Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

William.

are the father and uncles of whom Dr. Mather speaks. Their names were William, Thomas, and Robert. The baptism of Robert is the only one found in the register, the others having been born, as it may fairly be concluded, before the commencement of the registers. Robert's baptism is entered thus :

1561, January 23d, Robert, son of William Bradfourth.

All the three were married and had issue.

(1) William. He married on June 21st, 1584, Alice Hanson, whom I assume, without having William. strict proof, to have been the daughter of John Hanson who shared with old William Bradford the honour of being the only subsidy-men at Austerfield. Indeed it can hardly admit of a doubt, since we find that a daughter of John Hanson was baptised by the name of Alice in 1562. John Hanson had married Margaret Gresham on July 23d, 1560. There were Greshams, people of the better account though not called to the Heralds' visitations, dispersed over the country which lies between the northern border of Nottinghamshire and the Yorkshire town of Doncaster. We have no account of the burial of Alice the mother of the Governor ; and it seems probable that she married a

second time, as there is the following entry in the register of Austerfield, 1593, September 23d, Robert Briggs and Alice Bradford : and no trace of any other Alice Bradford at that time at Austerfield. The father, William Bradford, was buried on July 15th, 1591, when his son was about a year and a half old.

There were three children, offspring of the marriage of William Bradford and Alice Hanson : viz. Margaret, who was baptised March 8th, 1585-6 ; Alice, baptised October 30th, 1587; and William (the Governor), who was baptised March 19th, 1589-90. Of these, we have the register of the burial of Margaret on the day after the baptism. We have no further information concerning the Governor's sister Alice.

(2) Thomas. One of the uncles to whom devolved Thomas. the care of the infant, appears in the Register only as having a daughter named Margaret baptised on March 9th, 1577-8.

(3) Robert, the other uncle, is the only Bradford

Robert. who is assessed at Austerfield to the subsidy of 1598; the other subsidy-men being John Maudson, Robert Martley, and Robert Bridges. On January 31st, 1585-6, he married Alice Waigestafe, (Wagstaff),51 and by her who was buried July 13th, 1600, he had William, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth, and Margaret, who were baptised in 1587, 1591, 1593,

1597, and 1600. William, the eldest son, died young, being buried on April 30th, 1593 ; and he appears to have lost two children who died unbaptised in 1595 and 1597. He himself was buried on April 23d, 1609, having made his last will on the 15th day of that

month.

This will of one of the uncles of the Governor affords us the best means of forming a just opinion of the status of the Bradfords of Austerfield, at the time when lived the only person who entitles them to be worthy objects of historical curiosity. He describes His will. himself “Robert Bradfurth, of Austerfield, yeoman;" and we may observe that Bradfurth or Bradfourth is the more usual orthography of the name in the church register, so uncertain and variable was the orthography of all proper nanies at that period ; also that “yeoman” implies a condition of life a little better than that

51 Not “Waingate,” as in the Collections,' by a mistake of the transcriber. There were Wagstaffs at that time freeholders of Harworth, of whom George Wagstaff was living in 1612; and Roger, who is described as a “husbandman,” was a witness in the Hospital suit, 1592.

which would be now indicated by the word. The yeomanry of England in the reign of Elizabeth formed the class next to those who were the acknowledged gentry using coat-armour of right. They lived for the most part on lands of their own. The testator sets out with declarations of his Christian faith expressed in terms of energy a little above the ordinary tone of such exordiums, and his first bequest is of ten shillings to the chapel of Austerfield. To a servant named Grace Wade, he gives the free use of a dwelling-house. He names another servant, and his brother and sister Hall. These must be James Hall and Elizabeth, his wife, originally Bradford, who were married January 25th, 1595. She was no doubt the Elizabeth, daughter of the first William, who was baptised July 10th, 1570. Another small legacy is given to Thomas Silvester, clerk. To his son Robert he gives his best iron-bound wain; the cupboard in the “house,” that is, the apartment in the dwellinghouse answering to what is now called the parlour ; one long table with a frame ; and one long form; with his best yoke of oxen ; also the “ counter wherein the evidences are.” He leaves him also a corslet52

52 A piece of armour, an ordinary subject of bequest in wills of this period.

nel

with all the furniture thereto belonging. Having made these specific bequests, he directs that the residue of his property shall be divided equally among his four children, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth, and Margaret, whom he makes executors. They were all under age. Then something in the manner of Eudamidas, he gives the tuition of them till they are of age or married, to three of his friends : my good neighbour, Mr. Richardson, of Bawtry, is to have the care of Robert and Margaret ; William Downes, of Scrooby, of his daughter Elizabeth ; and Mr. Silvester, of Alkley, of his daughter Mary. In a later part of the will he directs that his son Robert shall have the reversion of two leases; the one of all the King's lands he has in Austerfield, the other of the closes which he has of Mr. Morton in Martin lordship. Austerfield as well as Bawtry was in those days a royal manor, having been acquired by the crown by forfeitures or marriages from the illustrious and well-known line of Nevile and Despenser, and the Bradfords were, we see, farmers of the demesne.

This will show the Bradfords to have been at this time intimately acquainted with the best of Bradfords the people living in their neighbourhood, ed.

mi

well connect.

« ForrigeFortsett »