arrowcase: John Baker  c. Agnes Symson, previously Baker    p-link   Results Format: Summary Full

case detail
dateJan.-Feb. 1493 (undated)
competitor suit
sourceLondon Metropolitan Archives, MS DL/C/A/001/MS09065: 136r-137r
remarks: The depositions in this case are confusing, as there appear to be multiple John Bakers involved. The plaintiff is likely the testator`s cousin John Baker (see below), suing the testator`s wife. The relevance of Alice Waren`s testimony regarding the birth of John Baker the younger is unclear, although if this indicates the legatee cousin, then the plaintiff was about nine years old. Waren`s testimony also refers to the death of a John Baker, possibly meaning the younger cousin rather than the testator, although this would then suggest that the plaintiff was an impostor who had adopted the identity of the dead child. (If this seems far-fetched, it is important to note that impostors were in the air in England c. 1493, with the Lambert Simnel affair of 1487 and the ongoing Perkin Warbeck affair, 1491-99.) The will occasioning this suit was probated (as witness Agnes Smyth indicates) in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury two and a half years before the suit: Will of John Baker of St. Michael Bassishaw, London, 1490, The National Archives, PCC Prob. 11/8, fols. 270v-273r (TNA catalogue). Baker, a citizen cooper of London, made the will on 13 April 1490 and it was probated on 6 Aug. 1490. Agnes was his wife and widow; presumably she had remarried by the time this suit occurred and thus changed her surname. He makes a bequest of a small amount of money and some plate, as well as the reversion after Agnes`s death of two properties in East Greenwich, Kent, to his cousin, John Baker. Agnes, Sir Roger Broide[?], priest, and Thomas Ledis (spelled Lydys here in the testimony), pouchmaker, were executors, and the administration of the will was committed to Agnes.
1493-01-18: Agnes Smyth, Witness for Defendant
Testifies on behalf of Agnes Symson that she was present, sometime between 24 June and 15 August, when the late John Baker read his testament, in which he bequeathed certain goods to John Baker the younger, and committed the administration of his goods to his wife, Agnes. The testament was probated before the Archbishop of Canterbury.

1493-01-18: Alice Waren, Witness for Defendant
Testifies that she heard from Agnes Symson that John Baker bequeathed to John Baker the younger lands worth 40s a year, and committed to his wife the administration of his testament. And she was present nine years ago around 29 Sept. when John Baker the younger was born in her home in Whitechapel and was baptised in the Whitechapel church. On the third day John Baker [unclear if this is the testator or the child born at Whitechapel] died and was buried in the same church.