Brettons and Wentworths

Brettons of West Bretton
Wentworths of Hollinghurst

We had searched for years for Hollinghurst in Thornhill and then found it by chance between Netherton and West Bretton. We had been considering the present village/town of Thornhill and not the old, much larger parish. The following will was written in the crabbed medieval handwriting that is not easy to translate but Christine did a marvellous job. There were still a few loose ends however and we therefore called upon the willing assistance of John Goodchild, an Archivist/Historian with his own archives in Wakefield and an enviable reputation in Yorkshire (and wider). We are grateful to him indeed. He pointed out to us that whilst Christine & I had agreed on one part of the will that it read “I give to John Bretton my best horse” even whilst we thought that he was being extremely generous having a number of sons of his own. John Goodchild pointed out that it was not “best horse” but “best bowe”. You can see immediately the similarity in the two words, when written in the crabbed 16th century style – but the difference is significant for the sake of accuracy. The other thing of interest is that John Bretton & Frances were given the same amount of money as the other sisters but, in addition “an iron chimney” (which was a portable metal stove) and his “best bowe”. Whether this was a way of suggesting Richard Wentworth agreed with John Bretton’s stand we do not know, nor shall we ever know, but the “bowe” was personal to John Bretton and would not have signified special treatment for his oldest daughter.

The Will of Richard Wentworth of Hollinghurst in the parish of Thornhill in the County of York

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN, the 20th day of April in the year of Our Lord God a thousand five hundred and seventy seven in the 20th year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth by the grace of God queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, I, Richard Wentworth of Hollinghurst in the parish of Thornhill in the county of York, Gentleman, being whole in body and in good and perfect remembrance, laud and praise be given unto Almighty God and my Redeemer declare this my last will and testament in manner and form following :-

First I bequeath my soul to Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, three persons and one true and everlasting God beseeching him of his infinite mercy and by the merit of death, passion and most precious blood shedding of his only begotten son my redeemer and saviour, Jesus Christ that he will for his sake receive it into the attention of his eternal glory and my bodie to be buried in the parish church or churchyard of Thornhill aforesaid or else where It shall please almighty god to take me to his mercy. Item I give for my mortuary according to the Queen’s Majesty’s laws and statutes in that case provided.
Item I give to the poor of the parish of Thornhill 6s. 8d. Item I give to the box of the poor of Sandall Magna 3s. 4d. Item I give to the poor people of West Bretton 2s. Item to the poor people of the township of Netherton 3s. 4d. Item I will that Alis my wife shall have a third part of my goods and chattels for her third part thereof. Item I give to my said wife all my lease interests, rights and tenancy in the township of West Bretton yet enduring or elsewhere that I have at the date of my death and I also give unto her my farm on lease of Hollinghurst during her life and after her death to Robert Wentworth my third son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten and if it fortune my said son Robert to die and depart from this world before he enters to the said lease of Hollinghurst that then my son Matthew Wentworth shall have and enjoy the same and pay unto his sister/sisters then being un-married the sum of £13. 6s. 8d to be equally divided amongst them and if his said sisters then fortunate to be all married that then this guarantee to be void and he to pay nothing. And if the said Robert depart from this world with no sons of his body lawfully begotten to remain to Matthew Wentworth my second son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten and if the said Robert and Matthew do die as God defend they should, no heirs of their bodies lawfully begotten then the same to remain to my daughters un-married and if they be all married to remain to all the rest of my children. Item. I will that my wife shall have all my purchased land during her life towards the bringing up of my children Item I give to my said wife six of the best of my silver spoons. Item I give to John Bretton and Frances, his wife, my daughter, one iron chimney and to either of them 10s. in money in full contention and satisfaction of all her rightful portion of all my goods and chattels. Item I give to Thomas Johnson and Elizabeth his wife, my daughter,10s. in money in full contention and satisfaction of all her rights. Item I give to Robert Sykes and Jane his wife, my daughter, to either of them 10s. in money in full contention and satisfaction of all her rightful portion of my goods and chattels. Item I give to John Ward and Helen his wife, my daughter, to either of them 10s. in money in full contention and satisfaction of all her rightful portion of my goods and chattels. Item. I give to every one of my children’s eldest sons now being born 3 shillings and four pence. Item I give to every other of my children being living 12 pence. Item. I give all my purchased land after the death of my wife to Thomas Wentworth my eldest son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten and for default of such issue to Matthew Wentworth my second son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten. And if it fortune the said Matthew Wentworth to die, no sons, I give to Robert Wentworth my youngest son and to the heirs of his body lawfully begotten. And if it fortune the said Robert to die, no sons, to all my daughters to be equally divided amongst them and their heirs forever. In consideration whereof I will that the said Thomas shall content And pay to Matthew Wentworth my second son the sum of £13. 6s. 8d. At such times as the said Thomas shall enter on the premises to him bequeathed and to pay to the said Matthew at such time and to pay to his younger brother Robert the sum of £13. 6s. 8d. Item I will that if it fortune the said Matthew to depart out of this life before the said Thomas do enter unto the said land that then my said son Thomas shall pay no part of the said sum of £13. 6s. 8d. or any part thereof to any other person. Item I will give to my wife during her life my silver salt and to Matthew my son my best ring Item I give to Matthew Wentworth and Robert Wentworth, my two younger sons all the rest of my apparel with sword and bucklers. Item I will that Robert my son shall have his equal portion with his sisters of all my goods according to the rate of their portions. Item. I will that the said Robert my son at such time as he entereth into and taketh the profits of the lands to him bequeathed shall pay his sisters the sum of £10 to be divided among them all. Item. I will that Alis my wife shall have the governance of my children and their persons unto they be able to make her a sufficient discharge. Item. I give to my niece Dorothy Wentworth the velvet pillow (or cushion). Item. To George Wentworth her son one ewe and a lamb. Item I will that Mr Francis Wortley, Mr Matthew Wentworth of Bretton and Mr John Kay of Woodsome Esquires be supervisors of this my last will and testament imploring them for the love of God to aid and assist my wife and children in their rights and to see this my last will be performed and kept according to the true tenor and meaning thereof and I give to everyone of them three for their pains one angel Item I give to John Bretton my best Bowe, The rest of all my goods not given now bequeathed my debts and final expenses and leases discharged and paid I give and bequeath to Alice my wife, Maud, Alice and Isabel and Beatrice my daughters now being un-married whom I make my sole Executors of this my last will and testament there being witnesses Francis Wortley & John Kay esquires and John Johnson, husbandman

Proved by Alice, Matilda, Alice and Isabelle 2 October
Beatrice