Thomas Stable of Astlay (1562/3-1640 Swillington)

Thomas was baptised at the parish church of Swillington in 1563. He was just a baby when his father died, leaving their farm to him on the understanding that his mother and any future husband of hers (at the discretion of their family friends), should retain the farm for his benefit until he was old enough to claim his inheritance.

In 1567, when he was just four years old, his mother married Lancelot Grave. He would never have known his real father. His mother and step-father went on to have six children of their own, his step-brothers & sisters: Dorothy, William, Martin, Agnes, Frances and Elizabeth Grave.

At some time in the 1580s or 90s, Thomas married Elizabeth but no record of their marriage has yet been found. They had two children baptised in Swillington:

Margaret (baptised 1595)
William (baptised 1599)

However, as Thomas was into his thirties at this time, it is possible that they may have had other children elsewhere, probably in the parish where his marriage took place. Indeed, an Elizabeth Stables of Swillington married Henry Thompson in Leeds in 1630 and this could well be one of Thomas & Elizabeth’s daughters.

In 1610, his name appears on the subsidy roll, as owning goods worth £3 3s, showing him to have been one of the wealthier parishioners at that time.

In 1613, his daughter, Margaret, married Francis Duffan. They moved to Rothwell, where they had four children. Four years later, in 1617, his son Thomas took his first wife, Ann Brown.

In 1619, the parish register for Swillington shows him as being a churchwarden, along with Thomas Wetherelt, a fellow parishioner.

Thomas made his will in January 1640 and died two months later, being buried in Swillington. No burial record for his wife has yet been found. He left the remaining lease on his farm to his daughter Margaret, £11 to his son William and £4 pound to each of William’s children, amongst his bequests.

Special thanks to Michael Chance for writing the biography and deciphering the Wills, whose transcripts follow:

The Will of Thomas Stable of Astlay (dated January 10th, 1639)

This is a transcript of the Will of Thomas Stable of Astlay, who died in 1640. The original is held at the Borthwick Institute, York.

In the name of God Amen I Thomas Stable of Astley in the county of yorke yeoman, sicke in bodye but in good & pfect memorie (god be praised) doe make this my last will and Testament in manner & forme followinge [?] First I give & bequeath my soule to Allmightie god my maker and redeemer trustinge through the merritts and passion of Jesus Christ to have remission and forgiveness of all my Sinnes, and my bodie to be buried in the pish Church in Swillington, Item I give and bequeath all my estate tenants right and tearme of yeares which I have in the messuage and tenemt in Astley, wherein I now dwell, unto Elizabeth my wife, if she soe longe live, and after her decease, then to remayne to Margarett Duffeild my daughter, Item I give unto Willm Stable my sone xijd in full satisfaction of his childes pte and porcon, of all my goods, Item I do give the some of foure poundes which the said Willm Stable is indebted and oweth unto me, in manner and forme following viz unto Willam Stables Thomas Stables Jossua Stable and Francis Stable the sonnes of the said Willm Stable, every one of them xs apiece, And unto Anne Howle and Elizabeth Stables the daughters of the said Willm Stable eyther of them xxs apiece, Item I doe give unto Thomas Duffeild Edward Duffeild Frances Laburne & Sara Duffeild evry one of them xs apiece, Item I doe give unto Edward Grave and Elizabeth Grave eyther of them xijd apiece, Item I doe give & bequeath unt Margarett Duffeild my daughter all my goods and Chattles both within the house and without the house whatsoever, and doe alsoe make and appointe her my sole executrix of this my last will & Testament upon condition that she cause my body to be decently buried in the pish Church aforesaid, In Witnesse whereof I have hereunto sett my hande & seale the Tenth day of January Anno Dmi 1639.
Matthew Burnett  
EdwardX Grave                                    


Wishes Burnett Thomas TS Stables
Thomas Duffeilde  

This is an original Will, not an original transcript taken by the court in York. Thomas Stable actually wrote his initials, 'TS', as his mark. Edward Grave made a cross.

The Will of Lancelot Grave (dated January 14th, 1613)

Lancelot Grave married Joanne Stables, the widow of Christopher Stables in 1567 and, therefore, became step-father to Christopher's only son, Thomas Stables.

Lancelot left 10/- to William Stables, his grandson and son of Thomas, in his will.

In dei nomine Amen I Lancelote Graves of Astley sicke of body but good and perfecte of remembrance thankes be unto allmightie god do make this my ____ last  will and testament in mannr & forme followinge. Firste I give & bequeath my soule into the handes of allmightie god and my body to be buried in the parish church of [Swillington?]. Item I give and bequeath to Jenet my wife five poundes. Item I give and bequeath unto Willm my sonne & his two sonnes Willm & John all my whole Stocks of leather ___ untewed & wooll. Item I give & bequeath unto Thomas Stables my sonne in lawe in full satisfaction of all his childs porcon and all other matters xs. Item I give & bequeath unto Matthew Tompson Dorothie & Elizabeth his sisters children unto Michael Thompson of Brotherton evry one xs. Item I give unto Willm Stables sonne of Thomas Stables xs. Item I give unto Richard Aske xs. Item I give & bequeath unto Francis Duffan & Margaret his wife ten shillings. Item I give unto Richard Aske his three children Robert Elizabeth & Agnes evry one of them sixe shillings eight pence. Item I give unto my brother Thomas all my ___ whole apparell and also one branded qure that is wth calfe. Item I give unto Willm Greaves my man twenty shillinges. Item I give unto the rest of my brother Thomas children evry one vijs. Item I give unto Elizabeth Aske the daughter of Richard Aske whis in the handes of John Fletcher of Monckefriston which he shall paye unto her when she cometh to lawfull yeares of age vjli. Item I give likewise unto either of his other two children Robert and Agnes either of them in the like mannr to be paid by the said John Fletcher xls. Item all the rest of my goodes not given nor bequeathed my debtes paid and funall expenses discharged I give unto Willm my sonne whom I make my whole Executor of this my last will & testament made the fowerteenth day of January 1613. Those beinge witnesses Thomas Peaz, Thomas Graves Lancelotte graves Michaell Tomson John Fletcher [There are then three  lines of latin].

The Will of William Grave (dated April 8th, 1623)

William Grave was the father of Lancelot Grave. His will was witnessed by his step-grandson, Thomas Stables.

William Grave 1623

In the name of god Amen I Willm Grave thelder of Astley in the pish of Swillington in the Countie of yorke yeoman beinge sicke in bodie, but of good and pfect memorie, doe make and ordaine this my last will and Testament in Manner and forme ffollowinge, ffirst I give and bequeath my soule unto my Savieoure and Redemer Christ Jesus hopeinge by him to be placed wth his ellect children in heaven, and my Bodie to be buried in the pish church or Churchyearde of Swillington accordinge to the discression of my Supervisors hereafter named, Item I Give unto ffrancis Duffann and Willm ffenteman whome I doe make Supervisors of this my will all my landes Tenements and hereditaments wth all and every there appurtenances in Lumbie Hillam ffriston and els where in the Countie of yorke, To the use of the said ffrancis and William for and dureinge the full Terme of Sixteene yeares allowinge and paieinge out of the said landes unto my Thre Children hereafter named such Mantenannce yearely as my said Supervisors shall thinke meete, and fitt for them dureinge the said Tearme and pament of my Debtes, and if my goodes and Cattells wth the proffitts of my said landes and Tenements will not serve wthin the said Tearme to pay the debtes and bringe upp my Children, Then my will and minde is that my said Supervisors shall make sale, of soe much of my said Landes and Tenements as will discharge my debtes as by them shalbe thought due. And further my will and mynde is that after my debtes be paide I give unto John Grave and Edwarde Grave my Sonnes all my said Landes and Tenements with all and every there appurtenances to be equally devided betwixt them, by my said Supervisors or there executors painge out of the said Landes unto Elizabeth Grave my doughter doe sonne as she shall accomplish the full age of Twentie and one yeares the Some of Thirtie poundes of good and Lawfull money of Engelande, and if it fortune my said doughter to die before she accomplishe the full age of Twentie and one yeares, then my will is that the xxxli shalbe given amongst my Children, as my said Supervisors shall think mosst fitt and to stand in neede, Item I Give to William Grave my sonne xs and his wif iiis iiid, to be paid the first after my debtes is paid Item I give to Robt Spinke xis to be paid after my debtes is paid, And I doe desire my said supervisors to have the governement and guideinge of my Children, and if any of them shalbe at any tyme displeased, with this my will then my will and mynde is, that which of them shalbe soe displeased, shall have noe benifitt of this my will but as it shall please my said Supervisors, Item I Give unto Edwarde Grave and Elizabeth Grave my Children all my Goodes and Chattles towaredes the pament of my debtes and funerall expences and I doe make my said Children Edwarde Grave and Elizabeth Grave my sole executors of this my Last will & Testament And I doe desire my said supervisors to se me honestly brought forth and my Children brought up in the feare of god, And I give unto eyther of my said Supervisors xiiis iiid hopeinge they will se all thinges performed accordinge to this my Last will, all fformer wills I revoke, wittnesse hereof I have hereunto sett my hande this eight day of aprill 1623
The marke of Willm Grave

Wits:   Thomas Stable
           ffrancis Laceter (both sign)

Proved 2nd June 1623

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