Tools: PROB 11/175/364 Will of Bence Johnson, Mariner of Limehouse, Middlesex 21 November 1637

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PROB 11/175/364 Will of Bence Johnson, Mariner of Limehouse, Middlesex (the elder) 21 November 1637

PROB 11/175 Goare 119-168 Will of Bence Johnson, Mariner of Limehouse, Middlesex 21 November 1637

Editorial history

10/12/11, CSG: Created page & posted partial transcription

Abstract & context

Suggested links

See PROB 11/297/518 Will of Bence Johnson, Merchant of London (the younger) 19 April 1660
See Alexander Bence of Aldeburghe will

To do

(1) Check the trasncription


IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN The ffiveth day of November Snno Domini 1637 And in the thirteenth yeare of the reigne of our soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of god King of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland defender of the faith x:r I Bence Johnson of Limehouse in the county of Midds Mariner being sicke in bodie but of sound and perfect minde and memory (praised be almightie god) much callinge to minde the frailtie and uncertaintie of this mortall life Doe make and Declare my Last will and testament in manner and forme following, that is to saie

FFIRST and principally I commend my soule into the hands of Almightie God assuredlie trustinge that through his mercie and the death and merritts of Jesus Christ my only Saviour and Redemmer I shalbe freelie pardoned all my synnes, and that after the end of this mortall life shalbe made ptaker of the Kingdome of heaven amongst his blessed Saintes forever, And my bodie I committ to the earth to be decentlie buried accordinge to the directions of my executors hereafter named

And touchinge such temporall goods and substance as god of his mercie hath blessed mee withall in this life I dispose thereof as followeth,

FFIRST my will and minde is that all such debtes and sommes of money as I shall owe of right or in a conscience to any pson or psons att the tyme of my death shalbe trewlie paid w:thin as short tyme after my decease as convenientlie may be

ITEM I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth my lovinge wife five hundred poundes in money to be paid her in this manner, vizt One hundred pounds within one Moneth next after my decease and the other ffower hundred poundes within six moneths then next following, Alsoe I give and bequeath to my said wife to her owne use All and singular my plate beddinge, lynnen woollen brasse pewter chestes implem:ts howsholdstuffe and furniture in Lymehowse aforesaid

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my said wife one Annuity or yearly rent of one hundred pounds of Lawfull money of England, To be paid unto her for and duringe her naturall life by myne executors out of my whole estate At fowre usuall ffeastes or terms of the yeare that is to saie At the ffeaste of the birth of our Lord god Thannunicon of the blessed vigin Marie the Nativitie of S:t John Baptist and S:t Michaell Tharchangell or wuthin ine and twenty daies next ensuwing everie of the said ffeastes by equall porccons; The first paym:t thereof to begyinn and be made att the second feaste of the ffeasts aforesaid w:ch shall next happen and come after my decease or within one and twentie daies next followinge that ffeast (if my said wife be then livinge) And I doe hereby request and desire myne executors to make ?demi payment of the said Annuity unto my said wife as accordinglie,

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my said twoe daughters Elizabeth Johnson and Marie Johnson one thowsand pounds apeece in money To be paid unto them att their severall and respective ages of twenty and one yeares or daies of Marriage w:ch shall first happen, And if either of my said daughters shall happen to die before sucg age or marriage then I will and bequeath the porcon of her soe dyinge unto the survivinge daughter and my sonn Bence Johnson to be equallie devided betweene them part and partlike

ITEM I give and bequeath to that child or children w:ch my said wife nowe goeth withall (if she bee with child) one thowsand pounds in money to be paid to that child or children if sonn or sonnes


att the said age of one and twentie yeares and if daughter or daughters att the like age or day of marriage w:ch shall first happen, And in case such child or children shall die before such severall and respective age or marriage as aforesaid, then I will the porccon of such deceased shall remayne and be to and amongst all my said children survivinge equally:

ITEM whereas I have heretofore disbursed unto my ffather in law M:r Richard Bromfield the some of eight hundred and fiftie poundes of lawfull money of England for the purchase of the enheritance of a Brewhowse and dwelling howse wherein he nowe dwelleth in Lymehose aforesaid and of other thinges of him the said Richard expressed in the coppie of court Roll and am admitted Tenant thereof accordinge to the Custome of the Manno:r whereof they are houlden, yet nevertheless my will and mynde is, and I doe hereby give full power and authority unto my executo:r hereafter named and to the survivours of them that if the said Richard Bromfield or his heires shall att any tyme or tymes within the space of twelve monethes nexte ensuing my decease truly paie or cause to be paid unto my said Executors or any of them the somme of eight hundred and fiftie poundes of lawfull money of England That then my said Executors and the Survivours of them shall upon paym:t of the same mony and att the coste and charges of the said Richard and his heires surrender Recovery and ?reassure to the said Richard his heires and Assignes All the said Brewhowse dwellinge howse and other thinges soe purchased as aforesaid in such manner and for me As by the consent of the said Richard Learned in the Lawe shalbe advised and thought fitt.

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my sonne Bence Johnson and to his heires and Assignes forever All and singular my howses Landes tenem:ts and hereditam:ts whatsoever with their Appurtenances lyinge and being in Aldburgh in the Countie of Suffolk I bought and purchased of Thomas ?Redgrave and Marie his wife

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my said sonne Bence All that Annuitie of fiftie poundes p Anm yssueing out of certaine landes and tenem:ts lying and being within the principallitie of Walis which I heretofore purchased of one Harbert for and during the life of Arnold Browne .

ITEM I give and bequeath into the said Bence my sonne and to his heires and assignes forever all other my Messuages Landes and tenements whatsoever lying and being in the Cittie of London or elswhere

ITEM I doe hereby will and my minde is that if my said wife shall not within six monethes next after my decease make seale and deliver unto or to the ise of all her Dowre and title of Dowre benifitt clayme and XXX Demand which shee can or my have claime or challenge of in to or out of all or any of my said landes and tenem:ts soe bequeathed to my said sonne as aforesaid But shall vex molest or otherwise trouble him for the same her dower and title of dower That then and from thenceforth the said Annuitie of one hundred poundes soe bequeathed and given to my said wife for her life as aforesaid shalbe utterlie voide to her and noe farther paid, Any thing aforesaid to the contrary notwithstandinge,

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Elizabeth all that Annuitie or yearlie payment of thirtie poundes p Ann w:ch I bought of one ??Brice for and duringe the life of my said daughter, Alsoe my will and minde is that if my said daughter or any pson or psons for or in her name or right shall att any tyme hereafter bex molest or trouble my executors or any of them for any part or parcell of the same Annuitie that hath byn received and had att and before my death that then and from thenceforth the foresaid Legacie of one thowsand pounds soe given and bequeathed to her as aforesaid shalbe utterlie void to her and be noe further paid, Anything aforesaid to the contrary notwithstandinge

ITEM I give and bequeath unto the said Richard Bromfeild three powndes to make him a Ringe and to his wife five powndes in money,

ITEM I give unto my Aunte ?Corker and to my Aunt ??Cirke


fortie shillinges apeece to make them Ringes

ITEM I give and bequeath unto my sonne in lawe Arnold Browne Tenn pounde to be paid to him att his said age of one and twentie yeares and to my Nephew Ewen Johnson twentie powndes to be paid to him att his said age of one and twentie yeares,

ITEM I give to the poore of Aldbrough aforesaid five pounds and to the poore of the hamlett of Lymehowse aforesaid five pounds and to the poore of the hamlett of Ratcliffe other five poundes, To be distributed and paid to the poore of those respective places att the discrecion of myne Executors and not otherwise,

ITEM I doe hereby will and appoint and my mynde is that my said wife shall have the educacon of bringing upp of my said children, And that my executors shall yearlie and everie yeare during the minoritie of my said sonne Bence and my daughter Mary pay unto my said wife for their maintenance out of my whole estate five and twentie poundes a yeare apeice and for my daughter Elizabeths bringing upp and educacon that shalbe out of the said Annuitie of thirtie powndes soe bequeathed to her as is aforesaid, that is to saie twenty and five powndes a yeare defalked thereout and paid unto my said wife for that her said educatinge of my said daughter Elizabeth, Alsoe I doe hereby will and appointe my said executors to paie more unto my said wife other five and twenty pounds a yeare for the educatinge and birnging upp of her sonne Arnold Browne untill such tyme as he shalbe putt forth an apprentice or otherwise disposed of,

ITEM my further will and minde is and I doe hereby expresselie appoint that if my said daughter Elizabeth shall not allowe of the said twentie and five powndes out of the said Annuitie of thirtie powndes for her educaccon as aforesaid but shall molest trouble or sue any executors for the same, that then my said daughter shall receive noe parte or parcell of the aforesaid thowsand powndes soe bequeathed to her as aforesaid but that legacie shalbe whollie void to her to all intents and purposes as if the same had never been made, Any thinge aforesaid to the contraries notwithstanding,

The Residue of all and singular my estate whatsoever (my debts funerall charges and Legacies herein bequeathed being first satisfied paid or deducted) I whollie give devise and bequeath into my said sonne Bence Johnson to his owne use to be paid to him att his age of twentie and one yeares, And if my said sonne shall happen to die before his said age then my will and meaning is that all the Legacies and guiftes bequeathed and comyinge unto my said sonne shalbe and remaine unto and amongst all my children survivinge to be devided betweene them equally and indiferentlie part and part like,

ITEM I doe hereby make ordaine constitute and appointe my said wife and my unckle Alexander Bence and my uncle Squire Bence and my Brother in Lawe Samuell Knight executors of this my last Will and testament desiringe them and every of them to performe the same in all thinges according to my trewe intent and meaning herein sett forth and declared, And I doe hereby will appoint and declare and doe give full power and authority unto my said executors or to any three or twoe of them from tyme to tyme to make sale of all or any of my Adventures shipping and merchandizes unto and for the most proffitt they cann of my said sonne, and to purchase and buy such lands tenements and hereditaments unto and for the use of my said sonne and his heires and for such price and money as my said executors or any three or twoe of them shall thinke fitt to paie and give for the same and to doe mannage and performe all other the affaires and buisiness of my said sonne in my estate bequeathed to him as they in their discrecion shall thinke most fitt, And for the paines of my said twoe unckles and brother to be taken in and about the execuccon of this my Testament I give and bequeath to evereie of them fowre powndes yearlie apeece during and untill my said sonne Bence Johnson


shall have accomplished his said age of twentie and one yeares

IN WITNES whereof I the said Bence Johnson the Testator have hereunto putt my hand and Seale dated the daie and yeare first abovewritten.

B. Johnson.

These presents being written in fowre sheetes of paper were by the above named bence johnson the Testator signed sealed published and declared and for his very last will adn Testament the day and yeare first abovewritten in the presence of Tho: Bigges Fra: Shephard: ??scr. ??Lond.

PROBATUM fuite Testamentum suprascriptum apud London coram venerabili viro XXXXX Sammes Legum Doctore Surrogato venerabilis viri domini Henrici Marten Militis Legum XXX Doctoris Cur Prerogative CantaXXXXX Magne Custodis sive XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Elizabeth, loving wife
Two daughters, Elizabeth Johnson and Marie Johnson
Father-in-law, Mr. Richard Bromfield
Arnold Browne
Son, Bence Johnson
Son-in-law Arnold Browne (my wife bringing up her son Arnold Browne)
Nephew Ewen Johnson
Poore of Aldbrough
Hamlett of Rattcliffe
My uncles Alexander Bence and Squire Bence
My brother-in-law Samuell Knight


GB 0096 MS 655: Davis, Thomas, 1630-31, 4 leaves
- Content: Accounts kept by Thomas Davis of Aleppo, merchant, dated 30 Mar and 18 Dec 1630 and 18 Dec 1631, relating to broadcloth received from his brother Richard Davis of London, also a merchant, and to gogram and ardass silks sent by Davis to London, 'being 16 balles cont: 80 peeces broad clothes under the m[a]rke per margent receved out of the shipp Sampson of London Bence Johnson master is debt[es?] to charges of merchandize for the fraight custome and other charges as ffoll[oweth?]...'. Other persons mentioned include Bryan Harrison, master of the shipp Unicorne of London, and Thomas Davis.

"... shipwrights, shipmasters and shipowners, one product of which alliance, presumably, was Bence Johnson, master of the Mary and John in 1626 and of the 300-ton Assurance in 1629 and part-owner with Alexander and Squire of the Elizabeth of Aldeburgh (100 tons) in 1636. In the next generation Henry Johnson of the same family took ober the east India Company’s Blackwall yard and became perhaps the largest shipowner of the day."[1]

"The Reverend Mr. Garrard to the Lord Deputy.

May it please your Lordship,

Since my last of the 9:th of October from Sion, though now seated in London....There are abudance dead, Men of Quality, both at Home and Abroad...and Captain Bence Johnson, one of the best Seamen of this Kingdom, who was Captain of my Lord of Northumberland’s Ship this last Summer."[2]

"381. [Before 4 Feb. 1630] James Moyer, William Knight, Bence Johnson, Daniel Gatts and James Dammarell [to Trinity House. See 382.]

Trinity House are asked to establish a consul in this port of Leghorn. The post being void and leaving no one to speak for them, 'our' nation is much slighted by the ministers of the duke [of Tuscany], and 'much exacted upon' to the prejudice of shipping coming to the port. Morgan Read is willing to accept the place, being honest and able, of good repute with the duke, with sufficient means, and much respected by shipmasters and merchants. He has promised to write to Trinity House about the post [380]."[3]

"1626 Jan. 8 Owner of ship: John Slany; name of Ship: Mary and John, of London Tonnage: 160 Captains of Masters: Bence Johnson"[4]

"Since their return the plaintiff, Clobery, Bence, Johnson and Hooper met in the Ship tavern behind the Exchange, when witness gave Johnson a copy of his journal. That the crew consisted of 14 men and a boy."[5]

Possible primary sources

PROB 11/152 Skynner 60-124 Will of Arnold Browne, Mariner of Stepney, Middlesex 09 November 1627
PROB 11/173 Goare 1-58 Will of William Knight of Stepney, Middlesex 31 January 1637
PROB 11/175 Goare 119-168 Will of Bence Johnson, Mariner of Limehouse, Middlesex 21 November 1637
PROB 11/182 Coventry 1-53 Will of Samuell Knight, Mariner of Limehouse, Middlesex 04 March 1640
PROB 11/297 Nabbs 1-51 Will of Bence Johnson, Merchant of London 19 April 1660

PROB 11/369 Cottle 1-54 Will of Arnold Browne, Mariner of Mile End, Middlesex 24 April 1682
  1. Kenneth R. Andrewes, Ships, money, and politics: seafaring and naval enterprise in the reign of Charles I (Cambridge, 1991), p. 49
  2. William Knowler, The Earl of Strafforde's letters and dispatches: with an essay towards his life, vol.2 (London, 1739), p. 128
  3. G.G. Harris (ed.), 'Transactions , vol. 2: 1630', Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35, London Record Society 19 (London, 1983), pp. 106-112. URL: Date accessed: 10 December 2011
  4. William Douglas Hamilton (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles I ...: 1628-1629 (London, 1859), p. 286
  5. XXX, High Court of Admiralty examinations (ms. vol. 53) 1637-1638, vol. 2 (XXXX, 1932), p.30