On this day

14th February 2014

On 14 February 1636, the will of Gilbert Woollam of Wrenbury Frith was proved at Chester Probate Court. The references of his wife hardly sound like those of a loving Valentine. She is described simply as "Margery Woollam my wife," where his neighbour Thomas Gray referred to his "loving wife Ellen". But Woollam did better than Robert Wade, also of Wrenbury Frith, whose will simply mentions "my wife" without even saying what her name was. Gilbert Woollam's real concern was clearly for his son Robert and especially his daughter Alice, who was to receive £110. He provided for his wife, but he expected her to work for it. As soon as Gilbert was dead, she was to go "with what convenient speed she may" to their landlord, William Massey, and renew the lease on their property. He may not have described her in loving terms, but Gilbert Woollam clearly trusted Margery; he made her the executor of his will.

This and many other fascinating family stories can be found in Volume 144 of the Society's publications Wrenbury Wills and Inventories 1542-1661, Edited by Paul B Pixton (2009). Details of how to purchase a copy are available here.