This week’s #52Ancestors theme is Outcast. I couldn’t think of anyone on my tree that was an Outcast so the link here is a bit tenuous but I am going to write about John Thorp, my Great x11 Grandfather and his will of 1607.
John and his wife Alice had 8 children that are known, all baptised in East Grinstead:
John, the eldest born 1560
Richard born 1562 and died in 1585
Marie born 1564
Thomas born 1567
Mercy born 1569
Giles born 1577
Rachel born 1579
According to the rule of primogeniture, the eldest son would normally inherit his father’s landed property and the purpose of the will was to provide for younger children, and to provide for a widow into her old age, ensuring any titles or properties were not passed by her to any subsequent husbands. There were often legacies to ensure the education of any grandchildren too. Normally an eldest son would not be mentioned in the will because the estate and title would have automatically passed to him, often before death.
In the case of John Thorp there is an interesting clue to his relationship with his eldest son, John. He was an Ironmaster of Hedgecourt in Horne, Surrey which he rented from the Gage family. He also held lands at Cudworth in Newdigate and in Ifield and Hurstpierpoint in Sussex which are said to be part of his wife, Alice Bowett’s inheritance from her father, Richard. At the time of John’s death in 1607 he was living in Worth, Sussex. I have already written about the iron forges and furnaces managed by John in a previous blog.
John left the lease of Hedgecourt to his second living son, Thomas and the lands that went with it. This included Warren Furnace and presumably Woodcock Hammer. The will mentions money to be given to various grandchildren and he mentions a number of different servants of his own as well as servants of his son Thomas. He leaves his grandson, Richard, son of his eldest son, John £300 and he mentions the use of Cudworth at Newdigate where I assume John, the eldest son was living and this was part of John’s inheritance. Indeed his first two sons John and Richard were baptised 1595 and 1597 in Newdigate.
However the really interesting bit is:
Item I give to my sonne John Thorpe although his behaviour unto me hitherto hath deserved noe remembrance of him at all the some of one hundred pounds which my will is shall not be paid or delivered unto himself but shall be delivered and paid unto my good friends aforesaid John Delathamber, George Turner, Anthony Linton and Richard Heath or the survivor of them within five years after decease, by them to be disposed for his maintenance at their good directions.
It will never be known what it was that John the son had done to upset his father but it must have been important enough to be written into the will. I do wonder if he had been careless with money hence the leaving of a legacy to friends to administer instead of simply handing it over directly.
A number of contacts over the years who are researching the Thorp family have imagined that John was written out of his father’s will but I do not believe this is the case, because of the fact that properties etc went automatically to the eldest son. Cudworth went to John, but Hedgecourt was given to Thomas, his brother to set him up presumably close by the furnaces he was running and which he left to his son, Richard after his death in 1608. I need to carry out more research around the eldest son, John which has not been my focus so far as he neither was an Ironmaster or on my direct line. I would like to know more about what, if anything he did.