In the name of God Amen. I Robert Willkins the elder of Cirencester in the County of Gloucester Edgetool maker being of sound and disposeing mind and memory thanks be given to Almighty God Yet not unmindfull of my mortality do make and order this my last will and testament in the manner following viz first and principally I bequeath my soul into the hands and blessed protection of Almighty God hopeing that through the meritorious death and passion of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ I shall be made a member of his heavenly Kingdom and reign with him forever in glory. And as concerning my temporall estate wherewith God hath blessed mee I give bequeath devise and Dispose in manner and forme following Item I give bequeath and devise unto my kinde and loving naturall Son William Willkins with whome I now live all that my messuage or Tenement and outhouses with appurtenances thereunto belonging situate and being in Cirencester aforesaid on the east side of a street there called Cricklade Street wherein I and my said son do now inhabit and dwell having a messuage or Tenement now in the possession or ownership of Thomas Boucher Apothecary on the north and a messuage or Tenement now belonging to Mr Kemble on the south sided thereof with the rights members and appurtenances thereunto belonging. To yeald unto my said naturall son William Willkins and his assignes for and dureing the Terme of his naturall life. And from and immediatlie after his decease then I give bequeath and devise the said messuage or Tenement and premisses with the appurtenances and the reversion and reversions and remainder and remainders thereof unto my grandson John Willkins the son of my said son William Willkins and to the heirs of his body lawfully to be begotten provided allways and upon this Condition neverthelesse. That my said Grandson John Willkins his heirs or assignes shall and do within one month next after the decease of my said natural son William Willkins will find well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto and amongst such daughter or daughters of my said son William Willkins which he had by his former wife Alice and shall be then living the summe of fifty pounds of lawfull money of England share and share alike. And my will and meaning is that the said messuage or Tenement and premisses with the appurtenances shall be subject and liable to and shall stand charged and chargeable with and for payment thereof in manner and forme aforesaid. And in case my said grandson John Willkins shall happen to dye leaving not issue of his body lawfully begotten behind him living at the time of his decease then I hereby give bequeath and devise the said messuage or Tenement and premisses with the appurtenances and the reversion and reversions and remainder and remainders thereof unto all and every the daughter and daughters f my said son William Willkins which he had by the said Alice his former wife their heirs and assignes forever. Item, I give and bequeath unto my said loving son William Willkins the hoist mill and the leaden pump belonging to the said premisses my brass furnace standing in the great working shopp there the mault ?arners over the said working shopp the great tubb to hold sand and the board chest that holds [……] sheet and two beddsteeds there and in the great chamber over the hall a large drawing table board and fframe and the large table cloth belonging thereto the long ffourme and joynd ffourme ffoure joynd stooles and a hanging presse there to hang clothes And in the chamber over the kitching the two bedds I lye on there and all the furniture and bedding that belong to the same bedds. Also one great Chest and two Coffers there and the hanging presse there wherein I used to hang my Cloak . In the hall the wainscott and cuppboard and Cuppboard Cloth there. In the kitching the table board and fframe there and the Baron Rack shelves and benches there and my great Iron Dripping pan. And also three and twenty doors in and about the said messuage or Tenement with the appurtenances to be made use of only by my said son William Willkins dureing his life and after his decease I give the same last mentioned things unto my said grandson John Willkins and the heirs of his body lawfully to be begotten subject neverthelesse to the provision or Condition abovesaid. And after his decease and for want of such Issue Then I give and bequeath the same last mentioned things unto all and every the daughter and daughters of my said naturall son William Willkins which he had by his said late wife Alice their heirs [……….] and assignes forever. Item I give and bequeath unto my son in law Edward Dowers one shilling. Item I give and bequeath unto my son in law William Cox one shilling. Item I give and bequeath unto my grandson Robert Willkins Son of my late son Robert Willkins one shilling. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter Martha Sly of Chedworth the summe of ffifty pounds of lawfull money of England to be paid unto her at the end of one year after my decease in case shall so long live. Item I give and bequeath unto my daughter in law Jane Willkins the widow and relict of my said late son Robert Willkins deceased one shilling.Item All and singular the rest of my moneys goods chattells and personall estate whatsoever of what nature kinde or property soever the same being ungiven and unbequeathed in and by this my last will and testament I give unto my said kinde and loving naturall son William Willkins whome I make full and sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and disannulling all other and former wills by me heretofore made and this to be taken as and for my last will and testament. In witness whereof I the said Robert Willkins the elder have to this my last will and testament sett my hand and seale this thirteenth day of February in the third yeare of the reigne of our sovraigne Lady Anne by the grace of God of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland Queen defender of the faith yr Anno Dom 1704
The markes or name of Robert Willkins Senr
Signed sealed and published and declared to be the last will and testament of the first above named Robert Willkins the elder in the presence of and whom subscribed our names and witnessed hereunto in the presence of the testator
Proved 12th October 1705
1. The will was signed in a very shaky hand
2. The will is reference GDR 1705/171 at the Gloucester Records Office
3. It would appear from those few birth records available for his children and a summons received from the Quarter Sessions in 1669 for non-attendance at church that Robert was a non-conformist, probably Baptist. Birth records for his family and associates are not found in existing Anglican Parish records although the marriages are.
4. Jane, widow of Robert Willkins, his son, was Jane MAN. They married at Baunton on April 7th 1672
5. Martha Sly, his daughter, first married Giles COATES of Chedworth at Baunton on February 11th 1674/5. Giles died in 1686 and she subsequently married Robert SLY of Chedworth at Cirencester on July 9th 1696.
6. William, Robert’s son, married Alice WATKINS on December 23rd 1677 at Cirencester.
7. Elizabeth, his daughter, married Edward DOWERS on May 19th 1678 at Baunton.
8. Hannah, his daughter, married William COX at Chedworth on October 8th 1695, possibly a second marriage.
9. The fact that the majority of the marriages took place at Baunton may indicate that the priest there was more sympathetic to non-conformists than those at the parish church in Cirencester. At marriage couples were usually referred to in the Baunton register as ‘of Cirencester’.
David Cannings-Bushell, 16th July 2002