William Eddye
William Eddye

St. Dunstan's Church
St. Dunstan Church, Cranbrook, Kent, England
Photo by Ernie Tufft
Used with permission

William Eddye lived during the reign of Elizabeth I, Queen of England. Upon the first page of the Parish Register at the Church of St. Dunstan in Cranbrook, county of Kent, it is written by the hand of William himself, since his signature is at the foot of the page, that he was "borne in the cittie of Bristoll," probably about 1550. He married November 20, 1587 in Cranbrook, Mary Fosten. He married second February 22, 1614, Sarah Taylor, a widow.

William matriculated as "sizar" at Trinity Hall, at the University of Cambridge, and there received the degree of B.A. in 1583. (A sizar is one who performs certain duties in part payment of his expenses at a school or college.) William then went to Thurston, a small parish in Suffolk County, near Bury St. Edmunds and not very far from Cambridge. There he occupied the position of curate, perhaps from 1583 to 1586, as is shown by his signature on the transcript of the Register which was sent to the Bishop's office at Norwich. This signature was compared with those at Cranbrook and found to be the same, so there is no question concerning the identity of William the Curate at Thurston, and William the Vicar at Cranbrook. He was made Vicar of St. Dunstan Church, Cranbrook, Kent County, England, in Aug 1591, and so continued until his death, 23 Nov 1616. He was a strict Episcopalian, a diligent pastor. He left a volume of parish registers, handsomely engrossed and illuminated.

In the Register are the records of the baptism of his children, which have proved invaluable to his descendants of later generations. It is also noted that the records in the latter part of 1610 and for nearly all of 1611 are written by another hand, and it appears that for some reason, William was away from his vicarage, or else was suffering from a long illness. This was the year in which Mary, his wife, and also a new-born child, Nathaniel died.

From the inventory of William's estate it is possible to get some idea of his home. There was a hall with a large fireplace and some armor on the walls and behind it the kitchen, evidently a large room where the family ate. Here also was a large fireplace surrounded by the utensils used in cooking, many of them similar to those used in the very early New England kitchens. The kitchen had two cupboards, one of wood and the other, either with a glass front, or else made for holding glassware. The shelves were filled with pewter dishes and there were several pieces of brass. On this same floor opening out of the hall and kitchen were several other rooms. First of all there was a parlor which was well-furnished. There were curtains and "mappes" and pictures on the walls, a carpet on the floor, tables, chairs and cushions for further comfort and decoration. Then there were six chambers, the Chapel chamber, which was his own and which he probably used for his study and work, a parlor chamber, a hall chamber, a kitchen chamber, a maid's chamber, and another over the shop, which seemed to have been used partly as a storeroom, as was also the shop below. Beyond the kitchen were the regular outbuildings, one where the meal was sifted and then stored and where the loaves were kneaded, another building where the ale and other drinks were brewed and a third where the products of the dairy were cared for and stored. The three buildings generally adjoined the kitchen, while the other outbuildings were entirely separate. There were several of these besides the barn and the woodhouse.

From the Register, is appears that at times there were other inmantes in the household of Williams besides his family and servants, for on February 10, 1599, Mistress bridget died, about whom he wrote "she appeared a maiden and most godly Christian gentlewoman. She lodged with me at the Vicarage and there died." There is also the entry of the death of a gentleman "who was schooling for the Latin tongue." It's possible that William increased the income derived from his position as a Vicar by tutoring.

William Eddy did not live long after his second marriage. Early in 1616, if the handwriting on the register is any indication, William was so ill that he was no longer able to perform his duties as Viar, and on November 23, 1616 he died.

The exact spot where William Eddye lies buried is not known. It may be beneath the chancel of the church at Cranbrook where the incumbent vicar often was buried, or outside in the churchyard where at some time a wooden cross may have marked the grave.

The will of the Rev. William Eddye, Vicar of Cranbrook, Co. Kent, dated 20 Aug 1616 and proved 4 Dec 1616 in the Court of the Archdeacon of Canterbury, reads:

In the name of God Amen the twentieth day of August 1616 and in the yeares of the Reigne of our sovereigne Lord James by the grace of God of England, Scotland, Fraunce and Ireland, King defender of the faith etc. viz of England, Fraunce and Ireland fourteenth and of Scotland the fyfteth; I William Eddye Minister and Pastor of the parrish Church of Cranebrooke in the County of Kent being at this present afflicted wth great bodely infirmities and weakenes whereby I doe assuredlie conceive that the tyme of my dissolution out of this mortal life draweth neere and is at hande have therefore determined to make and ordeine this my present last will and testament in manner and fourme followinge viz:

Inprimis, I comend my soule into the hands of almighty God my heavenlie father in Jesus Christ by the merritts of whose death and passion only my sinnes (wch I confesse to be many and great) being wholly remitted and forgotten I am fully persuaded in heart this mortal life ended to enjoy everlastinge life.

Item, I give and bequeath unto forty poore householders of this parishe that are apparentlie knowen to resort diligentlie to ye church upon the lordes day and doe live peaceablie and godlie the sume of forty shillinges of lawful money of England to be paid unto them wthin halfe a yere next after my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath unto John Eddie, my sonne the some of sixescore poundes of lawful money of England to be payd unto him by my executor in manner and fourme followinge viz threescore poundes thereof when he shall accomplish his full age of one and twentie yeares and other threescore poundes residew of his said portion wthin one whole yeare next after his said age.

Item, I give and bequeath unto Samuell Eddie and Zacharias Eddie, my sonnes to either of them one hundred pounds a peece of lawfull money of England to be paid unto them and either of them when they and either of them shall severally accomplish their severall ages of two and twentie yeares. And if it shall fortune that either of my said sonnes, Samuell and Zacharias to departe this life to Gods merie before the tyme that his or their said Legacie or Legacies shalbe due & my said son John then being livinge, then I will that he shall have Twentie poundes of his or their legacie or legacies so deceasinge to be paid unto him at his age of twentie and two years if either of his said bretheren depart this life before he shalbe of the said age. And if after the said age then to be paid him wthin one whole yeare next after the death of his brother so disceasinge. And the residew to be equally devided betweene the urvivor and my executor.

Item, I give and bequeath unto Abigail Eddie, Anne Eddie and Elizabeth Eddie, my daughters to either of them the some of one hundred poundes of lawfull money of England to be paid unto them and either of them at their severall ages of XXtie [20] years or at their severall dayes of marriage wch shall first happen. And if any of my said daughters shall heppen to departe this life to Gods mercie before the tyme aforesaid that her or their legacie or legacies shallbe due then I will that my Executor shall pay unto Priscilla, my duaghter twentie markes thereof at her age of twentie yeares or day of marriage wch shall first happen (if she shall live untill her said age or day of marriage). Also allso unto my sayd sonne, John Eddie twentie poundes thereof if he be then livinge and neither of his younger bretheren deceased to be paid unto him as the twentie poundes abovesaid lymitted out of his younger brothers portion Provided allwayes if he have Twentie poundes by the death of either of his younger bretheren he shall not have anythinge out of any of his sisters legacies aforesaid. And if either of his Sisters die first, then to have nothing out of either of his said Brothers portions. And the residew of the said legacie or legacies of my said daughters soe departinge this life I will shall remaine to my executor.

Item, whereas Sara my now wife in love and kindness to me and my other children hath promised to make up a portion for Priscilla, my daughter my great new silver salt, two silver beare cupps, two new silver wine cuppes and one greene ragge coverlett all wch I will shall be delivered unto the said Sara, my wife ymediatlie after my decease for the use of my said daughter, Priscilla to be given to the said Priscilla at such convenient tymes as she in her discretion shall thynke fitt.

Item, I further give and bequeath unto the said Priscilla, my daughter my best needle worke Cushions belonginge thereto to be delivered to the said Priscilla by my Executour at her age of twenty yeares or day of marriage wch shall first happen.

Item, I give and bequeath more unto the aforesaid John Eddie, my sonne one other suite of my needle worke Cushions viz one large and two short that were wont to lye in the chamber window over the Parlor and my greane Cupboard Cloth for the Parlor that is wrought with needle worke together allso wth my Cipres table wth boxes in it wherein I doe use to lay the evidences of his house and one faire pewter Candlesticke set forth wth a man.

Item, I give and bequeath more unto Samuell Eddie, my sonne one little sylver salt called a trencher salt to be delivered unto him at his age of one and twentie yeares.

Item, I give and bequeath more unto Zacharias, my Sonne one payer of my greatest brasse Candlestickes to be delivered unto him at his age of one and twentie yeares. Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Marie, the wife of Simeon Evernden one needle worke Cushion that is wont to stand upont he Cupboard in the Parlor to be delivered unto her ymediately after my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath more unto Abigall Eddie, Anne Eddie, and Elizabeth Eddie, my daughters three needle worke Cushions viz to each of them one wch were wont to stand in the large wyndow in my parlor to be delivered unto them ymediatelie after my decease and to be reserved in their trunkes for them wch longe since I gave them.

Item, I give and bequeath unto Simeon Evernden aforesaid, my sonne in law and to my said daughter, Marie his wife twentie poundes of lawfull money in England to be paid unto them or either of them by my executor wthin fower yeares next after my decease and to their three children viz, Simeon, Katherine and Robert each of them ten shillings to be put into or bestowed upon silver spoones for each of them one to be delivered unto them within two yeares next after my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath unto Richard Taylor, Robert Taylor, Thomas Taylor, Elizabeth and Sara Taylor, the sonnes and daughters of Sara my now wife ten shillings a peece to be bestowed uppon Silver Spoones for everie of them one and to be given or delivered unto them wthin three yeares next after my decease.

Item, I give and bequeath unto my two maid servauntes viz, Marie Greene and Anne Goodman to either of them five shillinges to be paid unto them and either of them wthin one month next after my decease. The residew of all and singular my moveable goods and chattells, Bookes, Corne, Cattell and household stuffe whatsoever before herein not willed given nor bequeathed my Debts Legacies and funerall expences discharged and paid I give and bequeath unto Phinees Eddie, my Sonne whom I make and ordeine full whole and sole Executor of this my present last will and Testament.

This is the last Will and testament of me the aforesaid William Eddie made and declared the day and yeare aforewritten as touchinge the disposition of all and singular my lands Tentes and hereditaments whatsoever viz I give and bequeath unto the aforesaid Phinees Eddie, my sonne (for and towardes the better performance of my will and for the full and more absolute payment of my debts and legacies) all my messaages or Tentes, Edifices, buildings, Orchardes, gardens, rentes, annuities, landes and hereditaments whatsoever, wth all and singuler their appurtnces situate lying and being in the parish of Cranebrook aforesaid or elsewhere in ye Realme of England to have and to hold the same unto the said Phinees my sonne his heires and assignes for ever Provided alwayes and my verie will and meaning is that if the aforesaid Phineas, my sonne his heires and assignes shall make default in payment of any of the foresaid legacies before given to my sonnes and daughters, That then ymediatelye from and after any such default of payment so made contrarie to this my will it shall and may be lawfull to and for such of my sonnes and daughters as shalbe so unpaid to enter in and upon all and singuler my foresaid lands and Tentes whatsoever wth their appurtenances before given unto my sonne, Phinees, And the same to have hold and occupye and enjoy viz my Sonne, John for the full terme and space of fower whole yeares in recompence of his foresaid legacies of sixe score poundes, And my other sones and daughters everie one of them that shalbe so unpaid to enter in and upon all my said landes and Tentes wth their appurtences and the same to have hold occupie and enjoy everie one of them for the full terme and space of three whole yeares in full recompence of his her or their foresaid legacie or legacies of one hundred poundes, And this everie one of them to doe successivelie one after another as often as any of them shalbe unpaid.

Item, my will and my minde is that whereas I have an Annuitie of five poundes a yeare granted unto me and Mary, my late wife now deceased and to the heires of our bodies lawfully begotten wch said Annuitie after my decease by law will descend unto all my sonnes equally yet I by this my will have given the same unto the foresaid Phinees, my sonne now my will and true meaning is that my foresaid sonnes John Eddie, Samuell Eddie, and Zacharias Eddie and everie of them in respect of their foresaid legacies to them by me given shall at all tyme and tymes after they and everie one of them shall severally accomplish their severall ages of one and twenty yeares upon reasonable request to them and everie of them to be made by the said Phinees, my sonne his heires or assignes and at the costs and charges of the said Phinees his heires or assignes make convey and assure unto the said Phinees his heirs and assignes such assurances and conveyances for the discharging of their severall rightes, tytles and demandes of in and to the foresaid Annuities as the said Phinees Eddie his heires or assignes or his or their Councell learned shall devise, And if any of my said sonnes, John, Samuell and Zacharias shall refuse so to doe upon request made as aforesaid that then he or they wch shall so refuse shall loose the benefit of all his or their foresaid legacies before to them by me given.

Item, I will and my mind is that the aforesaid Phinees Eddie, my sonne his heires or assignes shall well and vertuouslie bringe upp the foresaid Samuell Eddie, Zacharias Eddie, Abigall Eddie, Anne Eddie and Elizabeth Eddie, my sonnes and daughters in good and vertuous education and maintaine and keepe them wth meete and suffitient meat drinke and apparell viz my sonnes untill they accomplish their severall ages of eighteene yeares except before that tyme he can place them forth in good services fytting for their degree and my daughters untill they shall severally accomplish their severall ages of eighteene yeares.

In witness whereof, I the foresayd William Eddie to everie sheet of paper of this my will conteininge sixe sheetes have set my hand and to this last sheete have also sett my seale. Dated the day and yeare first above written. William Eddie."

Sealed and published in the presence of John Elmestone and George Martin, scriptor. Probate was made of the will of Wm. Eddie clerk late Vicar of Cranebrooke Archdeaconry Court deceased 4th day of the month of December A.D. 1616 by the oath of Phinees Eddie the Executor. Afterwards namely the 8th day of the month of October 1617 by the Oaths of John Elmestone, George Martin, John Weller and Dence Weller the Probate was confirmed. Parties to the Sentence: Phinees the Son, sara Eddie the widow, John, Samuell & Zacharias the Sons, Marie Eddie als Evernden wife of Simon Evernden, Abigal, Anne, Elizabeth & Priscilla Eddie the daughters.


  • The Eddy Family in America; Ruth Story Devereux Eddy; The Eddy Family Association; Boston, MA, 1930

  • The Eddy Family Association Bulletin; Vol. I, No. 1; Boston, MA, Sept. 17, 1921

  • The Eddy Family Association Bulletin; Vol. II, No. 1; Boston, MA, Oct. 29, 1922

  • Archdeaconry of Canterbury Book #61 fo. 331, District Probate Registry at Canterbury

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