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william phelps

Gentleman of Bottoms, Marsh


William Phelps was likely either the son of John Phelps, baptised at St John's church on 23 November 1617, or else the son of Giles Phelps who was baptised at St John's church on 10 March 1621. From his will, we know that he had a brother Thomas who had died by the time of William's 1684 will. It was this Thomas who was probably the owner of the George Inne in High Street and the Rose and Crowne, also in High Street - in both of which it seems William had a financial interest.

Whether or not William married is debatable. Certainly a William Phelps married a Mary James at Thorncombe, Dorset on 10 August 1642. They had a son Thomas. However it is unlikely that this is 'our' William Phelps, since Mary was still alive at the time of William's 1684 will, but the son Thomas had died in 1677. Indeed, there is no mention of a wife or children in 'our' William's will.

William left much of his estate to his siblings' children and to his 'servant' Thomazine Gaylard - one assumes their relationship was quite close.


1684 will of William phelps


In the name of God Amen I William Phelps of Bottomes in the parish of Yeoveil in the Countie of Sommersett Gent being sick of body but of perfect and sound memory (thankes bee unto God) Doe this Tenth day of August one thousand six hundred eighty foure make this my last will and Testament in manner following First I willingly resigne my soule into the hands of Jesus Christ my body I desire may bee interred in the church of Yeovell in such Decent manner as shall bee thought fit by such person as I have instructed to doe the same And as for that estate which it hath pleased God to blesse me withal I dispose of as followeth First I give and bequeath unto my sister in law Mrs Jane Phelps Widdow one shilling Item I give unto my Neece Jane Phelps eldest Daughter of my late Brother Thomas Phelps all my right title and Interest which I have or ought to have either in law or equity of and in the dwelling and lands thereunto belonging called Bottoms lyeing and being in Marsh in the parish of Yeovell aforesaid Item I give and bequeath unto Mary Phelps and Anne Phelps my neeces All my right title and Interest which I have or ought to have of and in the Tenement called Court Ayshe or Kings living with the lands thereunto belonging and the George Inne in [High Street] Yeovell aforesaid equally to bee divided between them Item I give unto my said Neece Jane Phelps All my right title and Interest which I have or ought to have either in law or equity Of and in all that Messuage or Inne commonly called the Rose and Crowne together with all the houses thereunto belonging lyeing and being in Yeovell aforesaid Item I give unto my servant Thomasine Gaylard my three fatt Cowes my Tenne [word illegible] Cowes my three heyfors and one Bull Three Calves foure [welsh ?] Steeres, six pigs, foure sheepe, my Mare and Colt and all my hey and ploughing [Tacklyng ?] One [Perone ?] Bedd one Feather bed with the bolsters blankets one rugg one bedsted in the [Schoole ?] chamber and other furniture thereunto belonging and three paire of sheetes and all my wearing Apparell to bee delivered unto her Immediately after my decease by my Executrix hereafter named Item I doe further give and bequeath unto my said servant Thomasine Gaylard one broad peece of gold one ginney and foure rings Item I give unto her Tenne hundred weight of my best Cheese Two lesser [Crocks ? Skymmer ?] basting ladle Warming pann [perster ?] Bason the biggest kettle and Skillett pott hooke the best paire of Candlesticks three of my best pewter platters one paire of Andirons of the best One Spitt and One dripeing pan All w[hi]ch last menconed goods shee the said Thomazine is to have immediately after my decease And my will is that in case my Executrix shall refuse to take the same unto her That then it shall bee lawfull for the said Thomazine to take the same at her owne will and pleasure Item I give unto her the said Thomazine Two Coffers One Cupbord the biggest trunck the four square boards in the Hall two [ioynt = joint] stooled the Chest in the Hall The furnace pann brasse panne right halfe hoggesheads and one barrell and all my sider and Beeres the greate [orandize ?] and all my other timber [dessett ?] cheese stane and Vates one flitch of Bacon and all other my household provisions with all the Cheese [lacks ?] and Racke Six diaper napkins one table Cloth Three of the best chaires soe as the said Thomasine doe discharge my funeral expences and pay my legacies following that is to say To Mr John Hawker the summe of Tenne pounds to bee disposed according to the discretion of the said Mr John Hawker and Fifteen pounds w[hi]ch will bee due from mee for Rent at Mich[aelm]as and our Lady Day that is to say to the said Mr Hawker five pounds thereof and to Mr Thomas Cupper of Sherborne Tenne pounds and the sume of Three pounds to Burnard Gaylard of Yeovell Item I give to my Neece Jane Phelps the gold purse which was my mothers and her wedding Ring Item I further give and bequeath unto my Serv[an]t Thomazine Gaylard the summe of Twenty pounds to bee paid unto her by my Executrix within One yeare after my decease And whereas there is a suite in Chancery depending for my right in the houses and Lands I have given unto my said Neeces in this my will my Will and meaning is that the said James Phelps aswell on her owne behalf as in the behalf of her sisters Doe prosecute the same by bill of [Rediver ?] or otherwise as shee shall bee advised by my friend Mr Edward Penney of Bradford to whom I doe Recommend her for the following of the same if it can not otherwise bee composed by faire meanes And that my said Neece may bee the better enabled to performe the same I doe give unto her all my bonds bills debts and all other my goods and chattels of what nature soever they bee not formerly by mee given and bequeathed And I doe hereby make her my full and sole Executrix of this my last will and testament In witnesse whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the day and yeare above written

Will[iam] Phelps

Signed Sealed and published in the p[re]sence of

Edward Jenner     Joseph Minter     William Hawkins


And my Will and meaning is That after my Executrix shall either by (Compaction ?] or by suite recover the right of and in the said Lands That then it shall bee lawfull for her to deduct out of the proffitts of the Lands hereby devised to her sisters soe much money as will amount unto and moiety of the charges which shee shall be put unto in the obtaining of the same in case they doe not give unto my Executrix other satisfaction for the same

Will[iam] Phelps


Proved at London February 1684



Transcribed by Bob Osborn