The Will of Lady Margaret Douglas

Chapter 3 : Will in Modern English

This is a Tudor Times translation, with our notes in brackets.

I, Margaret, Countess of Lennox, widow, late wife of Matthew, Earl of Lennox, Regent of Scotland, deceased the six and twentieth day of February, 1577 (old style, 1578 in modern dating)

My body to be buried in the great church of Westminster, (Westminster Abbey) in the monument, sepulchre or tomb already bargained for and appointed to be made and set up in the said church.

Also I will that the body of my son Charles (Lord Charles Stuart, 1st (sometimes notated as 5th )Earl of Lennox shall be removed from the church of Hackney, and laid with mine both in one vault or tomb in the said church of Westminster.

And I give for my burial the sum of twelve hundred pounds, alias one thousand two hundred pounds to be made and furnished of my plate, household stuff, and movables to be sold therefore. And I will that forty pounds of the said twelve hundred pounds shall be given to the poor people at the day of my burial, and that there be one hundred gowns furnished to a hundred poor women.

Also I give to the King of Scots (James VI) for a remembrance of me, his grandmother, my new field bed of black velvet, embroidered with flowers of needle work with the furniture thereunto belonging, as (that is) curtains, quilt, and bedstead, but not any other bedding there unto.

Also I give to Margaret Wilton my woman fifty pounds, and to every other servant one year’s wages.

To Thomas Fowler my servant all my stock of sheep in the custody of Lawrence Nisbet, Simon Doddsworth and Rowland Fothergill, my lordship of Settrington, in the county of York, being in number eight hundred, at six score to the hundred (ie 1000 sheep in total).

And where I owe unto the said Thomas Fowler seven hundred threescore eighteen pounds and fifteen shillings (£778 15s.) upon the determination of his last account, I will the same sum be paid of my goods, chattels, plate, and jewels.

Also I give to the said Thomas Fowler all my clocks, watches, dials.

And I make John Kaye, of Hackney, esquire, and the said Thomas Fowler my executors. And I give the said John Kaye forty pounds, and I will my very good lords, William (Cecil), Lord Burghley, Lord Treasurer of England, and Robert (Dudley) Earl of Leicester my overseers. And I give to them for their pains (trouble), the Lord Treasurer my ring with four diamonds set square therein, black enamelled, and to the Earl of Leicester my chain of pomander beads netted over with gold, and my tablet (possibly a book or a small picture) with the picture of King Henry the eighth (Margaret’s uncle) therein.

All the rest of my jewels, goods, I give to the Lady Arabell (Lady Arbella Stuart), daughter of my son Charles, deceased.

(The will was proved on 27th March 1578 (New style dating) by Thomas Fowler. The other executor renounced his role).