In an earlier post, I put forward the hypothesis that William Greene, the Ratcliffe mariner married to Margaret, was the son of the William Greene who wrote his last will and testament in 1634. What is the evidence to support this theory?

In his will, William describes himself as William Greene ‘the elder’ of Upper Shadwell, mariner. However, the burial record at St Dunstan, Stepney, which almost certainly relates to William, describes him as ‘William Greene the elder of Ratcliffe mariner’. Ratcliffe and Upper Shadwell were neighbouring and perhaps overlapping hamlets, and in some records and maps Upper Shadwell seems to refer specifically to a section of the thoroughfare known as Ratcliffe Highway.

We also know that William Greene the elder’s other surviving son, Bartholomew, was described as a mariner of Ratcliffe at the time of his marriage to Anne Linage in 1628. When his son William was born in 1630, Bartholomew was said to be living in Ratcliffe Highway, and in 1633 when daughter Sara was born, he was said to be from Ratcliffe. In 1636 when his son Bartholomew was born, his address was once again Ratcliffe Highway, as it was when his son William died ten years later.

As for the William Greene who married Margaret, he was described as a mariner of Ratcliffe when his son William was born in September 1632. When this child died in December 1634, the family’s address was Brooke Street, which was in Ratcliffe.They were at the same address in September 1635 when their daughter Margaret died. By the time another son William was born in August 1636, the Greenes were living in White Horse Street, also in Ratcliffe. In September of the same year, another daughter named Margaret died of plague.

In his will, William Greene the elder leaves money to his two sons, William and Bartholomew Greene, both mariners in the parish of Stepney. He also leaves money to his seven grandchildren ‘being the sonnes and daughters of my three sonnes’. I’m still trying to discover the name of William’s third son, but so far I’ve been unable to find definite records for the births of any of his children.