Home » Farnsfield research » Probate inventory of John Wood, Labourer, 1679

Probate inventory of John Wood, Labourer, 1679

It is easy to assume that a labourer in the 17th century was living a life of poverty but that is not necessarily the case. The term could cover a range of income levels and whilst it signifies that they did paid work they were not necessarily living in a hovel.  Probate inventories list the goods that people had at the time of their death, and give us a lot of information about how they were living.

John Wood died in Farnsfield in 1679. An interpretation of his inventory tells us that he lived in a home that had at least three rooms, the ‘house’, a parlour and a chamber, this was probably over the house and parlour. There was also a cellar and outbuildings, comprising a barn and a quern house.

John Wood was able to brew his own ale, and he kept livestock. He had two cows, a pig, five hens and a cockerel, certainly enough to keep him well supplied with milk and eggs, and he had a churn for making butter from the milk. He had stores or rye and hay, and in the fields he had an acre each of both rye and pease planted. The latter was used very much as a fodder crop. What he also had was a horse, or more precisely a mare, with saddle and bridle showing that she was used for riding, a huge boon when the alternative is to walk everywhere.

Who else shared his household we don’t know, but there was a stock of wool and also a spinning wheel to spin the wool into yarn, which would generally be a woman’s task, so he was or had been married. His cooking equipment, without being extensive, is of good quality, there is some pewter and the pans are brass rather than iron.

So it would seem that John Wood, whilst a labourer, was by no means poor, and in fact his money and clothes came to a value of £3, a not insignificant sum. Full details of the inventory are below.

PR SW 93 24

John Wood

Labourer

3rd March 1679

A true and perfect inventory of all the goods, Cattells and chattels of John Wood, Labourer, late of ffarnsfield deseased as they was viewed & prised March the third Ann Dom 1679 by us whose names are subscribed.

£    s    d

Imprimis his purse & apparel                                                                                                                                     3 – 0 – 0

It:            in ye house all ye hookes gallowes & fire irons                                                                                           0 – 4  – 0

It:            one table one forme 2 buffetts                                                                                                                     0 – 9 – 8

It:            foure chaires                                                                                                                                                0 – 2 – 0

It:            one joind chaire                                                                                                                                            0 – 2 – 6

It:            one great brasse pan one other little pan & one brasse pott                                                                        1 – 0 – 0

It:            one puter dish & two flagins                                                                                                                          0 – 3 – 0

It:            one spinning wheele & yarne                                                                                                                       0 – 12 – 0

It:            one pair of bellows                                                                                                                                        0 – 0 – 8

It:            earthern potts                                                                                                                                                0 – 0 – 6

It:            two old syeths & all other implements                                                                                                               0 – 2 – 0

It:            In ye parler one table and forme                                                                                                                       0 – 4 – 0

It:            two chists two boxes & one chaire                                                                                                                   0 – 9 – 0

It:            one sadle & bridle                                                                                                                                             0 – 5 – 0

It:            in ye seller ye bruing tubs and four barrels                                                                                                      0 – 16 – 0

It:            one churne & three little kitts                                                                                                                              0 – 3 – 0

It:            in ye chamber one bedstead with beding to it                                                                                                    1 – 0 – 0

It:            rye                                                                                                                                                                    0 – 9 – 0

It:            wooll & all other implements                                                                                                                             0 – 6 – 0

It:            in ye quarnehouse ye quarnes                                                                                                                          1 – 0 – 0

It:            one syeth & sneath[1] one spaid one hack one axe with other things                                                               0 – 6 – 0

It:            ye Linnings in ye parler                                                                                                                                   0 – 15 – 0

It:            In ye barne rye & hey                                                                                                                                       1 – 10 – 0

It:            one acre of rye & one acre of pease earth                                                                                                       2 – 0 – 0

It:            in ye yard one mare                                                                                                                                         2 – 10 – 0

It:            two cowes                                                                                                                                                          4 – 0 – 0

It:            ye manure and fowell[2]                                                                                                                                     0 – 8 – 0

It:            one sowe five henns & a cocke                                                                                                                          1 – 0 – 0

It:            one leather one wheelbarrow one grindlestone & ash wood                                                                            0 – 13 – 0

It:            one fork with all other things forgotton                                                                                                             0 – 2 – 0

————-                                                                                                                                                                                    23 – 11 – 0

John Watson

John Whitworth

[1] Snath – shaft or handle of a scythe

[2] Fuel

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