcription of early MSS., stops and capital letters
are employed in accordance with modern usage, unless otherwise




In dei nomine Amen. Ego, Rogerus Benetheton
capellanus de Colmord in comitatu Bedford, Lincoln
dioces', compos mentis condo testamentum meum penul-
timo die mensis Feb. anno domini Mmo ccccxxxviij . in
hunc modum.

In primis lego animam meam deo, beate Marie, et
omnibus Sanctis, et corpus meum ad sepeliendum in
cimiterio Sancti Dionisii de Colmord juxta patrem meum.
Item volo quod Ricardus Bochere de Ryssheden habeat
omnia terras et tenementa que et quas in villa de Heigham
Ferrers habeo seu quovismodo habere potero. Item lego
Rectori de Colmord antedicta xx d. Item lego domino

In the name of God, Amen. I, Roger Benetheton,
chaplain of Colmworth, in the county of Bedford, diocese
of Lincoln, being whole in mind, do make my will on the
last day of the month February, in the year of our Lord
1438 [27 Feb. 1439] in this wise.

Firstly, I bequeath my soul to God, the Blessed Mary,
and All Saints, and my body to be buried in the Ceme-
tery of St. Denys of Colmworth, next to my father. I
will that Richard Bochere, of Rushden, have all lands
and tenements which I hold, or by any means might hold
in the vill of Higham Ferrars. I bequeath to the Rector
of Colmworth aforesaid xx d. I leave to Dom. William
Newman xii d. I leave to every priest present at my


Willelmo Newman xij d. Item lego cuilibet presbitero
existenti ad meas exequias et ad missam vj d. et
ad missam tantum iiij d. Item lego Priori de Bysshemede
ij s et cuilibet eanonico venienti ad mea funeralia xij d.
Item lego pro custodibus bonorum ecclesie de Colmord
predicte meum Processionarium. Item lego ad lumen
sepulcri iij s. Item ad torteas xij d. Item ad foreton (sic)
xij d. Item pro duabus tunicis (sic) ad ilium vestimentis,
vel cum melius videatur ordinantibus (sic) ad aliud opus
ecclesie necessarium xiij s. iiij d. Item ad fratres Bedford
x s. Item ad fratres Carmelit' Cantabrig' x s. Item
ad lumen circa meum foreton iij It. cere. Item
cuilibet commoranti ville (sic) viij d. Item Johanni Scott
viij d. Item cuilibet virgini infra dictam villain de Col-
mord habili maritari xij d. Item cuilibet venienti ad mea
funeralia j d. Item ad sustentacionem pontis Bedford
iij s. iiij d. Item ad edificationem pontis Sancti Neoti iij s.
iiij d. Item ad opus ecclesie de Heigham Ferrers vj s.
viij d. Item Gerardo Nicoll de Etona xij d. Item Thome

exequies and at the Mass vi d., if at the Mass alone iiii d.
I bequeath to the Prior of Bushmead ii s., and to each
canon who shall come to my funeral xii d. I bequeath
to the wardens of the goods of the Church of Colmworth
aforesaid my Processionary. I leave to the Sepulchre
Light iii s., for torches xii d., for the bier xii d., for two
palls to drape it, or as may seem best to those in authority
for other necessary work of the church, xiii s. iiii d. To
the Friars of Bedford x s. To the Carmelite Friars of
Cambridge, x s. For candles round my bier, iii lbs. of
wax. To each inhabitant of the vill, viii d. To John
Scott, viii d. To every maid in the said vill of Colmworth
fit for wedlock, xii d. To every man who may come to
my funeral, i d. For the upkeep of the bridge of Bed-
ford, iii 5-. iiii d. To the building of the bridge of St.
Neot, iii s. iiii d. For the work of the Church of Higham
Ferrers, vi s. viii d. To Gerard Nicoll of Eton xii d. To


Inde (?) aquebajulo vj d. Item Johanni fratri ejusdem
xij d. Item Thome Merlyn, xij d. Item Johanni filio
Thome Clopton xij d. Item Alicie filie Johannis Chambl'
xijd. Item volo quod residuum bonorum meorum execu-
toribus meis disponantur prout eis videatur anime mee
melius expedire. Huius autem testamenti constituo
executores Dominum Walterum Newman, et Johannem
Newman le Bocher de Colmord predicta. Hiis testibus
Thoma Clopton, Ricardo Aldred, Johanne Merlyn, jun.
Dat apud Colmord supradicta die et anno supradicto.

Thomas [? Inde], holy-water carrier, vi d. To John his
brother xii d. To Thomas Merlyn, xii d. To John, son
of Thomas Clopton, xii d. To Alice, daughter of John
[ ? Chambler], xii d. I will that the residue of my goods be
disposed by my executors as may seem best to them for
the profit of my soul. And as executors of this my will I
make Dom. Walter Newman and John Newman le Bocher
of Colmworth aforesaid. These being witnesses : Thomas
Clopton, Richard Aldred, John Merlyn, jun. Given at
Colmworth aforesaid on the day and year aforesaid.

Note. — Enrolled on Maunday Thursday (die Cene
next before Easter, 17 Hen. vi.) April 2, 1439, on the
Court Rolls of Higham Ferrers, and still preserved in
Higham Ferrers Town Hall. — John Benetheton, of Wol-
laston, a neighbouring village, was Vicar of Higham
Ferrers from 30 January, 1387-8 to 1404.




[Prefatory Note. — This collection of deeds, which
is in the possession of Mr. Page-Turner, should be of
great interest to the historian of Elstow. It is somewhat
unusual in the number preserved for a single property,
and in the period of more than a century which it covers.

To those unacquainted with the conveyances of the
period, one or two points perhaps require a word of ex-
planation. One of these is the method of defining the
arable land which was to be conveyed by the deed. Since
such land was held, as a rule, in strips of a rood, a half
acre, or an acre, scattered over the Open Fields, and not
in closes or hedged fields, each strip is defined by the
ownership of the strips north and south (or east and west)
of it, and by the name of the field, road, or other recognis-
able land on which it ' abutted ' at one end of the furrows.
Another point is the often recurring phrase, ' to be holden
of the chief lord of the fee by the services due and of
right accustomed,' or similar words. This is a reminis-
cence of a much older social system. In early times the
lord of a manor held his land from such a tenant-in-chief
of the Crown. as Beauchamp of Bedford, on condition that
he rendered ' Knight Service.' (See B.H.R.S. articles on
this subject). But after that actual service in the field
had been commuted for a money payment or scutage,


when the lord of the manor parted with some of his land,
the land was sold burdened with its proportional share of
this payment or other service, due to the chief lord, and
termed forinsic service ; to such service the phrase refers.

Another interesting echo of earlier times, a relic of
villanage, is seen in No. xvii ; by this deed a work-rent is
still exacted, — a day's labour in harvest time to be done
by an able-bodied man, finding his own food.

The Bunyans mentioned in Nos. xliii, xliv, 1, li, liii,
are Thomas Bunyan, described as ' brazier,' and as ' petty
chapman,' and Anne his second wife, widow of John Bid-
kin of Elstow, the grandfather and step-grandmother of
the famous John Bunyan.

There is still room for discussion as to the proper
medieval spelling of Elstow, in which the evidence of
these deeds is not without weight, (i) Domesday Book
undoubtedly gives the name as Elnestou (D.B. Facsimile,
p. xvii., col. i.) ; but it is admitted that the Norman scribes
who took down from oral information barbarous and un-
familiar Saxon names, and then copied their notes into
D.B., frequently blundered over place-names; their
evidence therefore, though weighty, is not finally conclu-
sive, (ii.) In reading documents of the xiith to the xviith
century, a constant difficulty is met in deciding whether a
certain letter is intended to be n or u ; most scribes merely
made two ' minim ' strokes, taking for granted that the
reader knew the name, and could be in no doubt between
the two letters. Starting with the Domesday form, the
transcribers of the Record Commission, followed by prac-
tically all later transcribers, have taken the two minims to
represent n, and have printed the medieval name as Elne-
stowe or Alnestowe, though it can as easily be read Elue-
stowe or Aluestowe. [The initials A and E had nearly
same sound, coming from Anglo-Saxon JE]. (iii.) With
the usual human desire to find explanations for names,
grew up from the supposed form Elnestowe a legend


that the Abbey of Elstow had been dedicated to St.
Helen, and that the place name meant Helen's Stow.
The Abbey was, however, undoubtedly dedicated to St.
Mary the Virgin, but the question is complicated by the
fact that there actually was a chapel dedicated to St.
Helen in the churchyard of Elstow (V.C.H., Beds., i, 354),
as early as the xivth century. The late Professor Skeat
pointed out (Place Names of Bedfordshire : Publ. Camb.
Antiq. Soc, xlii, 45) that the genitive case could never
be Elnes, Alnes, or Aunes at an early date, and we may
dismiss any prejudice in favour of the form Elnestowe on
the score of the Saint, (iv.) We now come to the evidence
of these deeds. Except as an initial, the letter v is rarely
written in medieval deeds, and its sound is represented by
u before a vowel. But when, in the hand commonly
used for such deeds, the letter v came to be written in the
middle of a word at a period embraced by the later deeds
of this collection (1589 and onwards), we seem at once to
get the form Elvestowe. It is not likely that the sound of
the name changed suddenly from Elnestowe to Elvestowe,
so it seems probable that the real medieval form was Elue-
stowe or Aluestowe, not Elnestowe or Alnestowe, which
as a matter of fact would more likely have been shortened
to Enstow.

Professor Skeat in his studies of county place-names
generally accepted the transcriptions of the Record Com-
mission and Rolls Office without criticism; he started,
therefore, with the assumption that Elnestowe was the
medieval form, from which he deduced a hypothetical
iElfnothes-stow. I am not enough of an Anglo-Saxon
scholar to dare to offer an alternative explanation, but it
is easy to see that less strained Anglo-Saxon derivations
than this are possible. The matter is still open for fur-
ther dispute, but with the concurrence of Mr. Page- Turner
the form Eluestowe has been adopted in this volume. —



1553 Oct. 20. — To all to whom, &c. William
Jurdari of Eluestowe, gent., & William Jurdan of same,
yeoman, for divers considerations sell to Robert Thornton
of Bedford, draper, 4 acres of land lying & being in
Eluestowe, Of which 4 acres one acre lies in 2 parcels
in Westmead field, lying above the cultivation
called Westmead furlong ; one half acre between the
land lately in the tenure of George Wauton, gen.,
on the west & the land of William Watson called
Sextens land on the east, abutting on the way
leading towards Ampthill, on the north ; another half
acre lying above that cultivation between the land late in
the tenure of Thomas Rew on the west & the land of

on the east, abutting on 2 acres of the aforesaid 4

acres lying in another field of Eluestow called Harburgh
bushneld viz. half an acre lying above Harburgh bush fur-
long, between the land of the said William Jurdan on the
east and the land of the Lady Queen late in the tenure of
John Hayes on the west, abutting towards the north on the
common way called Harburgh bush way ; half an acre
lying in the midst of a cultivation between the land of
Thomas Bonyon on the west and of the said lady Queen
on the east ; 2 selions containing one acre lying above
Cockerell Crosse furlong between the land of the lady
Queen on the west and the land of the said William
Jurdan on the easi abutting towards the south upon
Shortbrampton ; and one acre remaining of the aforesaid
4 acres lies in 2 parcels in Sharpshed Field viz : half an
acre lies above the cultivation near Kenston Cross [?
Kempston], between the land of the Lady Queen late in
the tenure of William Cole on the north and the land in
the tenure of William Batson called Sextens land on the
south, abutting towards the west on a way called Cam-
bridge way ; and another half acre lying in the same held
above the cultivation called - - - - between the land of
Elizabeth Ardes widow on the north and the land of the
Lady Queen in the tenure of Willm. [ ] on the south ;

ELSTOW DEEDS : 1559-1563 9

to have and to hold the said 4 acres to the aforesaid
Robert Thornton for ever in chief, &c.

Witnesses : — Edward Herry, Esq., Willm.

Woliner, Robert Willinson, Thomas

Howes Scriptor, & others.


1559 June 10. — Indenture between John Catell of
Luton husbandman, brother of William Catlyn, late of
Eluestowe, one of the executors of the last will and testa-
ment of the said W.C. ; and Edmund Charlton of
Bigleswade yeoman brother-in-law of the said W.C,
another executor of the said will of the one part : and John
Jordan of Bedford husbandman of the other part. The
aforesaid executors according to the authority to them given
by act of parliament of 30 Hen. viii. for the sum of £13
sell to John Jordan all those 13 acres of land in Eluestowe
which the aforesaid W.C. late bought of Richard Jordan
his brother-in-law lying particularly & sunderly divided in
Eluestowe to the use of the said J. J. his heirs and assigns,
&c, &c.



1563 June 10. — Indentr. made .... Betwene John
Catell of luton in the Countye of Beds husbond-
man brother of William Catlyn [sic] late of
Eluestowe in ye County aforseid & one of the
executors of the testament conc'nyng thereyn The
last Will of ye same Willyam and Edmund Charlton
of Bigleswade in the seid County yoman Brother in
lawe vnto the same William & one other of the executors
of the forseid testament conc'nyng theryn the last Will of
the same William on theone p'ty and John Jordan of the
Towne of Bedford in the seid County husbondman on the

10 ELSTOW DEEDS : 1563

oy' p'tye Witnesseth that the forseid executors for & to-
wards the p'formannce of the seid testament cone 'nyng
theryn the seid last Wyll of the forseid Willia' accordyng
to the auctoryte theryn gevyn by acte of p'lyment made in
the xxxv yere of the late regne of Kynge Henry the viij
for ye some of xiij pounds of lawfull money of England to
the seid executors before thensealyng of thes p'sents well
& truly pawde haue b'gayned & sold gevyn & grannted &
by thes p'sents b'gayne & sell geve & grannte vnto the
forseid John Jordan & to his heirs & assigns for euer all
those xiij acres of land in Eluestowe aforseid whiche the
forseid William Catlyn late Bought of Richerd Jordan his
Brother in lawe lying p'ticlarly & sunderly devyded in ye
pyshe of Eluestowe aforseid. To haue & to hold all
& sing'ler the forseid xiij acres of land with their
app'tenn'ces vnto ye forseid John Jordan his heirs &
assigns for euer to the vse of ye same John Jordan his heirs
& assigns And the seid John Catell & Edmond Charlton
couenn'ten & grannten by thes p'sents for theym & their
executors & admynystrators to & with the seid John Jordan
& with his heirs that they ye same John Catell & Edmond
Charlton as executors of ye forseid testament conc'nyng
theryn the last Wyll of ye forseid William Catlyn haue ful
power & lawfull auctoryte by the seid acte of p'lyament to
b'gayne sell & grannte the seid xiij acres of land vnto ye
forseid John Jordan & to his heirs & assigns in man' &
forme aboveseid also the seid John Catell & Edmond
Charlton Couenn'ten & graunten by thes p'sents for theym
their executors & admynistrators to & with the forseid John
Jordan & with his heirs that they the forseid John Catell &
Edmond Charlton & ther heirs shall p'cure & suffre to be
doen all & ev'y suche acte & acts thynge & thyngs att all
tymes hereaft' as shalbe reasonably devysed or advysed by
the seid John Jordan his heirs or lernyd Counsel! in the
lawe for the further & more better & p'fecte assuraunce &
such makyng in the lawe of ye seid xiij acres of land vnto
ye same John Jorden & to his heirs the same assuraunce to
be had & made atthe costs & charges in the lawe of the

ELSTOW DEEDS : 1564 11

same John Jorden or his heirs. In Witnesse wherof ye
p'ties aboveseid interchaungeably to thes p'sents haue sett
their sealis yevyn the day & yere firste above written.

" Edmd. Charlton."



1564 May 14. — Know all men present and to come
that we Thomas Wake of Eluestowe in the count v of Bed-
ford butcher and Elizabeth my wife for the sum of 16s. . . .
paid by one George Wawton of Eluestowe . . . gent, have
. . . sold ... to the same George Wawton one acre of arable
land ... in the Field of Eluestowe above the furlong
called lyttel marshe alias knolforlong next the land called
lyttel marshe leye late of the dissolved monastery of Elue-
stowe lately in the tenure of Henry Ballard on the west side
and the land late of the dissolved Chantry of Eluestowe
aforesaid on the east side and on the north head abutts to-
wards Cokalyns crosse wey which said acre of land I . . .
Thomas Wake lately held . . . for the benefit and use of me
the aforesaid Thomas Wake my heirs and assigns by the
gift and concession of a charter of confirmation of William
Edwardes of Wilshamsted in the said county of Bedford
husbandman as by a certain charter of feoffment of the said
William Edwards thence to me drawn up dated at Elue-
stowe aforesaid 21 December 2 of Elizabeth [1559] as
more plainly . . . appears To have and to hold the afore-
said acre of arable land with the appurtenances to the same
George Wawton his heirs and assigns for ever for the
benefit and use of the same George Wawton his heirs and
assigns holding by the rent of 2d. a year and the service of
the chief Lord of that fee due and of right accus-
tomed And I truly the aforesaid Thomas Wake and my
heirs by these presents warrant and defend for ever
against all people to the aforesaid George Wawton his
heirs and assigns for the use of the said George Walton

12 ELSTOW DEEDS : 1577-8

(sic) his heirs and assigns all the aforesaid acre of arable
land In Witness whereof to this present deed we have
placed our hands and seals Dated at Eluestowe afore-
said 14 May the 6 of Elizabeth (1564).

The marks of Thomas and Elizabeth Wake.

Endorsed : " These being present at the time of the
delivery of the within written acre of land the day and
month within mentioned: — Thomas Purney, senior,
Rege - - Casse, Anthony Ballard, John Jurdan, William
Ballard, Nycholas Wolmer, John Purier, junior, Nycholas
a Lyney, George W T addop, Jamys Gyll, Bartilmey
fflawnders, Henry Casse, John Smythe with many others.


1577-8 Jan. 3. — To all the faithful in Christ, &c.
Henry Cartwright of Bedford gent, in pursuance of a cer-
tain agreement made between him the said H. C. of the one
part and John Thodye of Renhold husbandman of the other
part of even date herewith sells to the said J. T. all that his
messuage &c. in Eluestowe lately in the tenure of one John
Graves and lately in the tenure of one William Collyns of
Eluestowe abutting on the west on a small venell formerly
called Goldington lane and on the south thence upon a road
leading towards Kempston and also certain other lands in
Eluestowe Cotes Kempston Wilshampsteed and Car-
dington and also 9 acres of arable land in the parishes and
feelds of Eluestowe Kempston and Hardwick which he
lately held by a certain charter of confirmation from one
George Waddoppe of Eluestow & Elizabeth his wife dated
10 Jan. 1576-7 and also 7 roods of arable land in the fields
of Eluestowe which he lately held by a certain charter of
confirmation from Robert Emerson of Eluestowe dated 20
June 1566 holding in chief of the lord of that fee by ser-
vice thence due & of right accustomed.

*& j

by me Henry Cartwright."

ELSTOW DEEDS : 1583-1589 13

Witnesses : — Henry Ireland, Robert Hytche,
Robert Pettytt, Thomas Harvard, William
Thodye & John Hytche son of the said
Robert Hytche.


1583 Sept. 9. — To all true Christian people to whom
these present shall come to be seen read heard or under-
stood John Kendall of Eluestowe plumber sendeth

Whereas one William Walton late of Eluestowe
gent, by indenture of lease dated 7 May 1578 demised
unto the said John Kendall one messuage in Eluestowe
late William Benson's, together with the garden & croft
thereto adjoining, and also half an acre of arable land ad-
joining the said croft, except and always reserved unto one
William Fletcher of Eluestowe one chamber under the
stairs during the term of his natural life to have and to
hold to the said J. K. for the term of 15 years yielding and
paying to the said W. W. 14s. per ann. at Lady Day and
Michaelmas so long as the said Fletcher shall live and
after his death the yearly rent of 15s. Now know ye that
I the said J. K. in consideration of the sum of 45s. 8d. to
me paid by William Radwell do hereby sell to him all my
estate and title and term of years yet to come, &c, &c.

The mark of John Kendall.

Witnesses : — John Metheringham, the

writer, John Wright of Eluestowe, tailor,

and others.


1589 May 3. — To all the faithful in Christ, &c.
Thomas Stratton of Trumpington in co. Cambs. husband-
man and John Stratton of Baldock co. Herts, husbandman

14 ELSTOW DEEDS : 1593-4

send greeting. Whereas Thomas Stratton formerly of
Houghton Conquest husbandman deceased, father of the
said Thomas and John, by his last will and testament
dated 30 Sept. 1564 inter alia gave & bequeathed to Joane
his wife all his free lands for life and that after the decease
of the said Joanne all the aforesaid lands remained to us
the aforesaid Thomas and John their heirs and assigns for
ever (which said Joanne is defunct). Be it known that we
the aforesaid Thomas and John Stratton in consideration
of the sum of ^16 10s. od. to us paid by Thomas Cran-
fielde of Elvestowe alias Elstowe husbandman by this
our deed sell to him one half acre of arable land formerly
belonging to Thomas Stratton our father lying in the field
of Elvestowe above Longeland, between the land of the
Lady Queen on the one part stretching from the highway
towards the stream called Elstowe brook. To have and
to hold the said half acre of land to the aforesaid Cran-
field for ever in chief of the lord of that fee for the service

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryBedfordshire Historical Record Society. cnPublications of the Bedfordshire historical record society (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 17)