Reference: E3/10/12.3, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: there is also a copy in The National Archives, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, PROB 11/431/36.]
‘In the name of God Amen
This five and Twentieth Day of December Anno Domini one thousand six hundred and ninety ffive I Thomas Fraser formerly of Newmarket in the County of Suffolk Surgeon [Chirurgion in the registered copy] but now of Newington in the County of Middx being of good and perfect memory thanks be to Almighty God and calling to remembrance the uncertain estate of this transitory life and that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please God to call doe make constitute ordain publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner and forme following revoking and annulling by these prevents all and every testament and testaments will and wills hertofore by me made and declared and first being sorry and penitent from the bottom of my heart for my sinns past most humbly desiring forgiveness of the same I give and committ my soul unto Almighty God my Saviour and Redeemer in whom and by the merits of Jesus Christ I trust and believe assuredly to be saved and to have full redemption and forgiveness of all my sins and that my soul with my body at the general day of resurrection shall rise again with joy and through the merits of Christ’s death and passion possess and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven [written above Great Britain crossed out! – wake up Mr Attorney! – see image below] and my body to be decently interred at the direction of my executors hereafter named And now for the settling of my temporal estate and such goods chattles and debts as it hath pleased God far above my deserts to bestow upon me I doe order give and dispose in manner and fforme following / That is to say / first I will that all those debts and duties as I owe in right or conscience [?] to any manner of person or persons whatsoever shall be well and truely contented and paid by my executors hereafter named Item I give devise and bequeath unto my dear daughters Elizabeth ffraser and Susann ffraser all my lands tenemts and hereditaments [?] at Cowlage in the County of Suffolk in shallow ground and my houses grounds and gardens purchased by me and are at Newmarket and my will is that my said lands and houses be kept in repair and improved and I also give devise and bequeath to my said two daughters Elizabeth and Susann ffraser all debts due to me upon mortgages bonds bills notes and all my ready money and other debts and duties whatsoever my funeral charges and legacies being first paid all which my before mentioned estate I will to be equally divided between my said two daughters Elizabeth ffraser and Susann ffraser at their marriage or at the age of one and twenty years which shall first happen And in case either of them shall dye before marriage or the age of one and twenty years the share of my daughter so dyeing shall come to the survivor or longer liver But in case my said daughter Elizabeth ffraser and Susann ffraser shall dye before marriage or before they attaine the age of one and twenty years then and in such case I give devise and bequeath to my cosens Heugh ffraser and William ffraser of the City of London merchants my executors hereafter named two hundred pounds of lawfull money of England to each of them that is to say to Heugh ffraser two hundred pounds and to William ffraser two hundred pounds and the residue and remainder of my estate in money upon mortgage lands houses tenements gardens orchards bonds bills notes I give devise and bequeath unto my eldest brother William ffraser in trust and to the use of his children that is to say one half part to ffraser his eldest sonn and the other half part or moiety to be equally divided amongst the rest of his children Item I give devise and bequeath unto my cosens Heugh ffraser’s wife tenn pounds of lawfull money of England to buy her mourning and to my maid servant Anne Shaw ffive pounds Item I give and bequeath unto my cosen George ffraser professor of philosophy at Aberdeen in the kingdom of Scotland a gold ring of twenty shillings value and I desire that my said two daughters Elizabeth ffraser and Susann ffraser may be brought up and educated according to the rubrick of the church of England Item I give and bequeath unto my said cousens Heugh ffraser and William ffraser one hundred pounds of lawfull mony of England to be equally divided betwixt them and I do hereby make them executors of this my last will and testament Tho Fraser signed sealed published and declared by the said Thomas ffraser to be his last will and testament in the presence of us Nic Blackey Rich Browne Ro Lane.’
Probate 24th April 1696.
The key points of interest in this will are:-
1. Nearly a third of it is taken up with the theological preamble, which was obviously therefore very important to Thomas. In it he clearly expresses a sound understanding of eternal things – fitting for the son in law of Francis Greene (see the page on Thomas Fraser for more detailed comments).
2. The hilarious 17th century ‘typo’ (‘quillo’?) by the attorney! (see image below).
3. Related to point 2 above, the Kingdom of Great Britain didn’t actually come into effect until 1707, although King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603, so this ‘quillo’ is intriguing. The term must have been in use in 1695 before the reality – likely the two kingdoms were in some sense regarded as one before the actual political union, but Thomas also mentions the Kingdom of Scotland as if it were separate.
4. And he had a cousin George Fraser who lived there, who was professor of philosophy at Aberdeen. I’ve contacted the University of Aberdeen about this. Their archives record a George Fraser who was regent and sub-principle at King’s College Aberdeen at this time, mentioned in (1) Anderson PJ. Officers and graduates of University & King’s College Aberdeen, 1495-1860. Aberdeen: New Spalding Club; 1893. Shelfmark: L Aa P5 1495-1860. Pages 42, 58, 201 and 215; and (2) Emerson RL. Professors, patronage and politics: the Aberdeen Universities in the eighteenth century. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press; 1992. Shelfmark L Ref Aa P Qui 5. Pages 18, 25, 136 and 143. A ‘Theses Philosophicæ’ written by him in 1695 still exists. Reference: SBL 1695 F 1, (Aberdeen University Library). I have obtained a copy. It’s in Latin and 16 pages long. I’m reliably informed by an acquaintance who can speed read Latin that it’s mostly about science matters, particularly the speed of light. There are two interesting points relating to theology: (1) he rightly argues against the eternity of the world citing as evidence that it would contradict Moses (it’s interesting to see the Old Testament used to support a scientific point in an academic paper like this); (2) from the New Testament he cites Titus 2:12, and talks about self-control, justice and godliness. So there are hints that he held similar views to those of Thomas Fraser and that the two were close, in mind and familiarly if not geographically.
5. Thomas Fraser was clearly quite wealthy. It would be interesting to know what became of his two young daughters who were clearly under 21 years of age in 1695. Thomas married Susan Greene in 1676, so they would be teenagers at most. The fact that he mentions their upbringing would suggest that they were rather younger. Their mother had already passed away. It would be interesting to know who brought them up and where. Likely candidates would be his cousins Heugh or William Fraser, his brother William Fraser, or cousin George Fraser the professor of philosophy in Aberdeen. If anyone knows please make contact using the details via the footer below.
6. He wanted his daughters brought up according the rubrics of the Church of England, by which presumably he meant the 1662 prayer book and 39 articles within it, consistent with the theological understanding expressed in his preamble and in the other Greene family wills and memorials.
7. Cowlage is presumably Cowlinge.