John Rudd and his Will

by Geoffrey White

Geoffrey White

Among my predecessors at St Mary’s Shephall, two stand out as being of more than average interest.  One, John Jones, whom I am still researching, is deemed to be worthy of a place in the Dictionary of National Biography, but he spent only the last three years of his life here; John Rudd’s influence was felt for almost half a century: here is his epitaph.

NEERE TO THIS PLACE LIETH BVRI-
ED THE BODY OF IOHN RVDD THE
FAITHFUL PASTOR OF THIS PAR-
ISH 45 YEARES WHO DIED A
BACHELER THE 13TH OF IVLY 1640
ÆTATIS SVÆ 72.

SONN OF THVNDER, SONN OF THE DOVE,
FVLL OF HOTT ZEALE, FVLL OF TRVE LOVE,
IN PREACHING TRVTH, IN LIVEING RIGHT
A BVRNEING LAMPE, A SHINEING LIGHT.  

In the little cartouche ...

....above these words1, the faithful pastor was depicted with a lamb over his shoulders (as drawn by Oldfield), but this was inaccurately restored in modern times to show a mop of lank, grey hair.  Mary Spicer, in her 'Tyme out of Mind'2 tells the story of his boundary disputes heard in the manorial court of Shephalbury: some of the walls mentioned still stand as part of the “Old Rectory”.  However, much more interesting for our understanding of this “son of thunder” is the tale of his dismissal from a lectureship at Great St Mary’s, which William Urwick transcribed in his Nonconformity in Herts3; to this we shall return presently.

Urwick, claiming for his sources Baker’s Collections and Brook’s Lives, tells us confidently that “John Rudd was born in the year 1568, and was educated in Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he became a zealous and popular preacher”. However, reference to the Alumni Cantabrigenses reveals some confusion, for their John Rudd MA, Vicar of Shephall, was apparently a native of Norfolk, who came up first to Caius in 1583, migrated to St John’s, then to Christ’s in 1586.  Another of the same name was a sizar at Clare from 1586, and he is said to be “possibly the son of John (1515)”. 

Now, a reading of our John Rudd’s will elicits not one reference to Norfolk, but an awful lot about Durham, where the elder Rudd was a prebendary; indeed, he had an interesting career, being a chaplain to Edward VI and one of the first clergy to marry, occasioning his deprivation on the young king’s death, both from his parish of Norton (Co Durham) and from his prebends at Durham and Winchester.  He divorced Isabel Weldon in 1554, and thus became Vicar of Dewsbury, (apparently his family originated in Yorkshire).  At the accession of Elizabeth he was restored to Durham and Norton, gaining also in time the rectories of Riston and Romaldkirk, with another prebendal stall at Beverley; he also remarried the same, patient Isabel.

Unfortunately, it has so far proved impossible to trace the baptismal record of our John Rudd: Norton registers exist only from 1574, and those for Durham Cathedral  from after 1600.  However, I am greatly indebted to Dr Brian Crosby, of New Elvet, Durham, not only for trawling through many parish records, but for finding the wills of Prebendary John (proved 18.7.1579) and of Isabel, his widow (proved 13.4.1583)4.

This John named three beneficiaries: his wife Isabel (“alias Weldon”), and his sons John and Joseph; one of the witnesses is Henry Hancock, the same name as a beneficiary of John Rudd of Shephall’s will sixty years later. The Cathedral’s Act Book (starting in 1578), as well as mentioning provision made for Isabel on John’s death in 1579, also notes young Joseph’s enrolment as a chorister in 1581, whilst Durham School records list him as a King’s scholar between 1584-7.  Unfortunately, no such record survives of the elder brother. 

The will of Isabel “wedowe, late wyfe” of Prebendary John first lists bequests to her three daughters, Rachel, Mary and Elizabeth.  If Isabel married John in 1553, and her younger son was born about 1570 (choristers were normally admitted about the age of eleven), it seems very likely that the girls were older than the boys; some of them were perhaps born in King Edward’s reign, or were even the product of a short-lived marriage to a second husband during the catholic years of Mary.  One at least was married (Rachel?), as she mentions Henry Hancock of Seacroft5 as her son-in-law: was he the father of the younger John’s “cosen” of the same name?  John and Joseph also receive legacies from their mother, Joseph being specifically described as a minor, though when the will was written in 1582, one would anticipate that John was no more than 14; but perhaps he was provided for with a scholarship.  As yet we cannot be absolutely sure that our John and the prebendary’s son were one and the same -they could have been cousins-, but more links are evident in the will of 1638.

Before looking at the will of John Rudd of Shephall, let’s examine the events leading to Rudd’s departure from Cambridge, as narrated by Urwick. Offence had been caused by a sermon at Great St Mary’s on 30th January, 1596.  He was examined by the Vice-Chancellor and heads of houses of the University, and, after much wrangling, promised to publicly retract the points of doctrine which had caused offence; instead, it is said that he confirmed the same, and so Vice-Chancellor Jegon6 sent details of the case to Archbishop Whitgift7, who demanded his appearance before the Queen’s High Commission.  The Commission, compared by Lord Burghley to the Inquisition, had been known to condemn not just Papist, but also Puritan heretics to death, so some circumspection was demanded.  Rudd “confessed his oversight”, and was returned to Cambridge, where he duly recanted, in a form which still insisted that the whole affair was a misunderstanding.

The full text of this recantation is reproduced in Mary Spicer’s Tyme out of Mind (p40), so I will mention only the first three, most important assertions, which he claimed were wrongly deduced from his sermon:

  1. That the use of humanity, human arts and profane authors in sermons was  and is altogether unprofitable and unlawful;
  2. That not a tenth part of the ministers of the Church of England are able ministers or preachers, but dumb dogs;
  3. That a curate, being no preacher, is no minister, nor doth he edify any more  than a boy of eight years old may do.

Because Rudd had thus offended the guardians of lawful authority in Cambridge, Urwick hailed him as a herald of nonconformity.  Yet when we turn to Rudd’s will, we note his meticulous care that the poor who would benefit from his bequests should not only be deserving, but conforming too.  Of course none of us will think the same at seventy as we did in our twenties, but one has to recognise too that, Rudd, while undoubtedly a Calvinist (as indeed was Archbishop Whitgift), was also committed to a national church with an episcopal structure.  He might be called a Puritan, and his selection of a handful of neighbouring clergy to be beneficiaries looks suspiciously like a classis8, a group of serious-minded clergy with Samuel Ward9; as the driving force, but until Archbishop Laud spearheaded the Church of England’s own counter-reformation, Rudd’s Anglicanism was mainstream.  His most prized books were those of William Perkins10, a distinguished Cambridge Puritan, whom he would certainly have known personally, and Joseph Hall11, a moderate and a convinced episcopalian, who suffered as a bishop under the Commonwealth.

C/10580)
T(estamentum) Johannis Rudd clerici

In the name of God. Amen. the nynteenth daie of  February  in the yeare of our lord God one thousand six hundred thirtie and eight I John Rudd of Shephall in the Countie of Hertforde Preste  being att this present (by Gods mercy) in Good Health and perfecte remembrance, doe ordaine and make this my last will and testam12 in manner and forme followinge; first and principally I remitt my soule into the Custodie of my lord and blessed Saviour Christ Jesus who is my most faithfull Curator and most mercifull Redeemer whome I doe most humblie of his infinite goodnes and mercie intreate to receave it in his good time into his everlastinge and eternall happiness.  Christ is to mee both in life and death advantage and to be loosed and to be with Christ is best of all13.  As for my bodie I remitt that to the earth in sure and certaine hope of a blessed resurrection14 and would have it buried in the middest of the Chancell as neere unto the east as may bee. And I doe appoint my Executors hereafter in this my will to be named  to bestow twenty pounds about my buriall  whereof I desire that six poundes be given to the poore at the discretion of my executors and a Convenient parte thereof bestowed upon a monument to be sett upp in the said Chancell wall and against my grave; the rest to be spent for the entertainemt of my freindes  especially of the Ministers and Schollars of my acquaintance  and for the gratifyinge of the Minister whoe shall preach my funerall sermon.  And concerninge the residue of my worldlie goods I doe devide and bestowe them as followeth.  I have desired my Reverend and most worthie friend Mr Craven Minister of Ware to preach my funerall sermon and would have my executors to give him apeece for his paines and desire him to accepte of twoe of my fairest mapps in my hall parlor or greate Chamber.

My Plate

First I grant to the right worshipfull and my most reverend friend Mr Doctor Ward9 Master of Sidney Colledge in Cambridge my greate Seale ring in which are engraven the names of twoe of his worthie freindes of happie memory Sr Edward Lytton knight and Mr John Allinson Batchelor of Divinitie of whose bounty toward me it is composed. Item I give my guilded tanker to my Cosin Robinson, my double guilte bole with the Cover I desire that it may remaine in the hands and custodie of his Father William North untill his sonne my cosen shall come to the age of one and twentie yeares and then to be given and delivered unto him. And if he dye befour the deliverie then the same bowle shal be given to Elizabeth North his sister my cosen. I give my double guilte salver to my Cosen Richard Walker. Item I give my silver Tanker to my Cosen Nicolson. Item my silver bowle I give to my Cosen Francis Twiddall, my wine bowle I give unto my Cosen John Walker. Item I give my cosen Henry Hancoke six silver spoones with guilded heades.  Item I give the foor guilte spoones with the five Appostle spoones to my Cosen William North the younger. Item I give all my other silver spoones  beinge eight in number to my Cosen Elizabeth North. And my will and meaninge that if any of the parties aforesaid to whome I have given any of my plate shall dye and departe this life, that then his or theire legacie soe departinge to remaine and shalbee paid to his or theire heire nexte beinge alsoe of my kindred.

My library of bookes

I desire my Cosen William North the Elder to take them all into his studdie. All my English bookes I would have devided betwixt my Cosen John Walker and himselfe and I desire att theire discretion to bestowe some of them amongst all my kindred who shewe themselves willing and they proove to be able to make use of them. I grant all my written hand books to my cosen Gabriell Robinson, and for all my other bookes of what kinde or language soever, my mynd is to have them devided into twoe equall partes by such as have skill whereof I give my Cosen Robinson leave to choose the one parte and my Cossen William North the younger shall have the other parte if he be able to make us of them, but if he be not able hee shall lett his Cosen Robinson take all and Gabriell shall in three yeares spare give the said William for his halfe twentie poundes by (instalments of) twentie nobles15 a yeare.

What to be bestowed for pios usus and howe

My worthie and much approved freindes Mr John Nodes of the Swann in Stephenedge Oliver North of Datchworth and the twoe William Northes of this parishe of Shepall have attended? on me the last Hallowtide before the date of these presents for which I have theire bonds and doe promise att the end of fower yeares to make it upp full fower hundred poundes. I would have them take in theire bond and to seale in these close bonds annexed to this schedule the one to the Rt worthy Sr William Lytton16 the other to the right worthy Mr Dr Ward9 parson of much Munden whome I most humblie beseech in the lord to take the monyies into theire handes and to see them bestowed according to my true intencion and expressed in the back side of either of theire bonds. There is moreover moneyes in the hands of the twoe John Northes of Ware to be paied the fowerth of July nexte followinge the date of these presents upon a Statute the receavinge of which moneyes I remitt by my letter of Atturney to my good and approved freindes Mr Faultrop of (blank) and Mr Thornton of Knebworth whome also I earnestlie beseech in the lord that they would soe employe as is specified in the backside of theire letter of Attorney.

My farme att Stotfold in Bedfordshire

[paragraphs added for readability]
Item I give to my Cosen William North the sonne of my Cosen Habell North departed all that my farme lande tenemts and hereditamts in Stotfold in the Countie of Bedford with all the appurtenances, To have and to hould to him and his heires of his bodie lawfullie begotten upon Condition notwithstandinge  that if the said William North his heires & executors or assignes doe not pay the full sume of three hundred poundes in manner following that is to say to my Cosen John Walker or to the heires of his bodie upon Midsomer day twoe yeares nexte after my decease the some of fieftie poundes of Current Englishe mony and to my Cosen Henry Hancock or to his heires the like sume of fieftie poundes of like current & English mony upon Midsomers daie then nexte followinge  And the sume of fieftie poundes of like Currant Englishe mony to my Cosen Elizabeth Robinson and my Cosen (blank) Nicolson by even portions to the use of his Children borne of my Cosen his wife  upon Midsomer day then nexte followinge, And the like sume of fieftie poundes of like currant English mony upon Midsomer day then nexte followinge unto the five Children of my brother17 Roger Walker or theire heires, videlicet to Richard Walker, John Walker, Elizabeth Robinson, Francis Twiddalls wife and my Cosen Nicolsons wife and unto the forementioned John Walker or his heires the like some of fiftie poundes of like Currant English mony upon Midsomer day then next followinge.

And lastlie the like sume of fieftie poundes of like currant English mony unto my Cosen Henry Hancoke or his heires att Midsomer day the nexte followinge the place of the said six severall payments to be the South porch of the parrishe of Shephall aforesaid. That then and from thenceforth after the defaulte of any of these payments aforesaid the estate and interest of18 the foresaid William North and his heires shall cease determyne and be utterlie voide. And that then from thenceforth after the said farme landes tenemts and hereditamts aforesaid with the appurtenances shalbe and remaine unto Elizabeth North sister of the same William North and to the heirs of her bodie lawfullie begotten under the Covenants and payinge the payments aforesaid. And if my Cosen Elizabeth North shall faile in all or any of the payments aforesaid or shall dye and departe this life without herit (of herat)19 of her bodie lawfully begotten, That then my will and mynd is that my farme landes tenemts and hereditamts aforesaid shalbe equallie devided amongst my kindred to whome I have given the six fieftie poundes as aforesaid. Item I give unto my Cosen Pennyfather my Close att Aston parishe on that Condition he shall make his wife a cogniture(?) of tenn poundes per annum above her thirde.

Item I give unto everie one of my servants that shall serve me att the time of my departure twentie shillings. [Item I give to my Cosen Gabriell Robinson five poundes a yeare for three yeares by which time my Pension given to Christs College I hope wilbe for him to enter on.] And soe many Crownes20 more as there have beene full yeares in my service And I doe require them to the uttermost of theire severall abilities to be aydinge and assistinge to my executors  in the execution of this my will and to abide with them three monthes nexte after my decease  if they doe require the same my executors allowing him her(?) or them meate dailie and lodginge during that time. Item I give and bequeath to Master Rooks viccair of Cotticote Mr Perkins10 worke in folio(?) which was printed att Cambridge and I give unto Mr Thornton Rector of Knebworth the volume of Bishop Halls11 works desiringe them to attempte of them as a remem-brance of my kinde and auntient21 neighbourhood.

The rest of my goodes and Chattells my debte and my legacies promised and this my last Will and testamt in all things fulfilled and performed, I give unto my twoe Cosens William North and John Walker to be devided by even pourtions both whome I doe name Constitute and appointe sole executors of this my last will and testament  desiringe them by that respecte and dutie that they have professed to me and as they will answere theire defaulte before Allmightie God att the generall daie of iudgmt  that they see this my will and testament carefully performed. And I doe appointe the aforesaid Mr Rooks and Mr Thornton Overseers of this my will whose advise and direction alsoe to my Executors I earnestlie desire as beinge those of my freindes to whome I have most fullie imparted my meaninge in all the former particulars. In witness that this is my meaninge and will I the said John Rudd have hereunto sett my hand and seale. The legacie of bibles I did crosse out with my owne hand because it was inconvenient to be performed soe many of them beinge ignorant and soe fewe disposed. John Rudd vicar of Shephall, Sealed in the presence of George Swinhowe22 Thomas Wood Mary Mead.

Bee it knowne unto all men by these presents...

... That I John Rudd of Shephall in the Countie of Hertford Clerke have constituted and in my place sett and ordained my welbeloved in Christ (blank) Faultrope of the parish of (blank) in the County of Hertford abovesaid Clerk and (blank) Thornton of the parishe of Knebworth in the Countie aforesaid Clerke my true and lawfull Attorneyes to aske leavy record and receave for me and myne purse all and singuler sumes of mony and debte whatsoever shall be due to me from the twoe John Northes elder and younger of Ware in the Countie abovesaid upon the fowrth day of July which shalbe in the yeare of our lord God one thousand six hundred thirtie and nyne att or in this South porch of the parish Church of Shephall aforesaid giveinge and graunting to my said Attorneyes my full and whole power and Authoritie in the premisses to plainte arest sue declare implead imprison cause to be condemned and release the said debte recover and receave and thereupon finally accord and acquitt letters of acquittance and other(?) discharge for me and in my name to compounde seale and deliver Atturney or Atturneys one or most under them to ordaine and set and att theire pleasure againe to revoke, And moreover to doe execute, performe conclude and finish for me and in my place as is mentioned before all and singuler things that shalbe expedient and necessary concerninge the premisses as throughlie wholly and suerly as I my selfe should doe if I were there in my owne person present. And all that these my said Atturneys shall happen to doe or cause to be donne in and for the premisses I promise to allowe performe ratifie and establishe and thereto I bind me myne heires and executors by the presents In witnes whereof I sett to my hand and seale to these presents John Rudd viccar of  Shephall.

Sealed in the presents of George Swinhowe, Thomas Wood, Mary Mead.

To the Right worshipful Corporation of Durham ...

... three hundred poundes to buy an Annuitie of fifteene poundes yearly which shall thus be laied out on the Poore.

First they shall every Candlemas Day23 deliver to the Rectors of six Churches videlicit24 1stlie St Maries, 2 Bowe Church, 3 St Nicholas, 4o St Oswalds, 5 St Margaretts, 6 St Giles. fortie shillings apeece.

These six severall Ministers shall thus lay out theire mony on their poore.

First they shall take order with some baker to provide weekely twoe shillings worth of bread everie lords day and to bringe and sett it in some windowe of the Church before the last peale to the morninge prayer for twentie weeks together beginninge allways the nexte sundaie or att furthest the next sundaie seavenight25 after the receipte of itt.

The bread shall thus be given to the Poore.

First the Minister with the Overseers shall appointe yearlie and sett doune the names of such a number of the poore as they in theire discretion shall thinke meete.

Secondlie It shall be in the Ministers power only if any of theis poore appointed shall to the Ministers knowledge 1. prove scandalous for his life, Secondlie or misse the beginninge of prayers or be irreverent att them three times in a quarter  3o or cannot or will not say the whole Catechisme26 in the Communion booke then shall the Minister have power for that yeare to putt him by his Money(?) and bestowe it on some other inoffensive poore man att his discretion.

Thirdlie this bread shalbe bestowed after the whole divine service by the Clerke of everie parishe and he shall have twoe pence a day for his pains.

The other three poundes of these fiefteene to be purchased shal by even portions be bestowed on twoe Poore Schollers belonginge to the free Grammer schoole of the Cathedrall, whole shalbe Chosen in this manner.

The head Schoolemaster shall nominate twoe for either schollarshipp as it is voide unto the Right Worshipful Mare and his bretheren and the most votes shall have it. I earnestlie desire the Schoolemaster and the Right Worshipful Corporation in the lord that in theire nomination and choosing and they would first preferr my kindred then any Poore whose father belongeth to the Cathedrall any other as theire Conscience directeth them, such as once be chosen and shal enioy it duringe theire inoffencive continuance att the Schoole, by me John Rudd, viccar of Shiphall.

Good Mr Faultrop and Mr Thornton ...

... I doe earnestlie in the Bowells of our blessed Saviour intreate you both that when you shall have receaved these monyes you would in your good discretions soe husband them that att the end of three yeares they may arise to full three hundred poundes and in the meane time to give word to the right worshipfull Corporation of Durham that if soe be they will promise an Anuitie of fifteene poundes per annum to be bestowed on theire Poore for that end and in that manner as is sett doune in a schedule annexed to these presents  I would have you bestowe it all on them if I say they provide an Anuitie of fiefteene poundes against the end of the three yeares or within halfe a yeare after to be bestowed as is aforesaid (word missing ?) Schedule. And if not I shall desire you still to keepe it in your hands and to give word unto my kindred to whome I have given my plate in my will and to devide it amongst them by even portions. John Rudd.

Noverint27 universi per presentes nos Johannem Noades de Stephenedge in Comitatu Hertford generosum et Oliverium North de Datchwort comitatus ejusdem yeoman et Guilielmum North seniorem de Shephall Comitatus ejusdem yeoman et Guilielmum North filium Guilielmi predicti in parochia Hatfield Comitatus ejusdem yeoman teneri et firmiter obligari Samueli Ward parochie Munden magnæ Comitatus ejusdem Clerico in Quadringentis libris bone et legalis monete Anglie solvere eidem Samueli aut suo recto Atturnato Ad quam quidem solvendum bene et fideliter faciendum obligamus nos et quemquemque? nostrum per se pro toto et insolidum prodes executor et administratores nostros firmiter per presentis sigillis nostris(;) sigillatum datum Anno regni Domini nostri Caroli dei gratia Anglie Scotie Franciæ et Hiberniæ Regis fidei defensoris.

The condition of this obligation is such that if the within bounde viz John Noades, Oliver Williams North elder and younger theire heires executors administrators and assignes or anie of them shall well and trulie paie or cause to be paied to the above named Samuell or his assignes the full sume of twoe hundred poundes of good and lawfull mony of England upon the first daie of November which shalbe in the yeare of our lord God one thousand six hundred fortie and twoe in the house of the said Samuell of Much Munden aforesaid without anie fraude cozin or further delay, That then this present obligation to be voide and of none effect otherwise to remaine and abide in full force strength and vertue, 

John Rudd, Sealed and delivered.

I John Rudd...

...of the parishe of Shephall in the Countie of Hertford, beinge by the lords mercie in good health and memory this eighth of December one thousand six hundred thirtie eight doe assigne the former twoe hundred poundes to the trust and disposeing of the right wll Mr Dr Ward humblie beseechinge in the bowells of our blessed Saviour that he would vouchsafe to give warninge and stirr upp the Rt worll Master and Fellowes of Christs Colledge in Cambridge to procure and purchase against the daie appointed tenn poundes yearly rent to be bestowed on twoe Schollers five poundes yearlie apeece in this manner followinge the one to be a Northerne man the other a Southerne. In the Northerne Schollarshipp I would desire them preferr 1o any of my kindred, 2o any whose Father hath or had some place in the Cathedrall of Durham, 3o some Durham Scholler (;) if none of these be readie to stand for it when it is voide then I leave it free to theire worshipps discretion. In the Southerne Pension likewise 1o any of my kindred, 2o the Ministers sonne of Shephall where I am incumbent, 3o* such as come from Stephenedge St Albons or Hertford Schooles. If it please the Right Worshipfull Societie to make either of my Pensioners schollers of the foundation alsoe then it shall be in theire power to bestowe 30s of that my pension on anie other poore Scholler they shall thinke good, he whoe hath anie one of my pensions shall hve it if hee contineue in the Colledge untill hee Comence Mr of Arts excepte some of my poore kindred in the meanetime come to the Colledge for then I most humblie desire the Rt worshipfull societie that they would soe respect my kindred that whether he be Northerne or Southerne kinsman they wouldwithin halfe a yeare make voide his pension that is not of my kindred  that soe my kinsman may the sooner be provided for. And if any of my Pensioners be Chosen fellowe then his pension is voide for anew election, John Rudd.

The monyes shall thus...

...be given to the Poore by the Care of the six severall Ministers and Churchwardens of everie parishe.

They shall take order with some baker to provide weekely twoe shillings worth of bread to be brought everie saturdaie as long as theire moneyes will reach to everie former severall Ministers howse, the which bread the Clarke of everie severall parishe shall everie lords day before his last Chiming sfetch from the Ministers howses and sett in some convenient place of the Church that the parishioners may take notice the Poore are well provided for and after the whole devine service the said Clarke shall bestowe it on the appointed Poore and shall daily have twoe pence allowed him for his paines out of the twoe shillings.

The Poore in euerie parish shalbe thus appointed.

First the Minister with the Overseers shall appointe yearlie and sett doune the names of such a number of the Poore as they in theire discretion shall seeme meete. Secondlie it shall be in the Ministers power only: if any of theise Poore appointed shall afterwards to the Ministers knowledge: 1. prove any way scandalous, 2. or without necessarie cause which the Minister shall approve of be absent from the beginninge of divine praiers or irreverent att the whole contynuance of them,  3. or cannot or will not learne and say the whole Catechisme in the Communion booke Then shall the Minister have power of himselfe aloane for that yeare to putt that partie from his Moneys(?) and to bestowe it on some other indifferent Poore att his discretion.

What the Clarke shall doe for his twentie shillings.

Hee shall weekly every lords day from the first of May unto the feast of St Michaell29 strewe the Ministers pewe and the seates belongynge to the Minister in the Chancell with wholsome sweete herbes and from the feast of St Michaell untill May day following he shall perfume the same plaice with some sweete holsome perfume. And for everie defaulte he shall make lett him forfeite six pence (?) which the Minister shall take att the next years mony paied unto him and the Minister shall bestowe the forfeitures on the Poore att his discretion. By me John Rudd viccar of Shephall.
Probatum fuit testamentum superscriptum…30

Notes

  1. The biblical references (describing St John the Apostle and St John the Baptist,  respectively) are to Mark 3,17 and John 5,35.
  2. C.M. Spicer: Tyme out of Mind, privately published 1984:  ISBN 0 9509907 0 1.  Oldfield’s drawing of the John Rudd memorial (now in the north aisle) is reproduced, together with an account of Rudd’s departure from Cambridge, his disputes about    the  parsonage boundaries, and this interesting extract (1603) from the Archdeacon’s  visitation returns (available in transcription at the County Record Office in Hertford):
     “Our minister John Rudd preacheth in the least every Sabbath twice, in the forenoon  for the most part, going on with the same particular place of Scripture, or with some  special treatise which he thinketh profitable for the times.  In the afternoon referring all  his exercises unto catechizing, handling either some choice places of Scripture for  that purpose or insisting upon some ordinary Catechism”.
  3. The Revd William Urwick Memorials of Nonconformity in Hertfordshire (1884) p337.
  4. For the latter will see Wills and Inventories II (Surtees Soc, vol 38, pp 64-6).
  5. Seacroft is now an eastern suburb of Leeds.
  6. John Jegon (1550-1618) Master of Corpus Christi and Vice-Chancellor; later Bp of  Norwich (Dictionary of National Biography).
  7. John Whitgift (1530? -1604) Archbishop from 1583: a Cambridge Calvinist, he was  utterly committed to episcopal and royal authority; after 1588 he came to see  Puritanism as the greatest challenge to the Church of England. (Carpenter: Cantuar).
  8. The classis system of Presbyterianism (in Roman times the word was sometime used  for a mustering of troops) was forbidden in 1590, and only officially revived in 1644.
  9. Samuel Ward (1572-1643) was a scholar of Christ’s College Cambridge, who went on  to be Master of Sidney Sussex, Vice-Chancellor (1620-1), Lady Margaret Professor of  Divinity and Archdeacon of Taunton.  Did he occupy his living at Great Munden as a  retirement retreat? A Puritan and Calvinist, he refused the Covenant of 1643.    DNB.
  10. William Perkins (1558-1602), Puritan and Calvinist: Fellow of Christ’s College.  DNB.
  11. Joseph Hall (1574-1656).  Educated at Emmanuel, was with Ward (above) at Synod  of Dort. Bishop of Exeter 1627, translated to Norwich 1643: he was a moderate  between the Calvinists and Archbishop Laud’s catholicising party. DNB.
  12. See Spicer Tyme out of Mind  p42.
  13. Cf Philippians 1,21-23.
  14. From the Burial Office of the Book of Common Prayer.
  15. A gold coin. 1 noble = 6s 8d, or a third of a pound.
  16. The Lyttons of Knebworth were the most powerful family in the district, and were to  side with the parliamentarian cause.
  17. Brother-in-law, apparently.
  18. Wrongly transcribed in the probate as ‘if’.
  19. sic
  20. A silver (or small gold) coin. 1 crown = 5s (=25p).
  21. ie: ‘ancient’: the sense is “my former time as a neighbouring minister”.
  22. Probably a north-country name: Swinhoe is in Northumberland.
  23. 2nd February, the feast of the Purification of the BVM, or the Presentation.
  24. sic. This should read videlicet: ‘to wit’.  The parish churches are all in Durham City.
  25. ie: a week.
  26. A catechism is a course of doctrinal instruction, that in the BCP being arranged in  question and answer form, and taught until recently to all confirmation candidates.
  27. TRANSLATION: Let all men know by these presents that we John Nodes, gentleman, of Stevenage in the County of Hertfordshire, Oliver North, yeoman, of Datchworth in  the same county, William North the elder, yeoman, of Shephall in the same county,  and William North, son of the aforesaid William, yeoman, of the parish of Hatfield in the same county, do undertake to be held and fast bound to Samuel Ward, priest, of  the parish of Knebworth in the same county, that we should pay to the same Samuel,  or his rightful attorney, forty pounds of good and lawful English money, and we firmly  commit ourselves, and whoever may be our heirs, executors and administrators, by  each for the whole amount, well and faithfully to execute that said payment; by these  our seals.  Sealed and delivered this (date missing) year of the reign of our sovereign  Charles, by God’s Grace, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, and  Defender of the Faith.  (Nb: John Nodes of the Swan is described as a ‘gentleman’:  perhaps an indication that he was related to the Nodes at Shephalbury.)
  28. The foregoing paragraph in Latin is here omitted, as it is almost identical to the prev-ious sworn undertaking, except that Sir William Lytton takes the place of Dr Ward.
  29. 29th September.  Here the older term, Michaelmas, is avoided.
  30. The text of the declaration of probate is here omitted, but it translates thus:
    The above will (with codicils) was proved in London in the presence of Master William Merrick, Doctor of Laws and surrogate to the venerable Sir Henry Marten, knight, Doctor of Laws, Warden of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and privy  Commissary, this twenty-seventh day of July in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and forty, by the sworn statements of William North and John Walker, named as executors in this said will, to whom has been committed the administration of these every and several goods, and co-administrators for the said departed, that these same might be well and faithfully apportioned. Sworn on God’s holy Gospels.

Related pages

History of Stevenage

Contact details

Stevenage Museum
St Georges Way
Stevenage
SG1 1XX

01438 218881
museum@stevenage.gov.uk

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