Below is a copy of the Last Will and Testament of Bishop John Prideaux.
It was proved on the 20th September 1650 and the original copy of this will has been lost in the Public Records Office.
The will was written on the 20th June 1650, a month before his death. It seems he was aware that his time was coming.
Bishop John Prideaux – His Will
In the name of God. Amen
The twentith Daie of June iun the year our of Lord God one Thousand six hundred and fiftie I John Prideaux Doctor in Divinitie Sometyme Regius Professor in the Universitie of Oxford and Bishopp of Worcester, being at present in perfect sence and memory praised bee God, Doe make this my last Will and Testament as followeth. I doe first commend my Soule to God And my bodie to be buryed in the Chancell of the parish Church of Breedon according to the discretion of my Executors. Item I doe protest that I dye in the true Christian Faith firmely beleevinge and houldinge the Doctrine Worshipp and Discipline established and professed in the Church of England, in the reigne of Queene Elizabeth King James and the beginninge of the raigne of the late Kinge Charles as I have alwayes professed mayneteyned and defended the same in my severall places and callings. Item I doe give and bequeath to Mary Prideaux my beloved wife my great guilt Bible and booke of common prayer bound upp with the Homilies of the Church of England. Item to my said deare wife I give my Episcopall Seale. Item to my said deare wife I give two bonds or obligacons of the summe of One Thousand poundes for the payment of five hundred poundes due from Thomas Reynell of Ogwell in the Countie of Devon Esquire. Item to her my said deare wife I give and bequeath one hundred poundes in gould. which she knoweth of, and already hath in her own possession. Item to her my said deare wife I give my best bedd with the furniture thereunto belonginge. Item to her my said deare wife I give two Bedds for her Servaunts. Item to her my said deare wife I give All my plate,my great Cedar Chest. Item all my Lynnen I give and bequeath to my said deare wife and my Two Daughters Sara Hodges and Elizabeth Sutton to bee equally devided betweene them. Item I doe give and bequeath to my Sonne in Lawe Henry Sutton Clarke All that me Messuage or Tenement acituate and beings neare unto Exeter Colledge in the Cittie of Oxford with all tenements and hereditaments thereunto belonging. To have and to hould to him the said Henry Sutton his Executots and assignes unto the End and terme of all the yeares which I have or ought to have therein, Together with all much Indentures of lease whereby I hold the same. Item I give and bequeath to my Two Sonnes in Lawe William Hodges and trhe aforesaid Henry Sutton Al;l my Bookes to be equally devyded betweene them. All the rest og my goods and Chattells unbequeathed I give to my said Two Sonnes in Lawe William Hodges and Henry Sutton whom I nomynate and appointe joynt Executors of this my Last Will and Testament. Jo: Prideaux, Sealed and subscribed in the presence of Ric. Goslinge Elizabeth Pope Elizabeth Stock
There rose a rumour, seemingley begun by a Later Bishop of Worcester, John Gauden, that John Prideaux was living in poverty. This myth has been perpetuated in writings.John had certainly lost a great deal following his removal of his Bishopric and his livings by the Rebels, but this Will shows that he still had much to leave.
Gauden and others had taken on face value John’s joke when asked
How doth your Lordship do?
Never better in my Life, only I have too great a Stomach; for I have eaten that little Plate which the Sequestrators left me, I have eaten a great Library of excellent Books, I have eaten a great deal of Linen, much of my Brass, some of my Pewter, and now I am come to eat Iron, and what will come next I know not.