England in ca. 1420.
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Richard's estate was probated June 14, 1474 in Archdeacon Court, Canterbury, Kent, England.(96) As he had two granddaughters born before 1474, it may be supposed that his eldest son was born around 1445, and perhaps Richard was born around 1420. That would have been just before the beginning of the forty year period when the last Lancastrian, Henry VI, was called King of England. He survived the royal uproars of that time, which most likely would have had little noticeable effect on a Kentish farmer. It's possible that he might have participated in the 1450 populist insurrection of Jack Cade, which arose in Kent, and ended with the participants, except the leader, returning unpunished to their homes. He died in the middle of the reign of the Yorkist King Edward IV. Elizabeth French (NEHGR, Jan. 1912) extracted his will: "The Will of Richard Bigge of the parish of Benynden, 12 May 1474. To be buried in the parish church of St. George of Benynden. To the fabric of said church, namely to the nave of it, 6s. 8d. To the high altar there 12d. I make my wife Agnes and Thomas Henley my executors to dispose of my goods for the health of my soul. Witnesses: John Bygge Senior, Richard Day, John Willarde Senior, and many others. [Translated from the Latin.]"
"This is my last will regarding my lands. My feofees to make an estate to Robert my son his heirs and assigns in my tenement called Bowmannys containing seven acres, my lands and woods called Strodes containing five acres, lying betwext Euvyndens Crosse and Hellynden on the north side of the street, a piece of land called Pettefeld containing five acres, two pieces of land called Southlands containing eight acres, and one acre lying in Maythammys marsh, he paying to my wife every year during her life four loads of wood and 26s. 8d., and to Thomas Bygge my son 20 marks.
"My feofees to make an estate to my son John in all my lands an tenements not before assigned, he to pay to my wife Agnes one hog, certain `pulleyn,' and 26s. 8d. yearly during her life, and to my son Thomas 20 pounds. "My wife to have the west end of the hall of my principal tenement and her easement in the hall, kitchen, bakehouse, garden and lands, half the fruit in the garden during her life, pasturage for a cow and `fire and fleet' by the custom of the country, to be found by the said John. "My feofees to sell a piece of land lying next to Thomas Frennche, and of the money to pay to Agnes, daughter of Robert Bygge, 26s. 8d., to Johane his daughter 6s. 8d., and the residue to amending the church way from the church to Walkhurst gate.
"Proved 14 June 1474 by the executrix named in the will, the other executor, Thomas Henley, renouncing. (Archdeaconry of Canterbury, vol. 2, fo. 13.)"The 1 known child of Richard Bigge and Agnes are as follows:
II. Robert Bigge
The 6 children of Robert Bigge are as follows:
III. Edward Bigge
The 1 child of Edward Bigge and Alice is as follows:
IV. Robert Bigge
Robert's estate was probated June 2, 1548 in Archdeacon Court, Canterbury, Kent, England.(54) Born during the reign of the first Tudor, King Henry VII, he lived through all of the reign of Henry VIII, and died under the boy king, Edward VI.
The identification of this Robert with the son of Edward Bigge is not proven, except by coincidence of place and age. His will was extracted by Elizabeth French (NEHGR, Jan. 1912): "The Will of Robert Bigge of Benenden, 13 January 1547/8. To be buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. George the Martyr of Benenden. Alms to be distributed at the day of my burial. To wife Elizabeth, if she continue unmarried, all my stuff and household implements; if she marry again, half my stuff and household implements to my daughters, to be equally divided at age eighteen or day of marriage. To my wife all my corn and sundry livestock. To my son Walter two steers. To my sons Richarde and Thomas a heifer each at eighteen, and to my son John two steers at that age. All my cattle, wheat growing, and other moveables unbequeathed to be sold by my executrix and the money employed to pay my debts. I give to my wife Elizabeth my lease of churchfield, and make her executrix and William Fowle of Benenden overseer. My wife to redeem two pieces of land at Walkhurst, mortgaged to John Moyse of Byddenden for 10 pounds, and also to pay to Elizabeth Vsborne 40 pounds for which I stand bound.
"My last will regarding the disposition of all my lands and tenements. I will to Elizabeth my wife for life my messuage and garden at Benenden forstall and four pieces of land at Walkhurst, she releasing all her right of dowry in all my lands. The messuage and garden at Benenden forstall to go to my son John and his heirs at my wife's decease. To my son Richard and his heirs at my wife's decease four pieces of land at Walkhurst. My executrix to take the profits of all my other lands and tenements until they amount to 40 pounds, to be paid to Elizabeth, Dorothe, Elionor, and Alyce, my daughters, to each 10 pounds at day of marriage or age of twenty years. If any die before such day or age, reversion to the survivors, to be equally divided. After the said 40 pounds be levied I give to my son Thomas and his heirs forever my messuage and lands at the lane of Rolvenden and my half of a meadow called dukes mede in Tentwarden [Tenterden], of which Lawrence Day holds the other half, and a piece of marsh land at Frencham containing ten acres, my executrix to have the said lands until son Thomas come to the age of twenty-two. After the said 40 pounds be levied, to son Walter and his heirs forever seven pieces of land called the sixe acres, Wadyfeld, gardeyn of begtylte, the porteke, the upper shurfeld, the Longfelde, and the nether shurfeld, lying upon the den of Begtilte in Benenden, he to pay to my son Richard 20s. a year during the life of my wife and after he enter into the said land. After the said 40 pounds be levied, I give to son John and his heirs a piece of land called the field about the house and another called Euerynden's felde, both upon the den of Bigtilte.
Witnesses: Willm Fowle his mark, John Asten, Lawrence Davy, and Henry Asten. Proved 2 June 1548 by the executrix named in the will. (Archdeaconry of Canterbury, vol. 8, fo. 2.)"The 8 children of Robert Bigge and Elizbeth are as follows:
V. Alice Bigge