The Aucthour (though loth to leaue the Citie) vpon her Friendes procurement, is constrained to departe: wherfore (she fayneth as she would die) and maketh her VVYLL and Testament, as foloweth: VVith large Legacies of such Goods and riches which she moste aboundantly hath left behind her: and therof maketh LONdon sole executor to se her Legacies performed.
ℂ A comunication which the Auctor had to London, before she made her VVyll.
THe time is come I must departe,
from thee ah famous Citie:

I neuer yet to rue my smart,1
did finde that thou hadst pitie,
Wherefore small cause ther is, The special character y͑ (LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH REVERSED HOOK ABOVE) does not display on all browsers and has been replaced by its simplified I
should greeue from thee go:
But many Women foolyshly,
lyke me, and other moe,
Doe such a fyxed fancy set,
on those which least desarue,
That long it is ere wit we get,
away from them to swarue,2
But tyme with pittie oft wyl tel
to those that wil her try:
Whether it best be more to mell,3
or vtterly defye.
And now hath time me put ĩ mind,
of thy great cruelnes:
That neuer once a help wold finde,
to ease me in distres.
Thou neuer yet, woldst credit geue
to boord me for a yeare:
Nor with Apparell me releue
except thou payed weare.
No, no, thou neuer didst me good,
nor euer wilt I know:

Yet am I in no angry moode,
but wyll, or ere I goe
In perfect loue and charytie,
my Testament here write:
And leaue to thee such Treasurye,
as I in it recyte.
Now stand a side and geue me leaue
to write my latest Wyll:
And see that none you do deceaue,
of that I leaue them tyl.
The maner of her Wyll, & what she left to London: and to all those in it: at her departing.
I Whole in body, and in minde,
but very weake in Purse:
Doo make, and write my Testament
for feare it wyll be wurse.
And fyrst I wholy doo commend,
my Soule and Body eke:
To God the Father and the Son,
so long as I can speake.
And after speach: my Soule to hym,
and Body to the Graue:
Tyll time that all shall rise agayne,
their Judgement for to haue.

And then I hope they both shal méete,
to dwell for aye in ioye:
Whereas I trust to see my Friends
releast, from all annoy.
Thus haue you heard touching my soule,
and body what I meane:
I trust you all wyll witnes beare,
I haue a stedfast brayne.
ℂ And now let mée dispose such things,
as I shal leaue behinde:
That those which shall receaue the same,
may know my wylling minde.
I firste of all to London leaue
because I there was bred:
Braue buildyngs rare, of Churches4 store,
and Pauls to the head.
Betweene the same: fayre streats5 there bée,
and people goodly store:
Because their keeping craueth cost,
I yet wil leaue him more.
First for their foode, I Butchers leaue,
that euery day shall kyll:
By Thames you shal haue Brewers store,
and Bakers at your wyll.
And such as orders doo obserue,
and eat fish thrice a weeke:
I leaue two Stréets, full fraught therwith,
they neede not farre to seeke.
I full of Wollen leaue:

And Linnen store in Friday stréete,
if they mée not deceaue.
And those which are of callyng such,
that costlier they require:
I Mercers leaue, with silke so rich,
as any would desyre.
In Cheape of them, they store shal finde
and likewise in that streete:
I Goldsmithes leaue, with Iuels such,
as are for Ladies méete.
And Plate to furnysh Cubbards with,
full braue there shall you finde:
With Purle of Siluer and of Golde,
to satisfye your minde.
With Hoods, Bungraces, Hats or Caps,
such store are in that streete:
As if on ton side you should misse
the tother serues you forte,
For Nets of euery kynd of sort,
I leaue within the pawne:6
French Ruffes, high Purles, Gorgets and (Sléeues
of any kind of Lawne.
For Purse or Kniues, for Combe or Glasse,
or any néedeful knacke
I by the Stoks haue left a Boy,
wil aske you what you lack.
I Hose doo leaue in Birchin Lane,
of any kynd of syse:
For Women stitchte, for men both Trunks
and those of Gascoyne gise.

Bootes, Shoes or Pantables good store,
Saint Martins hath for you:
In Cornwall, there I leaue you Beds,
and all that longe thereto.
For Women shall you Taylors haue,
by Bow, the chiefest dwel:
In euery Lane you some shall finde,
can doo indifferent well.
And for the men, few Stréetes or Lanes,
but Bodymakers bee:
And such as make the swéeping Cloakes,
with Gardes beneth the Knée.
Artyllery at Temple Bar,
and Dagges at Tower hyll:
Swords and Bucklers of the best,
are nyThis text has been supplied. Reason: Smudging dating from the original print process. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (KL)e the Fleete vntyll.
Now when thy Folke are fed and clad
with such as I haue namde:
For daynty mouthes, and stomacks weake
some Iunckets must be framde.
Wherfore I Poticaries leaue,
with Banquets in their Shop:
Phisicians also for the sicke,
Diseases for to stop,
Some Roysters styll, must bide in thée,
and such as cut it out:
That with the guiltlesse quarel wyl,
to let their blood about.
For them I cunning Surgions leaue,
some Playsters to apply.

That Ruffians may not styll be hangde,
nor quiet persons dye.
For Salt, Otemeale, Candles, Sope,
or what you els doo want:
In many places, Shops are full,
I left you nothing scant.
Yf they that kéepe what I you leaue,
aske Mony: when they sell it:
At Mint, there is such store, it is
vnpossible to tell it.
At Stiliarde store of Wines there bée,
your dulled mindes to glad:
And handsome men, that must not wed
except they leaue their trade.
They oft shal séeke for proper Gyrles,
and some perhaps shall fynde:
(That neede compels, or lucre lures
to satisfye their mind.
And neare the same, I houses leaue,
for people to repayre:
To bathe themselues, so to preuent
infection of the ayre.
On Saturdayes I wish that those,
which all the wéeke doo drug:
Shall thyther trudge, to trim them vp
on Sondayes to looke smug.
Yf any other thing be lackt
in thée, I wysh them looke:
For there it is: I little brought
but nothyng from thée tooke.

Now for the people in thee left,
I haue done as I may:
And that the poore, when I am gone,
haue cause for me to pray.
I wyll to prisons portions leaue,
what though but very small:
Yet that they may remember me,
occasion be it shall:
And fyrst the Counter7 they shal haue,
least they should go to wrack:
Some Coggers and some honest men,
that Sergantes draw a back.
And such as Friends wyl not them bayle,
whose coyne is very thin:
For them I leaue a certayne hole,
and little ease within.
The Newgate, once a Monthe shal haue
a sessions for his share:
Least being heapt, Infection might
procure a further care.
And at those sessions some shal skape,
with burning nere the Thumb:
And afterward to beg their fées
tyll they haue got the some.
And such whose deedes deserueth death,
and twelue haue found the same:
They shall be drawne vp Holborne hill,
to come to further shame:
Well, yet to such I leaue a Nag
shal soone their sorowes cease:

For he shal either breake their necks
or gallop from the preace.
The Fléete, not in their circuit is,
yet If I geue him nought:
It might procure his curse, ere I
vnto the ground be brought.
Wherfore I leaue some Papist olde
to vnder prop his roofe:
And to the poore within the same,
a Bore for their behoofe.
What makes you standers by to smile.
and laugh so in your sléeue:
I thinke it is, because that I
to Ludgate nothing geue.
I am not now in case to lye,
here is no place of iest:
I dyd reserue, that for my selfe,
yf I my health possest.
And euer came in credit so
a debtor for to bée.
When dayes of paiment did approch,
I thither ment to flée.
To shroude my selfe amongst the rest,
that chuse to dye in debt:
Rather then any Creditor,
should money from them get.
Yet cause I féele my selfe so weake
that none mée credit dare:
I héere reuoke: and doo it leaue,
some Banckrupts to his share.

To all the Bookebinders by Paulles
because I lyke their Arte:
They ery weeke shal mony haue,
when they from Bookes departe.
Amongst them all, my Printer must,
haue somwhat to his share:
I wyll my Friends these Bookes to bye
of him, with other ware.
FoThis text has been supplied. Reason: Type not (sufficiently) inked. Evidence: The text has been supplied based on evidence internal to this text (context, etc.). (KL)r Maydens poore, & Widdoers ritch,
do leaue, that oft shall dote:
And by that meanes shal mary them,
to set the Girles aflote.
And wealthy Widdowes wil I leaue,
to help yong Gentylmen:
Which when you haue, in any case
be courteous to them then:
And sée their Plate and Iewells eake
may not be mard with rust.
Nor let their Bags too long be full,
for feare that they doo burst.
To ery Gate vnder the walles,
that compas thée about:
I Fruit wiues leaue to entertayne
such as come in and out.
To Smithfeelde I must something leaue
my Parents there did dwell:
So carelesse for to be of it,
none wolde accompt it well.
Wherfore it thrice a wéeke shall haue,
of Horse and neat good store.

And in his Spitle, blynd and lame,
to dwell for euermore.
And Bedlem must not be forgot,
for that was oft my walke:
I people there too many leaue,
that out of tune doo talke.
At Bridewel there shal Bedelles be,
and Matrones that shal styll
See Chalke wel chopt, and spinning plyde;
aud turning of the Mill.
For such as cannot quiet bee,
but striue for House or Land:
At Th’innes of Court, I Lawyers leaue
to take their cause in hand.
And also leaue I at ech Inne
of Court, or Chauncerye:
Of Gentylmen, a youthfull roote,
full of Actiuytie:
For whom I store of Bookes haue left,
at each Bookebinders stall:
And parte of all that London hath
to furnish them withall.
And when they are with study cloyd:
to recreate theyr minde:
Of Tennis Courts, of dauncing Scooles,
and fence they store shal finde.
And euery Sonday at the least,
I leaue to make them sport.

In diuers places Players, that
of wonders shall reporte.
Now London haue I (for thy sake)
within thee, and without:
As coms into my memory,
dispearsed round about
Such néedfull thinges, as they should haué
héere left now vnto thée:
When I am gon, with consience.
let them dispearced bee.
And though I nothing named haue,
to bury mee withall:
Consider that aboue the ground,
annoyance bee I shall.
And let me haue a shrowding Shéete
to couer mee from shame:
And in obliuyon bury mee
and neuer more mee name.
Ringings nor other Ceremonies,
vse you not for cost:
Nor at my buriall, make no feast,
your mony were but lost.
Reioyce in God that I am gon,
out of this vale so vile.
And that of ech thing, left such store,
as may your wants exile.
I make thee sole executor, because
I lou’de thée best.
And thée I put in trust, to geue
the goodes vnto the rest.

Because thou shalt a helper neede,
In this so great a chardge,
I wysh good Fortune, be thy guide, least
thou shouldst run at lardge.
The happy dayes and quiet times,
they both her Seruants bee.
Which well wyll serue to fetch and bring,
such things as néede to thee.
ℂ Wherfore (good London) not refuse,
for helper her to take:
Thus being weake and wery bōth
an end héere wyll I make.
To all that aske what end I made,
and how I went away:
Thou answer maist: like those which heere,
no longer tary may.
And vnto all that wysh mee well,
or rue that I am gon:
Doo me comend, and bid them cease
my absence for to mone.
And tell them further, if they wolde,
my presence styll haue had:
They should haue sought to mend my luck;
which euer was too bad.
So fare thou well a thousand times,
God shéelde thee from thy foe:
And styll make thée victorious,
of those that séeke thy woe.
And (though I am perswade) that I
shall neuer more thée see:

Yet to the last, I shal not cease
to wish much good to thee.
This, xx. of October I,
A Thousand: v. hundred seuenty three
as Alminacks descry.
Did write this Wyll with mine owne hand
and it to London gaue:
In witnes of the standers by,
whose names yf you wyll haue.
Paper, Pen and Standish were:
at that same present by:
With Time, who promised to reueale,
so fast as she could hye
The same: least of my nearer kyn,
fōr any thing should vary:
So finally I make an end
no longer can I tary.
¶ FINIS. by IS. VV.


  1. I.e., rue my smart = ease my pain. (JJ)
  2. I.e., swarue = swerve (i.e., go). (JJ)
  3. I.e., mell = literally, to meddle, but meaning to have dealings with. The speaker says that Time will tell those who wait whether it’s better to continue to stay with an undeserving lover or to renounce one’s faith in them. See OED mell v.1, meaning I.a.a and OED defy v.1, meaning 1.a. (JJ)
  4. For a list of churches in early modern London, see Churches in the Placeography. (JJ)
  5. For a list of streets in early modern London, see Streets in the Placeography. (JJ)
  6. I.e., Royal Exchange. (KL)
  7. Possibly the Wood Street Counter or Southwark Counter. (KL)

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MLA citation

Whitney, Isabella. The Will and Testament of Isabella Whitney. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 6.6, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 30 Jun. 2021,

Chicago citation

Whitney, Isabella. The Will and Testament of Isabella Whitney. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 6.6. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 30, 2021.

APA citation

Whitney, I. 2021. The Will and Testament of Isabella Whitney. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 6.6). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

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Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Whitney, Isabella
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - The Will and Testament of Isabella Whitney
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 6.6
PY  - 2021
DA  - 2021/06/30
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 

TEI citation

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