James Pluck was one of the beneficiaries of the Will of John Streche of Oxeburgh when he died in 1418.
Oxeburgh (now Oxborough) is a village in Norfolk, roughly equidistant between King's Lynn and Thetford. John Streche (of Devonshire) was Lord of the Manor, a right he acquired by marriage to Joan, daughter and heir of Elizabeth and John Harewell, Esquire. Warham (now Wareham) is a small town in the south of England, a couple of miles west of Poole. The Will is worth reading, not merely for the record of the legacy to John and the many other beneficiaries, but also because it records the endowment of the Wareham almshouses with his "land and tenements with appurtenances in Warham" together with "all the profits of my lands and tenements in Baylle and Olewelle with all their appurtenances for ever". He also left the almshouse 200 ewes and 200 rams as well as some debts that were owed to him. The almshouses for six men and five women still stand; they were rebuilt in 1741 and again in 1908.
Presumably his connection with Wareham dated from before his marriage to Joan.
I have a transcription of the original will, which was written in Latin. If you would like a copy, just ask.
From the Canterbury Cathedral Library
Register of Archbishop Henry Chichele of Canterbury ff.312v-313v
made 26 August 1418
proved 16 September 1416
The will of John Streche
In the name of God, Amen. I John Strech sound of mind and whole of memory make my will in this form. Firstly, I leave my soul to God Almighty, Blessed Mary and all saints. and my body to be buried before the south door of the church of St John the Evangelist of Oxeburgh. Also I leave to the church aforesaid 10 marks to the use of making a housing, called a porch, for that door; Also that first and principally all my debts whatsoever shall be paid. Also I leave to the church of Mousebury 20s. Also I leave £4 13s 4d to be distributed to priests religious and secular to celebrate a thousand masses for my soul as soon as possible after my death; also to the abbot of Nyewham, Spencer by name, 6s 8d to pray for my soul. Also I leave to 50 paupers from the tenants of my wife and from my tenants and especially from the tenants at Oxeburgh, of which I will that William Alweneshay, Robert Martyn, William Brygge and William Shepherd of Charleton shall be numbered, together with the men and women living in Warham poorhouse, to each of them a robe and a pair of boots of russet cloth, of which I will that on each shall be expended 6 full yards, worth 4s, and 6d for making up, and to each of them one pair of shoes worth 6d, so that each of them shall have 5s in value. Also I leave to 50 bed-ridden paupers from the aforesaid tenants and others, for blankets and linen for their beds, to wit each to the value of 4s, which amounts to the sum of £22 10s in money. I also leave a moiety of the tithe of sheaves to the church of Caldcote to be distributed to Edith Crouke and others in form following, to wit to the aforesaid Edith 5 quarters of barley, 3 cows and 1 calf in Methewoldfen. Also I leave to John Drake 5 coombs of barley and 3 cows; to John Oxeburgh 2 quarters of barley; to John Bole 2 quarters of barley; to Walter Samme 2 quarters; to Robert Smyth 3 quarters and 1 cow; and similarly to Margaret Elys 4 quarters and 2 cows. Also I leave to Alexander Lynde 20 rams and 20 ewes and 5 quarters of barley. Also leave to my wife my better chest at Ayssh, for keeping her deeds. Also I leave to the same a brass mortar there with a pestle for grinding spices. Also I leave the same an iron there for supporting pots used for cooking. Also I leave to the same a mill with a press for making cider at Ayysh for all her life, which, shall not be moved from the aforesaid manor, but after the death of the said my wife I will that they shall remain in the said manor to the right heirs of the same. Also I leave to the same all my utensils and necessaries at Radwell with all apparatus and necessaries pertaining to ploughing and husbandry. Also I leave to the same my wife a portas called a lygger, that remains in the custody of the abbot of Nyewham which I gave and fully granted to my said a great time since. I also leave to Thomas my son all my utensils and necessaries at Ayssh, as are in the hall, the chamber and the chapel, with a missal and vestment that are at London for the same, with all the apparatus of the same, with all necessaries and apparatus pertaining to whatever house of office and husbandry; I also leave to the same a white mare with a colt of the same, being there. Also I leave to William Lane clerk a grey horse bought from W. Secchevyle worth a mark and 5 1/2 marks of silver. Also I leave to Thomas Pope clerk 100s silver; also to the aforesaid Thomas my son one of my tunics of russet with the fur to the same. I also leave to Thomas Fekeys my tunic with fur to the same of foins. Also I leave to the tenants of Mousebury for the payment of their tax 13s 4d Also I leave to the tenants of Whyteford 2 marks of silver for the same; also to John Laune my book called a primer, 3 cows and 5 quarters of barley. Also I leave to Roger Wodeman 3 cows, 5 quarters of barley; also to Walter Plowman 1 cow, 5 coombs of barley; also to John Port 1 cow, 5 coombs of barley; also to Thomas Peggy 1 cow 5 coombs of barley; also to Richard Fransham 4 ewes, 4 coombs of barley; also to James Plucke 2 ewes and 2 coombs of barley; also to Thomas Sterlyng 4 coombs of barley; also to Thomas Peggy senior 6 ewes, 6 coombs of barley; also to Richard Cook 3 quarters of barley; also to John Radewell 2 quarters of barley; also to Robert Taylour for clothing and bed to value 11s and 6 ewes. I also leave to Agnes Plaunte 3 cows from Ayssh, 1 bed from the distribution to the paupers, and 6 ewes. I also leave to Alice Symond 1 stone of wool. I also leave to N. Rugge of Colyford to value 3s 4d; also to John Blake 1 calf; also to Thomas Blake 1 calf. I also leave to the church of Yartecom a memorial for making a candlestick before the main altar, to value 12s; also to Stokelond church such a memorial to value aforesaid. I also leave to Warham almshouse all my lands and tenements with appurtenances in Warham for their support for ever to be granted in mortmain by these presents. I also will the house aforesaid shall enjoy all the profits of my lands and tenements in Baylle and Olewelle with all their appurtenances for ever. I also leave to the house aforesaid for the support of the paupers living there, 200 ewes and 200 rams. I also leave to the house aforesaid £17 and more from the debts of John Typtoft knight owed to me, as well as 100s which Nicholas Wychyngham owes me. I also leave for carrying on my exequies 100s in money for feeding the priests and the poor. I also leave to my wife aforesaid half the residue of all my moveable goods, wherever they may be found, after all the aforesaid are complete and totally carried through. I also leave the other half of the residue after the same have been thoroughly completed, as above, to the house of Warham aforesaid. I also remit to John Davy and John Drake all debts that they owe me, which I release to them fully by these presents. I also leave to the brotherhood of St Mary the Virgin of Milborne 6 quarters of barley. I also leave to Thomas Fykeys a hood and a cap of better [cloth of] Lire. And to dispose and execute all and singular the aforesaid I ordain and constitute my beloved in Christ, William Lane and Thomas Pope clerks, Alexander Lynde and Warin Secchevyll. In witness whereof I have corroborated my present testament indentate and last will with the impression of my seal. Given at Oxeburgh, Friday next after the feast of St Bartholomew the Apostle in the year of the Lord 1418, and in the fifth year of the reign of king Henry V after the Conquest
Probate of the same
The will abovewritten was proved in the manor of the lord of Southmallyng 16 September 1418. And administration was committed &c to sir William Lane chaplain to [make] a true inventory &c to be exhibited before Whit Sunday &c, power being reserved of committing the administration to the other executors named in the will aforesaid.
- A"coomb"is an old measure of capacity equal to four bushels; a bushel is eight gallons (Imperial).
- "Mortmain": The Statute of Mortmain was an enactment by King Edward the First aimed at preserving the kingdom's revenues by preventing land from passing into the possession of the Church. In Medieval England, feudal estates generated taxes upon the inheritance or granting of the estate, but if an estate was owned by a religious corporation that never died, these taxes were never paid. Leaving money to the church was thought to ensure a swift passage into heaven, so wills that were generous to the church were not uncommon, as we can see from this example. The Statute of Mortmain provided that no estate should be granted to a corporation without royal assent. Translated literally, mortmain means dead-hand.
- A "portas" or portesse is a portable breviary.
- A "mark" at that time would be the equivalent of 13s4d or 8 ounces of gold.
- "sir William Lane" was not a knight; "sir" was a common form of address for a cleric at that time.
Revised: 10 September 2010