Annas Stanwix (died 1608)
Annas spoke her will shortly before her death.
Memorandum that Agnes Stanwix widow of the Streetgate in the parish of Lamplugh late deceased did declare her will regarding the disposition of her estate after her death in words to this effect followinge : first, after she had commended her soul to god, and her bodie to be buried in the parish church yard of Lamplugh, she gave to every one of her children’s children one ewe, of the best she had: in all seven ewes amongst them. Item to her son Thomas Stanwix, a chest, the best bedstock, bed [linen?] clothes that were upon it Item She gave her silk hatt and her best cloak and a little pa[…] to her daughter Jannett. Item She gave to her daughter Agnes Woodhall of Ullock one little brasse pot. All the rest of her goods moveable and immoveable, her debts and funerall expenses discharged, she gave unto her daughter Elizabeth Dickinson, whom she made her wholl and sole executrixe. Witnesses hereof Matthew Wallouse William Harrison Anthony Dickinson
I rather like Annas, and her will. Her character, pehaps because the will is nuncupative, comes out strongly. Her personal gifts - the silk hat, the little brass pot - evoke so many images.
It's a wonderful will for a researcher because it defines, at that precise moment of time, how many grandchildren she had (seven). Do those add up to the number documented?
The seven grandchildren
At this precise moment, John had at least three surviving children (Janet, William, and Agnes). He also had a daughter Kathere, for whom there is no baptism date, and a daughter Elizabeth baptised about six weeks after Agnes' death. So, that's 3-5 potential grandchildren.
Richard had had a son, William, who was buried a year after Annas' death. So, 4-6.
William had died in 1602, an adult but with no marriage or children recorded. There is no further record of Janet.
Agnes had just married, and may have had a son John by that time. So, 5-7.
Elizabeth married a year later. Thomas remained a bachelor for another eleven years.
So, there's a fairly good case for six grandchildren. If Elizabeth, a healthy child, hadn't been baptised deliberately until after her grandmother's death, then that is seven.
Any widow had status. At the very least, a widow would be entitled to a third of her husband's possessions, for life, so long as she didn't marry again.
Annas' probate inventory is valued at £26.00. She had five 'great beasts' and three 'younger beasts' in cattle, a respectable flock of sheep, hens and geese, and the normal household items.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation would value her son John's farm holding at twice that, making the farm's contents worth about £80. By comparison, when Henry Bowman of Lingcroft died fifteen years later, with two farms, his inventory was valued at £120.
So, Annas' probate suggests a very prosperous farm.
There's no suggestion that the Dickinsons were anything other than prosperous yeomen at this time ... but their rapid rise over the next three generations might well have something to do with the opportunites then provided by other families.
The four good men who made the inventory were: William Dickinson, Robert Bibby, Richard Murrow and John Harrison.
Prizer: William Dickinson
This could be either William Dickinson of Kidburngill or William Dickinson of Fell Dyke.
Prizer: Robert Bibby
This would have been Robert Beeby of Gatra (buried 1st January 1621/2; map), a few farms to the south. Nothing can be made of this - a neighbour doing his duty.
Prizer: Richard Murrow
This would have been Richard Murrow of Murton (died 1637; map). He may have been the parish innkeeper.
Prizer: John Harrison
This could have been John Harrison of Murton (died 1630; a next-door-neighbour of Richard Murrow above) or John Harrison of Todhole (died 1637; map), a farm next to Streetgate.