Francis Bacon Trowbridge.

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all worked over and placed in the pavement of the side aisles, and nearly all so worn down
by passing over them as to be entirely defaced. On one the letters TROW on one side
was distinct, but nothing else could be deciphered. The slab appeared to have been cut in
two, or reduced to couform in width to the rest of the pavement. I think this was our
ancestor's slab, but there is nothing certain about it. After spending as long a time in
and about the church as was desirable. I inquired about the wardens, and where the
active or leading one lived. I found he was the editor of the Taunton paper, and not far
off, and so went in search of him, and luckily found him at home and sent up my card.
He soon made his appearance. I immediately told him I was a direct descendant from
Thomas Trowbridge, whose good deed was recorded in stone in St. Mary's. He seemed
much pleased to see me, and at once spoke of the charity as conferring a blessing annually
upon the poor. I. of course, was all anxiety to know about it, so he brought out the
book headed TrouJiridge CharUy. in which the annual receipt and distribution is recorded
and balanced. There has never, from the day of Thomas' death, been a failure to distrib-
ute the annual income according to the spirit of the will, but not always to the letter.
For a long time the shillings were given to the poor without calling them together in the
church, as the will directs ; but Mr. May, the present acting warden, and for many years
past, a man of about your age and size, and with just your love and veneration for the
past, determined to restore the former usage in exact conformity to the will, and did so;
so that now, on St. Thomas' day, 'the poorest, oldest, most honest and impotent poor'
of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen are assembled at the church, except such as could
not, when divine service is held and a sermon preached to them, previous to which each
one receives a shilling ticket, and at the close receives from the rector a shilling on
presenting the ticket, 'when the donor's name is mentioned and the poor put in mind to
thank God for his mercy.' The day is wholly given up to this distribution. Mr. May
says it is a most pleasing duty, and would have gratified me beyond measure to have
witnessed the last distribution, 21st of December, and regretted exceedingly he did not
know I was so near, so as to have invited me to it. He says there are always more
applicants than the fund will supply. Many were eighty years of age, hardly any below
fifty, who participate. Any surplus remaining over is given in loaves of bread to the
most deserving, in addition to the shilling piece. But a still greater good results from the
charity than the temporal relief. It is that these aged and impotent poor who are
prevented from attending church, perhaps for the whole year, on this day hear the Gospel
preached, expressly adapted to them, and under the most impressive circumstances, as it
comes with the charit.v which warms and feeds them. The charity is one of five of a
similar character, but is the largest, and yielding now £20. Of course I was all anxiety
to see the land, which I learned was about a mile from town. So Mr. May, leaving the
rector with whom he was engaged, got into the carriage and drove with me to it. The
day was beautiful, a bright sun shining, and as we halted in front of the lot, I thought I
never saw so fair a field. The largest of the two fields contains five acres, and very
similar to our large lot on the hill, except it rises gently from the highway, instead of
receding. It is surrounded with a hawthorn hedge, one half in grass and half in cultiva-
tion. From an old oak in the center of the lot, I gathered some dry leaves which
entwined it, one of which I send you. The oak is old enough to have sheltered our
progenitor from the noon day sun, as he walked over his beautiful field. From the
center I cut a small rod, which I have in a box, and will endeavor to carry safe to you,
so that there may be a marriage of the lands of tfte Thomas of 1014 and the Thomas of
1860. The other lot is separated from the one first visited by a strip of land, contains
one acre, also lying on the highway. Both are precisely as they were when the will was
made in 1614, in bounds and metes.

"Is it not strange that a charity founded by will, more than two hundred and forty-five
years ago, at that time so insignificant, should have continued, unimpaired, and at this
day shedding a fourfold blessing upon the poor, and for that space of time the land
remained in the same use as when the donor lived? I could not but think, as the warden
described the joy of the poor in listening to the religious services, and afterwards, with
tears, receiving their share of the good man's bestowment, that in him his descendants
had been blessed. Mr. Jlay said he was glad to have a descendant to render his account
to, and made a copy of his last account, 1858. (That of 1859 was not closed in the
parish book.) I send you a copy of it :







April 29, to cash to Messrs.
French for half year's rent to
Lady Day last £7 10

Nov. 4, do. to Michaelmas last,

Deo. 20, do. to Downing Blake
Esq., one year's rent to Michael-
mas last 5

7 10



By stamps, postage, £0

Purcha.sing .500 cards

Dec. 20, to incomo nlldwcMl .Mr.


Doc. 21, distribution at St.

Mary's Church 17

Cash to wardens of St. .lauies' 2



"Mr. May said the charge for tickets only occurred once in several years. It is for the
sliilling ticket given to the poor before the service, which they present at the close for
the shilling. By the number you may judge of the number of applicants. I have run
hastily over the items, but have given you enough to show you that your honored
ancestor's will has been faithfully carried out, and will be for centuries to come, thereby
showing how much encouragement there is for us all to leave a blessing upon unborn

Mr. Thomas Trowbridge died in Taunton, February 20, 1619-20. By tlie
provisions of his will, made in the preceding July, and proved May following,
his large property was divided between his children, grandchildren, relatives,
friends and dependents, his only son, John Trowbridge, being the residuary
legatee and sole executor.

Will of Thomas Trowbridge of Taunton.
"In the name of God. Amen. The sixth daye of Julye, in the yeare of o"- Lord god 1010
and m the Seaventeenth yeare of the Rigne of or Soverigne Lorde James, by the grace of
God. Kuige of Englande, France and Ireland, Defender of the favthe. And of Scotlande,
the Two and fiftyethe. I, Thomas Trowbridge of Taunton in the County of Somersett
Jlerchant ttaylor. beinge sicke in bodye, but of perfect memory, thank'es be giuen to
.\lmighty god, doe hearby make and declare this my Will, thereby makinge my last will
& testament in manner followinge. Inprimis I comitt my soule into the hands of
.Vlmighty god, trustinge to be saved by the merrittes. Death, and passion of my onely
and alisufhcient saviour Jesus Christ, and by noe other wayes or meanes whatsoever.
And my bodye to the earth, from whence it was taken, in sure and certayne hope of a
joyfull resurrection, at the last daye. And my desire is to be buried in," or neare the
sepulchre of my late beloved wife, in the parish Church of Marye Magdalen, in Taunton.
And for my worldly goods, wherew"i the Lorde hath blessed mee, my will, intent, and
meaninge is, that the same should be ymployed. and bestowed in manner, and forme
following. Item I glue and bequeath vnto soe many of the Children of my sonne .Tohn
Trowbridge, w* shall be livinge at the tyme of my decease, to each of them Teiuie
pounds. And my further will and meaninge is. that if any of my said sonnes Children
as aforesaid, shall depte this lyfe, before such childe or children shall accomplish the age
of One and twenty yeares (not beinge married) That then the porc'ons to him. her, or
them, soe giuen and bequeathed, shalbe equally divided amongst the rest of the Children
survivinge. Item I giue and bequeath nnto Thomas Trowbridge my Nephewe. the three
greate Chestes in the Shoppe, sixe greate ringes boxes, one case of smale boxes, one
fayre glasse boxe, with all the Shelfes in the shoppe. The greate Spruse cheste in the
hall, one Table borde, and forme in the hall, one Cupborde, one Rounde boarde. one
skreene in the hall, w<ii all the seilinge. and heuchinge. and boards vnderfeete in the
hall. Twelve platters in the Buttery, wth sixe Caiidle-stickes. one Ba.son and Ewer, The
Chayre in the hall, and all other thinges belonginge to the hall. Item I giue, and
bequeath vnto my Kinswoman Joane Parry,* the wife of Stephen Parrye, gent, the square
wroughte table boarde, and frame, standinge in the Dyninge chamber, and the Carpett
wroughte w"i copper, and cruell, belonginge to it, the Cypers Cheste in the Rayne
Chamber, the Bedsteade, wherein I lye, in the Rayne Chamber, performed wth Featherbed,
Boulster, pillowes, the seconde best Coverlett, and Curtaynes and sheets, my best quilt,
salte, the eleaven silver spoones. wt'> rounde knobbes, and the newest warmiuge jianne.
Item I giue and bequeath vnto JInrthn Webbe. Agnes Webbe, and .Mice Webbe. daughters
of Benedict Webbe, and Alice his late wife my daughter, to each of them the some of

* Her maiden name was not found.


Tenne pounds. And my fui-ther will, intent, and meaninge is, That yf any or eyther of
them shall departe this life before such childe, or children shall accomplish the age of
one and twenty yeares, (not beinge married) That then all such porc'ous of them, or
eyther of them soe dyinge, and formerly given, and bequeathed, shall remaine to the
survivor or survivors, amongst them equally to be divided. Item 1 giue and bequeath
vnto Franncis and Marye Godsall, the daughters of Robert Godsall, and Dorothie his late
wife my daughter, to each of them the sum of Tenne pounds. And my further will and
meaninge is, if eyther of them shoulde departe this life, before .she shall accomplish the
age of one and twenty yeares, not beinge married. That then the porc'on soe bequeathed
vnto her shall remaine vnto the survivor. Item I giue and bequeath vnto my Cosen
Joaue Pratten,* the wife of Thomas Pratten of Tauuton, the some of Forty shillinges,
and to each of her Children w* shall be livinge at the tyme of my death Twenty
shillinges apeece. Item I giue and bequeath vnto Mr. Richard Mercer, Schoolemr of the
Castle schoole, in Taunton, Forty shillinges. Item I giue and bequeath vnto Mr.
Richarde Davies, Minister of St. James, the some of Forty shillinges. Item I giue and
bequeath vnto Margery Wrentmore my late servant, the some of Three pounds. Item I
giue and bequeath vnto Elizabeth Webber, the some of Three pounds. Item I giue and
bequeath vnto Roberte Andrewes my servant, the some of Three pounds. Item I giue
and bequeath vnto .loane Parry my servant, the some of Three pounds. Item I giue
and bequeath vnto Elizabeth Harris my servant, the some of Three pounds. All the
rest of my goodes and chattelles, moneable and vnmoueable, my debtes paide, and
Legacies, and funerall discharged, I giue and bequeath vnto my beloved Sonne John
Trowbridge, whome I make, ordaiue, and appointe the sole Executor of this my last will
and testament, thereby revokinge, renouncinge and repealinge all other will or willes
hearetofore made. And I doe most earnestly intreate my welbeloved freinds John Clarke,
& Doctor of Divinity, and Lewes Pope, to bee my Overseers, to see this my last will and
testament to be pformed in all thinges accordinge to my true intent and meaninge. And
for their paines and travell therein to be taken, I giue vnto each of them the some of
Forty shillinges. And for the better assurannce of all the p'mises, I haue pronounced,
divulged, and declared this to be my last will & testament, and haue subscribed my name
therevnto, and sealed it wtl> my seale, the daye and yeare aboue written, in the presence
of those, whose names are vndersubscribed. This will was sealed, signed, delivered, and
published as his last will, in the presence of vs, John Goodwyn, George Randall, Lewes
Pope, Robert Mockridge, John Wrentmore." Proved May G, 1(320. [Prerogative Court
of Canterbury, Soame, 45.]

Satisfactory proof of the ancestry of Thomas Trowbridge has not been found.
He had a brother wlio had a son Thomas, for he mentions the latter in liis wilh
He may have been a brother of William Trowbridge of Taunton, whose will, made
in 1575, mentions liis "brother Thomas Trowbridge," as if the latter were well
linown. John, son of Thomas, afterwards named a son William. Thomas or
William was probably the father of William, Agnes and Thomasine Trowbridge,
baptized in St. Mary Magdalen, Taunton, in 1564, 1567 and 1569, respectively.

The name of the wife of Mr. Thomas Trowlwidge was not found. As is stat«d
in his will, she died before him and was buried in St. Mary Magdalen Church.
They had the following


i. Alice, bapt. June 24, l!i68; m. Benedict Webb of Kingswood, Wiltshire.

ii. John. bapt. Mar. 25, 1570. (See next paragraph.)

iii. DoKOTHY, bapt. , 15 — ; m. Sept. 22, 1594, Robert Godsall of Taunton.

John Trowbridge, only son of Thomas Trowbridge, seems to have resided all
his life in Taunton, where from early youth he was in business as a woolendraper.
As his father's heir, he became at the latter's death the chief Trowbridge in
Taunton, and was a man of wealth and prominence. In middle age he was elected
mayor of the town, ajd appears to have been conscientious in performing the
duties of that office. He was for many years one of the wardens of St. Mary

* Her maiden name was not found. The Parish Register of St. Mary Magdalen records the
marriage July 13. l.jSS, of "Thomas Pratten and Joane t'xor ejus."

t Mentioned in their lather's will. The baptisms of i and ii are recorded in the Parish
Register of St. Mary Magdalen, Taunton.


Magdalen Church and was also a member of the board of trustees of the alms-
house which had been founded in 1615 by Eichard Huish, Esq., of London and
was one of the important institutions of Taunton. The followin-;: documents
refer to Mayor John Trowbridge and his family.

November 22, 1G13. "Bill of Complaint of .Tohn Trowbridge of Taunton, county
Somerset, wollen draper that .Tohn Rolle late of Stevenston, county Devon, gent and
Margaret his wiffe about December in the 9th year of the late QueenElizabcth did lease
to Richard Starre, Edmond Starre and Elizabeth Starre, wife of the said Richard
Starre three Burgages then in occupation of William Scoryer, deceased, for a terme of
.3 lives at a yearly rent of 20s. with the condition that if the said Richard Edmoud and
Elizabeth or one of them during their lives did dwell from the premises and there in did
not make theire continuall abode that the said John Rolle and Margaret or their heirs
re-enter, also to collect all rents, etc, and pay same quarterly etc after which tyme said
.Tohn and Margarett died and the lands descended to Sir Henry Rolle. Tvnt, sou of said
.Tohn and Margaret, which said .Tohn, Richard. Edmond and Elizabeth Starre being
growne into some poverty ordered the tenants of his Burgages (except the aforesaid
three) not to pay their rents as before to the Starres, but to one Simon Ivingston of
Bishopp Lyddard, county Somerset, yeoman whom he appointed his Bayliffe and after-
wards gave licence to Richard Starre (who is yet living I to assign his" interest in the
three messuages to said Simon Kingston, etc and about the 7th year of the present king,
said Richard Starre demised the same for 60 years if he so long should live unto which"
said Simon entered untill now within two y^ars at 20s to be paid yearly to Richard
Edmond and Elizabeth Starre But so it now is that said ICingston being much in debt
he entreated your orator to buy of him his interest in the three Burgages which he did
about the 3rd of April last — but on the ground that Richard Starre dwells from the
same Sir Henry Rolle instituted process at Westminster to re-enter," etc. Answer of
Sr. Henry Rolle Knt. Defendant November 30, 1613. "The Burgages in North Street.
Richard Starre has lived away three years from the Burgages without Sr. Henry's
licence." Prays the suit may be dismissed. A further answer. A third answer, etc.
[Chancery Proceedings, Mitford, 19, no. 88.]

nC21.] "This indenture the 20 .Tanuary in the one and twentieth year of the reign of
the Iving between Benedict Webb of TCingeswood, County Wilts, gent, of the one part
and John Trobridge of Taimton, county Somerset, Woollen draper soune and heir of
Thomas Trobridge, deceased, of the other part witnesseth that said Webb in considera-
tion of £100. by said Thomas Trobridge paid in bis life time as for good causes hath
given and sold unto the said John Trobridge and his heirs all the land and tenement
following that is to say one tenement in Stogwosey. county Somerset, now or late in
tenure or occupation of one .Tohn Cordweut. and eleaven acres in Canington in county
Somerset, late in tenure of one Winter and one peice of land in Cannington

called Jaottes land nowe or late in the tenure of said Winter and also foure closes of
land, meadows and pasture at Claye Walles in said County of Somerset contayning
twenty acres more or lesse : comonly called Hillacres and Langhams now or late in
occupation of one William Day and twenty acres of land and pasture in Spacton in said
County with comon of pasture therevnto belonging nowe or late in tenure of Thomas
Symondes and Robert Covett and one other close called Tuthill in Stogursey now or
late in tenure of said John Cordwent and all other landes, tenements, common weares
fishinges, woode vnderwoodes, etc in said County which one Nicholas Webb late of
Ivingeswoode, deceased, father of said Benedict purchased to him and his heirs of one

John Webbe, late of the Citie of Exon, likewise deceased with all deeds,

writings, etc." [Close Rolls, 21 James I, pte. 21. no. 6.]

November G, 1C2G. "Bill of Complaint of .Tohn Trobridge of Taunton. Somerset, and
Alice his wife, late the wife of Robert Read of Tiverton, county Devon, clothier,
deceased. That the said Robert Read in his life time did vse the trade of Clothier
and bought wool and go to many faires and markets, etc, did often journey to Provost,
Cornwall, to buy and alwa.vs did lodge there at the house of one Nowell Sprye who
was a great gainer by said Reade wlio always paid ready money and died about 4 years
since not being indebted to any person. Administration granted to said Alice and about
two years since married your orator. Sprye now asserts that he lent £15 to said Read
about 15 or 16 years ago for which he possesses a bond. Said Read bestowed at his
death near £500 to pious uses. To gain his unjust purpose said Nowell Sprye combines
with one Richard Sprye and one Constance Sprye of Provost and secretly prosecuted
your orator John Trowbridge to an outlaw [sic] for the debts and compelled him to give


security which lip had to pay." Praying Sprye shall return this. "Answer of Nowell
Sprye Defendant." Statement of account. "Answer of Richard Sprye and Constance
his wife." Mrs. Hartnoll of Tiverton mentioned. [Chancery Proceedings, Charles I,
T. 43, no. 45.]

June 19. 1G29. "Bill of Complaint of .Tohn Trobridge of Taunton, Somerset, woollen
draper being six yeares ago seized in a parcell of land called Raw Morris or Rawe
Marshe in the parish of Cannington, Somerset then in tenure of John Colford and before
in tenure of John Jenkins, which for certain sums complainant agreed to convey to said
John Colford who pretending to doubt the title obtained the deeds of all lands bought by
your orator from his brother in law, Benedict Webb. Now complainant having sold
part of the land to one .Tohn Mallet and others, cannot obtain his deeds desires relief."
[Chancery Proceedings, Charles I, Mitford, S9, no. 290.]

January 1, 1G30. "Bill of Complaint of John Trowbridge of Taunton, co Somerset,
Draper. Whereas one Richard Hu.yshe of Blackeffryers in London gent not long before
his death did found an hospitall in Taunton Magdalen and appointed yor orator one of
his Execntor.s and trustees for said hospital. Yo'' orator having expended divers somes
of money for sayd hospitall or almeshouse.s now claims payment," etc. [Chancery Pro-
ceeding.s, Charles I, B & A, T 5, 17.]

May 6, 1030. "Bill of Complaint of John Trobridge, the elder of Taunton, Somerset,
gent, now ;\Iayor of same, the Trustees of certain lands etc. left for the poor.
William Hill of Ponnsford, gent, Somerset, Roger Prowse, gent. Andrewe Hendley,
gent, William Lestand or Lechlend, gent. Robert Hill, gent, Anthony Rowse, gent,
Hughe Godsall, Phillip Lissent. the elder, Richard Saunders, Thomas Chicke, Hugh
Hill, Hugh Pitcher, Roger Hill, Jasper Chaplen, Thomas Hester, Robert Moggeridge,
Henry Godsall and Peter Godwine." [Chancery Proceedings, Charles I, Mitford, T 30,

October 1. 1030. "Bill of Comjilaint of John Trowbridge of Taunton in the County of
Somersett the elder, gentleman nowe Mayor of the towne and P.urrough of Taunton,
Richard Pittes. Edward Cooper. Charles Withers. John Button. Henry West, Edward
Webber and other inhabitants of the said towne. Concerninge lands given for the use
of the poor, the rents of which and writings are detained by the trustees. William
Hill of Ponnsford, Somerset, gent, Roger Prowse, gent, Andrewe Henley, gent. William
Lechlande, gent, Robert Hill, gent, Anthony Rowse. gent. Hugh Godsell, Phillip
Lissent the elder, Richard Saunder.s. gent, Peter Godwyne. Thomas Hester, William
Powell, gent, to give the account books, etc. [Chancery Proceedings, Charles I, Mitford,
30, 327.]

December S, 1034. "Answer of Roger Prowse gent, to Bill of John Trobridge gent. &
others complts. That he believes certain lands were given to the inhabitants of Taunton
for use of the poore & other uses, lending money to pore tradesmen without interest
&c., &c., & security for sd. somes was given by bonds w^h the constables & magistrates
of sd. towne used to deliuer &c. about twenty years since a suite concerning one Osmond
Withers concerning tythe of some of sd. towne lands & diners writings &c. concerning sd.
lands were deliu'ed to sd. parties in suite &c. & some after deliu'ed to this deft. & some
to other pties, this Deft, is read.v to give iipp same to chest where others are & hath not
had other bills &c., &c. that 5 yrs. sine received £20 to be lent to pore tradesmen by one
Jlr. William Simons this Deft, then maior & lent same to 4 tradesmen & took bonds for
payment in 3 .years & shortly after deliu'd same to Mr. .John Trowbridge he then maior.
This Deft, hath not made any other leases of sd. towne lands unless ioyned with sd.
John Trowbridge & other defts," etc. [Chancery Proceedings, Charles I, B & A, T
16, 18.]

"Answers of William Hill, gent. & Robert Hill gent. 2 of the Complts to Bill of John
Trowbridge gent. & others Complts. [same suit apparently]. That Roger Hill Esq.
deed., father of ( ) William Hill & Alexander Hill gent, alsoe deed., father of

this deft, were ffeoffes of sd. towne lands & this deft. William Hill after death of his
father Roger Hill & this deft. Robert Hill after death of his father, Alexander Hill,
found some writings &c. & deliu'd same up to complt John Trowbridge," etc.

"Answer of Hugh Pitcher gent. Hugh Godsall gent.. William Lechland gent.. Thomas
Chick, Hugh Hill, Roger Hill gent., Phillip Lissant. the elder. Jesper Chaplin, Thomas
Hester, Robert Mogeridge. Richard Saunders. Henry Godsall. William Powell & Peter
Godwin some of the defts to Bill of John Trowbridge & others Complts." [Chancery
Proceedings, Charles I, B & A, T 17, 57.]


"Will of John Roze the elder of Lyme Regis, county Dorset, Merchant, 11 September
1(127: [proved 1027]. To poor of St. Burlado, Isle of Jersey, where I was born. £10.
To Richard Roze mine only son and hier apparent all my lands in Isle of Jersey, and
John Trowbridge, my son in law, and Judith his wife, my eldest daughter, and Faith and
Johan Roze, my youngest daughters, shall release their claims to my said son. To Fayth
Roze, my wife, £200, and an .-innuity of £1.5 payable by her Brother Anthony Rllesdon,

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