Richard Harding of Dockenfield 1600

Richard Harding’s House tells us that he was a prosperous Yeoman Farmer

  • The Hall with wainscoting, tapestries, carpets and cushions, table with benches, 2 chairs, stools, a cupboard, and tablecloths with napkins
  • Richard’s bedroom was a wainscoted ‘high loft above the Hall’ which contained 2 feather beds, 12 pairs of sheets, pillows, 3 chests, a table and stools, a chair, a bench, a fireplace with andirons, and his ‘Wearing Apparrell’;
  • In the ‘maiden chamber’ were 2 flock beds;
  • 2 more rooms upstairs each contained flock beds, with tables, benches, stools, and chairs; one of these rooms also had a loom and other ‘lumber’;
  • Kitchen House – a furnace (oven), 8 flitches of bacon, brass pots, pans, kettles, a cauldron, and candlesticks, pewter plates, dishes, basins, spoons, tankards, and candlesticks, plus 3 chamber pots;
  • Kitchen Loft – quarts of wheat, rye, and malt, tubs, a cheese press, and ‘other wooden stuffe’;
  • Cheese Loft – 17 cheeses;
  • Bakehouse – with implements;
  • Buttery – 10 barrels and drink vessels;
  • Milkhouse – milk vessels;
  • Fowlery – 12 hens and a cock;
  • Livestock – oxen, milking cows, beef cattle, horses, and pigs;
  • An oast – probably a kiln for producing malt for beer-making and food flavouring;
  • 35 acres of farm land.

A Yeoman Farmer’s House built 1609 and now in

The Weald and Downland Living Museum

Summary of Richard Harding’s Will dated 6 June 1600

  • To be buried in Frensham Churchyard;
  • 40 shillings to the poor of Frensham;
  • To grandchildren Elizabeth, Constance, Katherine, Jane, and Bridget, the children of Robert Harding, a bullock each;
  • To grandchildren Walter, Robert, Abraham, Elizabeth, Constance, Jane, Joan, John, and Maryann, the children of Maryann, a bullock each;
  • To grandchildren John, Richard, Robert, Constance, and Jane, the children of Jane, a bullock each;
  • To daughter Maryann: 9 pewter vessels and 2 joined stools (meaning made by a trained joiner);
  • To daughter Jane: a cow;
  • To son Abraham Harding: 6 pewter vessels, candlesticks, a feather bed, a feather bolster, coverlet, a pillow, a pair of sheets, a blanket, a skillet, a chamber pot and £20 of lawful English money;
  • To son John Harding: a feather bed, a feather bolster, coverlet, a pillow, a pair of sheets, the 2 bedsteads in the chamber over the hall, the table, and the linen chest;
  • All my freehold and copyhold lands and tenements to my son John Harding;
  • The residue of my goods and chattels, both moveable and unmoveable, my debts, legacies and funeral expenses being discharged, (except the wainscot and standards) I do give and bequeath to Robert Harding my son whom I do make my sole executor;
  • I request my cousin John Harding and my brother John Chaundler to be the overseers of my will and to receive 10 shillings each for their pains;
  • Witnessed by John Harding (his mark), John Chaundler (his mark), “And of me Robert Bristowe the wryter”;
  • Administration granted to Robert Harding 24 September 1600 in Winchester


  1. Richard Harding had 19 grandchildren! Unfortunately, he didn’t give us the married names of his daughters which is quite unusual for wills of the time;
  2. He left all his grandchildren a bullock ~ livestock was currency in those times, and he specified that the children would receive their bullock in birth order with the oldest child getting the oldest bullock!
  3. He asked his cousin, John Harding, to be one of the overseers; this is the son of his brother, John Harding of Sprakely discussed in an earlier post;
  4. Richard describes John Chaundler as his brother ~ we would say brother-in-law today; Richard’s wife is not mentioned so pre-deceased him and she must have been a Chaundler;
  5. ‘Wainscot and standards’ – wood panelling and tapestries were expensive items and Richard’s intention in excluding them from Robert’s inheritance of his goods and chattels implied that he wanted them to remain with the house which he had bequeathed to his son John probably as Robert already had his own house and farm as he was married with 5 children;
  6. He was an owner of a freehold property which gave him status in the community, as well as land he held by copyhold lease from the Lord of the Manor – unfortunately, he doesn’t name his property;
  7. John Harding received all the land property, Abraham Harding received money and household items so he was likely still living with his father and had yet to set up his own farm, while the third son Robert Harding was the residual heir and executor;

>> What were Richard Harding’s most valuable items? We need to look for things valued in £’s: li (with a stroke through it) represented the Latin word libra meaning pounds

represents 10

From 1st page of inventory (not shown): Richard’s clothes ~ £4, 2 feather beds ~ £10, furniture, tapestries, wainscotting in the Hall ~ £3. From 2nd page shown above:-

  • Abroad in the fields 2 (ij) yokes of oxen ~ £11 (pi)
  • 10 (p) kine ~ £17 (pvij)
  • 19 (pip) young bullocks ~ £12 (pij)
  • A mare and an old gelding for the oast ~ £3 (iij)
  • 2 (ij) mares, 2 (ij) colts and a nag ~ £5 (v)
  • 17 (pvij) hogs ~ £8 (viij)
  • 6 (vj) acres of wheat ~ £6 (vj)
  • 4 (iiij) acres of rye ~ £4 (iiij)
  • 9 (ip) acres of oats ~ £4/10s (iiij/p)
  • 8 (viij) acres of grass ~ £4 (iiij)
  • 20 (pp) tunne of timber ~ £3 (iij)
  • Owing for wine and carriage ~ £6 (vj)
  • Total of all items (including ones not shown above) ~ £132/16s

Select Sources

  • Hampshire Archives and Local Studies; Winchester, England; Probate Records: Wills, Inventories and Administrations Proved in the Church Courts of Winchester Diocese, 14th Century to 1858; Reference Number: 1600b/24
  • Pendean Farm House