Johan Fulstone 1579

Farmer of Frensham 1579

Johan Harding was the daughter of John Harding of Sprakley discussed in the previous post. Around 1570, she married Thomas Fulstone and the couple had at least three children – Richard, Johan, and Constance according to the wills of Thomas and of her father.

Johan Fulstone was widowed in 1573 when her husband Thomas died, leaving her with the farm to run and children to raise. She became ill and took to her bed in the spring of 1579. The day before she died, she was visited by Richard Harding (her uncle) and Thomas Beldam of Frensham and she made a nuncupative (or deathbed) will.

Johan Fulstone of the parish of Frensham (ffrinsham), Surrey in the diocese of Winchester (Winton) lying sick in her bed and being in good memory, upon the day before her death being asked by Richard Harding and Thomas Beldam who should have her goods, she answered her father and that he should bring up her children. Administration granted 4 April 1579 to John Harding of Frensham, father.

Attached to Johan Fulstone’s will was a fascinating inventory of the goods that she had at her home. What a great source of life in Tudor times for the farm-owning level of English society! Here is a sample of that inventory:

In the hall:

  • A table with forms
  • 4 chests and 4 coffers and cupboards Note: chests is hard to read – it is the 3rd word in line 3, ‘coffers looks like ‘roffers’ in the image as ‘r’ was written like ‘c’, cupboard = ‘rowbord’
  • 4 kettles, 2 brass pans and 2 brass pots
  • 12 pewter pieces
  • 8 candlesticks
  • 2 andirons, pothook, chains, gridiron, cauldron
  • Barrels, sacks
  • Urns, chaffers, dishes and trenchers
  • Cheese press and molds, butter churns
  • Tod of wool (tod was an old weight, used chiefly for wool and varying in amount locally. It was commonly equal to 28 pounds)

In the chamber: Bedding, wearing apparel, a chest, an armory (armoire)


  • 3 yokes of oxen and an old ox
  • 15 kine
  • 17 young bullocks
  • 10 heifers
  • 30 sheep
  • 10 hogs

Stored in the barn: Unthreshed rye, hay, oats, and barley

Other Items: Plough with cart, ox yoke with gear and harness, a thresher, 8 acres of rye and wheat priced at 6s/8d an acre.

Total value of Johan’s goods was estimated at £89/6s/7d by Richard Harding, Simon Harding, William Waller, Richard Boxall, William Seward and others – taking inventories was a community affair!

  • Johan Fulstone’s House: Johan wouldn’t have owned her house; it was the property of the Manor of Farnham which included Frensham. She held the house and farm by right of a lease of which she would have had a copy – hence the term ‘copyholder’. She probably stored this important document in one of her chests. Historians believe that most copyholders’ homes of the 1500’s were often house single-storey thatched buildings and often less room was devoted to human habitation than to buildings designed to keep the farm enterprise going. Johan appears to have had two rooms – the hall for all living, cooking, eating, receiving visitors, and so on, and a bed chamber.

Select Sources

  • Hampshire, England, Wills and Probates, 1398-1858 Record
  • Google Images
  • Surrey Record Society Annals – available on Google Books