"An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them." John Newmark of Transylvania Dutch created this theme.
from p. 83 of Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills by Frederick Brown.
This is from one of the books that I looked at when I was in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library. I was hoping that there would be a will relating to either the Walter or Payne family. I didn't find one. As I am preparing for a talk on wills, I wanted to show an example of the content of wills from the 1500s and 1600s in England, so I took photographs of several.
From Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, copied from the wills of the manuscript collection of the late V. Frederick Brown, M.A. F.S.A. privately printed for Frederick Arthur Crisp, 1889 - viewed at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City.
JOHN WALTON. Oct 17, 1549, Proved by Thomas Walton,
in the Chauncell, between Mr Dyer, sometime 2 Parson of the same
the mayntenance of Goddis Dyvyne Service in the Church of Nether-
ham six good wether sheepe. To my son Alexander Walton, my pur-
chase in West Monckton, with appurtenances. To my son Andrew
Walton & his heirs, all my lands in Langport Easton, Langport West,
Som t, & [pound sign] 10 for his apprenticeship in London. To my daughter Joane
Walton, [pound sign] 40, and "oon flate pece with a cover of silver parcel gilted,
and oon bedde with appurtenances," she to be ordered in her marriage
by Sir Thomas Dyer, K t, and William & Thomas Walton, her brothers
To my daughter Elisabeth Walton, [pound sign] 40, & the same to my daughter
Agnes Walton. To my cousin Richard Walton, son of my brother
William Walt, the elder, my wood knyfe. 12 d to the poor people of
two Alms houses in Glastonbury. Residue to my son Thomas Walton,
Ex r. My brother Walton, & my gossip Uppham, overseers. "And I
beseche the Lyvyn God Recyve my soule unto His endless mercy."
 (1459-99 )"Somerset Incumbents," 101.)
ELISABETH WALTON June 22, 1616. Proved Sept. 20, 1616
[129 Cope.] Buried at Baltonsborough with my husband. My
daughters, Jane & Margaret. My son Richard Walton. My brother
Francis Cottington, & my brother Maurice Cottington. My cousin
Kingson shall have my daughter Margaret to breed up. [pound sign] 90 to my
Two questions - What is meant by "my gossip Uppham" in the first will abstract.
What is meant by "My cousin Kingson shall have my daughter Margaret to breed up." in the second?
Update: Thanks to Tim, a reference librarian at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library, I received the following.
"breed up" means raise and marry well. Since many of the family is dead, the cousin was named responsible for the daughter. The expectation is that he will see that she marries well. Check Wordnik
"gossip" - godparent See the Online Etymology Dictionary for more details.
© 2010 Janet Iles