Beeby or Beebe – The American Connection & Witch Trials

Many people in the USA claim direct ancestry with a family of the surname who lived in Great Addington around 1600. Members of the family travelled to America – New England as it was then known – as some of the earliest colonists. 

There are various spellings of Beeby over time – Bebe, Bebye, Beebe, Beebie – but they do all seem to be the same family. 

The main connection is made via a "John Beebe" (Beeby) who sailed to America in 1650 with his wife and five of his children, two of his eldest sons having sailed the year previously. It is claimed that John, though living in Broughton just before he travelled to America, was born in Great Addington, the son of Alexander, a shoemaker, of Great Addington who was born in the late 1500’s. John died during the crossing to the new life in America and it is from his children that the Beebe’s of America are descended.

John was not the first of that family to travel seek a new life in America. Two of his sons had travelled a few years earlier, and his cousin, Alice Beeby daughter of Alexander Beeby, had married Samuel Stratton of Poddington, and had travelled to America even earlier, around 1638.

The challenge for many seeking to understand better the history of the Beeby family is that there is very little in the way of evidential connections and practically nothing known about Alexander Beeby. A history of the Beeby family was written in the 1890’s and then more information published around 1910. For many years those two sources were used to connect the family history, though much of it actually based on supposition rather than written records.

Descendents of the Beeby family continued to live in Great and Little Addington into the 20th century.

Earliest Beeby Surname in the Addingtons

However, as more information and sources are brought together it has been possible to get a clearer view of the family connections and to push back the earliest records of a family named Beeby into the medieval period.

The earliest record I have found of a “Beeby” in the village is from the period 1423-24 in the reign of Henry VI, when a Robert Couper de Ryngstede (of Ringstead) yeoman was arrested for taking a horse worth 6 shillings and 8 pence from Henry Lyndesey de Adyngton (Great Addington) and a bay horse from William Beby de Adyngton at Adyngton parvam (Little Addington) worth 13 shillings and 4 pence.


One hundred and fifty years later in the village tax assessment of 1574 are listed three members of the Beeby family:

o   William Beby

o   Thomas Beby

o   Thomas Beby the younger

The next reference we get to the Beeby surname is in 1611 when an Alexander Beeby is named in 1611 property deed (Warwickshire Archive Ref: CR0162/354) dated to 20th March 1611:


Conveyance by Christopher Curtis of Great Addington, Northants., yeoman, to Alexander Beebie of the same, shoemaker, and John Beebie, his son, of a messuage in Great Addington on the High Street, between the messuages of George Smith and John Bolney, and a ½ yardland.

Christopher Curtis is the name of the person who built the house that we now know as Great Addington Manor, though at the time it would have been a substantial, modern, and expensive, farmhouse.

The mention of Alexander’s son, “John Beebie”, is where much of the confusion that has plagued those trying to understand the Beeby family tree, for many years it was thought that this was the John Beeby who died whilst on the way to the new colonies in 1650.

There has been a long running argument as to whether John Beeby of Broughton was actually the son or nephew of Alexander Beeby. We can now see from a legal document held by Northamptonshire Records Office, that John Beeby of Broughton was the son of a John Beeby of Great Addington, Alexander’s brother. John Beeby the colonist was the nephew of Alexander Beeby.

John Beeby of Broughton sold some of his lands in England to his elder brother James (who lived in Islip). Interestingly, it is here that we get the Great Addington connection that has caused much confusion, for the land and property that John sells to his brother is all in Great Addington and it is clear from the document that John Beeby (of Broughton) and his brother James are the sons of a John Beeby of Great Addington (who by the time of this document is deceased having died in 1622).

“Indenture 17/11/Charles 5th Year (1631) between John Bebye of Broughton, husbandman, and James Bebye of Islip, husbandman, the elder brother of Jn Bebye of the other party

John Bebye in consideration of £20 to him paid by James Bebye, John Bebye grants and effects unto said James Bebye his heirs and assigns, all those arable lands containing 4 acres and 3 roads and appts in the fields of Great Addington in attached terrier. And all haves, grassurds, pastures, feeding comons and commons of pasture, parfilte comodities and hereditaments to the said arable land belonging or in any way appurtaining, or accepted, seputed or deened or take to be parte, parcell or member thereof, or of any part thereof and late in the tenure occupation of Thomas Bolney deceased. And also all the estate, right title, use interest, posession, daine and demande whatsoever of him the said John Bebye or of in to or out of any parte parcell, or member there of all land premises now or late were used or belonged to one messuage or cottage in Great Addington aforesaid late in the tenure / occupation of said Thomas Bolney and sometyme in the tenure / occupation of John Bebye now deceased, natural father of said James and John Bebye and by the said John Bebye the father y mem and bequeathed unto said John Bebye the sone and to his heires and assigns forever in and by the last will and testament of the said John Bebye deceased. As in and by the same it doth and may appeare. And with said premises amongst other things the said John Bebye the father had and purchased to him and his heires of Richard Wekeley, yeoman deceased as by conveyance to him thereof made yt doth and may appear. To have and to hold the said mentioned ground, arable land and all and singular the above ground premises and appurtinances unto the said James Bebye his heires and assigns forever to the only prope use and behoof of the said James Bebye, his heires. And the said John Bebye ……… James Bebye heires and assigns may have hold possess …….. by the said John Bebye or Rebecca now his wife, his heires or assigns.

- Signed John Beebee”

(Reproduced from the notes of Steve Walker who transcribed the original documents. Northamptonshire Records Office CR162/361)

John Beeby of Broughton died on the 18th May 1650 whilst on his way to America and wrote out his will shortly before he died. In the will he does not mention his wife Rebecca (Rebecca Ladd from Broughton) nor his daughter Hannah, so it is presumed that they had both died either prior to the sailing or earlier in the voyage. John’s will is as follows:

“WILL OF JOHN BEEBY, 18 MAY 1650. It being agreabl to Civill and religious Custome as required by God upon the occation of his hand upon the sonnes of men as a forerunner of death unto them therefore to sett theyr house in order; wherefore I John Beeby, Husbandman, late of Broughton in the County of Northampton, being by Gods good hand bought on a voyadge towards New Engl'd to sea and there smitten by the good hand of God, so as that my expectation is for my chaynge, yet though mercy as yet in perfect memory and understanding; doe hereby (my just and dewe debts being fully and dewely discharged); give and bequeathe unto my seven children, to say John Beeby, Thomas Beeby, Samuel; Nathaniell, Jeames, Rebecca and Mary Beeby all and every such moneyes or goods of what spetia or kynde somever as all the proper estate belonging unto me the above sayde John Beeby, to be equally divided between the sayd John, Thomas, Samuel, Nathaniell, Jeames, Rebecca and Mary Beeby in equall parts and portions, Further I the sayde John Beebe doe will that my faure elder children to say; John, Thomas, Samuel and Rebecca shall have that part of the sayde monnies and goods belonging unto the three younger to say, Nathaniel Jeames and Mary, in their hands as wel as theyr owne proportions, and that the sayde John Thomas Samuell and Rebecca shall take care for the provition of the three younger till that they the sayde Nathaneill Jeames and Mary be of adge, at wh tyme they are to have theyr proportions payde in unto them by my sayde sonnes & daughter John Thomas Samuel and Rebecca Bebe, whom I appoint as execurors of this my last will and in case that any of the three of my younger childdren shall dye before they come at adge that then theyr proportion of estate so dyeing to be equally divided amongst all the survivors; Further I John Beeby doe will and desyor that loving friends Mr. William Lewis, and John Cole; be overseers of this my will; and that all my sayde children be advised and counselled by my sayde overseers for ther future desposal whether upon chaynge of theyr condition by marriage or otherwyse for the good of my sayde children: Lastly I will that it be understod that my daughters be at full adge for receyving theyr proportion of estate at ye adge of eighteen yearses; As a testimony that this is my last will and testamt I have this eighteenth day of May one thousand sixe hundred and fifty sett to my hand and seale. John Beeby Witness, William Partridge, John Partridge.”

It is generally accepted that two of John Beeby’s sons had travelled to America in 1649, settled there and then sent for their father and siblings. For John and Rebecca’s sons to have travelled to America in 1649 would mean that they were probably born around 1620-1629, which would put John Beeby to be born around 1600.

This is where the family history gets complex and for the common reason that many children of different generations had the same name. We know from Alexander Beeby’s will of 1624 that he had two sons, John the eldest and James the youngest. Alexander was married to Elizabeth (whom he mentions in his will) and has grandchildren – though he does not record their names. He does not record any daughters, though Elizabeth his wife does detail them in her will (see below) as does his son James.

The Will of Alexander Beebie, shoemaker of Great Addington

Will dated 20th February 1623, Probate April 1624

- I Alexander Beebi of Great Addington shoemaker - to James my second sonne that piece of meadow and appurtanances which I had purchased to me and my hayres of Richard Currier, clarke. To have and to hold the same to him the said James his heires forever from and after the decease of Elizabeth my wyfe whom I give the same during her natural life. Item. I give and bequeath unto James my sonne one of my shedd carts and a muck carte - draughte with the kype as now it is. Item. I give and bequeath unto all my Grandchildren two shillings apiece. Item. I give to Elizabeth my wyfe and John my eldest sonne all my croppes and other goodes as well reall as personal to be equally divided between them. I appoint my wife Elizabeth my full executrix. -  In witness Thomas Cox, clarke, John Beebie, James Beebie

- Alexander Beebie.- Aobatim ~.4.1624

Invy exhibit ad Li£ iis iiiid

His property and possessions were valued at £51 2s 4d

Alexander Beeby also had a brother, a John Beeby (who we shall refer to as the elder), who died two years before him. John Beeby the elder of Great Addington had sons, in this case the eldest was named James and the second was named John (the younger). John Beeby the elder also had a number of other children; Thomas, Elizabeth, Ann, Margery. Alexander was a witness to John Beeby the elders witness, and his own son John Beeby was one of the supervisors of his uncle’s will.

It is John Beeby the younger of Great Addington who marries Rebecca Lad of Broughton and settles there to raise a family. This is the John Beeby of Broughton from which so many claim descendance.

The Will of John Beebie the elder of Great Addington

Will Proved 5th March 1622

- I John Beebie thetsor of Great Addington, labourer

- I give and bequeath unto my second sonne John the house wherein I dwell wth the yard and close, arable land, meadows, feedynge, pastures, comons and comon of pasture and all and singular other ye and like comoditees and hereditaments thereunto belonging in any wise appurtaining now beyng in my tenure possession or occupation.

- Out of this land and house to pay to my eldest son James - 20 shillings

- to my son Thomas Beebie - 40 shillings, under 21

- to my daughter Elizabeth - 30 shillings

- to my daughter An - 30 shillings, under 21

- to Margery my daughter - 40 shillings when she reaches 18

- to Elizabeth my daughter Cubward my bestedd (bedstead) the chest that was her mothers

- to An my 2nd chest and 2nd bedsted

- to Margery my daughter a chest and the 3rd bedsted and my cowe lowards for bringing up

- bedding, linnen, wollen and pewter brass and all other of my housestuff of what nature soever be equally divided between my three daughters.

- the rest unbequeathed to John my sonne my full executor of this my last will and testament and unto whom I committ my daughter Margery to be brought up

- supervisors, my loving kinsman John Beebie my brothers sonne, and my loving kinsman John Bolney the younger.

- witnesses, Thomas Cox, clarke, Alexander Beebie

- signed John Beebie

- proved 5.3.1622

- Inv 10£ vis iiid

The inventory of his estate was valued at £10 6s 3d

We don’t know the name of John Beeby the elders wife and as she is not mentioned in the will we can only assume that she had predeceased him. His mention of “my loving kinsman John Bolney the younger”, does perhaps imply that John Beeby the elder had married a member of the Bolney family, who are another family surname that occurs frequently in the records relating to Great and Little Addington.

We then have another will, this time of a James Beeby of Great Addington. James does not mention a wife of any children, but does mention a brother, John. This is therefore most likely to be James the son of Alexander Beeby. We are fortunate as his will also includes a detailed inventory carried out after his death of all his worldly goods. He also records the names of his sister: Sara, Joane, Eliza (Elizabeth), Anne, and Alice.

The Will of James Bebye of Great Addington

Written 21st August 1631 and Proved 14th September 1631

all my messages, lands, tenements and hereditaments + appt unto John Bebye my natural brother

- to be buried at the discretion of my executor

- my sister Sara to have her dwelling house in some of my messages for and during the term of her natural life. Also 1 cow and a load of hay each year during her life towards the maintainance of her cow.

- to the children of my sister Sara xx£ apeece, at age 21

- to the children of my sister Joane xx£ apeece, at age 21

- to the children of my sister Eliza xx£ apeece, at age 21

- to the children of my sister Anne xx£ apeece, at age 21

- to the children of my sister Alice xx£ apeece, at age 21

- to the poor of the parish xs at next Christmas

- to John my servant vs

- to Edward Morton xs

- the rest to John Bebye my brother and sole executor

- witnesses, Thomas Cox, clarke, Edward Morton, William Bolney

signed James Bebye

-debts owing to testator: Thomas Dewberry v£

Henry Jerman xxs/d

Thomas Percivall xviiid/s

Probatim 14.9.1631 fratri John Beebee



James Beeby of Great Addington yeoman by Thomas Cox, clarke, Richard Raynor, William Bolney, John Bolney, 13.9.1631.

- Itm, ready money in his purss vs

- Itm, his apparell xis

- Itm, in the hall all was his systers but a little frme iiiid

- Itm, in the parlour, a table and frame vs a little cupboard a plain bedsted a mattrise one pair of blanketts a boulting trunk iii coffars xxd

- Itm, in the chamber on the parlour his weo iii£ vis iiid

- Itm, vi horsses £xx iiii

- Itm, x beast and bullocks xiv

- Itm, score + x1 sheepe + lambs £xv

- Itm, Cartes and cartegears, ploughs and ploughgeares, harrorers and other implemth of husbandry £viii

- Itm, a sowe and other swyne xxxiis iiid

-. Itm, hys croppe of wheate £xxx

- Itm, hys croppe of barley £xxx

- Itm, hys croppe of pease and oats £xxx

- Itm, a hovell of hay £v

- Itm, the honells and other wood about the yard xis

- Itm, the horsse -ackes oaste standerd and plough timber and such like implmt xxs

- Itm, forkes, rakes, sives and cutters and such like implmt iiis iiiid

- Signed, Thomas Cox, William Bolney, Richard Rayner, John Bolney

- Summe 1cc£ v11s


total 162£ cs

- 14.9.1631 coram uro Rot Boithe

(Reproduced from the notes of Steve Walker who transcribed the original documents)

Alexander Beeby’s wife, Elizabeth died 11 years after her husband and 2 years after her son James. Her will also has a detailed personal inventory. We also get mention of the names of the husbands of some of her daughters, one in particular, Samuel Stratton, is important because Alice (Beeby) and Samuel Stratton travel to America before John Beeby of Broughton and are later caught up in the notorious New England witch trials. There is also a mention of a granddaughter by the name of Anne Love, though

The Will of Elizabeth Beby of Great Addington

Written 13th March 1633, Probate 17th April 1634

- to be buried at the discretion of my executor

- to Joane my daughter now wife of Richard Reynolds 2 strike of wheat, 5 strike of barley, my best hat and my gray gowne.

- to the children of my said daughter Jone (Joane) 10 shillings apeece to be paid within 6 months of my decease.

- to Anne my daughter now wife of John Hans a spitt a greene apron and a red petticoat. And to her 2 daughters either of them a coffer and to them one half of all my linnen 4 feather pillowes with beerds 1 blankett a couling and 4 brass kettles.

- to Elizabeth my daughter now wife of Peter Cranke one half of all my linnen a red coffer with a lock half a dozen peecs of pewter, a saltsellar, a lettin candlestick, 2 feather bolsters a chaire a kinnell my linnen whoole and winding blades 2 buffis stocks, my cheese racke, a frame yt standeth in my parlour to lay vessels upon, a barrell to put drinks in, a matteris, a grey petticoat my best coller gowne and a parcel of wooll.

- to Alice my daughter now wife of Samuel Stratton my best least bedd a matteriss a featherbed my best to ing a brankett ye best a great tub, a boalting lumme twenty pounds of linnen yarne and a little choare bottoms with ruffes.

- the rest of my linnen yarne to my daughters Anne and Sarah between them.

- I give to Anne Love my Grandchild my bedstead wherein I usually lye and a coffar which hath no lock.

- I give to the children of my daughter Alice an ewe and a lambe and my weather sheep.

- Igive unto my daughter Sara's my pease land now sowne the other unsowne I give to my sonne John his sonnes.

- I give to my daughter Sara my best gowne.

- I give to my daughter Elizabeth a strike of barley apeece

- All ye rest of my goods not given nor bequeathed, my legacies performed and my funeral expences discharged I give and bequeath to Sara my daughter who I make sole and full executrix of this my last will and testament. And I ordaine my sonne John Beby supervisor thereof.

- witnesses, Thomas Cox, clerk. An Hans, Alice Stratton.

- Signed: Elizabeth Bebe her mark.

- Probatim 17.4.1634 … Sara fil et exec…

Inventory of Elizabeth Bebye late of Great Addington widow deceased 30.3.1634 by Thomas Cox, clarke, John Beby and Peter Cranke.

- in ready money viis vid

- in her apparell Liiis iiiid

- in the hall

- ii old cheares viiid

- in the parlour ii bedstedes, one pyrder, ii mattrises

iii blankett, ii hillinge, ii bolsters, iiii pillows

and iii coffers and other implemts there v£

- in the chamber

- in the chamber 2 shrik of wheat, 6 shrick of barle, a linen wheele and windeing blades an old chees rack iiii brass kettles vi peces of pewter one candlestick, one salte, a pound of wool and other olde tcarh. xxx iiis iiiid

- ii paire of flaxen shete and ii paire of hawen sheetes, 4 pilloweres and all other linnen and linnen yarne xxLs

- a kinnoll a tubb a drink barrell and a bolting tunne. Iiis iiiid

- die peas and barls land sowne Ls

- one cowe and iiii sheepe iii£

- the woodd in the yard and other such implemt or iii hannes

and such like ha is xs

sum total xviii£ xviiis iid

signed Thomas Cox, clarke, John Beeby, Petr Cranke

The Witch Trials

Alexander and Elizabeth Beeby’s daughter, Alice married Samuel Stratton of Poddington about 1624. For a period of time they remained in England where there four sons were born between 1625 and 1632. They lived initially in Poddington and then later moved to Carlton in Bedfordshire, but by 1647 they were living as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Watertown, now a suburb of Boston.

One of their fellow colonists was Margaret Jones (1613 – June 15, 1648) a midwife, who was the first person to be executed for witchcraft in Massachusetts Bay Colony (and the second in New England, the first being Alse Young in 1647) during a witch-hunt that lasted from 1647 to 1693. Hundreds of people throughout New England were accused of practicing witchcraft during that period, including over two hundred in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials. Prior to the Salem Witch Trials between 1647 and 1688, nine women, including Margaret Jones, were hanged as witches.

There are only two primary sources of information on Margaret Jones' plight, Governor John Winthrop's journal and the observations of minister John Hale, who, as a 12-year-old boy, had witnessed Maragret Jones' execution. Governor Winthrop not only provided the evidence against Margaret, but was also a key member of the court that convicted her. He recorded the evidence used to convict Jones in his journal:

"June 15, 1648: At this court, one Margaret Jones, of Charlestown, was indicted and found guilty of witchcraft, and hanged for it. The evidence against her was:

1. That she was found to have such a malignant touch, as many persons, men, women, and children, whom she stroked or touched with any affection or displeasure, or etc, were taken with deafness, or vomiting, or other violent pains or sickness.

 2. She practising physic, and her medicines being such things as, by her own confession, were harmless, — as anise-seed, liquors, etc., — yet had extraordinary violent effects.

3. She would use to tell such as would not make use of her physic, that they would never be healed; and accordingly their diseases and hurts continued, with relapse against the ordinary course, and beyond the apprehension of all physicians and surgeons.

4. Some things which she foretold came to pass accordingly; other things she would tell of, as secret speeches, etc., which she had no ordinary means to come to the knowledge of.

5. She had, upon search, an apparent teat ... as fresh as if it had been newly sucked; and after it had been scanned, upon a forced search, that was withered, and another began on the opposite side. "

6. In the prison, in the clear day-light, there was seen in her arms, she sitting on the floor, and her clothes up, etc., a little child, which ran from her into another room, and the officer following it, it was vanished. The like child was seen in two other places to which she had relation; and one maid that saw it, fell sick upon it, and was cured by the said Margaret, who used means to be employed to that end. Her behavior at her trial was very intemperate, lying notoriously, and railing upon the jury and witnesses, etc., and in the like distemper she died. The same day and hour she was executed, there was a very great tempest at Connecticut, which blew down many trees, etc

John Hale, was 12 years old when he, along with other neighbors of Margaret Jones, visited her in prison on the day of her execution. He said in his later writing that part of the reason for the charges being brought upon the condemned woman was that after she had quarreled with some neighbors and then "some mischief befell" some of their cattle.

Samuel and Alice were reported for speaking out against Margaret Jones conviction and execution, it was reported that:

'Samuel Stratton said that Jones's wife Died wrongfully, and was no witch and that them majistrates would doe anything for bribes, and the members also.'

'Ales Stratton said that Good wife Jones dyed wrongfully and was no more a witch than she was.'

Samuel and Alice were not alone in speaking up, others who spoke out about Margaret Jones’s execution were “Hugh Clarke of Watertown and Roxbury, Mr.Pemberton and wife Eleanor, and Samuel Durkin”.

At the county court held at Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 30, 1649, it was ordered that:

 'Samuel Stratton, senior, and his wife should appear before the publique assembly at Watertown the next lecture Day to pay a fine of Ð5and acknowledge their offense committed against ye commonwealth & court, and acknowledge ye justice & leniency of the court in dealing so mercifully with them.'

And in case they refused to make full acknowledgment they were to pay another fine of Ð5 more. The original paper containing this order is thus inscribed:

'The parties did acknowledge ye mercy of the magistrates sentence herein incerted [———] dealt with them but of the charges laid upon them they are of the same mind.'

At the court at Cambridge April 2, 1650:

'Goodman Stratton refusing to make full acknowledgment enjoyed by the court, is to pay five pounds he is granted liberty for payment of ye same until the next 8th mo.'

No mention is made of Alice, but it is clear that Samuel Stratton refused to change his mind and was fined the full £10.00 fine.

Alice died sometime before 1657, for Samuel remarried in 1658, she was buried in the Old Burying Place in Watertown.

Later Beeby Wills

Nearly forty years pass before we have another will relating to the Beeby family of Great Addington. In the intervening time, in 1662, an Alexander Beeby is mentioned in the Hearth Tax records as having 3 hearths – which would have meant they had a reasonably large house, also mentioned is a William Beeby (2 hearths). In 1674 the Hearth Tax records John Beeby (3 hearths – having inherited his father, Alexander’s, house as Alexander dies in 1671) and William Beeby (2 hearths).

In Alexander Beeby’s will of 1671 he states that he is the son of a John Beeby (who died in 1638), and would therefore be the grandson of original Alexander Beeby. He mentions two brothers: John and William as well as a wife, Elizabeth (nee Noke).

Things get a little complicated again as his father John Beeby had married Alice Stratton, the sister of Samuel Stratton who in turn had married Alice Beeby (see earlier), John’s sister. Following John Beeby’s death in 1638 Alice Beeby (nee Stratton) remarried to a Henry Hemington. Modern day descendants of the Beeby family have reasonably got confused with the two people named Alice Beeby.

Alexander Beeby (grandson of Alexander Beeby the shoemaker) has a number of children including: John, Alexander, Thomas, Elizabeth

The Will of Alexander Beeby, yeoman of Great Addington.

Probate February 1671

- I Alexander Beebye of Great Addington, yeoman….to be buried in the churchyard of Great Addington….

- this 24th July 1671…

- to John Beeby my eldest son, all that messuage and lands in Little Addington aforesaid, together with the two closses two yardlands meadowway ground and common of pasture thereunto belongyng which was given me by the last will and testament of John Beebye my father, deceassed to him the said John Beebye and to his heires forever.

- Item, I give and bequeath unto John Beebye my said sonn all that messuage and tenement in Addington aforesaid together with 1 yardland close meadow and common of pasture thereunto belonging which was James Beebyes my brother deceased to him the said John Beebye and his heires forever.

- Item, I give and bequeath to John Beebye my oldest son all that parcell meadowground in the precincts of Great Addington aforesaid which I lately purchassed of Henry Sandford late of Woodford, deceassed.

- Item, I give and bequeath unto him the said John beebye my sonn that parcell of lande in the ffields of Great Addington aforesaid which I purchassed of one Robert Lowe/Sowe to him the sayd John Beebye and to his heires forever.

- Item, my will is that John Beebye my sayd son shall pay or cause to be paiyd unto Thomas Beebye my youngest sonn the sum of £100 of current money of England when the sayd Thomas my youngest sonn shall accomplish the age of one and twenty years.

- Item, I give and bequeath unto Alexander Beebye my second sonne all that messuage and tenement in Addington aforesayd wherein Robert Smyth now liveth together with 1 yardland of arable meadow and pasture thereunto belonging which I purchassed off Mrs Ann Nokes my mother in law and others to him the sayd Alexander my sonn unto his heires forever.

- Item, I give and bequeath unto the sayd Alexander Beebye my sonn all that yardland of arable and pasture with ffinges thereunto belongyng together with a parcell of land called Rawlins his land which I lately purchassed of John Beebye my brother of Great Addington aforesayd yeoman to him the sayd Alexander Beebye my second sonn and to his heires forever.

- Item, I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Beebye my daughter the sum of £200 of current and lawful money of England to be payd to sayd daughter Elizabeth by my executrix hereafter named when she the sayd daughter attain the life age of twenty years.

- And whereas all the writing of this my parsent testament the Elizabeth my loving wife being bigg with child that if it do please god she shall be delivered of a child male or female that the sayd child shall have the summ of £100 of current money of England to be payd by my executrix at the age of twenty one years, but if it departs this life before the time aforesayd that then my sayd executrix shall discharge of that portion without rendering an attempt to anybody for the funds.

- Item, my will is that if any other of my children that have their portions pinen them in money shall depart this life before their ages as abovesayd that then there portions bee given and bequeathed shall equally be divided between my executrix and the rest of my children surviving.

-Item, my will is that my executrix hereafter named shall pay to the poor of the parish of Addington aforsayd as a legace from me the summ twentie shillings within one month after my deceasse.

- Item, my will is that my sayd sons shall have their croppes ready tilled dressed and sowen when they and either of them shall make their soe all ages of all one and twenty years by executrix without yielding any attempt for the summ.

- All the rest of my goods, cattle and chattels not given or bequeathed I give and bequeath unto Elizabeth my true and loving wife my funeral expenses being also discharged whom I make and ordayne full and sole executrix of this my p'sen testament and hereby do make null and voyd all other and former wills and bequests whatsoever and so hereby instruct and appoint my loving father in law Henry Hemington of Sudboro gent my loveing brother in law Thomas Noke of Ringstead gent my loveing brother John Beebye of Great Addington aforesayd yeoman whom I make supervisors of this my p'sent testament and do define my loving wife to also to take their advice and counsell so oft as need shall require and for their payns care therein I doe give and bequeath tenn shillings apeece to them and any of them to buy a ring ffrimly by theis p'sente.

- In witness whereof the sayd Alexander Beebye has here unto my left hande and seale the day and yeare abuvewritten moreover before the publyshing and seallir here of I do give and bequeath unto William Beebye my brother the best cow in my yarde excepting three in are yard the cows I have which my sayd brother.

- Witness, Thomas Virley, Nathaniell Penn, John Bolney

- Signed Alexander Beeby + seal (man with mace?)

Prob: Prolata fuit hujisindi Testamilld aput Stipton decimo sento die mensis Feb Ano Dm 1671 coram me Joseph Bentham e.S.F.P. et surr et comisa fuit Admistratio oui borow etc supuadict defunct executrici in hoi testamento nominat in debit juras forme jurat etc. coua me Jo. Bentham S.F.P.


Reproduced from the notes of Steve Walker who transcribed the original documents.

Alexander’s wife Elizabeth maiden name is Nokes. Alexander also had a sister called Elizabeth. Henry Hemington was married to Alice Stratton and her first husband was John Beebye who died in 1638, father of Alexander, this makes Henry the step-father of Alexander, not father in law

We also get a will of “John Beeby of Addington Magna”, from 1694. His relation to the earlier Beebys is unclear, but what makes his will interesting for us is that unusually for the time he includes the name of his home, “Coxhis House” – a misspelling of Cox’s House – probably one of the houses on the road we know as Cranford road.

Probate 28th April 1694

…infirm body, sound mind…

- to my son Laurence my dwelling house called Coxhis House and a little spinney close down to the brook next to Mr Whitbys close which lies on the north side of it and on the south side to come up to Wishdish his wall. Together with those three acres of land, one acre lying upon long rowe, Mr Sanderson on the west side and William Beeby on the east. Another acre in Stainsborough field upon shrehfurlong, Mr Sanderson on the north, John Beeby on the south. The third acre in Millfield one half acre in Gutteridges John Beeby on both sides, the other half acre in Southers Way Mr Sanderson on the north, Mr Whitby on the south.


Then I do give unto my daughter Jane £40 to be paid by my son John Beeby when she comes to the age of 21. Unto my daughter Elizabeth £40 at her age of 21 to be payed out of my estate which I give unto my son John hereafter named.


I do give unto my elder son John when he comes to age 21, all my house and land lying in the parish of Great Addington together with my horses cows and sheep and all husbandry materials which shall then belong to my farm and be kept upon it at that same time.


When my eldest son comes to the same age of 21 and my memory is if my son John shall have left to him 4 horses 10 cows and 60 sheepe if then alive and so much grain as shall sow all the land for yt the same year up a that part of my house and land first given to my son Laurence, and the third part of my estate hereafter bequeathed to my dear wife. I do give till my eldest son John comes to 21, all my house and land and all my other goods to my dear wife. I do give to my dear wife the third part of my son John's land for her life, when he reaches the age of 21. And I do also give my son Lawrance's house and land likely when he comes to the age of 21 to my same dear wife, whom I do make sole executor, all debts being paid by my elder son John, date 22.1.1693/4


- Witness, Robert Smith, Lauron Sanderson, John Beeby

- Signed John Beeby

Prob, 28.4.1694 Susanna Beeby executive testator of Johannis Beeby de Addington Magna…. Guil Gares surrogate


There is another Beeby family will, that of a Lawrence Beeby of Great Addington written on the 30th January 1761, though later replaced by another will dated on 3rd Dec 1761. It is not clear whether this the Lawrence Beeby mentioned in the 1694.

In The name of God Amen I Lawrence Beeby the Elder of Great Addington in the County of Northampton Yeoman being in Health of Body and of a Sound and ~ Mind and Memory. Thanks be to God for the same do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following That is to say First I Give devise and bequeath unto my Dear and beloved wife Mary for and during the term of her Natural life All my Cottage or tenement Homestead and Close of pasture thereunto adjoining and belonging situate standing lying and being in Great Addington aforsaid also all those my three acres of arable land lying and being in the Common fields of Great aforesaid And of the said Cottage or tenement Homestead and Close of pasture belonging Together with All Houses Outhouses Ediffices Buildings Barns Stables ~ ~ orchards gardens hedges ditches and trees to the said Cottage or tenement Homestead Close of pasture and three Acres of Arable belonging or any wise apportaining or ~ ~ taken or known as part parcel ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I give devise and bequeath all the said Cottage or tenement Home orchard Close of pasture and arable land before mentioned with the Appurtonances unto my son John Beeby his heirs and Asigns for ever To have and to hold the said Cottage or tenement Homestead Close of pasture Arable land and premises before mentioned to be devised with the appurtainances unto my said Son John Beeby his heirs and assigns for ever Subject to and I do hereby charge the said Cottage or tenement Homestead Close of pasture Arable land and premises before mentioned with the Appurtenances with the payment of the Sum of thirty pounds unto my Son Laurance Beeby and also with the payment of the sum of Forty pounds unto my Son Thomas Beeby and I do order will and direct my said Son John Beeby to pay the said sums of Thirty pounds and forty pounds unto my said Sons Laurence and Thomas within twelve months after my said wifes decease

And lastly All other my Goods Chattels ready moneys Debts Stock Effects and personal Estate whatsoever and wheresoever I give and bequeath unto my said Loving wife Mary Whom I make ordain Constitute and appoint Sole Executive of this my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking All other Wills and Codicils by me heretofore made declaring this to be my last Will and Testament contained in one sheet of paper for my Hand and Seal This thirtieth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand and Seven Hundred and Sixty One.

Signed Sealed published and Declared by the said Testator Lawrence Beeby to be his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have Subscribed our names as witnesses as hereto at the desire and in presence of the said Testator Emerson Plimpton, John Beeby, Joseph Mackeness