Rev Martin Strong

Rev Martin Strong

Vicar of Yeovil, 1690 to 1720


Martin Strong was born in 1660 at Ruishton, Henlade, near Taunton. He was third of the five children of Reverend James Stronge (1618, Chardstock - 1694, Curry Rivel) and his first wife Katherine née Minterne (1620, Ruishton, Taunton - c1672, Ruishton). James and Katherine's children were Melanothanon (1650-1691), Edward (1652-1723), Martin, Francis (d1682), Jane (d1688) and Elizabeth. In his will, dated 26 February 1694 and proved 20 June 1694, (see extract below) he left "To my son Martyn, Montann's Hebrew Bible in 8 volumes".

Little is known of Martin Strong's early life but in 1680 he was servitor of Lincoln College, Oxford, and matriculated on 26 March 1681 aged 17, gaining his B.A. in 1684 and his M.A. in 1687.

in 1690, at the age of 30, he was presented to the vicarage of Yeovil by Sir Edward Phelips of Montacute who was Lord of Yeovil at the time. "Martin Strong Instituted to the Vic(arage) of Yeovil, May the 22nd 1690. Inducted the day following." (see first photo in the gallery below).

He was married twice, mentioning his 'first wife' in his will although not naming her. However, his first wife was widow Jane Game, formerly Jackson. They were married on 22 September 1696 at Aller.

Her will (see below) is primarily concerned with the welfare of her four daughters by her first husband. Indeed, she was pregnant by Martin Strong at the time she made her will and later gave birth to a daughter, Edeth, on 12 March 1698. Edeth was baptised at St John's church on 24 March 1698. Jane, her mother, died later that year and was buried in St John's churchyard on 8 November 1698.

His second wife was called Mary. His daughter Edeth was by his first wife, Jane, and his younger daughter Elizabeth (baptised at St John's church on 14 December 1704) was by his second wife. Elizabeth was under age at his death. A third known daughter, Mary, was baptised at St John's church on 11 July 1700 but buried on 11 December 1718. He also had three sons; John baptised at St John's church on 6 April 1702, Henry baptised on 20 January 1707 and Martin, born on 21 January 1716 and baptised on 9 February 1716. He also makes a passing reference to a son in his will but leaves nothing to him. He also mentions his father's 'Widdow' who remains un-named and was, presumably, his stepmother Sarah. Again un-named was his sister who was married to Alexander Procter. The final family member to be mentioned was his nephew James Strong, son of an un-named brother.

Perhaps revealing is his statement in his will concerning his daughter Elizabeth and her first cousin James Strong "And if my Daughter Elizabeth and my said Nephew can love and like each other so well as to intermarry to preserve my Name Family and Memory It is that which I could earnestly wish Will and Desire." Surprising for a vicar, since under Canon law marriage between first cousins had been prohibited as the 'fourth degree' of consanguinity since the ninth century.

Commencing in 1698 he kept a ‘commonplace book’, now in the Heritage Centre at Taunton, in which he recorded details he considered would benefit his successors. In it he wrote that when he became vicar of Yeovil he found a sadly disorganised parish, the vicarage to be in a ruinous  state, the result of chronic, unchecked neglect, and parishioners who were indolent and slack in their attendance at church.

He fought against what had become the 'prevailing' custom of private baptism, where the people expected their children to be baptised in their own homes. The problem was widespread and the Bishop of London's campaign for public baptism in church was further promoted in visitations of the Diocese of Bath and Wells among others. Martin Strong preached sermons and published on The Indecency and Unlawfulness of Baptizing Children in Private.

Perhaps what upset Martin Strong most of all was how his parishioners did their utmost to avoid paying tithes in full, pretending all sorts of strange customs to avoid paying their tithes. As a consequence, many pages of his commonplace book are devoted to receipt of tithes. Interestingly, however, these showing that a large proportion of income came from flax and hemp being grown to support the flourishing cloth, rope and twine industries in the area.

In fact the vicarage also included substantial lands in both Yeovil and Preston Plucknett parishes and had been farmed by tenants. Martin noted "In the year 1704 I took the vicarage into my own hands (having always let it out to tenants before, which I found occasioned some inconvenience, and was like to make some stubborn people worse and begin to insult my tenants and pretend to strange customs)". The annual income from both Yeovil and Preston Plucknett combined was quite substantial; in 1704 for instance it came to £180 (around £400,000 at today's value) with 88% derived from the Yeovil lands and 12% from those in Preston Plucknett. The breakdown of this income is interesting as it gives an insight into how the vicarage land was used and is tabulated below -

< 1%

Flax and Hemp
Pasture and 'Agistments'
Apples and Orchards
Gardens and Garden Stuff
Offerings and Surplice Fees
Churchyard (ie burials, etc)


His first major project was to tackle the ruinous state of the vicarage. It was located in Quedam Street, later Vicarage Street. indeed the name Vicarage Street, which appears to have happily existed alongside the name Quedam Street for several centuries, was named after the vicarage of St John's church that was established there in 1377.

He stated both house and gardens were "miserably ruinous and out of all repair", nothing having been done to it since a predecessor, Dr Shore’s time during the Commonwealth. He noted that he rebuilt the "wall against the street which was almost all fallen down" and had "set up new stone steps, and a new door with pillars and balls of Hambden Stone". By 1699 he estimated he had already spent £120 on refurbishment on the house, and subsequently at least another £30 on the garden, outhouses, stables and barn - almost a whole year's income from the vicarage lands.

"In the year 1705-06 I built the stable and woodhouse from the ground which (besides the timber, which was all my own, and is not here reckoned) cost me out of my pocket in all £9. The reason of my building it was this, viz; the barn adjoining belongs to Mr Ambrose Seward (who was Portreeve of Yeovil in 1734) who has (from his father) a good estate at Marsh. This barn, both his father in the time of Dr Beal, and the son in my time, made use of as a snare upon the vicar, for thinking that the vicar could not possibly be without the barn, they would have the tithes of their estate at what rate they pleased, or else presently the vicar was threatened he must turn out of the barn, so I myself was told by the present Mr Seward, which made me resolved to read the vicar of this snare by building on my own ground. I built this for the sake and ease of my successes for ever as well as for my own, and from my god alone I hope for reward. This cost me as I said before (beside the timber) in all £9."

In 1707, the year he became a canon of Wells, he began a public subscription in order to endow a charity school "for 20 poor boys to be taught and closed after the manner used in and about London". The Yeovil Charity School, also known as the Free School, the Latin School, the Charity Grammar School and later the Blue Coat School, opened in 1709 in the Chantry, providing a free elementary education for children up to the age of 12 or 13. Strong acted as Steward-Treasurer, together with six trustees and thirty nine subscribers. This school, he claimed in a sermon on the occasion of the opening of the school and later published as a pamphlet, was "the first (town) in all this part of the world to have set up a Charity School of this nature". In fact his 'founding' of the school was actually a revival of an old institution; the Chantry was the building that the parishioners asked the Chantry Commissioners to let them have as a school in 1547 and a school was established there at the "expense of the parish" in 1573.

In 1714 he started what was probably Yeovil’s first free lending library. He wrote "I caused several good practical books" to be placed in the church under the supervision of the parish clerk. These were to be lent to the poor for a maximum period of a fortnight at a time.

Martin Strong died in November 1720 at the age of 60, and was buried at St John's church on 17 November 1720.

leaving £40 to the Charity School in the Chantry that he had largely been instrumental in founding. Among other bequests a shilling was to be given to each of two hundred poor families in Yeovil Marsh and Preston. A further five shillings each was for the inmates of Woborn’s almshouses for ‘use of their Pall’ at his burial. Most of his lands, chattels, and so on, as well as £500 each (about £1.1 million at today's value), he left to his daughters Edith and Elizabeth - while his wife Mary was merely left "Ten Pounds The Bed which we lye upon with all belonging to it my Silver Watch and the Square Chest of Drawers". At the end of his will he then had the apparent effrontery to state "my earnest Desire and Will is that my dear Wife do Live piously soberly and in the fear of God".




A page in St John's parish register in which is recorded the induction of Martin Strong as Vicar of Yeovil, followed by the notice of the 21 January 1716 birth and the 69 February 1716 baptism of his son Martin.


Written in his own hand in his 'commonplace book' - "M. Strong Instituted to the Vic(ar) of Yeovill May the 22nd 1690. Inducted the day following:"


Again written in his own hand in his 'commonplace book' -

"Here follows an Exact Account of what I have done and laid out about the repairs of the Vicarage House and Gardens, Since the Year 1690.  Total about ----- 120 - 0 - 0

When I came to Yeovil in the year 1690 I found the Vicarage house and Gardens miserably ruinous, and out of all repair, nothing considerable having been done w(ith) it from the turning out of Dr Shore in the time of Oliver Cromwell."


The 1696 marriage of Martin and Jane from the parish register of Aller, reading "September ye twenty Second Mr Martin Strong vicar of yeovill, & Mrs Jane Game of the Same were marryed".


The notice of the 12 March 1698 birth and the 24 March 1697 baptism of his daughter Edeth, by his first wife Jane.


The record of Jane Strong's burial of 8 November 1698 in St John's parish register.


The record of Mr Strong's daughters burial of 11 December 1718 in St John's parish register. This would have been Martin's 18-year-old daughter, Mary.


The record of the 17 November 1720 burial of "Mr Strong Minister" in St John's parish register.


Courtesy of Terry Bush

The memorial to Martin Strong in the north aisle of St John's church. It is at floor level and, sadly, is not visible any more since kitchen units have been built for refreshments that now obscure it.


1697 Will of Jane Strong


In the Name of God Amen I Jane Strong Wife of Martin Strong Vicare of Yeovill in the County of Somerset aswell with the knowledge assent and consent of my said loving Husband as also in pursuance of a power that I have by certain Articles Covenents and Agreements Indented and executed before my said intermarriage bearing date the Eighteenth Day of September Anno D[omi]ni One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Six made between my said Husband Martin Strong of the one part and me the said Jane by the then name of Jane Game Widow and William Phelipps of Preston plucknett in the aforesaid County Esq[uir]e of the other part and of a bond of the same date entered into by the said Martin Strong unto the said William Phelipps for the performing the same and for directing the Trusts vested in the said William Phelipps being now great with Child and well knowing the frailty of human life especially of Women in my Condicon and being praise be [rendered ?] to God of a good sound and disposing mind and memory doe make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following First I com[m]end my Soul into the hands of God the Father hoping through the meritts of his only Son and my alone Saviour Jesus Christ to obtain pardon of all my Sins and eternall life My Body I com[m]itt to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my hereinafter named Executor And as for all the worldly goods Plate Household stuff and Chattells that I have by the aforesaid Articles power to give I dispose thereof as followeth Imprimis my direcion declaracon limittacon and appointment and my will is that the first years [cleere ?] value after my death of all that my terme for Ninety Nine years determinable upon the death of my self and Two of my Daughters Elizabeth and Margaret in one Burgage or Dwelling house situate in the Burrough of Yeovill aforesaid now in the possession of my Tenant Samuell Gundrey Apothecary be laid out in buying Mourning for my Four Daughters Jane Barwick Anne Elizabeth and Margarett in such manner and proporcons as my loving Sister Elizabeth Jackson shall order and direct And that afterwards as soon as is possible I desire the life of my Daughter Anne may be bought into the aforesaid Burgage house for doing whereof I have left Five pounds in the hands of my said Husband who I desire to see the same done And I doe hereby give and my Will is and I doe hereby direct that after the yearly rent wont for the buying mourning is paid that then all the Rents issues and profits of my aforesaid Burgage house shall remain to my said loving Daughter Anne for so many years of the aforesaid terme and the terme and termes therein that I doe by this my Will direct to be bought as shall run out in the lifetime of my said Daughter Anne and after her decease to the use of my said Daughter Elizabeth for so many of the said years as shall runn out during her life and after her decease to the use of my said Daughter Margaret for so many of the said years as shall run out in the life time of my said Daughter Margaret And further I direct and my Will is that if I have any Child living by my husband that now is that then upon the death of any of my said Daughters Anne Elizabeth or Margarett my said husband shall have power to putt in the life of such Child therein and that such Child shall enjoy the same after the deaths of all my aforesaid Daughters and that the last life that shall soe enjoy itt shall have power to fill upp and [word illegible] the said estate at his or her pleasures Item my Will is and I doe hereby give all my Householdstuff goods that are now in the Vicarage house of Yeovill aforesaid and which are sett downe in or note and Inventories after the death of my dear Husband to my aforesaid Three unmarried Daughters Anne Elizabeth and Margarett equally to be divided between them share and share alike And in case I have any Child or Children by my present Husband that shall be living at the time of the Division of the said Goods that Child or Children if more than one shall have [ones ?] have of the said Goods between them if more than one equall with my said Three unmarried Daughters but my said Husband according to my Agreement before marriage is to have the use of all my aforesaid Goods during his life and no division to be made thereof till after his Death Item I give to my Daughter Jane Barwick my large Silver Salt and to each of my Two Grandchildren jane and Rachell a Silver Spoon Item I give to my Daughter Anne a Sugardish a Small Porringer and Four Spoons To my Daughter Elizabeth a large Candle Cupp Two other Cupps a small Salt and Four Spoons and to my Daughter Margarett a Silver Cupp Four Spoons and a small Dram dish and for the better ascertaining of the aid bequests I have left a note in writing and these Legacies I desire may be delivered within Three months after my decease Item I give my first Wedding Ring to my Daughter Margarett And to my Son and Daughter Barwick my said two Daughters Anne and Elizabeth I give to each of them a ring as they are by me writt upon Item I give to my Daughter Anne the Bed and all the other my Goods that are now in my aforesaid house in which the said Samuell Gundrey lives To my Daughter Elizabeth I give the Bed and Bolster that was sent from Crewkhorne and is now in the Cockloft of the Vicarage house And to my Daughter Margaret I give my Bed and all belonging to itt which is now at Mr Dunnes at Yeovill aforesaid Item I give to my Daughter Anne my large bearing sheet and my Will is that a little Chest of Linnen now in my Sister Margaretts Chamber shall be divided between my aforesaid Three unmarried Daughters and that my said Daughter Anne may have somewhat the better share Item to my dear Sister Elizabeth Jackson I give the Mourning Ring I wear for my Mother and to her particular kindness and care I recom[m]end all my unmarried Children (they being Infants) and more especially my Daughter Elizabeth her Goddaughter Item I give my Stone Ring to my Sister Margaret to whose love and kindness I recom[m]end my said Daughter Margarett her Goddaughter Item to my good Friend and kinswoman Mrs Jane Phelipps of Preston plucknett I give a Ring Item I give to my very worthy Brother Mr Thomas Jackson a Ring of Twenty Shillings value And I doe hereby earnestly request and as much as in me lyes nominate and appoint my said loving Husband and my said Brother Thomas Jackson to be Guardians to my aforesaid Three unmarried Children and to see them educated [abroad ?] as soon as they think fitt in a plain modest and industrious way somewhat Suitable to but not above what they have for their maintenance and porcons And my Will is that whilst they are at Yeovill they shall not live any where there but with their said Father without the leave of their said Father And I doe hereby injoyne all my Children to live in the true fear of God and upon my blessing to carry themselves dutifull to their said Father and Uncle Jackson and be ruled by them and to be tender of and loving to one another and not to hear any person that shall goe about wickedly to break that peace and unity that I pray to God may be in my family when I am gone And tho I have no reason to doubt but my present Husband punctually will according to the aforesaid Articles and Covenants performe this my Will and what he hath so agreed to yet if it falls out otherwise that he his Heirs Executors or Administrators should not soe doe and that my aforesaid Trustee William Phelipps or his Assigns shall be required and necessitated to sue him or them on the aforesaid Covenants and Bonds Then my Will is and I doe hereby give and direct the said William Phelipps without any leave or consent of him or them to pay what ever money and damages he shall or may recover on such Suite or Suites equally amongst my aforesaid Three unmarried Daughters and the Survivors and Survivor of them that shall be then living he the said William Phelipps and his Assigns being first reimbursed for his cots charges and trouble and well and sufficiently saved harmless and indemnified by such my unmarried Children or Child Lastly all the rest of my Goods and Chattells whatsoever not before herein given and disposed of I give and bequeath unto my aforesaid dear and loving Husband Martin Strong whom I make and appoint full and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament And I doe hereby request nominate and appoint my worthy Friends and honoured Relacions Sir Edward Phelipps of Mountague in the said County of Somerset Knight and the said William Phelipps to be Overseers of this my Will to see the same performed according to my intencion and to advise and assist my said Husband and Brother Jackson in the disposing of my said unmarried Children and I doe hereby give to each of my aforesaid Overseers Sir Edward Phelipps and William Phelipps a Mourning Ring of the value of Twenty Shillings In witness whereof I the said Jane Strong have signed sealed and published and declared this to be my last Will and Testament this Nineteenth Day of January Anno D[omi]ni One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Seaven

Jane Strong

Signed sealed published and declared to be the last Will and Testament of the said Jane Strong in the pr[esen]ce of

James Hooper     W[illia]m Numan


Proved at London, 1699



Transcribed by Bob Osborn


1720 Will of Rev Martin Strong



In the Name of God I Martin Strong Vicar of Yeovill do make and appoint this my last Will and Testament as follows propria manu [Latin phrase - see note below] Imprimis I commend my Soul into the hands of God who gave it humbly hopeing and earnestly praying for pardon and mercy thro the merrits of Jesus Christ my Saviour My Body I commit to the dust to be gravely and modestly interred in a few days after my decease chose by my Deare Children without any needless vanity or extravagance at the discretion of my Trustees and Executive herein after named in hope of a Joyfull Resurrection And as for all my worldly Goods Lands Chattells Money Plate (etc) I give and dispose of them as follows First I give two hundred poor families of Yeovil, Marsh Preston Ten pounds (viz) one shilling to each Family to be impartially distributed the morning after my funerall at the Church presently after prayers. And to the Ten poor people of the old Almshouse in Yeovill I do give fifty shillings for the use of their pall at my Buriall (viz) five Shillings to each person And to the poor of Riston and Henlade the place of my Nativity I do give to each place 20 Shillings and to the poor of Yetminster in Dorset I do give Ten shillings to Ten poor families to be paid in three months after my Decease Item I do give to Edward Phellipps of Preston Esq forty pounds to the intent and on Trust that he pay the said forty pounds in six Months after my Death to the Treasurer of the Charity School Yeovill for the Sole use and benefitt of the poor Boys of the said School But if ever the said School Should fail or cease which God forbid then my Will is that the said forty pounds be given and applyed to the use and benefitt of the Woborns Almshouse in Yeovill But if I should happen to purchase a peice of Land and Settle it upon the said Charity School in my Lifetime which I fully designe Then my Will is that the aforesaid forty pounds shall not be paid to the school but go to my Executor hereinafter named Item I do hereby nominate and appoint my daughter Edith to be the next Tenant and taker to my Customary estate at Yetminster in Dorset And I do also give to the said Edith whatever Rents Shall remain due to me from the Tenants of the said Estate at the time of my Death. And I do also give to my daughter Edith all the papers Bonds (word illegible) Debt -- Credits Accounts whatever that were any way due to or that did anyway concern my First Wife her Mother from or with any person or persons whatever I do also give to my daughter Edith all the Goods that were her Mothers (viz) large silver plate the small copper picture the Brass Dogs with great round heads the dozen of pewter plates marked (with ?) her Mothers name the smaller Brass kettle All the Boxes and the Small Trunk in my Studdy I do also give to the said Edith the Chest of Drawers in the Kitchin Chamber which she now uses and the Damask Board Cloth and one dozen of Damask napkins (abbreviation) I do also give to my daughter Edith the Reversionary Lease of a Life or Lives which I have in a Tenement in Acreman Street in Sherborn Dorset to be disposed of in what manner I shall by word or writing Will and Direct her hereafter And I do also give to my daughter Edith five hundredd pounds in Money to be paid her in one year after my death But if the said Edith happen to Dye unmarriedd Then my Will is that the said five hundredd pound Shall after the said Ediths death unmarried be paid to my Daughter Elizabeth Item I doe give to my Daughter Elizabeth five hundredd pounds to be paid at her age of 21 Years and also the Chest of Drawers which I myself now use And my Will is that the use and Interest of the said five hundredd pound Shall goe and be applied to the Education and maintenance of my said daughter Elizabeth untill she come to the said age of 21 Years All of it Except only forty eight shillings p ann (per annum) which I am obliged to pay Yearly to my Fathers Widdow for her Thirds during her life and no longer which said 48 Shillings shall be yearly paid out of the Interest of the last named five hundred pound till she the said Widdow dy and then all to goe to my daughter Elizabeth Item I do give to my Nephew James Strong of Bruton St George all those Books and pamphletts which I have purposely placed in that corner of my study which is next to my Bed and Chamber Window which I desire him to keep and preserve well for my Sake And if my Daughter Elizabeth and my said Nephew can love and like each other so well as to intermarry to preserve my Name Family and Memory It is that which I could earnestly wish Will and Desire As for all the rest of my Books my Will is that they be sold not Rashly but to the best advantage the Care of which I commend to my fine Friends Mr John Gale and Mr Bowyer of Martock and as for the money whith which the said Books do yeild My Will as that it goe to the use and benefitt of my Executrix herein after named Item whereas I did sometime in the year 1719 make a Dormant Surrender of my Customary Estate at Henlade to Mr Thomas Gale and Mr Alexander Procter in Trust to and for the use of my last Will and Testament My Will now is that the said Tho Gale and Alexander Procter Shall Surrender back the said Estate to my Daughter Elizabeth and to her heirs according to the Custom of the mannor of Taunton Item On condition that the Said Elizabeth my Daughter shell permitt and Suffer Mary her Mother quickly to hold and enjoy the Said Estate so long as she Lives according to a (coccody ?ie a codicil ?) or Jointure which she has upon the said Estate in Barr of Dower as by Marriage Articles appears And if my said Daughter and Nephew think fitt to intermarry My Will and Desire is that they make the House at Henlade to be their common dwelling house after the Mothers death or before if she please to let them (word illegible) as Tenants to her Item I do give my Dear Wife Mary Ten Pounds The Bed which we lye upon with all belonging to it my Silver Watch and the Square Chest of Drawers Item I do give to my hon(ourable ?) Friends the Lady Phellipps of Montacute and to her two daughters and to Edw(ard) Phellipps Esq to each a Ring of 20 Shillings value in token of my gratefull sence of their kindness to me I do beg the said Mr Phellipps to be an overseer of this my Will -- to see it Justly performedd and I do earnestly request my good Lady Phellipps and her good daughters and Mr Edward Phellipps to be Friends and advisers to my Daughter Edith and not to suffer her to be wronged and let this my request be communicated to them as soon as may be And I do also hereby earnestly request my Good Friends the Rev Mr Bowyer Minister of Martock and my Brother Alexander Procter and my Nephew James Strong to be Trustees to see this my Will in all points exactly performed and to be Guardians for and of my Daughter Elizabeth till she come of age for which great favour I do as a small aknowledgment give to each of the said Trustees a Ring of 20 shillings value and to my sister Procter I give a Ring of 15 Shillings value desiring her to be kind to my Daughter Elizabeth Item after my few Debts if any are apid and after all my legacies and funerall Expenses (which I desire may be modest) are first fully paid and discharged My Will is and I do hereby give all the rest of my Goods, Plate Money whatsoever not before disposed of to my Daughter Elizabeth whom I do make and appoint Sole Executrix of this may last Will and Testament And my Will and desire is that a True and perfect Inventory be taken and a Just appraisement made in two days after my funerall of all my said Goods and of the Just value of them in order to preserve as many of them for my Son & Daughter as she shall think fitt to keep and the Rest to be Sold for her use and Benefitt Item I do give and allow to my Trustees and Executrix fifty pounds for the Modest and Decent Discharge of my Funerall and I desire no more may be appended in it And my earnest desire and Will is that my written Sermons whatever may be all burnt within six hours after my Death and I charge my Wife and Children that this be Religiously observed as they hope to answere it to God Lastly my earnest Desire and Will is that my dear Wife do Live piously soberly and in the fear of God and that my Children do the same and that they continue in a Strict and Stedfast Communion with the Church of England And I charge my Children upon my Blessing never to depart from this Church but to hold fast the Doctrines and to live up to the pious principles of it To live in perfect love peace and unity with each other To be very kind and dutifull to their Mother and Trustees and in all things of moment to ask their advice and consent and Never to Differ about small matters Particularly I do earnestly commend my Daughter Edith to the Care and kindness of my Good friends at Montacute & my other Daughter Elizabeth I commend to the particular care and kindness of her Uncle and Aunt Procter to whom I do especially bequeath her And my Will is that my above named Trustees Shall not Suffer and Damage for their kindness in this Trust but shall be indemnifyde and (word illegible) harmless both in Law and equity for any loss of money or for any other accident that may unavoidably happen without any fault or neglect of theirs I only begg and beseach them to use their best care to prevent all such bad accidents and to Trust what I have left to the uses by this my Will intended so far as possibly they can for which may God bless and Reward them Amen Martin Strong Signed Sealed Published and Declared to be my last Will and Testament this fourteenth Day of May Anno Dom(ini) 1720 in presence of Nath(aniel) Bridges James Foot William Newman..

Probate (in Latin) granted to Elizabeth Strong 22 March 1721


Transcribed by Bob Osborn 


Note: "Propria manu" is a Latin phrase meaning "(signed) with one's own hand".


Extract of the 1694 Will of Rev. James Stronge


Will of Reverend James Stronge, dated 26 February 1694, proved 20 June 1694.

Buried near my former wife and children in the parish Church of Ruishton.... 50 shillings to be bestowed on a salt which I give to New Inne Hall in Oxford... 5 pounds to be bestowed in 20 bibles of 5 shillings each to the poor people.... poor children or other of Curry Rivell and Ruishton.... 40 shillings to any of Alexander Cook's children of Chardstock.... My dear and honorabl friend Mr. John Speke... To my son Martyn, Montanns Hebrew Bible in 8 volumes... To my son James be he living and returned... 100 pound paid to him out of my estate at Henlade... My daughter Elizabeth Stacey, 10 shillings... My estate at Henlade, I give to my son Edward and his heirs lawfully begotten of his body to the worlds end, but my wife shall enjoy the said 18 acres of land at Hospitts during her life... Residue to my son Edward and my now wife Sarah whom I appoint joint executors... Household goods and... Goods at Curry Rivel... divided between them... and also debt of 50 pounds... I hold by a mortgage of 7 years for Mr. Jeringes and Mr. Thomas Jennings, Esq. which at 10 pounds a year for Ernshill amount to 70 pounds... all the small tithes due out of parsonage of Curry. Mr. Nicholas Massall of Taunton and Mr. John Gardner of Hinton St. George Overseers.