The last will and testament of John Manser, apothecary (died 1681)

As part of my continuing exploration of the Manser or Maunser family of Sussex and London, I’m returning to the will of John Manser, an apothecary in East Smithfield, Aldgate, in the mid-seventeenth century. I’m interested in John because he was a ‘kinsman’ of my 8 x great grandfather John Byne, a stationer at Tower Hill, and I’m trying to discover their exact relationship: I assume it has something to do with the latter’s grandmother being Mary Ma(u)nser. John Manser’s story is also of interest because it provides further context for the lives of my ancestors in Restoration London.

st botolph church and school

In this post, I’ll reproduce my transcription of John Manser’s will and in another post I’ll discuss what it can tell us, both about John’s origins in Sussex, and about his life and family in London. As always, I’ve tried to keep to the original spelling and punctuation as far as possible, indicating words I’m unsure of with a ‘(?)’ and illegible words with ‘xxxx’.

In the Name of God Amen I John Manser of East Smithfield in the parish of St Botolphs without Aldgate Apothecary Being weak in Body but of perfect memory praised be Almighty God First I doe comitt my Soule to God trusting that he will receive it in and through the merritts of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and my Body to bee decently buried by my Executrix and Overseers hereafter mentioned and as to that small Estate which the Lord hath been pleased to bestowe upon me I give as followeth First I give and bequeath unto my Sonne John Manser five shillings to bee paid him (if demanded) by my Executrix Also I give unto my Sonne John five pounds a yeare to be paid him quarterly if demanded out of the Estate of Mottensden After his Uncle Nicholas Mansers decease during his natural life if hee dies childlesse, but if lawful Issue to him and them forever which I bind my Sonne Abraham Manser his heires and assignes forever to pay unto his Brother the said five pounds yearly or quarterly if demanded Item I give and bequeathe unto my Sonne Abraham Manser All my right and title of that house and Land called Mottensden in the parish of Burwash in the County of Sussex and to the heires of his Body lawfully begotten forever, hee paying to his Brother John the five pounds a yeare before exprest Alsoe I give and bequeath unto my daughter Rebecca Manser out of the Estate of Mottensden fifty pounds to bee paid by my sonne Abraham Manser three years after his Uncle Nicholas Mansers decease Also I give unto my daughter Jane Manser fifty pounds to be paid out of the Estate of Mottensden by my Sonne Abraham at six yeares after his Uncles decease And in case that either of my two Daughter should die before they come to Receive their Legacie, That then the Survivor of them shall have the others Legacy to be paid by my Sonne Abraham Manser to my Executrix for the rest of his Sisters as it becomes due, shee giveing a Receipt in full for each Legacy or his assignes for the only use of them (that is of my said two daughters) Item I give and bequeath unto my Sonne Abraham Manser the Lease of my house that I now live in (hee paying the Rent as it becomes due) with the Shopp as it is now furnished and all thereto belonging As Stills (?) and Books of Phisicke, and Chirurgiry with the Bedstead and Bed and all thereto belonging which hee now lyeth on with five pairs of Sheets, and two pairs of xxxx sheets for a Servant, and two pairs of pillowboards (?) halfe a dozen of Napkins halfe a Dozen of Towells, two Table Cloths the great xxxxx xxxx in the Upper Chamber, and the Table Chayers and xxxx Cubbard in the Lyving Roome one Brasse xxxx, one small brasse kettle, one brasse pott Six pewter dishes, six pewter plates, six porrengers with the Cubbard in the kitchin six silver xxxxx Cupp marked I.D. (?) two Silver spoones, and what else my Executrix shall thinke fit to give him hee allowing my said Executrix 2 (?) yeares Board with his two Sisters in the house with him and bee assisting of my said Executrix for the getting in of Books or other Debts, But if my said Executrix do not like to stay in the house with him That then my Sonne Abraham shall allow her Twenty pounds a yeare for five years, and to take the profitt of the Shopp himselfe the Books Debts Before my Decease Excepted which I give to my Executrix But if my Sonne Abraham should be without lawfull Issue That then I will and bequeath the Estate of Mottensden unto my Sonne John Manser and his lawfull heires, hee paying the Two Legacyes to my two Daughters or the Survivor of them as before exprest, and in case my Sonne John should die without lawfull issue, That then the house and land called Mottensden shall come to my Daughter Rebeckah and to my Daughter Jane equally divided or to the Survivor of either of them, and then my Daughter or daughters shall pay unto my Nephew and Godsonne John Frith fifty poundes and alsoe to my Sister Deborah Barbers children fifty pounds to be equally divided amongst them, Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Rebeckah Manser  one hundred and fifty pounds and One hundred  pounds more which was the gift of her Aunt Rebeckah Sawen to her all which my Executrix shall have the use of for the bringing of her up until shee comes to the age of One and Twenty yeares of day of mariage, and then if it bee taken out of her Mothers hands That then my Daughter Rebeckah shall give my Executrix a Bond to pay her nine pounds a yeare during her natural life towards her fathers (?) maintenance (the Bonds being in my Executrix hands Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Jane Manser One hundred and fifty pounds To be paid at the age of One and Twenty Yeares or day of marriage by my Executrix which she hath in money and Bonds now in hand, and when my Daughter Jane shall take the money out of my Executrix hands, That then shee shall give my Executrix a Bond to pay her Six pounds a yeare during her naturall life; and in case that either of my daughters should die before they attaine to their full age or day of marriage That then I bequeath the deceased portion and Legacy to the Survivor, but if my Executrix should marry before the Children come to age, I meane, my two Daughters, That then my said Executrix shall give sufficient Security for my Daughters portions, such as shalbe thought fit by my Overseers or one of them at least, Or else to pay the money into my Overseers for the Childrens’ use, But if both my Daughters should die before they come to their full age That then I give both the Childrens portions to my Executrix during her natural life, and after her decease, One hundred pounds to my Sonne Abraham, and one hundred pounds to my son John, and one hundred pounds to my Brother Abraham Manser if hee bee then liveing, if not to my Sister Anne Frith and her children, the rest I leave to my Executrix to Dispose of to whome shee pleaseth All the rest and Residue of my goods and chattels whatsoever I give unto my loving wife Jane Manser, and make her my full Executrix of this my last Will and Testament Revokeing all other by mee made And I doe desire my loving Brother Nicholas Manser and my kinsman Mr John Byne of Tower hill to be Overseers and to assist my Executrix and I doe give them tenn shillings a peece to buy them Mourning Rings with In witnes hereof I have hereunto sett my hand and Seale the Eight day of December in the yeare of our Soveraigne Lord Charles the two and Thirtieth and of our Lord God 1680. John Manser. Witness Josiah Keeling John B xxx John Byne

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