The will of William Greene the elder, who died in 1634, was my original introduction to the seafaring Greenes of Stepney, whose story I have traced in a number of posts. (New readers start here, then go here and here, and then here and here.) Despite the fact that I’ve so far failed to discover definite evidence of a link, I remain convinced that there must be some connection between this family and my 8 x great grandfather, Captain William Greene, who died in 1686. Consider the following: William Greene the elder was a mariner, as was my ancestor, and both lived in the hamlet of Ratcliffe in the parish of Stepney. As well as having the same Christian name as my ancestor, the first William had three sons, all of them mariners, one of whom he named William – and at least two of his sons named their sons William. And yesterday I discovered a further connection: William Greene the elder was associated with Trinity House, of which ‘my’ William Greene would later become an Elder Brother and ultimately Warden.
With all of this in mind, I’ve decided to take another look at the will of William Greene the elder, in the hope that it might throw up clues or connections that have so far escaped me (just as I did recently with the 1652 will of his widow, Elizabeth.) My original transcription of the will included a lot of blank spaces, and a few errors on my part, so I’ve made another attempt to interpret the difficult early seventeenth-century script. There are still a few illegible words, and my version may still include mistakes, but I think the key information is clear. I’ll post the new transcription below, and resume my discussion of the will in my next post:
In the name of God Amen. The sixteenth daie of June Anno Domini 1634 And in the tenth yeare of the reigne of our Sovereign Lord Charles by the Grace of God King of England Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the Faith. I William Greene the elder of upper Shadwell in the parish of Stebenheath als Stepney in the countie of Midd Marriner sicke and weak in bodie but in good and perfect memorie at this present praise be given unto Almightie God for the same doe therefore make and ordaine this my present testament containinge herein my last will in manner and form followinge. Item first and principallie I commend my soule to God my maker trusting by and through the death and passion of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be made partaker of life eternal as for my bodie I committ into the Earth whereof it was made and to be decentlie brought unto the ground and to be buried in the parrish church of Stebenheath aforesaide wherein I now live and after my debts being paid which of right and conscience (?) I ordaine (?) xxx and my funerall expenses discharged I dispose of the rest and residue of my personal effects (?) that shall remaine in manner and forme following Item I give and bequeath unto my sonnes William Greene and Bartholomew Greene both of the parish abovesaid in the Countie of Midd Marriners to each of them the summe of 10 pounds apiece to be paide unto them by my Executrix hereafter named twelve months after my decease Provided all (?) and my will and mind is that if either of my said sonnes William or Bartholomew happen to decease before the xxx of this my legacie bequeathed unto them shall growe due then I will that the whole twentie pounds shallbe and remaine unto the longer lived of them. Item I likewise give and bequeath unto my Grandchildren beinge the sonnes and daughters of my three sonnes viz in number seaven that are now borne and living to each of them the summe of twentie pounds apeace of good and lawfull money of England to be and remaine in the hands of Elizabeth Greene my beloved wife until such time or times as my saide Grandchildren shall come to be of the age one and twentie yeares or be lawfullie married Provided or xxx that my saide wife Elizabeth Greene doe immediatlie after my decease putt in good securities (?) unto my Overseers hereafter named for the sure and secure paiement thereof at the time or times afforesaid which shall first happen and the proffitt issuinge out thereof to be towards the educating and bringing upp of my saide Grandchildren in learninge (?) dureinge the time aforesaid. And further my minde and will is that if any of my saide Grandchildren decease before the legacie bequeathed to them shalbe and growe due to them that then the saide legacie soe bequeathed unto him or her soe deceased shalbe equallie divided amongst my Grandchildren then living and surviving to each of them parte and parte like The reste and residue of my estate unbequeathed I give and bequeath the same unto my lovinge wife Elizabeth Greene whome I make and ordain my saide wife Elizabeth Greene my full and sole Executrix and I utterlie revoke and xxx all former wills deeds of xxx or other grants (?) heretofore by me made mentioned or intended to be made and this my xxx will to be and remaine in full force and effecte. And I nominate and appointe my good friends Mr Jonas James of Ratcliffe in the Countie aforementioned Marriner and Mr Richard Clinton of London Marchantailor to be overseers in trust of this my last Will and Testament. And I most earnestlie intreate their xxx and paines in the seeinge this my Will surely xxx and performed. In witness whereof I the saide William Greene the elder have hereunto sett my hand and seale Proven the daie and yeare first above written in the presence of these wittnesses hereunto subscribed The marke of William Greene the elder Signed Sealed and subscribed by William Greene the elder as his last will and Testament in the presence of Mr Jonas James the mark of Richard Stiles xxx William xxx.