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In wittnes hereof I the saide Sr Thomas Gresham haue written this my last will wth myne owen hand and seatto my seayle The daye and yere aboue written. By me Thomas Gresham.
This is the last will written and dispossicyon of me Sr Thomas Gresham of the Cittie of London knight Concerninge all my mannors Landes tenementes and hereditamentes menc'oned and conteyned in one indenture Quadraparttite maid betwene me the said Sr Thomas Gresham and Dame Anne my wief one thone parttie And Philippe Scuddamore geant' and Thomas Celey on the other parttie, Dattid the Twentith Daye of Maye in the seavententh yere of the Rainge of oure sou’eigne ladie Quene Elizabeth. ffirst concerninge the Billdinges in London called the Royall exchaunge and all pawnes and shopes, Cellors, vautes maseuages tennet' and whatsoeu' mynne hereditamentes persell or adioyninge to the said Royall other exchaunge I will and disposse that after expirac'on and determinacione of the p’ticular vsses, estates and intereast for lyffe and entaill thereof limitted in the saide Indenttor beringe Date the Twentith of Maye I will and disposse that one moyettie thereof shall remaine and the vsse thereof shalbe vnto the maior and Comonalltie and Citezeans of London by whatsoeu’espeassiall name or addicione the same Corporacion is made or knowen and to there Successors for terme of fyveftie yeres then next ensuinge vppon truste or confideans and thentent that the doe perfforme the paymentes and other intentes in theis presseantes hereafter lymitted thereof bye them to be dowen and perfformed. And the other moietie of the saide billdinges called the Royall exchange Pawens Shopes Sellors vawtes messuages tenementes and other myne hereditamentes wth the appartenances therevnto adioyning shall remayen and the vsse thereof shalbe to the wardeans and Comonaltie of the misterie of the me'cers of the Cittie of London, viz. To the Corporat boddye and Corporacione of the Company of mercers in London by whatsoeu’ especiall name or addicione the same Corporacion is made or knowen and to theire Successors for terme of fyvetie yeres next ensewinge vppon truste and Confideans and to thentent that the doe p'forme the paymentes and other intentes in thes p’sseans hereaftir lymitted thereof by them to be done and p’fformed. And I will and disposse that aftir soche tyme as the one moietie of the said Royall exchange and other p’misses accordinge to thentente and meyninge of this p’sseans shall come to the saide maior and Corporacione of the saide City and from thence so longe as they and theire Successors shall by anuye meynnes or tittle haue houlde or enioye the same they and theire Successors eu'ye yere shall geue and distribute to and for the sustentacione maintenance and findding fore p’ssons from tyme to tyme to be chossen nomynattid and apointtid by the saide maior and Comenaltie and Cittizeans and there Successors meate to read the lectures of Devinitie Astronymy Musicke and Geometrye wthin my owen dwellinge howsse in the parisshe of St. Hellyns in Bishopegate streate And in St. Petters the power in the Cite of London (the moyetie whereof hereafter in this my last will is by me limitted and dispossed vnto the saide Maior and Comenaltie and Citizeans of the saide Cittey) the some of Towe hundread powndes of lawful monny of Ingland in mannor and forme folloinge vide't to eu'ie of the saide readders for the time beinge the some of ffiftie poundes of lawfull monny of Englande yerly for there sallaries and styppendes mete for fower sufficientlye lerned to read the saide Lectures. The same stypeandes and salaryes and eu'ie of them to be paide at twoe vsuall termes in the yere yerely That is to saye At the festes of thannunciation of St. Mary the Virgine and of St. Mihell tharckeangell by even porc'ons to be paid ; And further that the saide Maior and Comen'ltie and Citizeans of the saide Cittie and there Successors from thenceforth and so longe as they and there Successors shall by anny meynes haue holde or enioy the said moytie before in theisse p’sseantes to them disposead shall giue and distribute the some of ffiftie three poundes six shillinges eight pence of lawfull monny of Englond yerely in mannor and forme followinge, viz. unto Eight Almes folkes whom the sayd mayor and Comenaltie and Cytezeans or there Successors shall appointe to inhabite my eight Almeshowsses in the saide p'rishe of St. Petter's the powre to eu’ie of them the saide Almefockes the some of six poundes thirtene shillinges and fourepence to be paide at ffower vssall termes in the yere yerely, that is to saye, at the feaste of St. mihell tharckangell, the Natiuitie of of Lorde god, thannunciacon of the bleassid Virgin Marye and Natiuitie of St. John Baptist by even porsionnes ; And further that the saide Mayor and Comen'ltie and Citizeans of the saide Cittie and there Successors from theansforth and so longe as they and theire succeassors shall bye anny meynnes haue houlde and enioy the said moyettie before in thes p’sseans to them dispossid shall geue and distribute at the almes afforssayd to the reliffe of the powre perssons and pryssoners in the prisons and plasses Called or knowen by the names of Newgate, Ludgate, the Kinge's benche, the marshalsey, and Cowenter nowe kepte in Wode streat and wheresoev’ the same pryssone hereafter shalbe kepe, fyueftie powndes lawfull monny of Englond in monny or other provissione and neasseassaryes for them, viz. to eu'ye of the same fyve pryssones or places Teynne powndes at the foure vssall feastes or termes of pa’tess of reant wthin the same Cite of London most accostomed or wthin Eight and Twentith daies next after by even porssyones.
And as concerninge thother moietie before in this my p’nt last will dispossed to the saide warderdeans and Comenalty of the Corporacon of ye mercers I will and disposse that aftir soch time as the same moyetie accordinge to thentent and meaninge of thes presseans, shallb' come to the saide wardeans and Corporacion of the mercers, and from theansforth so longe as they or there Successors shall bye annye meynnes or title haue holde and enioye the same, that they and there successors euery yere yerely shall giue and paye and distribute to and for the findinge sustentacione and mayntenance of thre p’ssones, by them the said wardens and Comenaltie and there Successors from tyme to time to be chosen and appointed meate to reade the lectures of Lawe Phisicke and Rhethorick wthin my nowe dwelling house in the p'rishe of St. Hellens in Bishopegate streate and St. Petter's the powre in the saide Cittie of London (the moyty whereof hereaftir in this my presseant last will is by me appointed and disposeаd vnto the saide Corporacione of the mercers) The some of one hundread and fiftie poundes of lawfull money of Englande in maner and forme followinge viz. to eu’ye of the said Reders for the time beinge the some of ffiftie poundes for theire salaries and stypendes mete for three sufficiently learned to red the said Lectures at twoe vsuall tymes in the yeare That is to saye at the feast of thanuciac'on of the blessid virgyne Mary and of St. Mychell Tharckangell by even porcions to be paide; And that the saide Wardeans and Corporacion of the mercers and theire Successors from thenceforth and so longe as they and there Successors shall bye annye meynnes haue holde or enioye the said moyte beffore in theisse p’sseans to them dispossid shall yerely bestowe and exspeand one hundrerd powndes of lawffull monny of Englande in manor and forme followinge that is to saye seu’ally at fower seu'all tymes in the yere in and aboute the expences and charges of a fest or dynnar for the holle Companye of the same Corporacione to be had and made in the m'cers hall in the saide Cittie of London at and in every theire quartter daye the some of Twentie five poundes And that fordyr the saide wardens and Corporacione
the mercers and there uccessors from thensforthe and soe longe as theye and there Successors shall bye enny meynnes haue holde or enjoye the said moite beffore in theisse p’sseans to them dispossid shall eu'y yere geue and distribute to the relyffe of the powre p'sonns and pryssoners in the hospitalles prissons and plasses called or known by the names of the hospittales of Crist or Cristchurche late the grey ffryers in London, The hospitall of St. Bertillemews nere Smythefild in London, The Spittell at Beadlam neare Bishopegate streate, The hospitall for the powre in Sowthewarke And the Countter now kept in the Powlttrye And wheresoever the same p’ssione hereafter shalbe kepe fyveftie poundes of lawfull monney of Englande in monny or other provissiones and neassessaryes for them, viz. to every of the saide fiue hospitalles prissons or places Teynne poundes at fower most vsuall feastes or termes of payment of reant wthin the said cittie of London accustomed or wthin eight and twentith dayes next aftir by even porcions.
And as towchinge my eight Almeshowsses scituate in the p'rish of St. Petters
the poore at the backside of the saide mansion howsse in the saide Citie of London I will and disposse that after thexpiracion end and determinacion of the p'ticular vsses estates and interestes for liffe and entaile thereof limited in the saide Indenture quadrapartite Datid the Twentith of Maye that the same eight Almes howsses shall remayen and the vsse thereof shalbe vnto the saide Mayor and Comenaltye and Citizeans of the saide Cite of London and there Successors for and dewringe the terme of fyvettie yeres from thens next folloinge fully to be complet and endded Apon trust and confidence and to thentent that they doe performe the paymentes and other ententes in theise p’ssentz hereafter limitted thereof by them to be don. And my trust and confidence will intent and menyng is that they the said Maior and Comonaltye and Citizeans and there Successors aftir such tyme as the same Almes howses shall be vertew of this my p’ssant last will come vnto them the said mayor and Comonaltie and Citizeans or to there Successors and from time to time alwayes so longe as they or there Successors shall haue holde or inioye the same by anny titell or meynnes shall playsse or put Eight powre and impotent p’sonnes into the saide eight Almes howsses, viz. into every one of the said Almes howsses one p’sonn and shall from tyme to time suffer the saide eight p'ssonns that shalbe soe by them or there successors there plaissed and put to haue ocupye and inioye the same wth owght anny fynne Reant or other thinge yelded therefore and shall allso paye vnto eu’y of the said p’ssons that so shalbe by them plassyd and put into the saide Almes howsses the some of Six poundes thirtene shillinges uforepence of lawfull monny of Englande in mannor and forme beffore in thes p’ssean sexspressyd.
And as concerninge my said Manssione howsse wth the garden, stabills and all and singeular other the apptenances in the saide parishe of St. Hellens in Byshopegate streatt and St. Petter's the powre in the cittie of London I will and disposse that aftir theand determinacion or exspiracion of the perticular estatz vsses intereast and entailes thereof limettid by the saide Indenture quadrupartted Datid the said Twentith daye of Maie, The same my said manssione howsse garden Stabels and other the app'tenonces shall remayen and the vsse thereof shalbe to the maior and comonaltie and Citezeans of the saide Cittie of London by whatsoeu' name or addicion the same is maid or knowen and to theire successors And also to the wardeans and Comonaltie of the misterye of the Mersserye of the Cittie of London, viz. To the Corporat boddy and Corporacione of the mercers of London by whatsoeu' name or adicione the same Corporacion is maid or knowen ; To haue and to holde in Comen for and duringe the terme of fyveftie yeres from theans next folloing full to be compleat and eanded vppon trust and conffideans that they obserue p'fforme and kepe my will intent and meaninge hereafter in thes presseantz exspressed. And my will intent and menyng is that the said Maior and Comonalite and Citezeans and their Successors and that the saide Wardeans and Comonaltie of the mercerie and their Successors aftir soch time as the said manssione howsse garden and other appurtenances shall by vertew of thes p’sseans come unto them and from thens fforthe so longe as they and there Successors or enny of them shall haue holde or enioye the same by enny tittill or meynnes shall permitt and suffer seaven p’ssons by them from time to time to be elleactid and appointed in manner and forme aforesaide, meat and sufficiently learned to reade the saide seaven lectures, To have the occupacon of all my saide mancion howsse gardens and all other thapptenances for them and eu'ie of them there to inhabite Studdie and dayly to read the said severall lectures. And my will is that nowen shalbe chossen to read enny of the saide lectures so longe as he shalbe marid nor be sufferid to read enny of the said lectures after that he shalbe marrid neither shall receiue enny ffee or stippeant appointtid for the reading of the said lectures.
And moreouer I will and disposse that yf the saide maior and Comonaltie, viz. the cheif Corporacion of the saide Cittie and the saide Wardeans and Comonaltie of the mercers, viz. the Corporacion of the mercers of the Cittie afforesaid beffore the eand of the saide ffiftie yeres to them in forme aforesaid limeted, shall procuer and obtayen sufficyeant and lawffull dispensaciones and lisseanssis warraunt and auttorite had and obtaynned shall haue and enioye the said Royall exchange mesuagis shopes
Pawens vaultes howssis and all other the p'misses wth thappartenansses for ever, severally by soche moitties rates and other porciones and in soche manner and forme as beffore in thes p’sseans is limeted Apon trust and confidens and to thintent that they severally for ever shall doe, mayntaine and p'fforme the paymentz chargis and other ententes and menynges thereof before limettid and exspressed according to the entent and trewe meaning of thes p’seantz. And that I doe require and charge the saide Corporaciones and cheife gouernors thereof wth circumspect dilligeans and wth owght longe delaye to procure and soe to be donne and obtaynnyd as the well aunswhere for the same before Almightie god; for yf they or enny of them shulld negleact the obtayning of soch lysseans or warraunt wiche I trust cannot be difficulte nor so chargeable but that the ovy' plus of my reantz and proffyttes of the p’missis herein before to them dispossed will done recompeans the saine becausse to soe good powrpos in the comen welthe no Prince nor Conssiell in anny Ayge will denye or deffeat the same; And if convenicantly by my will or other conveyans I might assewre it I wolde not leue it to be donne after my deathe Then the same shall reu'te to my right heieres whereas I doe meynne the same to the Comen wele ; and then they deffaulte thereof shallbe to the reproche and condemnacion of the said Corporacions afore god.
And further in consideracion that soch chargis of Wardeshipe liu’ye and primier seazon as by my deathe shall forteton to be dew to the Q. Mate of or for all my landes tenet and hereditamentes according to the lawes and statuttes of the Realme, shalbe paide and borne by Sr Henry Nevell Knight and by the heiers males wch he hathe begotten on the boddy of Ellizaberthe his late wyffe decesed, Dawghtter of my brother S John Gresham Knight deceassyd, while she lyved my Cowssyn and heiere apparaunt, there heiers males executors or assignes, I doe will and disposse As concerning my mannor and mannors of Mayeffylld and Wardehurst wth the appurtena'ces and all my landes tenementes and hereditamtes in the Countie of Sussexe or ells where vssyd or repeuttid or belonginge to the said mannor or mannors of Mayeffilld or Wardehurst that after the expiracione and determinacion of the perticular vsses estates and intereast for lyffe and entayle thereof lymitted in the saide Indenture the same shall remayen and the vase thereof shalbe vnto my Cowssyn Sr Henry Nevill and to the heieres males of Dame Ellserberthe his wyffe my nyce. And if my said Cowssyn SHenry Nevill knight or theieres males begotten by my said Nyce shall not wthin certeynne time aftir my death beare or cause to be borne the charges of wardshipp lyverye or p’mier Seazon according to thentent and mening of thes p’sseantz, That shen soche gyfte limitacion and disposicion as I haue herein maid to my said Cowssyn Nevell and they heieres males of my nyces boddy shalbe vtterly void to all entents and powrpos and if they and every of them had not bynne meancyonead in this p’sseantz." And then I will and disposse that the same p'mysses at Mayeffyld and Wardehurst afforesaide or to the same belonginge shall remayen and the vsse thereof shalbe in soche sorte as the ressidew hereafter limitted shall bey. And as concerninge all the ressidew of all and singgeular my mannors landes tenementes and hereditamentes whatsoeu' they be after the expiracione and determinacione of the p’tticuler vsses estattz and interest for yeres lieffe or enttayle thereof lymitted in the said Indentter and in thes p'sseantz i doe will and disposse that the same shall remayen and that the vse tbereof shall be unto my saide faithefull loving wiffe Dame Ann Gresham and to here heiers and assignes for ever and she to vsse and disposse the same at here pleasseur as she shall think meate and convengeant Requiring amonges all other thinges that all my deatz legacys and other deutties whatsoeever by me dew geven limitted or bequeathyd to anny p’ssone or with hold from any p’sson shall be fully p’fformid satisff yead and paid and recompenssid as the case in lawe right equittie or conscience shall require. In wyche behalffe I doe holly put my trust in herr and have no dowght but she will accomplishe the same accordingly, and all other thinges as shalbe requisite or exspedieant for bothe of honnesties fames and good Repportes in this transsitory world, and to the proffitt of the comen well, and relyffe of the Carffull and trewe powre according to the pleasseur & will of Allmyghttye god To whome to be all honnor and glorye for ever and ever. Amen.
In wyttnes whereof I the saide Sr Thomas Gresham haue written this will all
my owen hande and to each of the Eight leves haue subscribed my name and to a Labell fixead therevnto all the eight leves haue seatto my Seayle wth the Gressopper the ffiveth Daye of Julye in the Sevententh yere of the Reyne of of Souverayne ladye Quean Ellyzaberthe And in the yere of of lorde god 1575.
Witnesses to thys last will and Testament of the said Sr Thomas Gresham the p'sons whose names be subscribed Ph. Scudamor, Thomas Billingford, Henry Nowel. Ex' R. Manwood.
(Registered woord for worde according to the originall or copy remayning in Registrars.)
Proved at London before Master Wm Drury, LL.D. on the 26 day of the month of November 1579 by the oath of Christopher Robinson notary public, proctor of the said Lady Anne the relict and executrix in the will named.
(1) From Deed among Titsey Muniments. (2) Lansdowne MSS., British Museum. (3) Seals used by Sir Thomas Gresham. Burgon's Life of Gresham,' Vol. I., Preface vii.