A new clue in the search for Bartholomew Fowle

Earlier this year I wrote about my quest for information about Bartholomew Fowle, an Augustinian canon who was the prior of St Mary Overy, Southwark, at the time of its ‘surrender’ in 1539 to Henry VIII’s enforcer Thomas Cromwell. According to some sources, Bartholomew was a close relation, and possibly the brother, of my 13 x great grandfather Gabriel Fowle, the master of the Free Grammar School in Lewes, Sussex. In that earlier post, I was able to provide some new information about Bartholomew Fowle’s life and career, though it wasn’t possible to prove the connection with my own Fowle ancestors.

St Mary Overy in the 17th century by Wenceslas Hollar

St Mary Overy  by Wenceslas Hollar

References to Bartholomew Fowle in the contemporary records are few and far between. However, this week I’ve come across a new source of information, and one that may in time help us to understand Bartholomew’s family background. In searching for Bartholomew’s name online at Ancestry, I found myself directed to a collection of documents labelled ‘Kent, England, Tyler Index to Wills, 1460 – 1882′ consisting of a large number of typed and handwritten notes that appear to have been composed in the 1930s. One of the handwritten pages refers to the 1547 will of a certain William Fowle, which apparently mentions ‘Sir Bartholomew Fowle priest’. In medieval and Tudor times ‘sir’ was a common honorific title given to priests. Could this be ‘our’ Bartholomew?

Page from Tyler Index to Wills

Page from Tyler Index to Wills (via Ancestry.co.uk)

I searched for William Fowle online and found the will of William Fowle of Mitcham, Surrey, dated 1547, in the collection of wills at the National Archives. I’ve done my best to transcribe the will (see below). There are a few indecipherable words – indicated thus [ ] – and some about which I was unsure – these are followed by a bracketed question mark thus [?]. In the next post, I’ll discuss what the will can tell us about William Fowle, his family, and the connection with Bartholomew Fowle.

In the name of god Amen The      daie of May in the first yeare of the Reign of our Soveraigne lord Edward the sixt by the grace of god kinge of England France & Ireland I William Ffowle of micham in the Countie of Surrey yeoman (although sick of body yet being of hole mynde and in good and parfitt remembrance thanks be unto Almyghtie god make devise and ordeyne this my [ ] testament conteyning herein my last will in manner and forme folowing tha tis to saye Ffirst I betake [?] and comend my soule iinto thandes of Almightie god my maker & Redemer And I will my body to be buried where I and [     ] by the discretion of myne Executor hereafter written And I bequeath to the church of mycham [   ] for tithes [   ] forgotten to be paid xx Item I bequeath to my daughter Eleanor Thirtie pounds Remayning now in my brother Richard Ffowles handes which xxxil I will shall so remayne untill she be of lawfull age of xxi yeres yf she be not in the mean tyme married, and then to be paid unto her. Item I bequeath unto Joane my daughter other Thirtie pounds to be paid unto her out of my other goodes. Item I assigne and bequeath unto my said daughter Eleanor all my right tithe Interest and termes of yeres of all my leases aswell of [   ] other concernyng the parsonage and lordship of Micham, after the decease [?] of Ellyn myne entirely beloved wyfe. And I will Sir bartholomewe ffowle preist shall enyoie all my lease and Interest of and in my [   ] and the gardeyn with thappurtenances at Camberwell in the said Countie. And after his decease I give and bequeath all my [   ] lease interest and terme of yeres of and in the same [   ] to come to my said daughter Eleanor. And I bequeath unto my said daughter Joane all myn Interest and terme of yeres of all my lease [   ] concernyng the psonage of Bansted with all thappurtenances ceonteyned within the said leases And if any of my said daughters happen to deceas before lawfull age or daie of mariage Then I [   ] thother to be hir heire in all the bequests to her befor made. And if they shall both happen to dye before any of them [       ] lawfully begotten Then I give and assyne all the right Interest and term of yeres than to com of the said leases and reversions concernying the parsonage of Bansted aforesaid with thappurtenances contayne within the same leases unto my foresaid brother Richard ffowle his heires Executors and assigned And yf it happen both my said daughters to depart this [   ] psent lyf without yssue lawfully begotten Then I will give and bequeath ffifteen pounds [ ] of the said some of xxxli remayning in my said brother Richards hands to be bestowed in maintaining and repairing of high waies within the Countie of Kent where it shall be [   ] by my said brother most     [   ] And theother fifteen pounds I give and bequath to my brother Richard And in case my wife shalbe [   ] unto my said brother Richard all the forsaid leases concernyng the messaueg and lordship of Micham And my [   ] and tithe garden with thappurtenances at Camberwell and Bansted above [   ] with their apurtnenances . And [ ] to to be [   ] to the [   ] feoffment in the Lawe unto my said wife and her assignes to make [   ] of all the said leases unto my children before named when they or either of them come to lawfull age or daie of mariage to their before [   ] as aforesaid And if my said wife shall refuse so to do and deliver the said leases than as now and now as then. I will that yt shalbe lawfull unto my said brother Richard to enter into my said [   ] and messauge Micham aforsaid there to seise upon as manner [   ] My goodes and catalles as well with the houses as upon all the lands and to cause the same to be lawfully praised [?] By indifferent [ ] And that [   ] to make equall pticion and division thereof to and arrange my said children And I will that my said brother Immediately upon the [   ] into his handes of the foresaid leases be come bounde unto my said wife for his bond feoffment in the lawe in a convenient and reasonable form, to      [   ] the said leases, so long as they shall remayne in his handes or   [ ] at [ ] tym as yt shalbe required by my said wyf for [   ] of all my said farmes And I will that my wife immediately after the probate Of this my testament be come bound unto my said brother for the payment of the [   ] and some of xxxil to my forsaid daughter Joane above bequeathed. And if my saide wife do refuse so to doe than I will it shalbe lawfull unto my said brother to enter into my said farme of Micham and there to seise upon all my goodes and to make [   ] to the said some of xxxil and [  ] he then to be come bound unto my wife for payment thereof unto my said daughter Joane at the daye of her mariage Item I bequeath graunt and assigne unto the said Ellyn my wife my newe orchard which I purchased and bought of [  ] [   ], to have and to hold the same orchard, with thappurtenances unto the same Ellyn and her asignes during her naturall lyfe. And after her decease I will the said orchard to remayne unto the foresaid Eleanor my daughter her heires and assignes for every And also I give and bequeath unto the said Eleanor my daughter yls yerely untill she come to thage of xxy yeres for her apparell. And I will my wife be bounde to paye the some out of my goodes Item I give and bequeath unto Sir Bartholomew Ffowle preist all suche money as Sir Edward Boughton knight and his sonne do owe unto me by their obligacon with condicion. The residue of all my goods Catalls and debts after my debts paide my funerall expenses pformed and these my Legacies conteyned in this my    [   ] testament fulfilled I wholy give and bequeath to my entirely beloved wife whome I make and ordeyn my soule Executrix These hereafter subscribed being present and witnesses And for more faith [  ] I have hereunder published my name the daye and yere above written and also sette my seale By me Willm Ffowle   [  ] me Johan E[   ] notary public and [ ] and [   ] by me Henry Frrimay witnes.

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