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The Will of John Cruse of Morchard Cruse

Proved 4 May 1577

© Crown Copyright

National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/59,

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Daughtry Register, Folio 14

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

John CRUSE or CRUWYS was the son of John CRUWYS of Cruwys Morchard and Alice AYSHFORD of Ayshford in Burlescombe. He was born during the reign of Henry VIII in about 15211. John succeeded his father as Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard and Great Rackenford in 1559 and was also patron of the living of both parishes. John CRUWYS married Anne, the daughter of Humphrey KEYNES of Winkleigh, probably in the early 1540s. They had six sons, Humphrey, Thomas, Arthur, Robert, James, and John, and five daughters, Elinor, Mary, Anne, Joan and Jane. John lived to witness the marriages of five of his children. His eldest daughter Elinor married Robert SOUTHCOMB, a gentleman of Mariansleigh, in about 1560. Humphrey, the eldest son and heir, married Dorothy HATCH in 1570. Mary married Henry SOUTHERN, and Anne married Thomas ELLIS, who was almost certainly the same Thomas ELLIS who witnessed the signing of the will. The marriages all probably took place at Cruwys Morchard but the Cruwys Morchard registers have not survived before 1572 and the only marriage listed is that of Anne CREWES and Thomas ELLIS on 7th February 1573/4. John's second son Thomas had also undoubtedly married by this time for the Winkleigh registers record the marriages of Marie CRUSE in 1593, Hannibal CRUSE in 1597 and Alexander CRUSE in 1603, who are all presumably Thomas's children and would therefore have been born in the 1570s. "John CREWES Esquire" was buried on 19th April 1577 at Cruwys Morchard2. Anne CRUWYS née KEYNES died in about 1585. Her will, which was dated 12th March 1583 and proved on 9th April 1586, has also been transcribed and is published on a separate page in GENUKI/Devon.

T[estamentu]m Joh[ann]is Cruse Ar[migeri]

In the Name of God Amen: the Eightenethe daye of Februarie in the Nynetenthe Yeare of the Reigne of o[u]r Sov[er]eigne ladye Elizabeth3 by the grace of god of Englande Fraunce and Irelande quene defendo[u]r of the Faithe & c I John Cruse of Morcharde Cruse in the Countie of Devon Esquier beinck sick in bodie but whole in mynde and p[er]fecte reme[m]brau[n]ce thanckes be to god make this my Last will and testament in manner and forme followinge Item I gyve and bequeathe to the poore people of the parrisshe of Morcharde aforsaide twe[n]tie Shilling[es] to be distributed by my Executo[u]r where she shall thincke most nede Item I gyve and bequeathe to the Parrisshe Churche of Morchard aforsaide tenne Shillinges towardes the Reparacion of the Churche Item I gyve and bequeath to Arthure Cruse my sonne one Fetherbedd and one Fetherbolster performed and I gyve also to Robert Cruse my sonne one Fetherbedd performed and also my best gold ringe whiche is my Sealinge ringe and also to James Cruse my sonne one Fetherbedd p[er]formed And I gyve also to John Cruse my sonne one Fetherbedd performed All whiche thinges before gyven to my Fowre sonnes not to be delyvered but after the deceasse of my Executo[u]r Item I gyve also & Bequeathe to Johan Cruse my Daughter Fyftie poundes of lawfull monneye of Englande to be paide to her in the daye of her Mariage or w[i]thin Sixe Monethes thereafter / the Rest of all my goodd[es] Moveable and unmoveable I gyve and bequeathe to Anne Cruse my wieff whom I make my whole executrix seing my debtes paide and my Legacies performed and I make my overseers of this my last will my Cosin John Cruse of Rackenforde and Henrye Sotherne my sonne in lawe In wittnes whereof I have putt my hande & c Seale the Daye and Yeare abovewritten. In wittnes of this will within written those whose names followeth wittnes Thomas Ellis Per me4 Alexandrum Morris person5 of Morcharde Cruse the Signe of Robert Webbe

Probatum fuit testamentu[m] h[uius]mo[d]i coram Mag[ist]ro will[iel]mo drewrie legum doctore Curie Prerogative Cantuar[iensis] Com[m]issario apud london quarto die mens[is] Maii Anno d[omi]ni Mill[es]imo quingen[tesi]mo Septuagesimo septimo Jurame[n]to Chr[ist]oferi Smith Notarii publici procur[ator]is Anne Relicte et Executricis & c[etera] Cui comissa fuit Admi[nis]trac[i]o & c[etera] de bene & c[etera] Ac de pleno et fideli Inventario Necnon de plane et vero Comp[ot]o & c[etera] Jurat[æ]

This will was proved before Master William Drewie, Doctor of Laws, Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury at London, on the fourth day of the month of May, in the year of our Lord, one thousand five hundred and seventy seven, by the oath of Christopher Smith, Notary Public, proctor of Anne the relict and executrix, she having been sworn etc., To whom administration was granted etc., for well etc., And for a full and true inventory and also an honest and true account etc.

Acknowledgement:
I would like to thank the members of the Latin Words-L Rootsweb mailing list for providing a transcription and translation of the probate section of this will and for helping with the transcription of the will. I would also like to thank Elizabeth Glover Howard for all her invaluable advice and assistance.


1 Parish records did not begin until 1538 so there is no official record of John Cruwys's birth. However the year of his birth can be estimated fairly accurately because he was named in an Inquisition Post Mortem which was held at Exeter Castle on 5th October 1559. John Cruse senior was said to have died on 24th January 1558/9. His son and heir John Cruse, then said to be aged 37 or 38 (there are discrepancies in the two published transcriptions), was named as the son and heir of John Cruse senior.
2 The burial of John Cruwys was found in the Devon and Cornwall Record Society's transcriptions of the Cruwys Morchard registers and was probably originally found in the Bishop's Transcripts. The burial was not found in the surviving Cruwys Morchard registers. The early register, which begins in 1572, is believed to be a copy of the original which was destroyed after the copying was completed (Cruwys, Margaret. A Cruwys Morchard Notebook 1066-1874. James Townsend and Sons, Exeter, 1939, p21). There are many gaps in the early burials register. There are no burials listed in 1575, 1577 and 1578. There are also no burials from 1580 to 1590 and the register appears to resume midway through 1591.
3 Elizabeth I came to the throne on 17th November 1558. The nineteenth year of her reign is therefore 1577.
4 Per me is Latin for "by me" which is followed by the accusative form of the name Alexander.
5 Parson.

Last updated: 17 Nov 2005 - Brian Randell

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