contributed by Donald King

Source:  Public Records Office - in England
Now The National Archives

contributed by Donald King

Source:  Public Records Office - in England
Now The National Archives

To see the will (PDF file), click here--and please be patient--this Adobe Acrobat file takes a while to load

Extract of names and relationships:
Will dated Feb 18, 1639/40, Prvd ? Mar 9, 1639/40; Melksham, Wiltshire, EN;
Isaacke Selfe "the Younger" of Beanacre, Wiltshire
Names no sons:
Names daus:
1st wife died (name?)
wife - Hannah
Father-in-law - Richard Goddard
Brother-in-law - Robert Forman (m. Isaac’s sister Grace) OR brother of
Isaac’s wife Ann/Hannah ??

See also: Wiltshire Community History, Melksham

by Peter Bruges

The transcript needs to amended. 
Isaac appears to have had two daughters named Jane. 
The Selfe who married a Bridges was in fact Jane one of the elder daughter. In her will she styles herself Jane Bridges. In all other documents she appears Jane and I have read the original will of Isaac Selfe he, or the scribe, wrote 'Jane'. Admittedly the a is a bit open but is nevertheless Jane. I think there were two Janes. 

Jane Selfe the elder married Edward Bridges, gent of Leigh upon Mendip on 23 October 1626 at Laycock. Their first child was indeed Richard but he did not survive. Edward died about 1658 and Jane died in 1694. Edward had Jane had a son Isaac (no doubt named after his grandfather). 
Edward appears in the Visitation of Somerset 1623 as the eldest surviving son and heir of his father Thomas Bridges (d.1622) and Alice Bowland. 

Isaac Selfe's will does indeed refer to the bequests of 840 each by Edith Power the grandmother of his daughters Margaret and Jane. Clearly Isaac had married more than once. You can work out that Jane was an elder daughter from the date of her marriage.

Reference: PROB 11/425/402
Description: Will of Jane Bridges, Widow of Leigh upon Mendip, Somerset
Date: 22 May 1695
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
She outlived her husband by many years:

PROB 11/288/721
Description: Will of Edward Bridges, Gentleman of Leigh upon Mendip, Somerset
Date: 25 March 1659
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

The Bridges of Leigh upon Mendip is a kin branch which shares common ancestry. The arms used was one of the key pieces of evidence that they were a kindred branch. Jane Selfe took quite some time to tie down as she was for many years simply Jane, the widow of Edward Bridges, gentleman of Leigh upon Mendip and Buckland Dinham, Somerset. I suspected that she may be connected to the Selfe family as she named one of her sons Isaac. It was quite common for the big clothier families to intermarry and indeed this was the case. Edward's marriage to Jane at Laycock made a lot of sense and fitted in with the timeline and Jane having her first child at the then family old home at Laycock (before Beanacre) was a common practice in the family. Jane clearly came with a substantial marriage portion and had to be fairly business minded as she would have a fair estate to manage with her surviving sons. Richard the eldest son, appears in his grandfather Isaac's will but not his father's so we can assume that he died young, similarly Edward the second son baptised at Leigh upon Mendip in 1630 predeceased his father, this left two surviving sons Thomas (1633-1706) and Isaac (1637-1669) who predeceased his mother and a daughter Barbara born in 1635 of whom nothing is known. Isaac left his mother 1000 and the balance of his estate to his elder brother Thomas which would have included his mansion manor house at Buckland Dinham. Jane the widow of Edward held lands in her own right and her will shows that she had a share in the slave trading ship called the Beginning which sailed out of Bristol. Jane left her interest in that ship to her grandson Thomas. Jane's will is a bit confusing as she calls grandchildren and great grandchildren, so great care is needed when reading her will. Jane clearly lived a long and interesting life. 

The will of Isaac Selfe the Elder mentions bequests from Margaret and Jane Selfe's grandmother Edith (d.1638), the widow of Thomas Power (d.1612), Alderman of Bath; prior to that she was married to Alderman, Thomas Fitch (d.1598) also of Bath. Thomas Fitch had three children: William, Margaret and Thomas and it is possible that one or more of these children was Edith's. It look high likely that Margaret Fitch was one of the wives of Isaac Selfe. Since Edith wrote her will on 19 January 1632 we can determine that children born to a Fitch before 1598, i.e. Margaret and Jane would receive a marriage portion from their father but those after would not. Since Margaret and Jane were each left 840 each it looks even more certain that Margaret and Jane were Fitch granddaughters.  I suppose the next part of the research is to check when Margaret, Isaac's wife was buried. Maybe the monumental inscription at Melksham might help.