Category Archives: Death

Death Shakespeare

The Will of William Shakespeare

These fragments are extracts from Shakespeare’s will

In the name of god Amen, I William Shackspeare, of Stratford upon Avon in the countrie of Warr[ickshire], gent., in perfect health and memorie, God be praysed, do make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and forme following, that is to saye, first, I commend my soule into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredlie believing, through the onelie merites, of Jesus Christe my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlastinge, and my body to the earth whereof it is made.

I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judyth one hundred and fiftie poundes (£14,400) of lawfull English money, to be paid unto her in the manner and forme following, that is to saye, one hundred poundes in discharge of her marriage portion within one yeare after my decease. One copiehold tenement, with the appurtenances, lyeing and being in Stratford upon Avon aforesaied in the saied countrye of Warr., being parcell or holden of the mannor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall and her heires for ever.

I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith one hundred and fiftie poundes more, if she or any issue of her bodie be living at the end of three yeares next ensueing the day of the date of this my will, during which time my executours are to pay her consideration from my decease according to the rate aforesaied. And if she die within the said tearme without issue of her body, then I doe give and bequeath one hundred poundes thereof to my niece Elizabeth Hall, and the fiftie poundes to be sett fourth by my executours during the life of my sister Joane Harte. And the use and proffitt thereof cominge shall be paid to my saied sister Jone, and after her decease the saied shall remaine amongst the children of my saied sister, equallie to be divided amongst them.

Unto her three sonnes, William Harte, —- Hart, and Michaell Harte, five pounds (c.£500) a piece, to be paid within one yeare after my decease.  I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Hall, all my plate, except my silver and gilt bowl, that I now have at the date of this my will.  I give and bequeath unto the poore of Stratford aforesaied ten poundes; to Mr. Thomas Combe, my sword; to Thomas Russell esquire five poundes; and to Francis Collins, of the borough of Warr. in the countie of Warr. gentleman, thirteene poundes, sixe shillinges, and eight pence (c £1200), to be paied within one yeare after my decease. I give and bequeath to [Mr. Richard Tyler the elder] Hamlett Sadler xxvj.8 (£26 8 shillings – £2,500). to buy him a ringe; to William Raynoldes gent., xxvj.8 to buy him a ringe; to my godson William Walker xx8. in gold; to Anthonye Nashe gent. xxvj.8 [in gold]; and to my fellowes John Hemynges, Richard Brubage, and Henry Cundell, xxvj.8 a peece to buy them ringes,

I give, will, bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to performe this my will, and towards the performance thereof, all that capital tenemente with the appurtenaunces, in Stratford aforesaid, called the New Place, wherein I nowe dwell, and two messages or tenementes with thappurtenaunces, lying, and being in Henley streete, within the borough of Stratford aforesaied. And all my barnes, stables, orchardes, gardens, landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes, whatsoever, lying, and being, or to be had, received, perceived, or taken, within the townes, hamletes, villages, fieldes, and groundes, of Stratford upon Avon, Oldstratford, Bushopton, and Welcombe, or in anie of them in the saied countie of Warr. And also all that tenemente with the appurtenaunces, wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, lying and being, in the Blackfriers in London, nere the Wardrobe. And all my other landes, tenementes, and hereditamentes whatsoever.

I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture  I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bowl. All the rest of my goodes, chattel, leases, plate, jewels, and household stuffe whatsoever, after my debts and legasies paid, and my funerall expenses dischardged, I give, devise, and bequeath to my sonne in lawe, John Hall gent., and my daughter Susanna, his wife, whom I ordaine and make executours of this my last will and testament. And I do intreat and appoint the said Thomas Russell esquire and Francis Collins gent. to be overseers hereof, and doe revoke all former wills, and publishe this to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put my [seale] hand, the daie and yeare first abovewritten.

Witnes to the publyshing
hereof    Fra: Collyns
Julyus Shawe
John Robinson
Hamnet Sadler
Rovert Whattcott

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Death Weather

A little chicken flew up unto her

These fragments come from a 1607 pamphlet entitled Lamentable newes out of Monmouthshire in Wales.

In the month of Januarie last past upon a Tuesday, the Sea being very tempestuously moved by the windes, over-flowed his ordinary Bankes, and did drowne 26 Parishes adjoyning on the Coast side, in the foresaide Countrey of Monmouth-shire, the particulars whereof doe follow: all spoyled by the greevous and lamentable furie of the waters.

Now all kinde of Cattle being for twentie foure miles in length, and foure in breadth, were drowned, and the Sea hath beaten down a great multitude of houses, scattering and dispersing the poore substance of innumerable persons. So that the damage done in the foresaid places, both in cattel and other goodes, is supposed to amount unto the value of above an hundred thousand pounds.

The foresaid waters having gotten over their wonted limittes, are affirmed to have runne at their first entrance with a swiftnesse so incredible, as that no Gray-hounde coulde have escaped by running before them.  Further, among other matters, these things are related as certaine truths.  As that a certaine man and a woman having taken a tree for their succour, and espying nothing but death before their eyes: at last among other things which were carried along in the streame, perceyved a certaine Tubbe, of great largenesse to come neerer and neerer unto them, untill it rested uppon that Tree wherein they were. Committing themselves, they were carryed safe, untill they were cast uppe uppon the drie shoare.

A maide childe, not passing the age of foure yeares, it is reported, that the mother thereof, perceiving the waters to breake so fast into her house, and not being able to escape with it, set her upon a beame in the house, to save her from being drowned.  And the waters rushing in a pace, a little Chicken as it seemeth, flew up unto her, (it being found in the bosome of the childe, when helpe came to take her downe) and by the heate thereof, as it is thought, preserved the childes life in the middest of so colde a tempest.

An other little childe is affirmed to have been cast upon land in a Cradle, in which was nothing but a Catte, the which was discerned as it came floating to the shore, to leape still from one side of the Cradle unto the other, as if she had bene appointed steeresman to preserve the small boat from the waves furie.

Moreover one Mistresse Van, a gentlewoman of good sorte, whose living was an hundred pound and better by the yeare, is avouched, before she could get uppe into the higher roomes of her house, having marked the approach of the waters, to have been surprised by them and destroyed, howsoever, her house being distant above foure miles in breadth from the sea.

Besides these thinges in Monmouth-shiere, alreadie specified: One Mistresse Mattheus of Landaffe in Glamorgin Shiere, dwelling some foure miles in breadth from the Sea, is said to haue lost foure hundreth English Ewes.  Much corn is likewise there destroyed in that Countrey, many houses ruinated, and many other kindes of Cattell perished. The number of men that are drowned, are as yet not knowne to exeeede above twentie hundred.  A multitude more then had perished for want of foode, and extremitie of colde, had not the right Honourable the Lord Herbert, sonne and heire to the Carle of Worcester, and sir Waltar Mountague, Knight, brother vnto the Recorder of London, who dwell neare unto the foresaid places, sent out boates,  to relieve the distressed.  The Lord Herbert himselfe going unto such houses as he could, that were in extremitie, to minister vnto them provision of meate and other necessaries. And these are the things touching these foresaid places, which haue been deliuered as truthes unto us, of undoubted veritie.  And there we leave them.

The Lorde of his mercie grant, that we may learne in time to be wise unto our owne health and salvation, least that these water-flouds in particular, proove but forerunners unto some scarefull calamities, more generall.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Crime Curiosities Death Murder

The haunting of Isabel Binnington

These fragments come from a pamphlet entitled A Strange and wonderfull discovery of a horrid and cruel murther committed fourteen years since upon the person of Robert Eliot, of London, at Great Driffield in the East-Riding of the county of York (1662). The murder was discovered, ‘in September last by the frequent Apparitions of a Spirit in several shapes and habits unto Isabel Binnington, the Wife of William Binnington, the now Inhabitants in the house where this most execrable murther was committed,’ and the pamphlet includes details of the conversations which passed between the ghost and Isabel Binnington, recorded under oath before two Justices of the Peace.

The Examinant sworn and examined, saith, That she and her Husband William Bennington came to the house where she now dwells (being the house of one Mr. Belt of Hull) about the beginning of June last, And saith, that in that house on the 23 of August last, as she was sitting by her fire-side, having also a Candle lighted by her, betwixt the hours of 8 and 9 at night there appeared unto her a Spirit having long flaxen hair in green cloaths, and bare-footed, and without a hat; she conceived that it was some wandering person that might have come for Lodging, and thereupon asked it, saying, What art thou? Thereupon it removed somewhat nearer unto her: then she begun to be sore affrighted, and said, In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy-Ghost, If thou wouldest have any thing, speak, Then it said, Fourteen years have I wandered in this place, suffering wrong three times, and seven years I have to wander, twenty one years is my time. Then it went into the parlour, and came again about a quarter of an hour after and said, Be thou not afraid of me, I will never hurt thee, and thou shalt never want. Then it vanished, glideing away without any motion of steps. It had appeared to her three times before, First resembling a man, and secondly resembling a boy about twelve years old.’

‘On Sunday August the 24 (which was the fifth time that it appeared) it said nothing, nor she to it, it was about eight or nine of the clock at night on Wednesday following, being the 27 at the usual time it appeared to her again in white, like a winding sheet, then she said, If thou wouldest have any thing, speak: then it began, My life was taken from me betwixt eight and nine of the clock at night in this place, she asked what place, it answered, In the Chamber, & I received my Grave betwixt twelve and one. And so it went away. On Friday following it appeared to her again about the usual time, and she said to it, I pray thee tell me thy name.  It said My name is Robert Elliot. Then she said, I desire thee to tell me who took thy life. It replied, I was knock’d in the head fourteen years since in my bed by three women, Mary Burton, Alice Colson the elder, and Anne Harrison. On the Saturday next it appeared to her again in white, and then desired that there might be made a bright fire of Coles in the place where she pulled up the stakes and found the bones, then she desired it to tell its Fathers name? To which it replied My Father’s name was Jacob Elliot and my Mother’s Rebecca, and my Father was a Hackney-Coachman in London.’

‘On Sunday the 31, about five of the clock in the afternoon it appeared to her again in white, and said, Blessed be the time that ever this fire was made, and blessed be they that gave consent to the making of it, for the Stake is now as warm at the root in my heart, as my heart was when the Stake was striken through it. On Monday the first of September about ten of the clock in the forenoon it appeared to her again, in the same likeness, and spoke to her to this effect. That he was an Apprentice to a Raft-man, and that he came into the Countrey about his Masters business, and that he came to this house for lodging, and that Mary Burton was very unwilling to lodge him, and that he demanded of her three and twenty pounds, which he had lent her three years before; and that they had some cross words about it, and that he was killed that very night in his bed, by the said three Women, and that the said Mary Burton took out of his pocket three and twenty shillings in monies, which she gave to her Maid, and two Gold Rings which were his Grandmothers, and one Silver Rings which was his Mothers, and some Writings which concerned his business, which shortly after she carried with her near to London, and by vertue of them she demanded certain things of his Sister which belonged to him, viz. a Rug, worth about four and twenty shillings, and a silver Tankerd, worth about five nobles, which they gave her, and she sold them in London: his eldest sister Kate delivered them, It said no more at that time, She observed that it spake altogether the Southern speech.’

‘This Examinant also saith, That at one time she desired it that it would speak to others, and it said that until seven years were expired it could not speak with any other, but it would be seen by divers in its own likeness. The Examinant being further questioned concerning the digging in the place where the murthered Person is supposed to have been buryed, saith, That sweeping in the room, she perceived some loose mold in the floor, and thereupon said to some of her neighbours with her, that there might possibly be some money hid there, but made no further search at that time, but at another time finding a hole in the place she begun to digg in it with her knife, which casually fell out of her hand into the hole, thereupon she took a piece of a broken dish wherewith she cast up the earth, and made a hole till she came at a Stake of wood, which she pulled up by the half (for it was so rotten that it broke) and burnt it, and digged further til she came at a great stone under which she found certain bones (viz.) A scalp or head; some of the teeth, and other bones, which she supposeth might be of a man. Before the digging in this place she never saw the Spirit, she never knew any of the persons which the Spirit named, nor ever heard of them before.’

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

Death Elizabeth Execution London

Horrid kinds of incontinencies

These snippets of gossip and history about the ‘chief Fortresse or Tower of London’ date from the 1650s.

William of Normandy the Conquerer was the first erector of the Tower of London. The first part that was built was the great square and White Tower (although black to some) which was about the year 1078. It stood naked and single without other buildings a good while. It was by some injury of the Heavens and violence of tempests sore shaken and some part tumbled down, which was repaired by Henry the first, who also caused a Castle to be built under the said White Tower on the South side towards the Thames. The first Keeper of the Tower of London was call’d Constable Ostowerus. About the beginning of the Raign of Richard the first, William Longshank, Bishop of Ely, enclos’d the Tower of London with an outward Wall of stone embattail’d, and also caused a deep ditch to be cast about the same. The Lion Tower was built by Edward the fourth. Frederick the Emperor having sent a present of three Leopards, they were first kept at Woodstock, but afterwards all such wild Beasts, as Lions, together with Leopards and Linxes, have been kept in that part of the Tower.

The first gold that was coin’d in the Tower was in the raign of Edward the third and the peeces were called Florences. In the year 1458 there were Jousts and Tournements in the Tower. Anno 1478 the Duke of Clarence was drowned in a Butt of Malmsey within the Tower, and five years after the young Edward the fifth with his Brother were by the practises of Richard the third, stifled there betwixt two fetherbeds, as the current story goes. Queen Elizabeth, wife to Henry the 7th, died in the Tower anno 1502 in Child-birth, and the year before there was running at tilt there. The Chappel in the high white Tower was burnt Anno 1512. Queen Anne Bullein was beheaded in the Tower 1541 and a little after the Lady Katherine Howard, both Wifes to Henry the eight. In Henry the eights time the Tower was ever and anon full of prisoners, among others, Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, was clap’t there close Prisoner: and they took away from him all his Books.  The young Lady Jane was beheaded there not long after, and upon the Scaffold she made a most ingenious Speech full of pity, That she came thither to serve for an example to posterity, that innocence cannot be any protection against greatness, And that she was come thither not for aspiring to a Crown, but for not refusing one when it was offered Her.

Queen Elizabeth may be said to have gone from the Scaffold to the Tower. In her dayes Robert Earl of Essex lost his head in the Tower, which he might have kept on many years longer had he not been betrayed by the Lady Walsingham; to whom after the sentence of condemnation he sent a Ring, which the Queen had given him as a token that she would stick to him in any danger. The Lady delivered not this ring, and being a little after upon her Death-bed, she desired to speak with the Queen, and having disburdended a great weight which lay upon her Conscience for that act, the Queen flung away in a fury, and never enjoyed herself perfectly after that, crying O Essex, Essex. And this Earl was the last who was executed within the walls of the Tower.

In King James’s time, for 22 years, there was no blood spilt in the Tower or upon Tower-hill, only Sir Gervase Elwayes was hanged there. The Earl of Castlehaven was brought from the Tower to be executed for horrid kinds of incontinencies in Charles the firsts time; afterwards in the raign of the long Parliament, and ever since the Tower of London has had more number of Prisoners than it had in the compasse of a hundred years before.

This stately Tower of London serves not only for a Gaol to detain prisoners, but for many other uses. It is a strong Fort or Citadel, which secures both City and River, it serves not only to defend but to command either, upon occasion. It serves as a royal Rendezvous for Assemblies and Treaties. It is the Treasurey for the Jewels and Ornaments of the Crown.  It is the place for the Royal Mint and Coynage of Gold and Silver. It is the chiefest Magazin and Armory, or Arsenal for the whole Land. There, only, is the Brake or Rack, usually call’d the Duke of Exeters Daughter, because he was the first inventor of it.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

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