When John Denchfield, maltster of North Marston, made his will in 1689, he instructed that his beloved wife Audrey was to receive food and lodging for three months following his death as, he rather cryptically noted, she was otherwise well provided for.
Audrey’s own will, written 4 August 1704, a few months before her death, offers an explanation of how she was cared for after John’s death, and hints at who Audrey Denchfield was.
The Last Will & Testament of Awdry Denchfield made ye 4th day of Agust 1704
In the Name of God Amen I Awdry Denchfield of Thornborough in the County of
Bucks Willow being in sound & pfect mind & Memory though weak in Body——
praise be given to Almightly God do make & Ordaine this my present Last Will and —
Testament in manner & forme following (that is to say) First & principally I ———
Commend my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God hoping through the Merritts I oath
& passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full & free pardon & forgiveness of
all my Sinns & to inherit Everlasting Life: And my Body I committ to ye Earth
to bee decently Buried at ye discretion of my Executrix hereafter named; And as
God to bestow Upon mee I give & disppose thereof as followeth.
Item I give unto my Grand Child Charles French the su[m]me of Tenn pounds of God and —
Lawfull Money of England wch lies in the Hands of John Carter of Thornborough
Aforesaid (viz) the sum[m]e of five when he is fitt to be put to an Apprentice & the
Sum[m]e of five pounds moor when he shall attaine to ye Age of one & twenty tears
Item I give unto my Grandaughter Mary French the sum[m]e of five pounds of good
& Lawfull Money of England which lies in the Hands of John Carter aforesaid
When shee shall attaine to the Age of one & twenty years.
Item I give unto my sonne in Law William French full power & Authority to Call in
the said Fifteen pounds out of the Hands of John Carter aforesaid & put it out—
where he pleaseth & take for his own use such Interest as he can make of
it Untill such time as my Grand Sonne & Grandaughter aforesaid are to ———
Receive the principall.
Item I give unto my sone George Knowles the sum[m]e of Three pounds of
good & Lawfull Money of England to be paid out of the Tenn pounds which
is due to me from my Sone in Law John Chandler Alsoe I give unto my ——
Sone George aforesaid my Great Kettle which is at William Frenches.
Item I give unto my Granddaughter Elizabeth Chandler all the Goods belonging to
me which are in her Fathers house.
Item I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Collins the sum[m]e of seven pounds
of good & Lawfull Money of england to be paid to her out of the Money
which is due to me from my Sonne in law John Chandler upon this ———
Condition that shee shall take Care that I may be decently Buryed.
And I doe hereby make my said Daughter Elizabeth Collins full & Soul —
Executrix of this my present Last Will And Testament in Witnesse whereof
I have hereunto sett my Hand & Seal the day & year first above written
Signed Sealed & published The mark of
in the presence off Awdry Denchfield
Elizabeth Elise Collins
her mark [Elise appears to be in her hand]
sooooo – what to make of it all…
It appears that before she married John Denchfield, Audrey was married to a Mr. Knowles, with whom she had at least four children: a son named George, and three daughters. By 1704, all three of her daughters had married and two may have been deceased, as the daughter who married John Chandler and the daughter who married William French, are not mentioned by name. Daughter French has a son Charles and a daughter Mary who were both under age when the will was made.
Her oldest grandchildren seems to have been Elizabeth Chandler, who looks to be of age and perhaps keeping house for her widower father. Audrey left some money to each of her grandchildren, a small sum and the great kettle for her son, and granddaughter Elizabeth was to receive her remaining personal possessions in son William French’s house, which suggests to me that it had once been the family home that she had left when she married and gone to live with John.
Audrey’s only surviving daughter Elizabeth, with the married name of Collins, is left in charge of settling her estate which makes one wonder what her relationship with her son George was….
UPDATE: For more on Audrey, see this post
(Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging prompt hosted by Geneabloggers).