The Last Will and Testament of Sir Edward Grey of Morpeth Castle, 1627


Sir Edward Grey of Morpeth’s will. From the History Of Northumberland Vol II on page 354.

 Sir Edward Grey of Morpeth was constable of Morpeth castle from 1584 to 1589, and high sheriff of Northumberland in 1597/8. The following is preserved amongst Lord Greys MSS.: ‘Mr Edward Gray & Mr John Craster’s artickles for the division of Howicke. At Howicke in Julij, 1607. A note of remembrance for such thinges as are concluded of, by us the arbitrators whose names are subscribed, and we indifferently chosen, betweene Mr Edward Gray and Mr John Craster, conserninge the pertition of there lands & other things in Howicke by the consent of both parties. Imprimis it is agreed that Mr Gray shall have all lands, milnes, rents, etc., and what other profitts or comodities soever, the saide Mr Craster now hath or doth enjoye, or of right ought to have within the towne, territories, or fieldes of Howicke, to the saide Mr Graye and his heires is [sic] to have and injoye as followith : First, in regard of his lands, commons, intercommons, meddowes, pastures and other commodities whatsoever hereto belongeinge, he is to have an hundred twenty nyne acres and a quarter of an acre, beginnynge at the north west side of Howicke grounds, where they bounder of Craster grounde, called the Home dikes, and soe comeinge towards the toune of Howicke, till the full nomber of suche acres be fully compleat and ended. Secondly, in consideration of his milne, he is to have forty acres of grounde, beginnynge where the other hundred twenty and nyne acres ended, upon the north west part, stretcheinge downe towardes Howicke south east ward, butting on Craster ground at the north east, and upon Howicke borne upon the sothe west. Memorandum, that Mr Edward Roddam will fall a beast gate within his grounde allotted to Mr Craster, for which Mr Craster is to have three acres of grounde, in consideration, adjoyeninge to the forty acres aforesaide, butted on the other sides with Craster demayne & Howicke burne aforesaid, etc. Item, if the nomber of all these acres allotted to Mr Craster shall strech so far as any part of the north more, beginnynge at an old dyke at the north end of the more, for so much of the north more as shall fall in Mr Craster’s part, to make it valewable with the other, there shall be allowed in measure after the proportion of four acres and a halfe acre at the score. Item, for so much errable land of Mr Edmond Roddam’s as shall fall within his land allotted to Mr Craster, Mp Craster shall have soe muche adjoyeninge to his lands aforesaide, butted as aforesaide, and, if any of Swinnoes land or the glebe land errable or pasture shall fall within these lands allotted to Mr Craster, Mr Graye is to save Mr Craster harmlesse. Memorandum, that Mr Craster is to sowe the wheat seede nowe at Michaelmas next, and the beare seede in the faughe [fallow] quarter, and that Mr Graye shall enter to the oate seede and the beare seede fallinge in that quarter. Memorandum, that Mr Graye is to enter the milne att Newe Yeares dayenext. Memorandum, that Mr Gray is to procure Sr Raiphe Graie’s consent to his partition. Lastly, if any ambiguitye arise betwixt the two parties, it is reserved to us the arbitrators to judge and determyne thereof, as to our discretions shall be thought meete. Edward Gray, John Craster, Mathew Forster, Ephraim Widdrington, Roger Widdrington, J. R. Gray.’ During Sir Edward Grey’s lifetime there appear to have been fifteen customary tenants at Howick. A manuscript in the Dean and Chapter Library at Durham refers to ‘ Howicke, a towne three miles distant from Alnwicke, in the beginning of King James his reigne, consisting of 15 plowes.’ See Raine, North Durham, p. 197.

The following is an abstract of Sir Edward Grey’s will, dated at Morpeth castle 10 Jan., 1627, proved 1631 :’Whereas I am seised of the demesne and mannour of Howicke, the one moitie in fee ferme, th’ other in fee simple, to me and myne heires for ever, after the expiration of one lease, formerly made by me and yet unexpired; my will is, and I do hereby give and bequeath unto Margaret Gray, widdow, late wife of my eldest sonnePhillipp Gray, deceased, one annuity of ^35 for life, out of the said mannour. Item, I do give the aforesaid mannour and lands in Howicke unto Edward Gray, eldest sonne of my sonne Philipp Gray, deceased, and to the heirs male of his body, etc.,with remainder to John, Ralph, and Philip the sons of Philip Gray, deceased, respectively, failing them and their heirs, unto Edward Gray my own sonne. I give to John, Ralph and Philip, sons of my son Philip, £500 to be devided amongst them, and this five hundred poundes is to be raised, partly out of the stocke goingeand depasturinge in my lands in Howicke aforesaid, and partly out of certaine somes of money remaininge in the hands of Randall Fenwicke my sonne in law. I give untoEdward Gray, sonne of my said sonne Philipp Gray, all myne houshold stuffe remaininge in myne house att Howicke in the possession of my sonne in law Randall Fenwicke, but yet so as my said sonne Randall may retaine it payinge unto the said Edward Gray the some of in money. Item, I give unto my two daughters, Catherine Fenwicke and Elizabeth Gray, twenty poundes a peece to buy each of them a gowne. Item, I give unto my daughter, Elizabeth Gray, the third parte of myne houshold stuffe remaineing in Morpeth castle. Item, I give unto my grandchild Elizabeth Fenwicke, daughter of my daughter Catherine Fenwicke, the some of forty poundes for the helpeing of her portion or her other preferment; and whereas my sonne Thomas Graye hath in his marriage run a course to his owne prejudice and overthrow and to my discontent, yet neveryelesse, haveinge formerly intended him the lease of the tithe of Learmouth demesne for his naturall life, I doe, notwithstandinge his miscarriage by this my last will confirme the same unto him, accordinge to my former intencon, and I doe likewise give unto him, the said Thomas Gray, one horse, which is and shal be the filiall and childs portion he may expect from me, and no more . . . Item, I leave my men servants unto the care and consideracon of my sonne Edward Gray, to gratifie them with such thinge as he shall thinke necessarie. The residue I leave to my son, Edward Gray, whom I make sole executor.’ Durham Probate Registry.

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