This is the will of James Jowett, Clothier, of Mannywells in the township of Thornton, Bradford, made in 1664. Little is currently known about James - he could be the James son of James Jowett of Bradford, baptised at Bradford 4 June 1620, or the son of James of Thornton baptised at Bradford 27 October 1622. We do know that he has a son James who is not yet of age (the records show he was baptised at Bradford 22 September 1644); that he is survived by a wife (Dorothy) and that he has two uncles Hugh Jowett and James Wallis, indicating that Dorothys maiden name was probably Wallis too. The will says little about his possession but does show that, like other "clothiers" of the period he also runs a tenant farm.
In the name of God Amen. The seventienth day of October in the sixteenth year of the rule of our sovereign Lord Charles the Second now king over England and its Kingdom 1664. Being as the tyme of life is uncertaine and the houre of death to all men unknown. Therefore I James Jowett of Mannywells within the parish of Bradford in the county of Yorke, clothier, being infirme in body but of sound mind and discerning memory praise be to God doe publish and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and forme following.
First and principally I endow my soule unto the hands of Almighty God my creator in confidence of his mercy through the merits of Jesus Christ my redeemer for the free remission of all my sins and to enjoy everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven after this foull and sinfull life be ended. And I commit my body to the earth from whence the same did originally come to be interred by decent christian burial in hope of the resurection.
And touching the disposition of my worldly estate, first it is my will and minde that all my true and lawfull debts and funeral expenses shall be payd and discharged forth of my whole goods. And that done it is my will and minde and I do hereby give and bequeath unto James Jowett my sonne and his assigns all my interests, terme of years and rights whatsoever off me or to all that messuage ffarme or tenemt wherin I dwell and all the lands and grounds thereto belonging.
And my will and desire is that after the expiration of such terme or termes of yeares as I have already in the same that my landlord would be pleased to suffer the sayd James my sonne to continue tennant there as my predecessors have done for such rent, terme of years and conditions as in my landlords discretion shall meett.
Also it is my will and minde not withstandinge the bequest aforesaid that Thomas Ellison of Newclose and Roger Shackleton of Sawden and the survivors of them shall have the orderinge and disposal of the sayd ffarme or tenemt or for much thereof as shall continue in lease untill the said James my sonne shall attaine his age of twenty one years and bee free of his apprenticeship.
Also my will and minde is that Dorothy my wife shall bee mindfull and desirious to dwell upon the aforesaid farme and to have the selection of the said lands thereto belonging during my sonnes minoritie and apprenticeship. Then the said Dorothy my wife shall be permitted so to do so long as shee keepeth herselfe sole and unmarried and give reasonable content unto the said Thomas Ellyson and Roger Shackleton my trustees.
Concerning the payment of her rent and reparation of the buildings and fontes there and not otherwise, and all the remainder of my goodes and chattells wharsoever I do hereby give and bequeath unto the sayd Dorothy my wife and James Jowett my sonne equally betwixt them; provided never these (?). It is my will and minde that if the sayd James Jowett my sonne shall happen to dye without lawfull issue of his body before hee doe attaine his age of twenty one years or marryage, then and in such case do hereby give and bequeath not onely the portion of him the said my sonne appoynted and left to him by this my will, but also all such sum and sums of money as are appointed for his use and secured by several bonds or obligations entered unto the sayd Thomas Ellyson and Roger Shackleton amountinge in the whole to one hundred and fifty pounds principly all money unto the children of Hugh Jowett my unkle and of James Wallis my late uncle deceased to be equally divided amongst them, not withstanding anythinge in this will or in the sayd obligations or conditions thereof to the contrary.
I further I do commit the tuition and government of the said James Jowett my sonne and of his rights and portion as well as this my will as by the sayd severall bonds untill hee attain his full age of twenty and one years unto the said Thomas Ellyson and Roger Shackleton. And in case hee chuse any other tutor or tutors then my will and minde is that the said Thomas Ellyson and Roger Shackleton shall have the sole mannyginge of the portion and rights of my sayd sonne during his minoritie as aforesaid and only allow him such maintaynance as they shall thinke fit. And in such case my will is my said sanne shall forfeit the sum of fiftie pounds of his sayd portion, which I do hereby give and appoint unto the sayd Thomas Allyson and Roger Shackleton to dispose and distribute amongst such of my poorest kinfolke as they shall thinke fitt, whose acquittance my will is shall bee as sufficient discharge to my sayd trustees upon the contingency aforesaid, and not otherwise.
And I do nominate and appoint the sayd James my sonne sole executor of this my last will and testament. And I do nominate and appoint the sayd Roger Shackleton and Thomas Ellyson supervisors of this my will, desiring them to see the same carefully performed. And lastlie it is my minde that the sayd Dorothy my wife and James my sonne shall pay and allow forth of my goods and chattels unto the said Thomas Ellyson and Roger Shackleton all their necessary and reasonable charges by them extended for and concerning the accomplishment and performance of this my will by mee made. In testimony whereof I have to this my last will conteyned in two sheets of paper putt my hande and sealle the day and years afforesaid.
Sealled signed and published to bee the said testators will in the presence of us
The bad news is that this will is in poor condition, much of the top part being missing or totally unreadable. The good news is that this only affects the preamble. The main body of the will is still legible, and is summarised below.
It mentions little of possessions and also gives no indication as to the wealth of William. It does mention at least some of his family: his "now wife" Dorothy ( most probably not the mother of his children), and four sons - William, Samuel, John and Nathan. Looking at the Bradford registers, William was probably the first son, baptised 16 April 1626, with John 24 Nov 1639 and Nathan 7 October 1632. There is no record of Samuels baptism, though he could well be the Samuel of Idle, wealthy yeoman, whose will is dated 1713.
As William is a Clothier it begs the question as to whether this is William, son of Edward Jowett and brother to Maximillian and Joseph who emigrated to America. It could well be but nothing is yet proven.
Nathan Jowett (the younger) was a yeoman farmer at Fagleys Close, Eccleshill and the son of the Nathan Jowett named in the land tax records for 1692 and 1704. Nathan, buried at Bradford 6 May 1734, was outlived by his father who was buried at Bradford 26 Feb 1740 and whos will is dated December 1740.
Nathan had been baptised at Bradford 11 October 1684, making him 49 at the time of his death. His will names his wife Mary (and brother in law James Booth) and brother Samuel, plus one child Nathan, who had been baptised at Bradford 7 Mar 1732/3 ("Nathan s. of Nathan Jowet junr. of Eccleshill").
In the name of God amen. I Nathan Jowett the younger of Eccleshill within the parish of Bradford in the county of York, Yeoman, being indisposed as to my bodily health but of sound and perfect mind and memory praised be given to Almighty God and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time when do make this my last will and testament.
First and principally I commend my soul into the hands of almighty humbly hoping and believing through the alone meritts of my saviour Jesus Christ to obtain remission of all my Sins, my body I committ to the Earth to be buryed decently at the discretion of my loving wife Mary. And my worldly estate I dispose thereof as followeth.
First I will that all my just debts, funeral expenses and probate of this my will be paid and discharged by my executors hereafter named. Also I give and devise all that Messuage or dwelling house situate standing and being in Eccleshill aforesaid wherein I now dwell and all the lands, closes and grounds thereto belonging lying and being in Eccleshill aforesaid and now in my own possession, and also all those two closes called ffagleys lying in Eccleshill aforesaid now in the tenure of Christopher Thornton or his assigns together with all and singular barns, buildings, ffolds Yards, backsides, gardens, Wasteground, Ways, waters, watercourses, Commons, libertyes, priviledges, hereditaments and Appurtenantes whatsoever to the same or any of them belonging or appertaining (all which said premises were lately given me by Nathan Jowet of Eccleshill aforesaid my father) unto my son Nathan Jowett and his heirs and assigns for ever.
And I do hereby referr my said wife Mary to her Dower or thirds of my said Real Estate. Also I give and bequeath unto my said wife the sum of ten pounds to be paid her yearly out of my personall estate by my executors hereafter named so long as she shall continue to be my Widow by two equal payments at Whitsuntide and Martinmas. And in case my wife happen to marry I give and bequeath the said sum of ten pounds yearly before given to my said wife, or the principall sum of two hundred pounds unto my said son Nathan, his executors, administrators or assignes for ever immediately after such marriage as aforesaid. And in case my said wife happen to have other Issue by me lawfully begotten then I give and bequeath unto such issue whether male or female the sum of three hundred pounds to be paid by my executors hereafter named when and so soon as such child shall attain the age of twenty one years. And the interest arising thereby I give and bequeath to such child yearly for and towards its maintenance and education during its minority. And if it should happen that my said wife shall have no such issue as aforesaid or if such child dye before it attain its said age of twenty one years then I give and bequeath the said sume of three hundred pounds unto my said son Nathan, his executors, administrators and assigns for ever. Also all other my goods, cattle, chattles, rights, creditts and personall Estate whatsoever I give and bequeath unto my said son Nathan.
And I do hereby constitute and appoint my brother Samuel Jowett and James Booth of Idle in the said county my brother in law joynt executors of this my will. And I do hereby revoke all other wills by me att any time heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this ffirst day of May in the year of our lord 1734.
Signed sealed published and declared by the said Nathan Jowett the testator to be his last will and testament in the presence of us, whom in his presence and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
Probate granted 17 September 1734, Pontefract.
Copyright S D Jowitt