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Précis and commentary of the Will of


of Skerne
Proved: 04 May 1624


This précis is an interpretation of the 17th century legal language.


To his unnamed but well loved wife Sir John leaves:

to be paid out of the Chirographer’s profits, fines and form of his Office.

1600will1624précis, sheet 2

To his son John who, at the time of writing the will was his heir, he leaves:

Edward Ramsey, the Master of the Wards and Liveries for the KIng, who died 20 June 1629, was given the responsibility of arranging the marriage of his son John perhaps in the position of wardship for a minor. In this position, Edward Ramsey was charged with maintaining Sir John’s unnamed lands and estates for the benefit of his son.

However, John appears to die after his father but, so far, there are no specific details about his life.

In will order, Sir John leaves to his son(s):

The will refers to anie of my daughters, suggesting more than the two mentioned by name and legacy. He leaves to his daughter:

Sir John makes detailed arrange, with his Executors, for his office as of Chirographer of the fines. These imply a belief in a hereditary title.

He heartyly praises his Executors to whom he has committed the ordering and execution of his office The Executors were to ensure that whoever was Sir John’s second son, at the time of his death, was to become Clerk in the Chirographer’s office after Sir John’s death. If this second son was under the age of eighteen the Executors were charged to appoint some honest and sufficient Clerk to act on his behalf. This Clerk was to pass the profits and benefits to the said son or said Executors on a quarterly basis at the end of every term at the Inner Temple. From this allowance, the Executors could take a quarterly deduction to substitute their owne labours and payments without justification to any other body.

His sons Thomas, Edward, Francis and Anthony were to receive the next Clerks place in the Chirographer’s office in birth order and in the same manner as Robert, their saide brother to be perferred still to the best Clerkshipp and for as it shall fall voide.

Sir John further expressed his assumed control over his office by declaring that should any Clerk die or bring to an end his contract his saide sonne should succeede and be preferred in the line of promotion in order to receive the best clerkshipp next unto the Secondaries – those of second rank or status: not a chief or principal (OED). Under the terms of the will Clerks had no permission […] to exchange allyne, sell or make over his place that they shall onlie by death, or forfeiture fall to the absolute disposition of [his Executors] […] for my eldest Sonne benefit onlie.

The exception was Sir John’s very good friend Mr John Bigrane who had lawful carte blanche with all freedome and libertie concerning his place to pass-on his position.

The benevolent Sir John recognises his obligation and the benefit of those for whom I am in nature and duty bounde to provide should hold their present position, rooms, fees and privileges according to their seniority as long as they shall contrieve {}, and demeane themselves in an ordinary, due and honest fashion.

1600will1624précis, sheet 3

The end of the will lists all the financial matters and debts owed to Sir John, perhaps in more detail than his gifts.

The will ends with a codicil, in a different hand, detailing money owing and owed. This was written in the presence of Jo. Gifford, Rich. Andrews, Mattheus Hulfbos; John Bygrave, Adrian Barten, Stephen P/Ranner.

The Executors are instructed to:

Money owed to Sir John: (the amounts in brackets are BofERPI)

The Lady Crofts, Sir John’s mother-in-law £100  (£14312.54) Marmaduke Johnson, three bonds valued £133 (£19083.39)
John Crofts £100 (£14312.54) William Eldrington £100 (£14312.54) by bond
Sir Henry Crofts, Sir John’s brother-in-law £100 (£14312.54) by bond Mr William Boswell but nothing to show for it £ 50 (£ 7256.27)
Sir Arthur Ingram £100 (£14312.54) Sir Henry Crofts £ 52 (£ 7546.52)
William Eldrington £100 (£14312.54)    
Summe total is £647  (£ 90163.43) Total by list calculation £795    (£115374.69)

Money owed by Sir John: (the amounts in brackets are BofERPI)

Mr Kent £100  (£14312.54) Mr {Qulucknett} £100  (£14312.54)
Mr West £100 (£14312.54) William Eldrington £100 (£14312.54) by bond
Mistress Johnson £200 (£28625.08) Mr William Boswell but nothing to show for it £ 50 (£ 7256.27)
Mr Longe £100 (£14312.54) Mr {Quac.urst} £ 50 (£ 7256.27)
Mr Yeoman £200 (£28625.08) Mr Turner of the Temple deceased £200 (£28625.08)
Mr Rolfe £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Todd £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mris Frances Barker of Bardwell Suffolk £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Aslie of Berry in ye saide county £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Bower £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Bendbowe £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Richard Stockton £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Hayton £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Stone £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr White £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Williams £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Thurston £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Harryson £ 100 (£   14312.54) Mr Fen £ 100 (£   14312.54)
Mr Edward Crompton £ 300 (£   42937.62)    
Summe total is £2530 (£362,167.26) Total by list calculation £2850 (£408,007.39)
1600will1624précis, sheet 3

The Executors calculated that the debt owing by him are more then the debts owing to him by £1883 (£269,505.12 BofERPI). By my calculations, Sir John owed the sum of £2055 (£294122.69).

The will is signed in a confident, clear, single letter script.

The will contained a Probatum made in the London house of William Byrd, who had unknown academic qualifications from Cambridge. It was made legitimate on 04 May 1624, a date that conflicts with the writing of the will. It records that Anthony Crofts and Edward Ramsey were both faithful; Executors responsible for the administration of the will. It does not confirm that the Executors had completed their responsibilities.

Source: The National Archive: PROB 11/143/467 referenced to Sir John Crompton of Skerne, Yorkshire

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