The will of William Rolleston, 1672

In the name of god Amen July the 23rd 1672, I William Rolleston of the county of Middlesex gentleman by God’s great mercy and goodness being in perfect health but in due &serious consideration of human frailty do hereby make ordain and declare this is my last will & testament in manner & form following first in all humility & devotion of a contrite heart I heartily beg of God pardon & remission of all my sins & through the merits & mediation of Jesus Christ & though I have been a most prodigal son yet my hopes is in Christ & for his sake God my most merciful Creator will not ease of the bowels & compasses of a Father, Amen.

Secondly for my body I leave to the earth from whence it was taken in full assurance of the Resurrection from the grave at the last day, this resurrection my dear saviour will make happy for me his poor and weary servant & for my burial I charge my Executors to carry my body to Rolleston church in Staffs, in St Mary’s aisle within the gate of my ancestors near where my father’s bones lyes & is set up an inscription of what commands I have had in Charles the first & Charles the second’s days for my country being a downright Englishman having served in England, Scotland, France & Ireland & for the Estate I was steward to God’s guilt who raised me from nothing I give 100 pounds a year to the poor of Rolleston whitch is the fee farm rents of that town to be made up one hundred pounds out of my lands for a yearly revenues for that town in manner following. I charge that a bell be given and the charge for making the steeple fit for to be at my charges to build a house of brick with our arms over the door& who gave it as near the schoolhouse as you can by a piece of ground to set it on the schoolmaster to have £10 out of the hundred per year to read prayers twice a day to them & the scholars to have 10s a quarter to buy them cakes on St Stephens day 10s 0n Easter Monday 10s on Midsummer Day10s & on Michaelmas Day 10s. For 6 poor men & women to have 6s a year but every 2 years to take out as much as will buy them gowns the remainder of this hundred pounds a year I give to made use of for the poor young people that are newly married to have it without use for space of 4 years providing they give good security to return it at the 4 years end & then to another for the same use. Only £5 a year for that Rolleston that hath the overseeing of this Hospital with one of the Adgots that shall live nearest to Rolleston to give a dinner to them and the best of that town of Rolleston on Mayday at the crosse if it be fare weather. Fourthly all my land at Acton & all my stock there & at Kettleborough to be sold if it can be done to advantage & lay out in Staffs for the uses aforesaid. That £50 a year be taken out of the farm at Kettleborough during the natural life of my unhappy wife for her jointure the remainder of what shall be made to go to my executors & after her death that farm of Kettleborough to go to Henry Pening & to his hairs forever. Fifthly I make my executors Lancelot Rolleston of Watnall in the co. of Notts gentleman & Alured Rolleston of the town of Rolleston Staffs gent. Fifthly I give the fee farm rents for ever of the town of Rolleston for the poor of that town & to be made up one hundred pounds out of the lands at Acton I do give £500 to Alured Rolleston all the rents to Lancelot Rolleston in case he doth buy Rolleston & if he doth not to that Rolleston that shall buy Rolleston. If not it is to be put with a bank to trade towards any Rolleston that shall do it. Lancelot Rolleston the Adgots & the Curets are to be overseers of it & to trade with it for the best advantage till it become so considerable that some Rolleston may do it in case Lancelot Rolleston refuse it. Sixthly I give to Mary Rolleston & Elizabeth Rolleston the daughters of Simon Rolleston of Lambeth or to any child that the wife of the same Simon Rolleston shall pretend to be his 12d apiece & to my servant James Rennolls£5 a year to be one of the almsmen at Rolleston. I pray God bless both my executors and send them grace not to wrong the poor nor me that that curse may not fall upon them infuse the poor and not fulfil the will of the dead. Seventhly I make my overseers of this my will & testament my true friend Mr Robert Butler & my dear cousin John Rolleston & Mrs Hum Butler of Grays Inn who are to have £10 apiece to buy them rings what charges will be for any use my executors are to defray. By this my will I revoke all former wills & I do charge my executors as they will answer before Christ to perform as much as in them lyes this my will & the peace of God the Father, Son & Holy Ghost be with us all & send us a joyfull resurrection Amen Amen Amen

William Rolleston

Here some words I forgot to put in their right places / change A / A year twice to have 6s a year, my, Lancelot, for the poor of that town out of these words I have set down before the signing & sealing.

Sealed & delivered in the presence of
Roger Degg
William Chappell