It was just another day.
A Will of John Jarvice
I’d been searching in our target circle around Mucklestone, just like I did most days. I clicked on a Cheshire will of John Jarvice 1680 to see more info.
I like wills because they have a lot of contextual information, like spouses, children, relatives, land, and houses, etc. So I always drill down to see what’s there.
John Jarvice, heelmaker from Nantwich, left a will in 1680. OK, let’s take a look at the original image.
As soon as I saw the image, my eyes went straight to the signature of Elizabeth Jervis. I was immediately interested!
But why would Elizabeth Jervis sign the will of John Jarvice? Let’s take a closer look.
A Petition for Administration
Know all men by these presents that whereas John Jarvice of Namptwich in the County and dioces of Chester heelmaker deceased, died intestate, and Letters of Administration of his Goods and Chattells do of right belong unto me Elizabeth Jarvice widow and Relict of the said deceased…
This isn’t a will. It’s a letter to the court in which Elizabeth Jarvice is asking to become the administrator of her deceased husband’s goods.
If someone died intestate, without a will, an administrator was appointed by a Letter of Administration from the court. The administrator controlled the disposition of the estate.
and that I the said Elizabeth am now great with child dayly expecting the time of my deliverance, and therefore not capable of coming to Chester my selfe or to administer my said husbands Goods without the assistance of my friends, …
Wow. She’s pregnant and expecting any day now. She can’t go to Chester, the county seat.
I doe therefor hereby acknowlege my selfe desirouse that Letters of Administration of my said late husbands Goods (to my own proper use) may be granted and comitted unto Obedia Seddon of Ryles Green in the parish of Audlem and County of Chester abovesaid my trusty and wellbeloved friend
So she’s appointing her friend Obedia Seddon to represent her at court in Chester.
In witnes whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this first day of November Anno dei 1680
November 1, 1680. And it’s signed by Elizabeth Jervis.
And it’s witnessed by John Jervies and Hamnit Axon.
Could this be our Elizabeth? I don’t know, but I certainly haven’t found anything this compelling before.
I had to tell someone
I was so excited. I wrote to Celia.
Look at this citation. It makes me tingle.
Ed. note: If I’d been clever, I’d have said, “It makes me quake.”
Wait. There’s more.
Two other documents were attached to Elizabeth’s letter:
- A court statement
- An inventory of the estate of John Jarvice, deceased
A Court Statement
The second page in the court records is a statement by J. Wainwright.
I presume he’s the judge in probate court, and he’s granting a Letter of Administration to Obedia Seddon to administer the estate of John Jarvice.
But I’m not sure. I haven’t yet fully transcribed and translated the Latin.
If you know some Latin, maybe you can translate this. Give it a try. I’ve included the partial translation that I began. Let me know if you succeed.
It was common that an inventory be taken of the deceased person’s “goods and chattels”. The administrator will dispose of these goods and chattels.
A true Inventory of all the Goods Chattells and Credits of John Jarvice heelmaker deceased prized at Namptwich on the 29 of October 1680 by Thomas Browne, Robert Goodall, Timothy Whittakers and Joseph Lant as followeth.
A reasonably large estate for a tradesman – 47 pounds total. Normal household items, and a shop with tools for heelmaking. 14 pounds for cows, a horse, and hay in the barn. 9 pounds of money and apparel. And 15 pounds for the house.
Why was Elizabeth writing to court?
Historically, estates were probated by the Church of England. There were over 300 church probate courts. Probate of estates wasn’t considered an issue of civil law.
Probate records were not created for every person who died. Courts probated estates (with or without a will) for fewer than 10 percent of English heads of households before 1858. And I can’t find any other Jervis citation in the Cheshire probate court records.
So why was Elizabeth writing to the court? Was she concerned that she wasn’t going to inherit anything? Why did she write “Letters of Administration of his Goods and Chattells do of right belong unto me Elizabeth Jarvice widow“?
And is she referring to Quakers when she references friends – “without the assistance of my friends” and Obediah Seddon “my trusty and wellbeloved friend”.
So much to do…
Who’s John Jarvice? What’s a heelmaker?
Where’s Nantwich? Do we have anything on Jervises there?
Who’s Obediah Seddon? And Thomas Browne, Robert Goodall, Timothy Whittakers and Joseph Lant? And who is John Jervies, witness.
- Elizabeth Jervis Request for Letter of Administration, Opinion, Inventory of John Jarvice – 1680 – Cheshire County Wills and Probate – Cheshire County Archives – https://www.findmypast.com/