My English Denchfields were a fixture in North Marston, Buckinghamshire in the 17th & 18th centuries. They were landowners, overseers of the poor, and occasionally members of the clergy. They also (sigh) had a penchant for naming their sons John and Richard. Although the Denchfield name appears in every generation of the extant St Mary’s registers, enormous chunks have been ripped out of the books creating large gaps, some as long of twenty years. Because the damage occurred before there was time to copy the entries into the Bishop’s transcripts, we can’t rely on the church records to prove certain events. Needless to say, tracking the North Marston Denchfields through the years can give a family historian a big headache. But fortunately for my family history, the wills made by several of the early Denchfields have provided the documentary evidence needed to map out the familial relationships in this part of the tree.
Gefferie Denchfield is one of the first Denchfields mentioned in the parish registers. His burial entry in the register contains no details beyond a date of 22 February 1602. His will has survived however, and tells us more about his family.
Gefferie’s will was proved on 9 September 1603.
The paper is faded and the handwriting is difficult to read, but here is what I’ve been able to transcribe:
In the name of God Amen. I Gefferie Deanchfield of North m~ston in
the Countie of Bucks husbandman being of good remembrance and rea,
sonable health thanks be given to God doe make this my last will and
Testament in manner and forme following. First I com[m]end my soule
into the hands of God the Father the sonne and the holy Ghost trust,
ing to be saved by the endless merits of Christ Jesus my Savior,
and by my bodie to be buried in the Churchyeard of North m ~ston
aforesaid. Item I give to the poore of North m~sto ~ too dozen of white
bread to be divided among them at my buriall Item I give unto John Dea,
nchfield my sonne XL s [40 shillings] to be paid him w[i]thin one halfe year after my dec,
ease [The next five lines have been crossed out, but appear to have been a monetary bequest to his sons Ralphe and John] …Item I give unto Richard Deanch,
field my sonne twentie shillings imediatlie after my decease. Item I give
unto Matthewe Deanchfield sonne of the said Richard XX s when he
[?] to the age of twentie years [wherein?] [12 illegible words]… for the said Matthewe. Item I give unto
Gefferie Deanchfield sonne of Ralphe Deanchfield twentie shillings to be
paid him at the age of one and twentie years [a tiny bit written in between this and the next bequest, difficult to read because it's so small]… Item I give unto Anne Tatam
daughter of Willia[m] Tatam XL s imedieatlie after my
decease. Item I give unto Katherine Hely xx s to be paid her within
one yeare after my decease. Item I give unto William Abbotts son of
the foresaid Katherine xx s to be putt to her [?] for him imediatlie
after my decease and to be paid him when he [reaches?] to the age of one &
twentie years Item I give unto Ellen Abbott daughter of the foresaid
Katherine xx s immediatlie after my decease to be putt [?] to her [several illegible words]… and to be paid her at her [?]aid of marriage Item I give
to William Tatam and Richard Deanchfield my sonne all my little
implements about the house, [?] platters, [two illegible items]
to be equallie divided between them [Next line is a scribbled out bequest to Richard and Ralphe Deanchfield]… And of this my last Will and Testament I make Richard
Deanchfeld and William Tatam my executors [Some more words scribbled out] [The next bequest is written in a different hand] Item I give unto my somme Ralphe Deanchfield xx s to be paid
unto him w[it]hin one halfe year after my decease.
The will is witnessed by three men, one being Robert Cox, and is signed with
The mark of me
Written along the left margin, perpendicular to the body of the document, are two additional bequests which are difficult to read but appear to be a stipend to be paid his executors and a monetary bequest to be paid equally to all the children of his son John Denchfield.
Part two of this series, found here, continues Gefferie’s story.
(Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging series hosted by geneabloggers.com)