“I BEQUEATH TO ELIZABETH MY WIFE… THE MESSUAGE AT KENT”: 1593 WILL OF JOHN COLLYER, IN FINE ELIZABETHAN HAND
COLLYER, John. Manuscript Last Will and Testament, dated June 20, 1593. Westminster, England, 1593. Six folio laid sheets, measuring 12 by 16 inches, written on rectos only. $950.
Original six-page manuscript last will and testament of John Collyer, in fine Elizabethan “secretary” hand.
“I John Collyer of the Cittie of Westminster… being at this instant whole of mind… remand my soul into the hand of almighty God… I do give to the poor of the parish the sum of forty shillings to be distributed amongst them in money or bread on the day of my burial. I do give and bequeath to Elizabeth my wife [and by association to my daughters and son] all that my lease, estate, and term of years yet to come… the messuage at Kent wherein I now dwell… [and] the residue of all my good chattel, money, plate, household stuff and other things whatsoever… Lastly I do utterly revoke and repeal all and sundry other former wills and testaments by me heretofore made or described by word or writing— holding and declaring this my pure testament and my very last will, to stand and remain forever firm and stable. In witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and put my seal the instant day and year first above written.” This wonderful document is penned in a 16th-century “secretary” hand, and witnessed by four of Collyer’s friends and the local “Notar public.” The secretary style “was used for business both governmental and private, for many kinds of records, for correspondence, for literary composition. Other styles of writing were in use side by side with the secretary for some purposes… but secretary was… the usual hand” (Dawson, 8).
Heavy soiling and tiny white spatters to first leaf, marginal tattering and dampstaining. A complete document in the Elizabethan legal hand, in extremely good condition.