Earlier in the week, I transcribed the 1756 will of Hugh Filbee, yeoman of Lewknor, Oxfordshire. What does Hugh’s will tell us?
Although nothing in the probate mentions the exact date of Hugh’s death, we do know the date it was proved: 16 January 1767. This coincides with the burial of Hugh Filbee in Lewknor on 14 January 1767. (See chart)
“I Hugh Filbee of the parish of Lewknor in the County of Oxford Yoem[an]“
Hugh was a gentleman farmer.
We also know he owned land, which he’d purchased during his lifetime vs having inherited it.
He left sons Hugh and Henry equal share in “All that my Freehold Estate which I lately purchased of Mr. William Rolles commonly called Steven’s Farm,” were “situate within the precincts of Lewknor aforesaid or in a Meadow called Shillingford Mead.” Additionally, he left son Henry “All that Close which I lately purchased of Edward Gomm.”
The order Hugh named his sons suggests Hugh was older than Henry.
Hugh named six daughters, presumably beginning with the oldest:
“I give & bequeath to my daughter Mary the Sum of Fifty Pounds”
“I give & bequeath to my Daughters Jane Alice & Judith Forty Pounds apiece”
“I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Ann Five pounds”
“I give & bequeath unto my Daughter Elizabeth Ten Pounds”
To daughters Mary and Judith, he left “all my Furniture in the Chamber over the Hall to be equally Divided betwixt them“
With the exception of Ann, baptisms of the daughters of Hugh and Alice, recorded in the St Margaret’s register between 1712-1729, match the names of these daughters, although the birth order doesn’t agree. (See chart)
None of the daughters was identified with a husband’s surname, suggesting they were all unmarried when the will was made in 1757; however, if these are the children of Hugh and Alice whose baptisms are recorded in the parish register, then we know they were all of age to have married long before this will was written. It seems odd that not one of a yeoman’s daughters would have been married in her 20s. The registers for Lewknor as well as surrounding parishes may show that they were married, but Hugh for whatever reason chose not to mention it in his will.
No mention of a wife
This suggests Hugh was a widower, and fits with the burial of an Alice Filbee in 1745. Further research is needed.
Much more research But, it’s a start.