This is the transcribed will of Thomas Buckner, D.D., rector of Chevening, 1644 (UK Public Record Office Catalogue Ref:Prob/11/192)

Thomas was born June 24th (Midsummer's Day, the Feast of St. John the Baptist), 1593. A Cumnor parish christening record gives his christening date as July 17th and names his father as John Buckner, probably John Buckner of Abingdon, Berks., son of the elder Thomas Buckner of Whitley, Berks. and Dorothy (Anne) Buckner, whose 1597 will names John and his then 4-year old son. Thomas Buckner matriculated at St. Mary Magdalen College at Oxford in 1610 as a demy, and the university was a major influence through the rest of his life and career. Extensive Church of England records (see for example the Clergy of the Church of England Database, which perpetuates the absurd error made by William Armstrong Crozier in supposing Thomas' father to have been Thomas Buckner, a mercer of London) make Thomas the best documented Buckner of the 17th century. History even records an incident in 1616 in which Thomas and several other demies were disciplined for wearing hats in the dining hall rather than their academic caps ("A register of the members of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford, from the foundation of the college: New series", William Dunn Macray, ed., H. Frowde, 1901, v. 3, p. 44). He garnered some historical attention as the unfortunate censor who licensed William Prynne's Histriomastix for publication in 1630, a misstep which took Thomas before the court of Star Chamber in 1634. Prynne's book was a puritanical screed against theatre, and, among other objectionable passages, it happened that his reference to actresses as "notorious whores" was interpreted by the Crown as a direct insult to Queen Henrietta Maria, an avid amateur thespian. This trial resulted in the loss of Buckner's fellowship, a punishment which probably stung far worse than the 50 fine levied, as he somewhat wistfully devised to the college of "St. Mary Magdalen in the University of Oxford whereof I was once a fellowe" in the will. Thomas was appointed to that position by Archbishop George Abbott, who is mentioned indirectly and directly in the will, first in the form of a ring bearing Abbott's motto "Clamamus Abba Pater" and second in the form of a portrait of the then-late archbishop.

Buckner was an enthusiastic bibliophile, and undoubtedly his library was enhanced substantially by his position as a print licenser. The bequest he made in his will of 20 books to Oxford's library was evidently carried out in 1647, and A register of the members of St. Mary Magdalen College notes that among his gifts to the library were the English Bible of 1541; Summa Sylvestrina, Antv. 1581; the Opera of D. Covarruvias, 2 vols. Antv. 1610; and various Canon Law books in folio. After the Histriomastix incident died down, he was licensed to the doctor of divinity degree in 1639, as in his later years especially he seems to have been regarded as a theologian of some ability.

In 1643, he sheltered his friends and Oxford colleagues Dr. Henry Hammond and Dr. John Oliver (who was soon thereafter named president of Magdalen College), who were fleeing the aftermath of an unsuccessful royalist uprising that they were alleged to have participated in. (The story in Fell's Life of Henry Hammond goes that Oliver turned up on Buckner's doorstep, only to find that Hammond was already hiding there.) It's worth noting that Thomas' first cousin, Leonard Buckner, a London apothecary, was a friend and brother-in-law of the republican radical John Wildman and at least one of Leonard's sons (also a Thomas) was deeply involved in radical republicanism, so the Civil War seems to have split the family to some degree. Thomas Buckner died around Nov. 11, 1644, the Feast of St. Martin.

Genealogically, the will is invaluable, as it cements a lot of information about Thomas' family, even though Thomas himself does not appear to have had children. His brother William appears to have settled in Merstham, Surrey, where Thomas was appointed rector in 1632. William settled in Merstham (as apparently did their uncle Adam, who was buried in the church there) and married the widow Jane Wood in 1638/9. They had at least two sons, known from christening records, William b. 1639 and Thomas b. 1642 (the godson from the will). Both sons had children of their own, and it seems likely that most Buckners in Merstham were descended from this family. It also establishes that his father John Buckner was John Buckner of Abingdon, who seems to have owned property there. His brother John is poorly known, though the will shows that he had a son named Thomas as well. It's quite possible that John Buckner Jr. was the "John Buckner of Abingdon" who married Mary Cantrell in 1620 in London.

One other story of interest regarding Thomas Buckner is that it was he who persuaded his friend Peter Heylin to study theology.

I've tried to preserve the line arrangement so anyone who wants can compare this to the original image. I don't claim perfection, and there are some things that can be interpreted different ways. The notation {ER} and such indicates a superscript abbreviation. These are common in period documents, though sometimes they can be a little idiosyncratic.

Date of will: 27 Sep 1644

Probate: 11 Feb 1644/5 in London

People named in the will:

In the name of God Amen The seven and
twentieth day of September in the twentieth yeare of our Sov{er}aigne Lord Charles by
the grace of god of England Scotland and France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith
#I Thomo' Buckner Dr of divinity being weake in body but of good and p{er}fect memory
god be praised doe make and ordaine my last will and Testament in mann{er} following First
I bequeath my soule unto the hands of Almighty god my Creator wch I knowe he
will receave because he sent his sonne my blessed Saviour to redeeme it and
hitherto hath preserved it, and it and my body to the earth to buried at the foote of my
Uncle Mr Adam Buckner in the Chancell of Merstham not doubting but at the gen{er}all
resurrection they shall be reunited and made p{ar}taker of eternall glory in the kingdome
of heaven by the mercies of my blessed redeemer; As for my temporall estate what
soever in money & bookes debte houshouldstuffe plate, leases Chattles or otherwise where
with god hath blessed me I dispose in this manner, First I give unto the Collidge
of St. Mary Magdalen in the University of Oxford whereof I was once a fellowe
twentie bookes in folio wch I have, and are not bona fide extant at my decease
in their Library, Item I give unto the said Collidge the sume of fower pounds thus
to be employed xis to the preacher, whoe shall preach in the same pulpit; or in the
Chapple on St John Baptists day next after my decease and twentie shillinge to
one of the Demies being noe graduate; whoeshalbe appointed by the president then
being to make an oration in the hall upon the foresaid day of St John Baptist
because on that day I was borne, and twentie shillinge to a poore scholler of the
almesbasket being civill and studious whome the president shall thinke fitt to be payed
likewise upon the foresaid day Item I give to the parrish of Cumner ^where I was     ^in Berkshire
borne the sume of twentie shillinge of English money for the use of the poore there to
be distributed by the Minister of the said parrish ^[?] on Midsummer day next after my decease
Item I give xxs[?] more upon the foresaid day to be payed to the poore of Abington in
Berkshire whoe dwell in the street where my father lived to be distributed by the
Minister of the parrish Item I give unto the poore of Sandhurst in Kent twenty [?]
shillinge of Englishe money to be distributed by the Minister of that parrish upon the
foresaid Midsummer day next after my decease Item I give and bequeath unto the
poore of Chevening the sume of Fortie shillinge of like English money to be distributed
by the Church warden of the said parrish on the foresaid Midsummer day next after
my decease Item I give to the poore of Merstham in Surrey the sume of fourtie
shillinge to be distributed by the church wardens there upon the foresaid Midsummer day
Item I give to the poore of Kingsgate in Winchester the sume of fourtie shillinge to be
distributed by the warden of the Colledge of Winchester upon the same day Item
I give to the poore of Chilton in Berkshire the sume of ten shillinge to be divided
by the Minister there upon the same day Item I give to my sister Mary Buckner
all those moneys due unto me by specialty from my brother Mr William Buckner as
they shall appeare to be iustly due Item I give ^unto my Aunt Elizabeth Buckner
widdowe sixe pounds of lawfull English money yearly during her life to be paid
by my executor #[?] Item I doe give unto my Uncle Mr Edward Buckner xxxs to buy
him a Ring; Item I doe give unto my brother Mr Wm Buckner my seale ring and more
shillinge to buy him a bible Item I doe give likewise unto my brother Mr John
Buckner the sume of twenty shillings to buy him a Bible Item I doe give unto Samuel
Shell my sisters sonne all those moneys that shalbe made appeare to be iustly due to
me from William Francke of Merstham upon accompte betweene him and me which
accompte are already put in suite by Mr Thurland of [?]gate Item I give unto my
godsonne Thomo Buckner sonne of Mr Willia{m} Buckner my brother what moneys shall prove
due unto me from me from Mr Crosse and Mr Thorowgood of London Item I give unto my sister
Mris Mary Buckner the sume of xL desiring her to buy therewith a wedding gowne
what shee may weare for my sake yf soe it please god that shee shall hereafter marry
And more I give unto her my sister two of my milch kyne Item I give unto my

--- next page ---

Deare and loving friende Mr Thomas Langton fellowe of St Mary Magdalene Collidge
in Oxford all my sermon notes whether in bookes or loose pap{er} wch are putt upp
in a deepe box wth two other bookes wch I borrowed of the said Mr Langton which
box I will that my executors safely deliver soe soone as yt may be done unto the fore
said Mr Langton And yf it shall soe fall out that the said Mr Langton shall
dye before the said boxe can be delivered to him then my will is that the sayd box
shalbe delivered as a guift from me to Mr Richard Basse master of the freee
schoole of Seavenoake; Moreover my will is that yf the said Mr Thomo. Langton will[?]
give unto my Executors the sume of one hundred and Fyftie pounds for my
library of bookes standing either at Chevening or at Winchester a true catalogue
whereof shalbe kept in the hands of the foresaid Mr Richard Basse to be
p{er}used by Mr Langton my will I say then is that for and upon Consideracen of
the payment of the foremencened sume of one hundred and Fyftie pounds to my
executors that all my library of books whether at Chevening or at Winchester
not one being diminished or otherwise disposed of as shall appeare by the catalogue
in Mr Basses Custode shalbe delivered to Mr Thomas Langton aforesaid by my
executors; such books only being excepted; as I shall shall have otherwise disposed
of or bequesthed by my will; And yf the said Mr Thomas Langton shall refuse
to pay unto my executors the foresaid Sume of one hundred and Fyftie pounds
Then my will is that my library of bookes shall remaine unto my executors Item
I give unto the foresaid my loving friend Mr Richard Basse all other my papers
books manuscripte notes of loose pages whatsoever such only excepted as shall
concerne my estate of accompte More I bequesth unto Mr Richard Basse my Geneva
Bible in three volumes in quarto wth a white pap{er} betwixt everyleaf[?]; as alsoe my
Bible in Octavo noted wth myne owne hande having T.B. on the Cover of it
wth greene stringe as also my Hebrue bible in thir[?]teene volumes bound together
wth a black silke stringe, as alsoe a large Coment?er folio being div{er}se Comentaters
on Ciceroes orations, wth a Coment on Ovids Fasti amongst my bookes at Winchester
Moreover I give unto the said Mr Basse the presse standing in the midst of my
study at Chevening wth all such bookes pap{er} or whatsoeverels shalbe left by me
in it at my decease Item I give unto my godsonne Richard Basse sonne to thes
foresaid Richard Basse the sume of Forty shillings Item I give unto my godsonne
Thomas Davenport the sume of Forty shillinge Item I give unto my loving
freind Henry Hamond Dr of Divinity my testam{en}t in two volumes greek and
Latine Bezaes {tra}nslacon wth marginall notes fairly guilded wch I will that Mr
Basse deliver to him the said Dr Hamonde out of the presse above bequeathed unto
the said Mr Basse Item I give unto my loving frend Dr Oliver President
of St Mary Magdalene Colledge in Oxford my gould Ring wth a deaths head
wch I desire him to weare for my sake Item I give unto my loving frend Mr Thome
Langton my plaine gould ring having engraved in it Clamamus Abba pater [note- motto of Archbishop George Abbot]
both wch Rings I have given into Mr Basse his Custody to be delivered by him unto the
foresaid my two loving frends Dr Oliver and Mr Thomo. Langton with a message wch I
have requested? him to deliver unto them Item I give unto my sister Elizabeth my best
Grogram Gowne[?] Item I give more unto my Aunt Elizabeth P[?] Buckner my other
Grogram Gowne[?] as alsoe two milch kyne Item I give unto my servant Charles
Seale as a[???] [????] for his faithfull service and paines taken wth me in my
sicknes the sume of ten pounds as alsoe my plaine Cothe Cloake wth a little edging
to make him a suite Item I give unto my servant George Mee for his paines taken
in my sicknes my gray suite and the gray Cloakke wch was my Drules? Item I give
unto my loving frend Mr Francis Johnmeing[?] C[???] Cloake wth a little edging
to make him a suite Item I give more to my forenamede loving frend Mr Richard

--- next page ---

Bosse my Cloath Cloake faced wth velvett Item I give to my loving frend Dr Harris
Warden of Winchester Collidge my guilt Bible in Octavo wch is at Winchester Item I
give to Mr John Harris sonne to the foresaid Dr Harris Scapulaes gr. Lexicon and all
other my philosphie bookes wch are at Winchester Item I give to Dr Alexander Prebend
of Winchester two large pictures in frames the one of Archbpp' Abbott [note George Abbot again]; the other of
Bpp' Glover Bishop of Winchester as alsoe my brazell staff wth a silver head
Item I give unto my loving frend Dr Gibbon two paper bookes in folio wth spe[?]f[?]ed
leaves and greene Fringe as also my seeing glasse and my burning glasse Item I give unto
my goddaughter Mary Burbey the daughter of Dr Burbey Archdeacon of Winchester the
sume of three pounds to buy her a peece of plate Item I give and bequeath unto Thomas
Buckner my godsonne sonne unto my brother John Buckner the sume of thirty poundes
Item I give ^more unto my sister Mary Buckner the sume of ten pounde; Moreover my will
is that yf it shall soe fall out that the foresaid my godsonne and nephew Thomas
Buckner shall dye before such tyme as the foresaid sume of thirtie pounde
shalbe due to be paied unto him Then I say that the foresad sume of xxxL shalbe
payed by my executors as a farther guift from me unto the foresaid my sister Mary
Item I give unto my godsonne Thomas Duke the sume of twentie shillings All
other my goods not by this my will disposed of Chattles moneys debts plate and
houshouldstuff whatsoever my debts being first payed and my legacies p{er}formed
according to my testament and my funerall expenses discharged I give and
bequeath to my brother Willia{m} Buckner and to Robert Shell husband to my
sister Elizabeth Buckner hoping that thee will p{er}forme my good intente for
Obedience Shell my goddaughter whome I ioyne executrix with my brother
William hoping that they be ioint executors will duly performe this my last
will and testament And I doe intreate my good friend and Neighburs Dr Bernard
Dr Gibbon and Mr Richard Bosse to be Overseers of this my last will and
Testament, and assistante to my executors in disposing of my bookes And I doe give unto
them for their paine twenty shilling a peece And further to my goddaughter
Mary the daughter of Dr Bernard the sume of three pounde In witnes whereof
I have hereunto set my hand & seale that this is my last will & testament the day
and yeare first above written Thomas Buckner signed sealed & delivered in the
p{re}sense of Willia{m} Collyn Christ: Thomas Richard Roch

Probatum fuit Testamentum sup{er}scriptum apud London coram Dilecto subdicto
mrs Nathanilie Brent militi legu{m} Doctore Curiae [?] Praerogative Cant
mag{ist}ro huic Custode legitimi constituto Undecimo Die Mensis Februarii Anno Don'
iuxta cursu[?] et Computaconem[?] Ecclesiae Anglicane Millesimo sexcentesimo quadragesimo
Quarto Juramento Willielmi Buckner Frte' Dic' Defuncti et Roberti Shell liore[?]
executore in h[???] testamento nominatore Quibus comissa fuit admissi straco[?] gressi
et singulor{um} bonor{um}... [= probated 11 Feb 1644/5- nothing else particularly interesting]