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Can an early will help with family trees

John Biggnall

John Biggnall’s will

The early registers for both Portsmouth parishes have disappeared. Later 17 Century registers are not always complete.  Trying to trace early families on Portsea Island can be difficult but early wills may help.  John BIGGNALL of Kingston wrote his will on 8 February 1684/5 and signed it as John BIGNOL.  His burial should be shortly after this date but the record is missing.  Even allowing for wide variations of spelling one would expect the family baptisms, marriages and burials to be in the parish church of St Mary.

Will content

He appointed his sister Sarah ACLAND to be his executor. His wearing apparel and residue of his estate went to Sarah.  Bequests in his will included £5 to his father John BIGNALL.  Brother in law and husband of Jane MATHEWES was to get 40s whilst Jane was to get 20s.  Their son John was to get 20s with his son Peter another 20s.  Francis [sic] daughter of John BIGGNALL and her sister Ann were to also get 20s each.

Family tree details

Details in this brief will do confirm that John BIGGNALL’s father was also named John. He had a sister named Sarah who had married a man named ACLAND.  Another sister named Jane had married John MATHEWES who had a son called John and a grandson named Peter.  Other sisters were Frances and Ann.

Inventory details

The inventory was taken in February 1684/5 with a total value of £60 10s 11d. His wearing apparel was valued at £1 15s.  Other household items included 5 pewter dishes and 1 pewter chamber pot worth 10s.  A feather bed with curtains and other items worth 19s 6d.  An old warming pan and other items worth 2s 6d.  1 bushel of Baron and 1 of wheat worth 17s 6d.  A flock bolster and other old items worth £1 6s 8d.  He had £30 in ready money with another £10 worth in a barn and apparently £15 in debts owing to him.  The purchasing power of £60 10s 11d in 2017 is £8,481.00.  The inventory was taken and appraised by Wm. SMITH and Thos. WALTER who signed their names, and Will. EDMONDS who made his mark.

 

Roy Montgomery

HGS Research Centre

Source – HRO 1684A6/1

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