This page includes the wills of Thomas Swan of Southfleet and his son William Swan of Southfleet. We first meet Thomas Swan in Hartley in 1541 when he bought a 131 acre block of land and woodland from Nicholas and Mary Ballard, then the lord of the manor. He and his wife Joyce gave the Middle Farm and Stocks Farm holding to Robert Gens of Southfleet in 1545 (it looks like a marriage settlement, as it mentions a Dorothy Swan and Robert's wife was called Dorothy).
At the time of his death Thomas still owned land in Hartley but it is uncertain where and his will is not very detailed on this point. His son William's will does not mention Hartley at all, even though he was named as an adjoining landowner in a 1633 deed.
Will of Thomas Swan of Southfleet (1570)
Reference: CKS DRb/PW9
"This is the last will of me the said Thomas Swan, concerning the disposition of all my manors, lands, tenements, pastures, lands, meadows, marshes, rent, woods, hereditaments, and all other possessions whatsoever they be within the parishes of Southfleete, Northeflete, Swanscombe, Stone, Gravesende, Longfylde, Hartley, Kingsdowne, Shore, Cobham, Ludsden [...................], Rydley, Ashe, Horton, Fawkham, St Margarettes, and Darrante............... also within the parish of Bleaschinglye and Godstone in Surrey............ (the ms is torn here but there appears to be no specific instructions about the Hartley property)..... All my other manors etc. I give to William my eldest son, to remain to him and his"
Will also mentions Joyce his wife.
Dated 16 December 1565
Will of Sir William Swan of Southfleet (1619)
Reference: TNA PROB 11/133
In the name of God, Amen. The 10th day of February in the Year of Our Lord 1618.
He leaves his soul to God. "And I appoint my body to be buried without any solemnity or mourning than blacks for those of mine own family, in my chapel in the church of Southfleet ... Amongst mine ancestors there. And I will that £40 shall be allowed upon a small monument there at the discretion of my executrix and overseers...."
To poor of Southfleet, the income of an annual rentcharge of 20 shillings issuing from a tenement and land he owns in Stonewood in Stone parish. Also £2 for the parish of Swanscombe to buy standing stock for the poor.
To daughter Meriel Swan, £1,000 to be paid on the earlier of when she marries or when she turns 18. But only £500 if she marries before 18 without her mother's consent (brothers George and William would then share the other £500). If she dies before she is 18 then George and William her brothers will inherit her share.
To second son George Swan, £1,000 to be paid when he is 21. Whereas he has made George joint purchaser with his elder brother Thomas, of Beteshams Farm in Southfleet, his will is that George sell his share to Thomas for £500.
To youngest son William Swan, £1,000 when he is 21.
If George or William dies before they are 21 then the other inherits their share. If both die, then £1,000 to go to Meriel their sister after her marriage and the remainder to his eldest son Thomas. If executrix does not pay the above bequests to his children, then she will be liable at the rate of 8%.
To son Thomas Swan, household plate when he is of age.
To wife Meriel, remainder of his personal estate.
He appoints his wife Dame Meriel Swan as executrix, and friends Bishop of Rochester and Sir George Wright and Sir Humphrey May, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
He leaves all his real property to eldest son Thomas Swan and his heirs, with remainder to son George Swan and his heirs, with remainder to son William Swan and his heirs. However his lands in Surrey will go to wife Meriel Swan for her life, or until she remarries. Provisions for her to hold the estate until heirs come of age, and to use some of the income for the children's maintenance.
To each servant with him at the time of his death, half year's additional wages. Kinsman Thomas Birkett who is currently a servant with him to get £10 and a suit from his apparel.