The man I believe to be my 9th great grandfather William Noake wrote his Will on 2 Jan 1648 at Longburton, Dorset, England, and a cropped image from very near the beginning of that document appears below.

enter image description here

  • The first word is easy: husbandman
  • The last five words are easy: this my last will and

It is the word in between that I am yet to decipher but it seems to be something like "dofhoadayne".

Does anyone know what this word is likely to be?

It comes from this larger sample:

enter image description here

If you need particular sample letters from elsewhere in the document just ask for clarification via comments and I am happy to add a few more samples.

After accepting the answer of @RustyErpenbeck, and help from @bgwiehle with the difficult to read (at least for me) "church yarde", the above now reads to me as:

of Longburton in the county of Dorset husbandman doth ordayne this my last will and Testament in manner and formt following viz I give and bequeath my soul unto Allmighty God who gave it me and my bodie to be buried in Christian buriall in the parish church yarde of Long Burton from I give to the parish church of Long Burton Two shillings from

  • 1
    The start of the word may actually be "d of ...", given the proximity of the other words. Any other examples of the handwriting available?
    – ACProctor
    Sep 13, 2014 at 13:40
  • 1
    If you add additional samples, could you ensure that "r" "D" "m" are represented. Does the writer use many superscripts?
    – bgwiehle
    Sep 13, 2014 at 14:50
  • 1
    It would help if we could have a the complete sentence for grammatical context. Also see alphabets for comparison purposes.
    – Jan Murphy
    Sep 13, 2014 at 16:12
  • 1
    Original missing phrase may be "...do this day me..." but that doesn't make total sense. Other missing phrase is "church-yarde".
    – bgwiehle
    Sep 13, 2014 at 21:26
  • 1
    Also the National Archives tutorial has a section on Abbreviations.
    – Jan Murphy
    Sep 13, 2014 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


It says "Doth Ordayne" as in "I doeth Ordain this my Last Will and Testament"

example - William Shakespeare's Will of 1616 - "I, William Shackspeare of Stratford-upon-Avon in the county of Warwick, gent., in perfect health and memory, God be praised, do make and ordain this my last will and testament"

  • I think you're right! That seems to fit a little better than the other answer and a Google Search turns up some similar phrasing from around the same period.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 15, 2014 at 8:21
  • The resemblance to "doth make constitute and ordayne this my last will and testament in manner and form following. First I give bequeath and commit my soul into hands and protection of the Lord Jesus my only redeemer and my body solemnly to be buried within the parish church of Upton" from Gloucester (1586) is striking.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 15, 2014 at 8:30
  • 1
    This sounds better than my answer.
    – Judith
    Sep 15, 2014 at 16:07

I read it simply as do this day.

Thus some sort of contraction of Do this day make this, my last will and testament.

I have a couple of wills from that area of Dorset from just after 1700. They use very similar phraseology.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.