The will of Alice Greene

Reference: PROB 11/214, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).

Back to the pages on Robert Greene or The Greenes.


‘In the name of God Amen

in the foure and twentieth yeare of the raigne of our Sovereign Lord King Charles King of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland Defender of the ffaith… upon the six and twentith day of november 1648 I Alice Greene of New Markitt in the County of Suffolk and Dioceo of Norwich Spinster do ordaine and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following viz… I bequeath my soule into hands of the eternall god and my body to the earth. Item I give unto Joyce Rowe my daughter five pounds in mony Item I give unto Christopher Rowe my sonne in law twenty shillings by buy him a ring Item I give unto Robert Greene my grandchild and sonne to Robert Greene my sonne the sume of ten pounds to be paid unto him upon the four and twentith year of his age Item I give unto Alice Rowe my grandchild twenty shillings And to eight children more of my sonne Christopher Rowe ten shillings apeece to be paid unto them upon the day of my death Item I give unto Alice Partridge my goddaughter and daughter unto William Partridge twenty shillings Item all the rest of my goods and chattells not in this my will or otherwise given or bequeathed I give unto Lambert Greene my sonne whom I make my sole executor to this my last will and testament In wittness whereoff I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the day and yeare above written the mark of Alice Greene This acknowledged to be the last will and testament of Alice Greene in the presence of James Whittlowe and William Partridge.’

Probate was in December 1650 to ‘Susanne Greene Relict et executuiri testamenti Lamberti Greene’.


The key points of interest in this will are:-

1. The date. This is towards the end of the civil war, which the king was losing. The King Charles mentioned is Charles I, who within a few months of the writing of this will had been executed, shortly before the death of Alice herself.

2. She calls herself a ‘spinster’. Presumably this refers to her occupation, since clearly she was not a spinster in the modern sense of the word. Spinning was a common occupation for unmarried women, whether ‘spinsters’ or ‘widows’ (as she is defined in the burial record), and is the origin of the modern use of the word ‘spinster’ as a term for a never married single woman.

3. Alice Greene (the daughter) married Christopher Rowe in 1621. This makes a date of birth for Alice and therefore her husband Robert in the 1560s or 70s highly likely, making the Robart son of Richard Grene recorded in 1569 highly likely Robert Greene and Richard Greene the medics.

4. Joyce Rowe was presumably the Aunt Row mentioned by Lambert Greene the apothecary in his will 30 years later.

5. The probate went to Lambert’s wife Susanne (Susan/Susanna) since Lambert died shortly after Alice his mother.