Dame Susannah Keate Last Will and Testament, 1719

Overview of the Collection

Dame Susannah Keate Last Will and Testament
1719 (inclusive)
3 linear feet of shelf space, (1 oversize folder)
Collection Number
Cage 5078 (collection)
Last Will and Testament of Dame Susannah Keate of Hertfordshire, England, written on four large leaves of parchment.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.

English and Latin.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Dame Susannah Keate (nee Orlebar, circa 1629-1719) was the second wife of Sir Jonathan Keate, Baronet (1633-1700). In 1660, Sir Jonathan Keate was granted a baronetcy of the Hoo estate, Kimpton, in the hundred of Middlesex (note: this was an ancient form of administrative division; Middlesex is now a part of Greater London, with parts in other counties, such as the Hoo estate in Herfortshire). In 1665, he was appointed the first High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, a position he held until 1666. During the years 1679-1681, he served the county as a member of Parliament. From his first wife (also named Susannah), he acquired the land in which he became baronet. The first Dame Susannah Keate was the only daughter and heiress of the Hon. William Hoo, Esq. They had four children: Gilbert Hoo (or Gilbert-Hoo), Jonathan, Susan, and Elizabeth. Gilbert Hoo and his heirs succeeded Sir Jonathan in the baronetcy, but the line ended with Sir Jonathan's great-grandson, Sir William, in 1757 when he died unmarried. In 1732, the Hoo manor was sold by Sir Henry Hoo (or Henry-Hoo; father of William) and was subsequently turned into a private park and garden.

Susannah Orlebar was born of a prominent family. Her father, John Orlebar, was a woolen draper, and an eminent citizen of London. She married Sir Jonathan Keate after the death of his first wife. Much of the Hoo estate was bequeathed to the male heirs and many family members of Dame Keate. She also provided bequests for previous and current servants, and the poor of Kimpton village. She died in 1719.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of a single item: the Last Will and Testament of Dame Susannah Keate, written on four membranes of parchment (approximately 63 x 77 cm). It is handwritten in English, with a probate notice in Latin attached to the front. The sequence of the pages runs back to front: the document begins on the last leaf, and ends on the first. The original will was written in 1707, and the last page includes two additional codicils, dated 1710 and 1712.

The bulk of the estate is bequeathed to Sir Henry Hoo, the baronet at the time of Susannah Keate's death. Large sums (of 500 English pounds, roughly five times the annual salary of a government clerk) are bequeathed to the Dame's step-son and step-nephews, as well as to several of her male Orlebar relations. Lesser amounts (about 100 to 300 pounds) are willed to female relatives and their daughters. Jewelry, bedding, and household items, such as silver candlesticks and chests of drawers, are given to various friends and family. Notably, her servant was given all of her clothes ("wearing apparel"), and the other household employees were given five pounds plus a half year's wages. Some money was also given to prior servants, and ten pounds to the poor of Kimpton.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Dame Susannah Keate Last Will and Testament, 1719

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Location of Collection

Location Note (MASC Staff Use): Basement map case.

Acquisition Information

When this item was processed in 2016 from an old cataloging backlog, no acquisition information could be located (MS.2016.06).

Processing Note

Megan Ockerman processed this collection in 2016.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top