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Will of James Stearie, Mercer, St Ives, 1631

In the name of God Amen the 8th day of October in the seventh year of the reign of our sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith etc in the year of our lord Christ 1631:

I, James Stearie of the town of St Ives in the county of Cornwall, mercer, being sick of body but of good and perfect memory (God be praised) revoking disannulling, and making void all and singular former wills gifts bequeaths grants and legacies by me formerly made given and bequeathed do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following -

First, I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God, my Maker, hoping assuredly by the only merit of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be made and taken of life everlasting and I commend my body to Christian burial.

In the first place I give and bequeath to Joan Stearie my wife thirty pounds sterling to be paid in manner following: ten pounds sterling within one month after the approval of this my present will; and the other twenty pounds of the said thirty pounds to be paid at the end of five months from then next ensuing and in the main by and for her maintenance so paid by my executors at two shillings a week.

Item. I give and bequeath and convey to my said wife all those messuages1 herein expressed, that is to say my hall2 with the park on the west and of the same, the chamber3 over the said parlor, the chamber over the buttery4 and the little buttery below the hall with free liberty to pass round, go, carry and recarry with convenient carrying, through the entrance and park side belonging to the said messuages to have and to hold all and singular the premises before given, granted, bequeathed, assured and conveyed to the said Joan my wife for and during the term of her natural life.

Item. I give and bequeath to Joan my said wife my best feather bed fully furnished; and my best … all my washing pans and my middle crocks5, six silver spoons and one cup to drink as shall seem fittest to the overseers, six pewter dishes and one candlestick.

Also my will is that the table bord6, forms7 and bedsteads in the said hall and chambers shall remain as they are received by the executors.

Item. I give and bequeath, grant, assure and convey to Joan, the daughter of Walter Hockin, that messuage and tenement8 with the appurtenances9 situated, lying and being near Pedn10 bounded within the parish of St Ives aforesaid which I hold by the gift and grant of Thomas Fleming, gent, deceased to have and to hold to her and her assigns11 for and during her natural life.

Item. I do further will that if this shall not be sufficient for her maintenance that then my oversees give her more as shall seem fit in their discretion.

Item. I give to the said Joan Hockin the messuages or tenements … in the possession of me the said James Stearie withall and singular the appurtenances and gardens thereto belonging, to have and to hold to her, her executors, administrators and assigns during her natural life and under the yearly rent due … during the said term keeping likewise the said premises during the said term at her own ... cost which messuage or tenement I lately bought from the said Walter Hockin.

Also I leave and bequeath to Marie Hockin, the daughter of the said Walter Hockin, the sum of twenty pounds sterling to be paid to her when she shall accomplish the age of eighteen years and in the meantime to have such maintenance as by her overseers shall be thought fit.

Item. I give and bequeath unto Joan the wife of Humphrey Forio for the attending of me in my sickness 25 shillings and what she shall deserve more I refer to my overseers …

Item. I give and bequeath to the poor of the parish of St Ives the sum of twenty shillings.

Item … singular my goods beasts and chattles land living rents and services houses messuages and tenements not formerly given or bequeathed granted assured and conveyed, I give grant bequeath assure and convey to Thomas Hockin, the son of the aforesaid Walter Hockin, whom I make and ordain whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby binding him to finish my funeral and perform my legacies.

And I make and appoint Henry Hicks, William Trerive, John Lanader and Thomas Gibbs overseers of the execution of this my last will and testament. And here here to put my hand and seal in presence of those present written the day and year before mentioned.

Signed James Stearie
[Signed] Martin Newmay, John Browne, John Cosen
Witnessed J Andrew Lawrie

A codicil made after my last will and testament

Witness that whereas I, James Stearie, of the town of St Ives in the county of Cornwall mercer have made my last will and testament in writing under my hand and seal bearing date the thirtieth day of this instant month of October that now for as much as I have changed my mind touching certain things which by the said will should be deposed. And for and concerning all other things in the said last will mentioned other then such as I shall hereby otherwise dispose of) I do by this present codicil confirm and ratify the said last will. And whereas by my said last will and testament I did give and bequeath to Thomas Hockin, my executor, all and singular my goods beasts and chattels which were not formerly given and bequeathed in and by my said last will now my will is and by this my present codicil I give to Joan Stearie my wife one part or … in one same boat called and known by the name of the Prudence together with the like part of in and to all nets ropes cords and other appurtenances to the said same boat belonging and appertaining to have and to hold to her and her assigns forever. And my will is that this codicil be and be adjudged and taken to be parcel of my last will and testament and to be of force by the right of a codicil or by any other right in the best manner that it may be.

Witness my hand and seal the 25th day of October in the year of Christ 1631 Signed James Stearie
Signed, sealed and delivered … witnessed J Andrew Lawrie

Condition of this obligation

[dated 1633] The condition of this … obligation is such that whereas James Sterry late of the parish of St Ives aforesaid died and made his last will and testament wherein he constituted Thomas Hockyn his grandchild his sole executor which said executor is now in his minority and not of himself able to undergo the burden of this executorship by reason whereof the administration of all and singular the goods debts and chattels of the said deceased together with the intellship of the said executor during his minority is (at the request of the said executor) committed and granted to the above … James Prade and Richard Hopt if therefore the said James Prade and Richard Hopt do well and truly administer the goods debts and chattels of the said deceased during the minority of the said child or executor and do pass or cause to be passed a wise and true account of and upon all such goods debts and chattels as shall come to their hands which there to they shall be called by any competent judge in that behalf and what goods debts or chattels that shall remain in upon the said accept faithfully and fully to pay over unto the said executor in such manner and form as they shall be ordered by the said executor with sufficient meat drink and apparel during the time of his minority and do save and keep harmless the said archdeacon and all his ministers for and concerning the granting of the said intellship that then this … obligation to be void or else to stand and be in full power and virtue.

[Signed] J Praed
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of J Collins Richard Blight Rich Hept Richard Cooker


St Ives
An inventory had taken and made of all the beasts goods & chattels which were James Stearye’s of St Ives aforesaid mercer lately deceased the 7th day November in the year of Christ 1631
Appraised by
John James, mercer
John Spriggele
John Browne

In the first place in the ware shop

  £ s d
for such wares and merchandises & other goods amounting to 86 11  
Item 2 steers of 3 years of age 3    
Item 2 steers & one heifer yearling & a colt 4 5  
Item one milk cow which was at rent with Thomas Beryman 6 8  
Item 3 cow prized 6 10  
Item 2 calves of 6 months old   13 4
Item one mo... of corn 7    
Item 200 of hogshead staves   16  
Item 72 Irish bord12   12  
Item a little rick of hay   5  
Item certain beams & wastrel13 timbers      
at his bargain14      
Item for hogsheads & barrels 3 18  
Item 4 oars   3  
Item for a ... & mane   2  
Item for canes   2 6
Item for a parcel of salt & pilchards   10  
Item for a parcel of a ...   13 4
Item for ... iron crocks at 3 each one 1 7  
Item one hogshead of vinegar 1    
Item 3 barrels & 2 for boards   3  
In the hall house & inner rooms the table, board, form and other goods were appraised to 6 19 6
In the chambers the bedsteads, beds, bolsters and the linen & other ... there   30 2
his wearing apparel 3 10  
his plate   5  
a fir board and a little cup   1 3
a young sow & pig   5  

4 dozen & 4 beams
5 4  
a bunch of copper wires & a lick of glass bugle     2
a little clowing dish     5
... land in Halles ... a chattle lease 1 6 8
a celler in St Ives of Mr Fewiches grant for years 6 18 4
a celler in St Ives of Mr Edward 10    
the ... boat & net called the Prudence grant for years 1 6  
the hopeful debts to be recovered by specially ... and the hop book 20    
disparate debts 10    
2 little firken15 of old scroff16 as pieces of brass & pewter 2    
for things as yet not found out & ... 10    
Sum total 229 10 2
15th day of November 1631      


Probate granted 16th November 1631


1 The messuage commonly refers to a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use

2 The hall refers to the dwelling house

3 A chamber is a room in a house, especially a bedroom

4 A buttery is a storeroom for food and beverages

5A crock is an earthenware jar, pot or other storage container

6 A bord is a household table, especially a dining table

7 A form is a bench or seat

8 A tenement is a property with buildings on it, especially where the building shares a common wall with other building in a row. The term is often used interchangeably with messuage

9Appurtenances are other 'things' belonging to a property, e.g. yards, gardens, rights etc

10 The place referred to here is partly obscured in the document but may be Pedn Olva, a copper mine which operated in St Ives during the 1700s

11 Assigns are individuals to whom property is conveyed or willed

12 Bord is an old term for a tablecloth

13 Wastrel is an old term for spoilt or wasted

14 Bargain is old term for basement in a store

15 Firken is an old term for a small wooden vessel or cask

16 Scroff is an old term for bits and piece