This is the transcribed will of William Buckner of Cumnor Parish, Berkshire, England, 1558 (Archdeacon Berks. wills reg. D.188, LDS film #1,041,804)

The great mystery with this will is who's not in it. Several independent records indicate that Thomas Smyth, a mayor of Oxford, married Rose Buckner in 1553, daughter of William Buckner of Botley (in Cumnor parish) and Dorothy Huckvale. At first glance, the William Buckner with his wife Dorothy in this will is a pretty good candidate to be William Buckner of Botley, who is known from other records as well. Rose had died by 1585 when the widow Dorothy Buckner wrote her will, so she would naturally be missing in it, but it is odd that neither she nor her prominent husband are mentioned in the present will, though John Smyth and his wife are on the Christmas list at the end. A son William Buckner is also omitted from the present will though (he is known from his mother's will 18 years later), so it is possible that several children were omitted for some reason (his apparent cousin, or possibly brother, Thomas Buckner of Whitley did the same thing in his 1587 will). Pleasants (the farm he lived at) was also in Botley, so place and the names are consistent with the idea that this is William of Botley. I'm still a little hesitant because of Rose's absence, but for now I'm working under the assumption that this is the same William Buckner of Botley.

William Bucknour is mentioned as a tenant of Botley lands called Nutbeames, Glo[vers], Herefords, and Colys in 1540 when they were granted by King Henry VIII to Sir John Williams.(Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII: Preserved in the Public Record Office, the British Museum, and Elsewhere in England, Volume 15, p. 169). He held the same lands in a 1538 rental survey. A William Buckner appears in Botley in a 1524 lay subsidy list as well, though I'm not sure if that's the present William Buckner or perhaps his father. One should also note that "William Buknour" was listed as a free haberdasher of London in 1538, but it appears that this is a mistake for "William Bicknor" who was a master haberdasher in London at the time.

One open question is the relationship of William Buckner of Botley to Richard Buckner of Cumnor (d. 1548). Richard named a son William in his will who may have been the same as this testator, but as William of Botley had to have been born prior to 1520 (to have a one daughter married in 1553), I think it is unlikely that this William could have been Richard Buckner's son (though still not ready to rule it out). The families of William (d 1558) and Richard (d 1548) interacted closely well into the 1600s, so they were almost certainly either son and father or brothers.

The birth order of the children is a little obscure, though John's occurrence first and his general standing in the community later in life leads me to assume that he was the eldest. The omitted son William is something of a puzzle. There is some reason to think that he is William Buckner of Chawley who died testate in 1618. Dorothy Buckner's will mentions that William's eldest son was named John, which would be consistent with William of Chawley, whose eldest son John of Chawley predeceased him in 1599. Richard had a large number of children in Cumnor parish, though no will of his has come to light and I haven't been able to trace any of his family line beyond their christenings. His mother mentions a number of them in her will, which allows us to connect them to the christening records with confidence. Richard inherited the farm in Botley, so it is rather puzzling that his large family disappeared so completely, but there seem to be no Buckners in Botley by the time of the 1611 lay subsidy. (The Chawley property seems to have remained in the family up into the 1700s though.) Thomas is the most obscure of the sons, and he had probably died by the time his mother's will was written in 1585.

There are several ambiguous personal and place names. The most significant is probably the location of the house that Thomas Buckner inherited. Others have read this as "parish of Eaton" , which is contextually satisfying, but the form of the initial letter is very difficult to reconcile with a captial 'E'. It most resembles a 'P' to me, but there isn't a "Paton" parish that I can find (Potton, Bedf., Porton, Wilts.?). The conspicuous overbar above the 'a' probably indicates abbreviation, most likely 'n' or 'm', which might suggest Panton or Ponton, both in Lincolnshire. Since this will was probated in the archdeaconry of Berks, it has to have been a parish within the archdeaconry however. Otherwise, the will would have to have been probated in a higher court. In a stretch, I could read "Fa[ring]ton", for Faringdon, Berks. - the overbar does suggest a longer abbreviation than a simple 'n' or 'm'.

The biggest corrections I would make to previous readings of this will are the names of the daughters "Mare" (otherwise read as "Maye") and "Daye" , which appear to me to be a variant of Mary and the surname Day respectively. Ronald Day was a neighbor, and it seems logical that he was a son in law of William Buckner. The list of names that are given a bushel of barley near the end are probably mostly surnames, presumably neighbors.

The parish name in the manuscript

A couple random things to note are the archaic plural "childer" for children and the obscure legacy "to Pyp to Mother Glover Young Glover by bond". The date on the 2nd line is very obscure, but I believe I can parse it. The first letter is just "a". The next character resembles a 'y' but is actually the thorn () used to represent "th", with a flourish, so it's an abbreviation of "a thousand." The next is vC, a way of writing 500 in Roman numerals (5 100), and then "l[..]" which is a straightforward Roman numeral for 50-something, with the last part lost in the edge of the page. It's probably lvij (57) or lviij (58), more likely the former from the length of it.

The text of the date in the manuscript

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: 6 Aug [1558?]

Probate: 17 Aug 1558

People named in the will:

In the name of god amen the vj day of
august in the yer of ou' lad god a' v C[li?]
I wyllm buckner sycke in body of cu~nor in
the counte of barks sycke in body hole of mynd
do make my s[???] my last wyll & testamen[t]
aft' the forme & fassyon fyrst I be queth
my sole to all myghte god & to hys mother
saynt mary & to all the co~peny of h[ev?]yn
my body to be berryd in saynt Thomas
Ile w{t}thyn the p{ar}yssh chyrch of cu~nor
It~ I geve to the mother chyrch of sayd
ijd It~ I geve to the hye aut' [altar] viij d It~
I geve to the chyrch of cu~nor xij d
It~ I geve to John my sune v li in mony or mony
worth It~ I geve to Rycherd my sune v li
in mony or mony worth It~ I geve to Thomas
my sune my housse that I bought in the
p{ar}yssh of Paton he to ent` in medyattly aft' my
desese & to have the possessyon thereof & yff
hyt plese allmyghte god to take the sayd
Thomas [buckner?] to hys m'cy that then the sayd house
& land to remayne to Rychard my sune
It~ I geve also to Thomas a kowe & oxer[?] bolo[k?] [i.e. an ox bullock]
in medyattly It~ I geve to my dout' daye
the ij oxson that thaye have allredy

--- next page --- (this next page is laid ouut strangely and has a crease down the middle)

It~ I geve to my dowt' mare v li in mony 
I geve ^ her allso ^ ij peut' platte's ij potyngers & ij s[aw?]s[ars?]
It~ I geve to alys my dowt' v li ij ^pewt' platte's 
ij potyngeres & ij sawsares It~ I geve to 
my dowt` ^ Jone[?] v li & the lytl[?] pewt' vessell
It~ I geve to ev'ry wone of John ^ buckner my
[af(erased)] sunys chyld' ech of them [?] a yewe [i.e. a ewe]
It~ I geve to my dowt' dayes chyld' ev'ry
on of them ayewe It~ I geve to pyp my
s{er}vant & to stoton my servant ech of them
alame It~ geve to ech of my godchyld'
a busshell barly It~ I geve to pyp to
mother glou' young glou' bye bond wyllm
m'ten Joh~ clarke stanyn franlyn mallor
habergen dew[d?]e[r?] camlaye & father gacy
eche of them a busshell barly It I geve
to Joh~ Smyth & wyff & Joh~ m'ten& wyffe
eche of them halffe abusshellof malt
a gay[n?]st c[r]ystmas[?] next comyng
all the rest of my goods & cattell
I geve dorythe my wyff whome I do
make my hole [?] execatryxe of thys
my last wyll & [test]ament  I woud that
John my sune John [?p]etygrew gent Thomas
buckner & Raffe[?] [?] gunnell to be my
ove'see[rs] [of?] [....] my last wyll thes be[ying?] [dytend?]

--- written sideways in page 2 left margin ----

It~ I wyll that yf hyt happen eny of my chyld' do dep{ar}t owt of thys
my serable lyffe then ther stock to remay~e to the rest of my chyl[d'] 

[Item - I will that if it happen that any of my children depart out of this
miserable life then their legacy is to be divided among the rest of my children.]

--- written on top of 2nd page in modern hanndwriting ---

[?]P 17 Aug 1558   (Reg)
               W Inv

Reg d 188  Arch B Regs 1553-65

(A lot of inventory follows on the next two pages.)