THE

LAST WILL and TESTAMENT,

OF

Sir THOMAS GRESHAM, Kt.


 

 

HIS is the last WILL written, and Disposition of me, Sir THOMAS GRESHAM, of the City of London, Knight, concerning all my Manors, Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments, mentioned and contayned in one Indenture Quadrupartite, made between me the said Sir THOMAS GRESHAM, and Dame ANNE my Wife, on the one Partie and Philip Scuddamore, Gent. and Thomas Celey, on the other Partie. Dated the Twentieth Day of May, in the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lady Queen ELIZABETH.

First, Concerning the Buildings in London, called the Royal-Exchange, and all Pawns and Shops, Cellars, Vaults, Messuages, Tenements, and other whatsoever myne Hereditaments, Parcell or Adjoyning

Portrait de Sir Thomas Gresham, attribué à Adrian Key, c. 1565.
Source : The Mercers' Company Website
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to the said Royal Exchange ; I Will and Dispose, that after Expiration and Determination of the particular Uses, Estates and Interest for Life, and Intayle thereof, limited in the said Indenture, bearing Date the Twentieth of May : I Will and Dispose, that one Moiety thereof shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be unto the Major and Commonalty and Citizens of London, by whatsoever especial Name or Addition the same Corporation is made or known, and to their Successors for Term of Fifty Years then next ensuing, upon Trust or Confidence, and to the Intent that they do perform the Payments and other Intents in these Presents hereafter Limited, thereof by them to be done and performed. And the other Moiety of the said Buildings called the Royal-Exchange, Pawns, Shops, Cellars, Vaults, Messuages, Tenements and other mine Hereditaments, with the Appurtenances thereto adjoyning, shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be to the Wardens and Commonalties of the Mysterie of the Mercers of the City of London : (viz.) To the Corporate Body and Corporation of the Company of Mercers in London, by whatsoever especial Name or Addition the same Corporation is made or known, and to their Successors, for Term of Fifty Years next ensuing, upon Trust and Confidence, and to the Intent that they do perform the Payments and


Le Royal Exchange, construit par Gresham et ouvert par Elizabeth Ie en 1571
Source : A Compendium of Common Knowledge, 1558-1603

 
Sceau du Corps de la Mercerie, matrice de 1666-67
Source : The Mercers' Company Website

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other Intents, in these Presents hereafter lymited, thereof by them to be done and performed. And I Will and Dispose, that after such Time as the one Moiety of the said Royal-Exchange, and other Premises, according to the Intent and Meaning of these Presents, shall come to the said Major and Corporation of the said City ; and from thence, so long as they and their Successors shall by any Means or Title have, hold, or enjoy the same, they and their Successors every Year, shall give and distribute, to and for the Sustentation, Maintenance and Finding Four Persons, from Tyme to Tyme to be chosen, nominated and appointed by the same Major and Commonaltie and Citizens, and their Successors meete to read he Lectures of Divinity, Astronomy, Musick and Geometry, within myne own Dwelling-House, in the Parish of St. Helen's in Bishops-gate Street, and in St. Peter's the Poor, in the City of London, (the Moiety whereof hereafter in this my last Will, is by me Lymited and Disposed unto the said Major and commonaltie and Citizens of the said City) the Summe of Two Hundred Pounds of lawful Money of England, in Manner and Form following, (viz.) To every of the said Readers, for the Time being, the Sum of fifty Pounds of Lawfull Money of England, Yearly, for their Sallaries and Stipends, meete for Four


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sufficiently Learned, to read the said Lectures : The same Stipends and Sallaries, and every of them, to be paid at two usuals Terms in the Year, Yearly, (that is to say) At the Feast of the Annunciation of St. Mary, the Virgin, and St. Michael the Archangel, by even Portions to be paid.


And farther, That the said Mayor and Commonaltie and Citizens of the said City, and their Successors, from henceforth, so long as they and their Successors shall by any means have, hold, or enjoy the said Moiety before in these Presents to them disposed, shall give and distribute the Sum of Fifty Three Pounds Six Shillings and Eight Pence, of Lawful Money of England, Yearly, in Manner and Form following, (viz.) Unto Eight Almes-Folks, whom the said Mayor and Commonalty and Cityzens, or their Successors, shall appoint to inhabit my Eight Almes-Houses in the said Parish of St. Peter's the Poor, to every of them the said Almes-Folks, the Summe of Six Pounds, Shillings and Four Pence, to be paid at Four usual Terms in the Year Yearly, (that is to say) at the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, the Navity of our LORD GOD, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, and Nativity of St. John Baptist, by even Portions.

And farther, that the said Mayor and Commonaltie and Citizens of the said City,


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and their Successors, from thenceforth and so long as they and they and their Successors shall by any means have, hold and enjoy the said Moiety, before in these Presents to them disposed, shall give and distribute, at the Terms aforesaid, to the Relief of the poor Persons and Prisoners in the Prisons and Places called or known by the Names of Newgate, Ludgate, the King's-Bench, the Marshalsea, and Counter now kept in Woodstreet, and wheresoever the same Prisons hereafter shall be kept, Fifty Pounds of Lawful Money of England, in Money or other Provisions and Necessaries for them, (viz.) to every of the same Five Prisons or Places, Ten Pounds, at the Four usual Feasts or Terms of Payment of Rent within the same City of London, most accustomed, or within Eight and Twenty Days next after, by even Portions.


And as Concerning the other Moietie, before in this my present last Will disposed to the said Wardens and Commonaltie of the Corporation of the Mercers : I Will and Dispose, that after such Time as the same Moietie, according to the Intent and Meaning of these Presents, shall come to the said Wardens and Corporation of the Mercers ; and from thenceforth, so long as they or their Successors shall by any Means or Title have, hold and enjoy the same, and that they and their Successors every Year, Yearly,

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shall give and pay and distribute to and for the Finding, Sustentation and Maintenance of Three Persons, by them the said Wardens and Commonaltie, and their Successors from Time to Time, to be chosen and appointed, meete to read the Lectures of Law, Physick and Rhetorick, within myne now Dwelling-House, in the Parish of St. Helen's in Bishopsgate-Street, and St. Peter's the Poore in the said City of London, (the Moiety whereof hereafter in this my present last Will, is by me appointed and disposed unto the said Corporation of Mercers) the Summe of One Hundred and Fifty Pounds of Lawful Money of England, in Manner and Form following, (viz.) to every of the said Readers, for the Time being the Summe of Fifty Pounds, for their Sallaries and Stipends, meete for Three sufficiently Learned to read the said Lectures at two usual Feasts in the Year, (that is to say) at the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of St. Michael the Archangel, by even Portions to be paid : And that the said Wardens and Corporation of the Mercers, and their Successors, from henceforth, and so long as they and their Successors shall by any Means have, hold or enjoy the said Moiety, before in these Presents to them disposed, shall Yearly Bestow and Expend One Hundred Pounds of Lawful Money of England, in Manner and



Portrait de Sir Thomas Gresham, 1544
(Ecole flamande)
Source : The Mercers' Company Website

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Form following, (that is to say) severally at Fower several Terms in the Year in and about the Expences and Charges of a Feast or Dynner, for the whole Company of the same Corporation, to be had and made in the Mercers-Hall in the said City of London, at and in every their Quarter-Day, the Summe of Twenty Five Pounds. And that farther, the said Wardens and Corporation of the Mercers, and their Successors, from thenceforth, and so long as they and their Successors shall by any Means have, hold or enjoy the said Moiety, before in these Presents to them Disposed, shall every Year Give and Distribute to the Relief of the poor Persons and Prisoners in the Hospitals, Prisons and Places, called or known by the Names of the Hospitals of Christ or Christ Church, late the Grey-Fryars, in London; the Hospital of St. Bartholomew's, near Smithfield, in London ; the Spittall of Bethlem, near Bishopsgate-Street ; the Hospital for the Poor in Southwark ; and the Counter now kept in the Poultry, and wheresoever the same Prison hereafter shall be kept, Fifty Pounds of Lawful Money of England, in Money or other Provisions and Necessaries for them, (viz.)To every of the said Five Hospitals, Prisons or Places, Ten Pounds, at Four most of usual Feasts or Terms of Payment of Rent within the said City of London accustomed, or within Eight and Twenty Days next after, by even Portions.


 

 

 

 

 

 


Le premier Mercers-Hall détruit dans l'incendie de Londres en 1666.
Source : The Mercers' Company Website
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And as touching my Eight Alms-houses, situate in the Parish of St. Peter's the Poor, at the Backside of the said Mansion-House, in the said City of London; I Will and Dispose, That after the Expiration and Determination of the particular Uses, Estates and Interests for Life, and Entail thereof, limited in the said Indenture Quadrupartite, dated the Twentieth of May, That the same Eight Alms-Houses shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be unto the said Mayor and Commonaltie and Citizens of the said City of London, and their Successors, for and during the Term of Fifty Year, from thence next following, fully to be compleat and ended, upon Trust and Confidence, and to the Intent that they do perform the Payments and other Intents, in these Presents hereafter Limited, thereof by them to be done. And my Trust, and Confidence, Will, Intent, and Meaning is, That they the said Mayor and Commonaltie and Citizens and their Successors, after such Time as the same Almes-Houses shall, by Virtue of this my present last Will, come unto them the said Mayor and Commonaltie and Citizens, or to their Successors, and from Time to Time, so long as they or their Successors shall have, hold or enjoy the same by any Title or Means, shall place or putt Eight poor and impotent Persons



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into the said Eight Alms-Houses, (viz.) into every one of the said Alms-Houses one Person, and shall from Time to Time, suffer the said Eight Persons that shall be so by them or their Successors there placed and putt, to have, occupy and enjoy the same, without any Fine, or other Thing yielded therefore; and shall also pay unto every of the said Persons that so shall be by them placed and put into the said Alms-Houses, the Summe of Six Pounds Thirteen Shillings and Four Pence, of Lawful Money of England, in Manner and Form before in these Presents expressed.


And as concerning my said Mansion-House, with the Gardens, Stables, and all and singular other the Appurtenances in the said Parish of St. Helen's in Bishopsgate-Street, and St. Peter's the Poor, in the City of London ; I Will and Dispose, That after the End, Determination or Expiration of the particular Estates, Uses, Interests, and Intailes thereof, limited by the said Indenture Quadrupartite, dated the said Twentieth Day of May : The same my said Mansion-House, Gardens, Stables, and other the Appurtenances, shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be to the Mayor, Commonaltie and Citizens of the said City of London, by whatsoever Name or Addition the same is made or known, and to their


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Successors. And also to the Wardens and Commonaltie of the Mysterie of the Mercers of the City of London, (viz.) To the corporate Body, and Corporation of the Mercers of London, by whatsoever Name or Addition the same Corporation is made or known, to have and to hold, in Common, for and during the Term of Fifty Years from thence next following, fully to be compleat and ended, upon Trust and Confidence, That they observe, Perform, and keep my Will, Intent Meaning, hereafter in these Presents expressed. And my Will, Intent and Meaning is, That the said Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens and their Successors ; and that the said Wardens and Commonaltie of the Mercery, and their Successors, after such Time as the said Mansion-House, Garden, and other the Appurtenances, shall, by Virtue of these Presents, come unto them, and from thenceforth, so long as they and their Successors or any of them, shall have, hold or enjoy the same, by any Title or Means, shall permit card suffer Seven Persons, by them from Time to Time to be elected and appointed, in Manner and form aforesaid, meete and sufficiently Learned to read the said Seven Lectures ; To have the Occupation of all my said Mansion-House, Gardens, and of all other the Appurtenances, for them



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and every of them, there to inhabit, study, and daily to read the said several Lectures. And my Will is, That none shall be chosen to read any of the said Lectures so long as he shall be Married, nor be suffered to read any of the said Lectures after that he shall be Married; neither shall receive any Fee or Stipend appointed for the Reading of the said Lectures.


And moreover, I Will and Dispose, that if the said Mayor and Commonaltie, (viz.) the Chief Corporation of the said City : And the said Wardens and Commonaltie of the Mercers, (viz.) the Corporation of the Mercers of the City of aforesaid, before the End of the said Fifty Years, to them in Form aforesaid lymited; shall procure, and obtain; sufficient and lawful Dispensations and Licences, Warrant and Authority, had and obtained, shall have and enjoy the said Royal Exchange, Messuages, Shops, Pawns, Vaults, Houses, and all other the Premisses with the Appurtenances for ever ; severally by such Moieties, Rates, and other Proportions, and in such Manner and Form as before in these Presents is lymited. Upon Trust and Confidence, and to the Intent that they severally for ever shall doe, maintain and perform the Payments, Charges, and other Intents and Meanings thereof before lymited and expressed according to the Intent

Elizabeth Ie en 1572. Nicholas Hilliard, National Portrait Gallery, Londres.
Source : Tudor England

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and true Meaning of these Presents. And that I do require and Charge the said Corporations and chief Governors thereof, with circumspect Diligence, and without long Delay, to procure and see to be done and obtained, as they will answer the same before Almighty God; (for if they or any of them should neglect the obtaining of such Licences or Warrant, which I trust cannot be difficult, nor so chargeable, but that the Overplus of my Rents and Profit of the Premisses herein before to them disposed, will soon recompence the same ; because to soe good Purpose in the Common-wealth, no Prince nor Council, in any Age, will deny or defeat the same. And if conveniently by my Will or other Convenience I might assure it, I would not leave it to be done after my Death, then the same shall revert to my right Heirs, whereas I do mean the same to the Common-Weale, and then the default thereof shall be to the Reproach and Condemnation of the said Corporations afore God.) And farther, in Consideration that such Charges of Wardship, Livery and Primier Seizen, as by my Death shall fortune to be done to the Queen's Majesty, of or for all my Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, according to the Laws, and Statutes of this Realm shall be paid and born by Sir Henry Nevil, Knight, and by



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the Heirs Males, which he hath begotton on the Body of Elizabeth his late wife, deceased, Daughter of my Brother Sir John Gresham, Knight, deceased, while she lived my Cousin and Heir. apparent, their Heirs Males, Executors or Assigns. I do Will and Dispose, as concerning my Mannors of Mayefylld and Wardhurst, with the Appurtenances, and all my Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments in the County of Sussex or elsewere, used or reputed or belonging to the said Mannor or Mannors of Mayefylld and Wardhurst, that after the Expiration of the particular Uses, Estates and Interest for Life and Intayle thereof, limited in the said Indenture, the same shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be unto my Cousin, Sir Henry Nevil, and to the Heirs Males of Dame Elizabeth, his Wife, my Niece : And if my said Cousin, Sir Henry Nevil, Knight or the Heirs Males, begotten by my said Niece, shall not within certain Time after my Death, bear or cause to be born the Charges of Wardship, Livery or Primier Seizen, according to the Intent and Meaning of these Presents, That then such Gift, Limitation and Disposition as I have herein made to my said Cousin Nevil, and the Heirs Males of my Niece's Body, shall be utterly void to all Intents and Purposes, as if they and every of them had not been men-



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tioned in these, Presents. And then I Will and Dispose, that the same Premises at Mayefylld and Wardhurst aforesaid, or to the same belonging, shall remain, and the Use thereof shall be in such Sort as the Residue hereafter limited shall be.


And as concerning all the Residue of all and singular my Mannors, Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments, whatsoever they be, after the Expiration and Determination of the particular Uses, Estates and Interest, for Years, Life, or Intayle thereof, lymited in the said Indenture, and in these Presents : I do Will and Dispose, That the same shall remain, and that the Use thereof shall be unto my said faithful, loving Wife, Dame Anne Gresham, and to hers Heirs and Assigns for ever; and she to use and dispose of the same at her Pleasure, as she shall think meete and convenient ; Requiring, amongst all other Things, That all my Debts, Legacies, and other Duties whatsoover, by me Due, given, lymited or bequeathed to any Person, or witheld from any Person, shall be fully performed, satisfyed and paid and recompenced, as the Case in Law, Right, Equity or Conscience shall require. In which Behalf I do wholly put my Trust in her, and have no Doubt but she will accomplish the same accordingly ; and all other Things as shall be requisite or expedient, for both our


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Honesties, Fames and good Report in this Transitory World, and to the Profit of the Common-Weale, and Relief of the careful and true Poor, according to the Pleasure and Will of Almighty God : To whom be all Honour and Glory, for Ever and Ever. Amen.




 

 

In Witness whereof, I the said Sir THOMAS GRESHAM, have written, this WILL all with my own Hand; and to each of the Eight Leaves have subscribed My Name, and to a Labell fixt thereunto all the Eight Leaves, have set to my Seal with the Grasshopper, the Fifth Day of July, in the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Queen ELIZABETH, and in the Year of our LORD GOD, One Thousand Five Hundred Seventy Five, by me,


Source : The Temple of British Worthies Stowe: The Elysian Fields

 

 

THOMAS GRESHAM.

 

Witnesses to this last Will and Testament, of the said Sir THOMAS GRESHAM, the Persons whose Names be subscribed.

 

P. Scudamor.
Thomas Billingford
Henry Nevil.
Ce testament a été également publiť à Londres en 1740 par John Ward dans LIVES of the PROFESSORS of GRESHAM COLLEGE. On peut accéder à la transcription qu'Elisabeth Millet en a faite en cliquant sur le sceau

E Registro Curiæ Prærogat. Cant. Extract &c.

   
Miniature pour le "Bußpsalmen", c. 1560 (détail)
John Dowland, The Humble Complaint of a Sinner (extrait)
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