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Chancery Depositions (PRO C2 Jas1 R.1/33 Edw and Rose Roos v Cuckoke and Lunt)

23.10.1622 (Wednesday 23 October 1622)

document 16100687

(second sheet) all three sworn 23.10.1622 Robt Riche (inserted) the answers of Jeff Cuckoke Ralph Lunt and Prudence his wife to the bill of complaint of Rose Partridge widow complainant the said defendants saving to themselves all advantage of exception etc to make answer say that Jeff Cuckoke sometime husband of the complainant and father to the said Jeff Cuckoke and Prudence Lunt now two of the defendants as they have heard and do verily believe about the time mentioned in the bill of complaint was lawfully seised in his demesne as of fee by copy of court roll to the will of the lord according to the custom of the manors of Earls Colne and Colne Priory was also seised in fee of and in all or part of those lands mentioned in the said bill of complaint which said Jeff Cuckoke the father being so seised by his last will and testament bearing date as they have heard in or about 14.1.1585 did bequeath and devise unto the said complainant his then wife all the aforementioned copyhold lands and tenements situate and being in Earls Colne and Colne Priory and all his free lands in Birch in the county of Essex but the certainty thereof these defendants cannot set down for these defendants have credibly heard and verily believe that the intent of the said Jeff Cuckoke husband of the said complainant in his true and last will was that she should enjoy them no longer than during her natural life and that after her decease the said lands in Birch should come unto Jn Cuckoke his eldest son and the said copyhold lands and tenements in Earls Colne and Colne Priory should come unto the rest of the younger children but they know not nor yet have ever between times credibly heard that the said Jeff Cuckoke their father did ever intend to pass away his lands which at the time of his death he was seised of from his natural children and these defendants do verily think that the true last will of their said father was never proved but some other former will instead thereof was proved by the complainant whereby all the said lands and premises and all or else the most part of his goods and chattels moveables and immoveables are devised to the complainant in such sort as is pretended by the said bill so as she should see the children which the said testator left behind him well brought up and also that she the said complainant should give unto every one of the said children Jn Cuckoke his eldest son only excepted 20li apiece when they or any of them should attain unto certain years of discretion nominated in the said supposed last will which 20li apiece as they verily suppose was given to them as they think towards the helping of them forward in the world to stock them withal he thinking that their mother the complainant was a woman likely to live long and also to marry again and these defendants did never know or could ever learn that the said several sums of 20li apiece were paid unto any of the said children their brethren or sisters neither have they the said Jeff Cuckoke and Prudence Lunt to their knowledge received any part of the said 20li as a legacy given them by their father's will but that money which she gave them at several times she being taxed for it by her second husband Robt Partridge she would answer him that it was interest money due unto them for the 20li legacies which she should pay them and such hath been the unnaturalness of the complainant towards her said children that as these defendants have heard some of their brethren and sisters have wandered up and down living upon the alms of well disposed people their said mother the now complainant not so much as once taking thought or care for them so that as they have heard many of them perished for mere want and necessity and now there is no more of them living that they know of only these defendants the said Jeff Cuckoke and Prudence Lunt the defendants in the said bill and as concerning their claim to the lands and tenements specified in the bill of complaint they further say that over and besides the intent of the said last will and testament of the said Jeff Cuckoke their father which was as they verily think that after the death of her the said now complainant the said copyhold lands in Earls Colne and Colne Priory should descend and come unto them and these defendants can say nothing to the particular surrenders and the matters done by the complainant as touching the said lands and premises but these defendants have heard and do verily believe that the complainant and her latter husband have by their surrenders and other means endeavoured to entangle the said premises and to defeat these defendants of the same and these defendants are confident and have heard that if the lords of the said manors out of their goodness and charity had not drawn something to these defendants they these defendants had been utterly defrauded for these defendants have heard that the said mr Roger Harlakenden having recovered at the common law against the complainant's pretences and title did admit the complainant and her said husband Partridge unto all those lands and tenements in Earls Colne and Colne Priory being one messuage 26a of arable land 3a of pasture and 1r of meadow ground called Curds as also three crofts called Bernerdsfield alias Barmans Field Rouncys and Pells for the complainant's natural life and after her decease hath granted or intended the same to the children of the said Jeff Cuckoke the testator and these defendants further say and confess that they have received several small sums of money of her the said complainant at several times as 5li at a time but whether it were their legacies given them by their father's will nor know they cannot tell or remember but she the said complainant would bid her said daughter Prudence Lunt one of the defendants say unto her latter husband Partridge that the money which her mother gave her was the interest money for the 20li which she said she had of hers in her hands and was given her as a legacy by her father Jeff Cuckoke the testator but no part of the legacy which moneys so by them received several times as they verily think amounted to some 40li or 60li or thereabouts whereas these defendants are informed that the portions of their brothers and sisters which are dead ought to come to them these defendants equally which said sum or sums so paid to these defendants as they have heard and do verily believe was all or most part of the money that ever she the said complainant paid out of her said former husband's Cuckoke's estate she being left an estate in money household goods and other moveables as they have heard besides the free and copyhold lands to the value of 600li or 700li out of which had she pleased and had been so kind and natural as she ought she might have paid all those legacies mentioned in her said former husband's will and reserved a good stock both of money and goods to herself and these defendants further say and do verily believe it to be true that the complainant was very important and urgent with an uncle of theirs named Barnaby Ward divers times to give her a copy of the true and last will of her said former husband Cuckoke urging him thereunto by these persuasions and saying that unless she could produce the said will whereof she desired a copy from him both she herself and all her children by her said former husband Cuckoke were like to be undone and lose there whole estate by the unjust unkind and fraudulent dealing and practice of her then husband Robt Partridge who sought by all means possible as she said to make it away from them all to which demands and requests of hers the said complainant their said uncle answered that if he should not have that same returned back again from her when she came to London all his brother's children might become beggars and lose that which their father left them by his will meaning as these defendants verily suppose the reversion of those copyhold lands mentioned in the bill of complaint and the said children might be bound to curse him their said uncle and the complainant their mother but what is become of that other will they know not neither is their said uncle living for they verily believe that their said mother the complainant afterwards got it from him by a writ# and hath made it away or will not let it appear least the truth of all should be revealed and her fraudulent dealings brought to light further these defendants say they have heard that the complainant's husband Robt Partridge upon some fallings out betwixt them hath charged her of her unmotherly unkind and fraudulent dealing with her former husband Cuckoke's children using speeches to this effect that she went about to defraud and cosin them of their estates whereto she replied as they have heard " it is not I that have cosined them illegible text but thou hast cosined us all for I can neither write nor read " but now as it doth most manifestly appear the complainant never intended other than to deceive them these defendants of that which is due unto them for she hath vowed as these defendants have heard that never a child that she hath either by Cuckoke her former husband or by Partridge should be one penny the better by the lands which she enjoyeth either whilst she lived or after her death and that rather than they should she would use all the means she could to sell it which she hath done and still labours to do if any would be so hardy as to buy it or if she could not then would she leave it in their hands that should keep it safe enough from her said children and further these defendants say that whereas in the bill of complaint the complainant saith that she is poor and likely to fall into extreme want and therefore would willingly part with her estate upon their knowledge there is no such cause or likelihood she should be driven to any such extremities for they can approve it that she hath now coming in yearly near upon 100li per annum if not more and hath no charge at all to their knowledge to waste it save herself which they think is a competent estate for a lone woman to live upon and further these defendants say that they going not long since to do thei r duty to the complainant their mother beseeching her to cease her so unkind and unnatural suit and put it to arbitration she utterly refused it but said if she liked their answer to bestow something upon them without that that the now complainant for aught they know hath any such estate in the copyhold lands than only for the term of life and without that they know or have ever heard of any false entries to be made in the court rolls of Earls Colne or Earls Colne Priory and without that that any other matter thing or things in the bill of complaint etc Thos Perminter Rich Dover the last bill filed with all defendants (inserted)