Sunday, 5 January 2020

1532 to 1534: early references to chairs in Lincolnshire Wills

I have been examining Lincoln Wills, 1532-1534, edited by David Hickman, Lincoln Record Society Volume 89 (The Lincoln Record Society & The Boydell Press 2001) for references to chairs.  The volume contains all 585 wills known for this period from the Lincoln Consistory Court and the Archdeaconry Court of Lincoln. The subject index under furniture shows only 29 wills which make reference to a chair or chairs (just under 5% of the total).  Chairs seem to have been rare bequests at this period, therefore. There are 2 wills which mention one stool & two stools respectively and 14 which mention forms (benches). 83 wills mention chests and 33 mention tables.  Extracts from 8 of the 29 wills which mention a chair or chairs are set out below. They include all wills which have any qualificatory words about the chair(s) bequeathed and all wills which bequeath more than one chair. The other 21 wills merely mention a single char or cha(y)re without any other illumination of any kind.

1 The will of Margaret Romforthe of Wyberton, dated 16 October 1532, proved at Boston 20 February 1532/3, includes, amongst other bequests:

" [...] To Richard Wilkynson a sprews chiste, a long spytt, a payr of bedsides, a borden char, a par linen scheittes , a fether bed, a bolster, a pillawe and ij of the worste queshons. [...]"

Lincoln Wills, 1532-1534, edited by David Hickman, Lincoln Record Society Volume 89 (The Lincoln Record Society & The Boydell Press 2001, p. 65, no. 95, LCC 1532-4, fo. 94v).

2 The will of Martin Wyght of Cowbyt (Cowbit) in the parish of Spaldyng (Spalding) dated 27 November 1532, proved at Spalding 4 March 1533/4, includes, amongst other bequests:

" [...] To Agnes Wyght my dowghter a foldyng table and a turned chayre. [...]" (ibid., p. 77, no. 117, LCC 1532-4, fos. 241v - 242r).

3 The will of Alice Clamonde of Kyrton (Kirton) in Holande (in Holland) dated 12 February 1532/3, proved at Donington 28 May 1533, includes, amongst other bequests:

" [...] To Anne my doughter my fether bed as it standes with an hynger, ij coverynges, ij kytylls, one black gowne with all the resydue of my schetes, one cupborde, one long table, one brasse potte, one panne, ij chestes with the best gyrdyll, one pare of beades of whyte amber, one cawdryn, a thrawne chayre, one laver, one candylstyk, one chauffyng dyshe, one leade, iij platters, iii sawssers, one curtyng, one syftyng cheste, iij yerdes of wolne clothe, one saltyng trough with one syftyng arke, one crosse of sylver, one pillo, one towyll, one pare of sylver hookes, ij sylver spones, with iii cushyns.  [...]" (ibid., p. 104/5, no. 151, LCC 1532-4, fo. 167).

4 The will of Gylberde (Gilbert) Tylson of Pynchbek (Pinchbeck) dated 16 June 1533, proved at Spalding 10 October 1533, includes, amongst other bequests:

" [...] To John my son the yonger v pecys of puter and ij pannys, and my best laver and the grettest basyn, and an arke that was hys mother's and a brasse potte that was hys moder's, and a foldyn table and a thrawne chayre, and a forme and my lyttyll fyshying bote which I will that he have immediatly aftyr my decease, also a yerying fylly and a red amblyng mare. [...]" (ibid., p. 173/4, no. 249, LCC 1532-4, fos. 192r - 193v). 

5 The will of Agnes Godfray of Waynflet All Halloys (Wainfleet All Saints) dated 14 August 1533,  proved at Partney 10 November 1533, includes, amongst other bequests:

" [...] To Agnes Foster one cowe, one cownter, my best chare, best fether bed, the best spytt with cobbardes, one pare bedstokes, one forme bust, one pare flaxen schetes, one bolster, one red coverlyd, v pecys puter, one brasse potte, one panne, one candylstyk, one chaffer, one kertyll, one kyrchyff, one pare sylver hookes, my best ryng. To Emmot Foster junior one cobarde, one fether bed, one chare one pare flaxen schetes, one grene coverlyd, one candylstyk, one pare bedstokes, one forme, one brasse potte, one panne, one sylver ryng v pecys puter, one kyrchyff, one spyt, one long bolster, one sydeborde.[...]" (ibid., p. 191/2, no. 277, LCC 1532-4, fo. 212). 

6 The will of Sir Thomas Gybson, preste of Boston dated 7 October 1533, proved at Boston 3 March 1533/4, includes, among other bequests:  

" [...] To Isabell Brygges my cupborde with my beste carpet of verder, my cheiar table, my gret chyste off waynscotte, a pare of schetes, ij pilloys with the berys with semys, a yelowe coverlyd, a thrawn chare of eshe and xxs in money. [...] To John Felde, sun of the forsayd Nicholes Felde, my close presse and j close chare of waynscotte, my nexte best tester of fullary, xxs in money and vj cushyns of verder with a birde in the myddes of them. [...] To Nicholes Smyth a thrawn chare of lynde and one of my handekerchevys with a seame. [...]" (ibid., p. 211/2, no. 308, LCC 1532-4, fos. 141r - 142v).

Footnote 134 explains that "a thrawne chare of lynde" is a turned chair of lime or linden wood.  The glossary, p. 146 of ‘Probate Inventories of Lincoln Citizens 1661-1714’ edited by J.A. Johnston, (Lincoln Record Society & The Boydell Press 1991) defines a chair table as "a chair of which the back fold forwards to make a table resting on the arms of the chair". At p.152 Wainscote is defined as "good quality imported oak; chair or furniture with wooden panelling."

7 The will of John Kyngerbe, of Grymmylby (Grimoldby) dated 29 April 1534, proved at Lincoln 28 August 1534, includes, among other bequests:  

"[...] To Elizabeth my doughter one cowe, one qwye with calve, the thyrde parte of all my puter, ij pottes of brasse, ij pannys, one kettyll, ij beddes with all ther apparell, one thrawn chare, on arke, one chyst, one cupborde, one tabyll, ij salttes, ij candylstyckes, on basyn, one chaffer, one acre of wheate lying on Godderde Hile and on acre of beanys. [...]" (ibid., p. 326, no. 484, LCC 1532-4, fo. 305r).

8 The will of Henry Manby, of Carleton (Great Carlton) dated 1533, proved at Louth 12 November 1533, includes, among other bequests:  

"[...] To Anne my doughter a harnest gyrdell, a maser with a bande of sylver parcell gylte,
viij sylver sponys aftyr the decesse of her mother, and a brasyn morter with the pestell, ij long tables and ij chares. [...]" (ibid., p. 384/5, no. 577, LCC 1532-4, fo. 219).

So we have a borden char, a turned chayre, 5 thrawn(e) cha(y)res (one of ashe, one of lynde) a best chare (not qualified any further, but distinguished presumably at a glance from the other chare), a cheiar table, a close chare of waynscotte  and a lone brace of chares.

© Julian Parker 2020

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