The will of Margaret Wastell, of Harbledown Kent, 1538

by Francis Woodman[1]


The will of Margaret Wastell, d.1538, names one surviving child and several grandchildren but makes no mention of her deceased husband John (d.1518), one of Europe’s leading architects of his day. John died in Bury St Edmunds, Margaret twenty years later in a distant Kent hospital yet threatened legal actions (hitherto undated) reveal that Margaret was John’s widow and that she had rebuilt her life totally in another place surrounded by her remaining family. Her later circumstances were clearly comfortable, and her descendants were notable in their own way. She had simply led two lives — one as wife and another as widow with nothing at first sight to connect her dual existences.

Foundations (2022) 14: 88–98                          © Copyright FMG and the author

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