In the last two posts, I’ve begun to explore the large cast of characters to be found in the 1652 will of Elizabeth Greene, widow of Stepney, who I believe might have been related to my 8 x great grandfather, Captain William Greene of the same parish. So far I’ve looked at two linked Kent families – the Woods and the Foggs – and have discovered that, despite her obvious Puritan sympathies, Elizabeth Greene also had connections with some who remained loyal to the King during the Civil War.
In this post, the focus moves back to London, and to another network of connected families. One of the key figures in Elizabeth Greene’s will is ‘my cousin William Medlicott Grocer’. Not only is he to receive three pounds, and his wife Sarah ten pounds, but also ‘(t)he rest and residue of all and singular my goods Chattells readie monie debts Leases houshold stuff plate and other my Estate whatsoever my debts being paid and funerall expenses discharged’. Furthermore, ‘I make him sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament’.
Who was William Medlicott? He seems to have been born in the early years of the seventeenth century, in Wentnor, Shropshire, one of the four sons of Edward Medlicott and his wife Alice Chapman. He was apprenticed to another member of the Chapman family and became a freeman of the Grocers Company on 12th November 1628. William Medlicott lived in the parish of St Lawrence Old Jewry and during the Civil War period, when royalist-supporting aldermen were ejected, he became one of the leading members of the parish, suggesting that his sympathies were with the parliamentary cause. Apparently the parish of St Lawrence was wealthy enough to endow lectureships for some of the leading Puritan preachers of the time.
In 1653 Jasper Chapman, Citizen and Grocer of London, and presumably another relative of William’s mother, bequeathed legacies to ‘Mr William Medlicott of London Grocer and to his brethren in Shropshire’. In 1661, William Medlicott was serving as Fourth Warden of the Grocers Company.
At some point, probably around 1630, William had married Sarah Gravener or Grosvenor. William and Sarah seem not to have had any children, as there is no mention of any in William’s will of 1667. Sarah died in 1664, aged 51, and in his own will William expressed a desire to be buried with her in Epsom parish church. The memorial inscription to the couple reads as follows:
Here lyeth buryed SARAH MEDLICOTT wife of WILLIAM MEDLICOTT, Citizen and Grocer of London, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Mr. ROBERT GROSVENOR, late Citizen and Ironmonger of London, deceased. She dyed the 14th day of May, Anno Dom. 1664, Aetatis 51. Here lyeth also the body of the said WILLIAM MEDLICOTT husband of the above named SARAH MEDLICOTT, who departed this life the 23rd day of September, Anno D’ni 1667.
This inscription provides the first clue linking William Medlicott to other families mentioned in Elizabeth Greene’s will. Sarah Medlicott’s father, Robert Grosvenor or Gravener (the spellings were apparently interchangeable at this date), is also mentioned in that will:
‘I give and bequeath to my cousin Master Robert Gravener the Elder and to Robert Gravener the younger his sonne five pounds apiece Item I give and bequeath unto my cousin Mistris Jane Gravener sister of the said Master Robert Gravener the elder three pounds’
Elizabeth also leave money to other members of the Gravener family:
‘I give and bequeath unto my cousin Elizabeth Gravener the daughter of Master Humphry Gravener deceased ….fortie shillings’
‘I give and bequeath unto my cousin John Gravener the sonne of John Gravener deceased the summe of fortie shillings’
So far, I’ve yet to find out at anything definite about Humphrey and John Gravener. William Medlicott’s own will also provides an insight into other family connections. William leaves money to ‘my wifes sister Mrs Mary Munger’ and also to ‘my wifes other sister Mrs Elizabeth Dixon’. Further on, he mentions ‘my brother in law Mr Thomas Dixon’. The Mongers and the Dixons also feature in Elizabeth Greene’s will:
‘I give and bequeath unto my cousin John Monger three poundes to his wife Mistris Mary Monger five poundes and to Elizabeth Monger their daughter five poundes and to my cousin Marie Monger theire daughter Tenne poundes’
‘I give and bequeath unto my cousin Master Thomas Dixon three poundes and to my cousin Elizabeth his Wife five poundes and to their sonne Samuell Dixon five poundes and to the youngest child male or female of my said cousin Thomas Dixon that shall be living at the tyme of my decease tenne poundes and my Great Bible to my cousin Elizabeth Dixon’
Thomas Dixon and John Monger are mentioned again towards the end of Elizabeth’s will:
‘I doe appoynt and desire my said Cousines Master John Monger and Master Thomas Dixon Overseers of this my last Will and Testament hopeing they will all be Car’efull and willing to see the same performed according to my intent and desire’
It appears that William Medlicott, John Monger and Thomas Dixon married three daughters of Robert Gravener: William married Sarah, Thomas married Elizabeth, and John married Mary.
John Monger drew up his own last will and testament in 1649, though he did not die until 1654. Unfortunately, he does not reveal his occupation, but we learn that he lived in the parish of St Michael Queenhithe in the City of London, though he also owned property in Drury Lane and in Braintree, Essex. He and Mary had eight surviving children: Rebecca, Mary, Anne, Benjamin, Elizabeth, Lydia, James and Martha, all of whom seem to have been under the age of twenty one and unmarried when their father composed his will.
Elizabeth Greene is named as one of the beneficiaries of John Monger’s will, though in the event she would only outlive him by a year:
I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Greene widow one annuity or xxx Charge of five poundes sterling to be issuing and payable out of that other my Messuage situate in Drury Lane aforesaid now in the occupation of Master Mathew Smyth Shoemaker and during the residue of one and twenty yeares now to come according to the condition of one bonde obligatory wherein I stande bound to the saide Elizabeth for performance of the same (if the said Elizabeth Greene shall so long live).
This suggests that Elizabeth must have been a fairly close relative of either John Monger or his wife, though frustratingly the precise nature of her relationship to them is not mentioned.
Robert Gravener’s own will, written in 1656, the year of his death, provides further confirmation of these family ties, since he names John Monger, Thomas Dixon and William Medlicott as his three sons-in-law, the last-named being appointed executor. Robert also leaves money to his sister Jane Gravener, presumably the person of that name mentioned in Elizabeth Greene’s will. This would seem to identify the Robert who died in 1656 with ‘Robert Gravener the elder’ referred to by Elizabeth, though I can’t find any mention of a ‘younger’ Robert in his will.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a definitive will for Thomas Dixon. This might be explained by the fact that, according to the Index to Acts of Administration in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, a Thomas Dixon of Ratcliffe died ‘in Ginny [Virginia?] overseas’ in 1656. Could this be the same Thomas and if so, does it mean that he was a mariner, or perhaps a merchant trading with the colonies?