- Local History Documents (illustrative of Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, England)

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Copy of the will of Ralph Sympson of Hanley, an 'Earth Potter'
Dated: 4th October 1679
Kindly transcribed by Joyce Hughes

Amongst his goods are "instuments and materials for pot making", "building with the chimney in it standing at the end of my workhouse", "Two spinning wheels" and  "Eight thousand of bricks"



In the name of God Amen. The fourth day of October in the thirtieth year of the reigne of our Sovereigne, Lord King Charles the second  by the grace of God of England ,Scotland, France & Ireland, King defender of the faithe Anno Domini 1679

I Raph Sympson the Elder of Hanley in the Pish of Stoke upon Trent Countie of Stafford  Earth Potter , being weak in body but of good and perfect memory and disposing mind praise be to God for the same , doe constitute ordaine & make this my last will & testament in manner & forme following, ffirst & chiefly I committ my Soule unto Almighty God my creator assurdly believing that through the meritts  of my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ ,I shall receive remission of all my sins & with him enjoy Eternal life .And my bodie I commend to Christian buriall at the discression of my executor herein hereafter named : And as to the ordering, Devising & disposing of my temperall estate ,I give bequeath & devise the same as following.

Ffirst  I give & bequeath to my daughter Jone wife of John Bramhall ,and to my daughter Jane now wife of Thomas Keeling to each one of them one shilling in full discharge & satisfaction of their merit of their several third part & potion of all my goods & chattells & Estate whatsoever. 

Also I devise give & bequeath  unto my sonne Raph Sympson & his heirs & assignees for ever, all that my now dwelling house situate in Hanley aforesayed , together with the garden thereinto belonging and all my now workhouse warehouse potery. All other buildings whatsoever of me the sayed Raph Sympson situate in Hanley aforesayed, and all my good debts owing to me Cattle, chattells & household stuff instuments and materials for pot making & all my personal estate  whatsoever upon this Express Condition nevertheless and to the end and purpose that my sayed sonne Raph Sympson shall and may Sustain maintain & keep my loving wife Jone Sympson with good & sufficient wholesome meat drink lodging washing & apparell during all the time & space of her naturall life. And in case my sayed wife Jone Sympson shall at ant tyme during her naturall life by reason of any disquitness or other  misbecoming behaviour of my sayed sonne Raph Sympson  towards her desire her to part from the sayed Raph Sympson my sonne .Then my minde & will is that my sayed loving wife Jone Sympson shall have during such time as she shall live apart from my sayed sonne all that bay of building with the chimney in it standing at the end of my workhouse, & also shall have my cow or the value of her as she shall be prized after my decease ,at the choyce of my wife, and alsoe shall have things of my best bedd & all bedding belonging to it & of all such other household goods as shall be needful  for her during all such time as she live apart from my sayed sonne Raph Sympson anything in these cons………ed to the contrary hereof not withstanding. 

And I further will & ordaine that my sayed sonne Raph Sympson  shall paye unto my sayed wife in Discharge of her maintenance and keeping in case she shall live away from him  the full smme of thirtie shillings of lawfull money of England by four quarterly payments in everie year for such and soe many years  during her naturall life  as she shall live apart from him, but if my wife shall be visted with sickness or otherwise & disabled so that she cannot with the sayed thirtie shillings get her own livelyhood  then my will and desire is that my sayed sonne shall legally maintain her during such her visitaion : 

And lastly I constitute and make my sayed sonne Raph Sympson my sole executor if he shall first give his sufficient bond of fforty pounds to my nephew Samuel Sympson that he will fully & forme this my last will which if he shall refuse to doe , then make my loving wife my sole Executrix of this my last will & testamnet : In witness whereof  I have hereunto put my hand and seale. Dated the day & year first above written.

                       Sealed signed & published & declared to be the last will of the sayed Raph Sympson in the presence of.

  Samuel Sympson 
  Christopher Talor 
  William …… 
  Henry Wright.

A true & perfect Inventorie  of all the goods Debts, untensills , cattle, chattells, household goods, & husbandry implements of Raph Sympson the Elder late of Hanley in the Pish of Stoke on Trent, 
Countie of Stafford, 
Earth potter deceased taken at his house  at Hanley aforesayed  the eighth & twentieth day of October anno domini 1679 & appraised by Samuel Sympson & Christopher Taylor , appraisers. 



One cow    02:05:00
All the hay & straw 01:06: 08
One calf 00:10: 00
All the brass & pewter 00: 11:02
Two pott mettle Kettles 00:05:00
Two iron potts 00: 06:00
One table leafe frame & forme,& one other litle round table 00:04:00
One cupboard 00: 02:06
One pair of tongues & fire shovel & one frying pan 00: 01:00
Two ruggs, two coverlidds, three chaff beds & blankets 01:12:00
Three feather bolsters, two feather pillows & five chaff bolsters 00:08:06
All the napery ware 01:11:00
Three pair of bedstocks 00:06:00
Three coffers& one box 00:07:00
Two spinning wheels 00:03:00
One old chafing dish, one tinn plate & two candlesticks 00:02:00
All wooden ware 00:08:09
One chaire six stools & five cushions 00:02:06
One bakestone & brundred 00:00:08
Two ladders & one plancke & and all boards shelves poles & other loose timber belonging to the testator 01: 00:08
One hatchett one broomhooke two pickforkes & two rakes 00:00:20
All the materials except boards belonging to his trade 00:04:06
The testators wearing apparell & money in his purse 03 :00:00
Eight thousand of bricks 01:00:00

The total summe is - 

Desperate debts owing to the Testator L:S:D
Wm Cartledge 3:0 :0
Steven Cartledge 0:6:0
Jno Cartledge 0:5:0
Joseph Leigh 0:8:0
Samuel Whitehurst 0:5:0
Jho Pope Jnr 0:10:0


The will is reproduced by permission of the Lichfield Diocesan Registrar
The original of this will is held at
Lichfield Record Office
The Friary
WS13 6QG

reference B/C/11



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