The will of Henry Kelsall a clothier of Reading was proved January 1494 and is available online from Ancestry and by ordering from The National Archives. The original is difficult to read but a transcription is included in A History of the Municipal Church of St. Lawrence (Re. Charles Kerry, 1883, downloadable from Google Books. The transcription contains numerous OCR errors. I have edited these where I think the correction is obvious and adopted modern spelling.
A family tree for Henry can be assembled from references in the will to siblings. His sister Elizabeth was from Knutsford, Cheshire and I think it is reasonable to suppose that Henry was from Knutsford also. Henry was married to Agnes but no children are listed. At this time, I cannot relate this tree to any other Kelsall tree but it is further evidence of origins in Cheshire.
It seems that Henry was a wealthy man as the will references properties in Reading, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Many of the bequests and instructions refer to churches throughout the same area and Cheshire. Much of the will relates to his affiliation with the church and establishing the Brethren of the Mass of Jesus in 1493.
There are numerous references to Henry Kelsall in A History of the Municipal Church of St. Lawrence (much of the text obtained from the will). References include:
• In his will Henry made provision for a tenor bell be added to the church of Saint Lawrence.
• Henry Kelsall was made a burgess after Michaelmas Day 1475 and was elected to represent the town in Parliament, 1482.
• References to Randall Kelsall in 1503 and 1517 including the responsibility of Randall Kelsall for the mortuary arrangements of Henry Kelsall. As the history notes, this “would seem to indicate that Randall was a very near relative, if not the son, of Henry, although he is not once named in the will of the latter”.
The bell has also been described: “the bell is frequently called the Kelsall in the accounts, having been given by one Harry Kelsall apparently in 1499” (in Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers, Etc. Third Series. — Volume Seventh. January—June 1865. London: found online at Genealogy Gophers).
Transcribed Will of Henry Kelsall of Reading
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