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The Seventeenth Century:
Thomas Johns' Will - Bible Recipients, 1668
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Will of Thomas Johns, Yeoman of Matlock Written 28 Feb 1667/8
Amongst his bequests can be found:
... I will and bequeath that my executrix shall within one yeare after my decease bye & give fortie bibles to the [unreadable at present] following



the first one to Richard WOODWARD
one to his brother John WOODWARD
one to Henry WOODWARD
" Adam WOODWARD
" Robert TIPPING
" Thomas TOMKINSON Jnr
" Thomas WALKELOTT
" George BRADLEY
" John BEARDSLEY
" Adam BOWNE
" Thomas BOWNE
" William BOWNE
" William BALL
" William JACKSON
" John SILKSTONE
" Widowe DERBISHIRE
" Anthony LUDLAM
" Widowe WILLCOCKSON
" Dennis RAGGE
" Anthony ROWSON son
" George GREGORY
" Henery LACIE
" Edmond ADAM
" Widowe GIBSON
" Thomas MARTEN
" Henry ASPINALL
" Rodger ELSE
" Dorathy MORE’s daughter
" William MARTEN
" Thomas BUNTING
" Henry WATSON
" Samuell KAY
" Edward BUNTING
" Widowe YATES
" Thomas WHITTAKER
" William WOOD
" Johne BOWNE on this sid of Cromford Bridge


Although Thomas Johns stipulated that 40 bibles were to be purchased, he only named 37 recipients. They were given to people he knew in the parish.
The executrix of his Will was "my now loving wife Grace Johns".

He also gifted many individual bequests, but perhaps the most significant of all were the ones he made
to the very poore of Matlock, delivered yearly and every year for ever and given to families nominated by the parsons, churchwardens and overseers.
His charitable parish bequests were four four bibles and two pounds per year.
This was paid for from his close called Janckin Flat, his meadow called Causey lane meadow and a close called Ditchylands, all in Matlock.

See:
The Free and Voluntary Present, 1661.
His 1668 burial
A short transcript of his will can be found on Pre 1858 Wills, Sunames H - R (Surnames J)
Charities to the Parish of Matlock

Thomas Johns' Will is held by the Staffordshire Record Office.
The list has been transcribed from a copy of his Will by Ann Andrews, and also checked against a typed list in the Mike Spencer collection.