A brief look at the will of Thomas Whiting (died 1679)

We know from his will that Stephen Byne, who died in 1675, was married to Rebecca Whiting, daughter of Thomas and Frances Whiting. Thomas Whiting’s own will, written in 1679, confirms some of the details in Stephen’s will and also includes additional useful information. Thomas was buried at St Botolph’s, Aldgate on 24th November 1679.

Joiners at work

Joiners at work

The first thing we learn from the will is Thomas’ occupation: he was a ‘citizen and joyner’, though presumably he was a master with his own business rather than a simple journeyman, since he is able to leave considerable money and property to his relatives and friends. At first I was thrown by the fact that Thomas refers to his wife Elizabeth, since we know that Rebecca’s mother was named Frances, and indeed this is the name given in Stephen Byne’s will. However, I’ve discovered that Frances Whiting died in 1676 and was buried at St Botolph’s, Aldgate on 10th August. This burial record also informs us that the Whitings lived in Houndsditch. On 22nd September 1677, someone by the name of Thomas Whiting married Elizabeth Plumer at the church of St Katherine by the Tower: I presume this is the same Thomas.

Aldgate, from Rocque's map of London, 1746, showing part of Houndsditch at top left and Tower Hill at bottom left

Aldgate, from Rocque’s map of London, 1746, showing part of Houndsditch at top left and Tower Hill at bottom left

Thomas Whiting’s will also confirms some of my guesses, in my discussion of Stephen Byne’s will, about the marriages of his daughters. He leaves money to his daughter Mary Kimber or Kember, who we learn is now a widow, and to her children Herbert (?) Higgins, Rebecca Kember and Mary Kember. A second daughter, Isabella, wife of Edward Davis, is also mentioned, and we receive confirmation that a third daughter was indeed named Dorcas, as I suspected. Her married name, which I wasn’t quite sure of before, appears to be Mercer.

Thomas Whiting also mentions his brother-in-law ‘Mr Deputy William Lillingston’, but it’s unclear whether he was the brother of his first or second wife. We know from other records that William also lived in Houndsditch, and from his own will of 1700 that William Lillingston was a ‘citizen and upholder’ (just like Stephen Byne). Interestingly, he owned property in Distaff Lane and Fish Street, just like my 8 x great grandparents John and Alice Byne and their heirs.

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5 Responses to A brief look at the will of Thomas Whiting (died 1679)

  1. Ros Boon says:

    I am related to Mary Higgins nee Whiting, who married Robert Kember – and I have a copy of Robert’s will if you are interested. I’d love to know what Thomas left Herbert, Rebecca and Mary

  2. Martin says:

    Hi Ros – Thank you for your comment. I don’t know if you’ve seen my more recent post about the family of Stephen Byne, in which I updated the information about the Kember family – including information I found in Robert’s will. You can view the later post here: https://mprobb.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/the-family-of-stephen-byne-1647-1675/
    I’d be interested in any other information you have about this group of connected families – as you can probably see, I’m fascinated by anything to do with seventeenth-century London. Best wishes, Martin.

    • Ros Boon says:

      Hi Martin,
      Lovely to hear from you. Yes, I subsequently found your updated version of the Kember connection – and have found a copy of Thomas Whiteing’s will – but yet to read it. I had had my suspicions about a) the Whiting connection and b) Herbert Higgins being a stepson, and your research dovetails with mine beautifully. I am sure that you have a copy of Robert’s will, so you know as much as me pretty well. My Kember ancestors (my maiden name), were all carpenters, then fletchers, then gun stock makers, originating in Stour Provost in Dorset. I haven’t quite woven this Robert into my tree yet, but another Robert was favoured by his Uncle Nicholas Kember (I think because Nicholas had no surviving sons), and inherited from him. And Nicholas was a ‘citizen and fletcher of London’ and also a warden of the Fletchers’ Company c1696/7. Robert and John are both Kember names which comes down the centuries, so I am sure that this Robert will slot in somewhere. My email address is rosnorfolk@gmail.com for further chats.
      Best wishes,

  3. rd whiting says:

    Thomas Whiting was a Citizen and Master of the Joyners Company. A portrait which is said to include him centre stage is in the possession of the Joiners Co, He was a wealthy contractor responsible under the architect Hawksmore for the rebuilding of a number of London churches after the Great Fire. He commissioned a large Renatus Harris organ for his house with carvings by Grinling Gibbons which he instead gave in 1676 to his local church, St Boltophs, Aldersgate, which is commemorated by a plaque “This organ is the gift of Mr Thomas Whiting to the hole parrish 1676” with a coat of arms.

    • Martin says:

      Thank you for this information – really interesting. I hadn’t realised that Whiting worked alongside Hawksmoor. I wonder if that portrait is accessible online anywhere?

      I assume you’re a descendant of Thomas’?

      Best wishes

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