John Taylor – Suffolk Record Office’s smallest will?

John Taylor – Suffolk Record Office’s smallest will?

Our smallest will as far as we know (!) is the nuncupative will of John Taylor, a cooper of Fressingfield (Ref: IC/AA1/93/43) who died in 1662.

A “nuncupative” will was a verbal deathbed will, which had to be declared in the presence of witnesses and was valid so long as the deceased had been resident for at least ten days in the parish in which he or she died.  They could not cover freehold land and neither could they revoke former wills.  The declaration could be written down after the testator had died and such wills often began with the words ‘memorandum quod’.

His burial entry dates to 24 September 1662 and reads:  John Taylor Se[nior] was buried Septemb[er] 24. Wed:[nesday] the first by the new boke[the 1662 Book of Common Prayer] (Ref: FC90/D1/2).

Interior of Fressingfield Parish Church, date unknown (Ref: LRO/1300/39/1)

Interior of Fressingfield Parish Church, date unknown (Ref: LRO/1300/39/1)

In the presence of the Vicar of Fressingfield and his brother Thomas Taylor, John left his cooper’s tools to his son (also named John), 10s to his daugher Crowland, and everything else to be divided equally to his 3 daughters (the eldest, Mary, to have a third part more than the other 2).