Records that have survived against the odds with Dr Diane Brook

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08 October 2020
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The will of William Norton from 1824 - just one of the beautiful wills illustrated in the November issue of Family Tree
In the November issue of Family Tree Dr Diane Brook looks at a marvellous range of documents that have survived the passage of time - and urges us not to give up hope that the very manuscript we need for that vital family history clue is out there somewhere

Tune into the Family Tree podcast episode 15 to hear Diane speak about her research and thoughts on these extraordinary documents, which sometimes re-emerge many centuries after they were last seen.

Read Diane Brook's article in the November issue of Family Tree, on sale 11 October. To buy your copy of the November today, click here.

To read the transcripts of the collection of original wills that Diane has in her collections, please see below.

Will of William Norton of Kimmage, Co. Dublin, 1824.

Transcript: [line by line]

I William Norton of Kimmage in the County of Dublin

Esquire, in my own handwriting do

make this my last Will and

Testament hereby revoking any other Will or Testament heretofore made or declared by me. Whereas I am possessed of certain

lands in the County of Dublin called the lands of Rathredding producing to me a yearly sum of one hundred and three pounds per Annum,

now I hereby Will and bequeath said property called Rathredding as aforesaid to my only son Theophilus Norton Esq.re ^Lieutenant of the Company of

Battle Axe Guards, subject nevertheless to a yearly Annuity to be paid by him out of same to my Wife Margaret Norton otherwise Ryan

during her natural life of one hundred pounds per Annum which said Annuity of one hundred pounds per Annum I bequeath to my said

Wife in lieu and in bar of dower or thirds, and in full satisfaction thereof, and I further desire that said lands shall stand chargeable with

said annuity as aforesaid of one hundred pounds to my said Wife, and at my Wifes decease, it is my will and desire that said Annuity

shall go to my said only son Theophilus Norton, his Executors, Administrators, or assigns, the rest residue and remainder of my

property of every description whatsoever I leave to my said son Theophilus Norton, and I hereby appoint the said Theophilus Norton

Sole Executor of this my last Will and testament, and in Witness whereof I have put my hand and affixed my seal this Eleventh

day of May one thousand eight hundred and twenty four. Wm Norton Seal Signed sealed and delivered by the above

named William Norton, as and for his last Will and testament by us who in his presence, and in the presence of each other

and at his request ave affixed our hands as Witnesses thereto … John Page ...Mifmin(?) Sam Page t? Pub

Ent.d at the Vice Treasurer's

office, Dublin Castle

            7th May 1830.

 

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Thomas Lansdown of High Littleton, will, 1789

Transcript: [line by line]

I Thomas Lansdown of High Littleton in the County of Somerset Tallow Chandler …

September ...one thousand seven hundred and Eighty six …

bequeath unto my Son Lawrence Lansdown and his Heirs...Land...

Parish of High Littleton... except...

several occupations of Samuel Brimble, James Bush, Thomas Chivers Joseph Smith John Selway James Swain Robert Chivers and George James)

and Assigns forever... my beloved Wife Jane Lansdown …

Life my Cottage ...occupation ...Samuel Brimble...James Bush

Thomas Chivers ...[rest of the tenants, named again]

Term of the

(that is to say) ...my Daughter Mary Bond...

I give and ...my Daughter Betty Bush... my Daughter Hannah Pow...

during her …. my Daughter Martha Trinder...

always and …

during their

so to do that

them or such of them

my said four Daughteres

...unto my Grandson William Bond...

and bedstead...

my said Wife...

Term of her...

with it appurtenances

day and Christmas Day

[more lines, witnesses]

Probate document with seal:

[24 April 1789]

[printed with handwritten additions]

 

William Batt of Doulting, will, 1791

Transcript: [line by line]

In the name of God Amen I William Batt of Newman street in the parish of

Doulting in the County of Somersett Yooman being sound of mind and health do make and

ordain.....I give my

Son in Law Richard White the sum of fifty pounds …

...my Grandson Edward Lambert one Shilling … to Nancy Lambert the

wife of the aforesaid Edward Lambert …

...to my Grandson William Budgett …

… the said William Budgett...

…. above payment...

...to my Grandaughter Elizabeth Chambers …

...my Son in Law Edward

Green Soapboiler of the parish of Stoke St. Michael ….

...in Newman street in the parish of Doulting...

...to the said Edward Green...

...to the said Edward Green all my

livestock...

nevertheless...

… Edward Green...sole Executor

Estates...

paying all my just debts In Witness whereof I have..

fourth day of March … one thousand seven hundred and ninety one. [SIC]

William Batt [mark?]  We whose names are ...wittness...

...Testator William Batt …

of each other Edward Perry, John Barratt, John Reynolds.

[END]

[Probate document, printed form with handwritten entries]

By the Tenor....

made known to all Men THAT...twenty seventh day of October …

Hundred and ninety four …

Surrogate...

official principal...

….William Batt late of the parish of Doulting in

the County of Somerset …

hereto annexed ...

concerning his... granted to Edward Green Son in Law of the deceased the sole

Executor …

and Singular

on or before the last day of April next ensuing...

seal of our said Vicar...

behalf/ the day and

our Translation.

            Edw.d Parfitt Dep.ts Reg.r

 

Christopher Evans of Yeovil, will, 1652

Paper, one sheet, three pages

Transcript: [line by line]

[Page 1]

I Christopher Evans thelder of Yeavill in the County of

Somersett Tailor being sicke & weake of body but of sound

& p[er]fect memory doe make & ordaine this my last will & Testam[en]t

in manner & forme …

[interlineated] & to his now wife for teused(?) of their naturall life the

[interlineated] remainder

unto John Evans my sonne ^? & to his heires & Executors for ever

[added line] of him the s[ai]d John Evans for evermore

all that my Messuage & dwellling house scituate in the barrugh

of yeavill in the County of Somersett afores[ai]d in a certaine

street there called Pitlane abutted with the lands of William

Seward on the west & the lands of Anthony Traske(?) on the east

which I formerly purchased of John Sorrell(?) thelder whitebaker

deceased.  Item ..sonne Christopher Evans & to

his heires for ever all that acre of land...

of Bartholomew Per Jacob(?) which lyeth in Eastfield

adjoyning

of Yeavill ...my daughter Hester

...Close of Pasture...

neare Yeavill...

[added line] conteyning about 3 acres & halfe

Haire(?) thelder ^ to have & to hold..

heires then to goe & to remaine to my first right heires

[added line] & my will is that my s[ai]d daughter Hester shall …

for evermore upon the severall & under upon …

[added line] the Kitchen yell(?) of my now Dwelling house one whole yeare next ensusring my Decase paying her afore...

conditions & consideration that shee pay my debts & legacy of

[Margin] unto my s[ai]d...

hereafter specified: … my daughter Temperance

Parker the sume of Tenn pounds...

her by my Executrix...

decease Item I give unto my daughter Mary Evans

[page 2]

the sume...

come & demand...

my will is that …

s[ai]d Executrix.... my daughter

Alice(?) Collins the sum of forty shillings..

unto her …

I give unto Christopher sonne of my s[ai]d sonne Christopher

Evans the sume of 5 s(?)...

he shall attaine

I give unto my s[ai]d sonn Christopher Evans all

my wearng apparrel both …

one p[air]e of bootes & a …

which boots & shoes I hereby give to my sonn in

law Robert Parker All the rest …

& Chattells ...

unto my fores[ai]d daughter Hester Evans whom I

make & constitute my sole Executrix …

last will & testam[en]t …

this my last will …

meaning …

buryed And I do further make...

my loving friends Henry Lavor & George

Moore the younger both of Yeavill …

overseeers …

Care that this …

[page 3]

fulfilled in all things, …

shall …

so?? this my will …

they(?)...

advise & …

In witness whereof …

the xxvth day of December in the yeare of Or Lord 1652

                                                signe of

                                                Christoph'r Evanns [signature of surname only][seal]

Signed sealed & declared to bee

the last will & testament of the

s[ai]d Christophr Evans before

Henry Lavor

Samuelrrhippy(?)

Margeri Resthmond(?)

[outside, numbers only, e.g. 2 – 2, 6  18, 50 1-10-0. Presumably sums related to the bequests but not checked.]

Second document, paper, folded, one side written. Outside 'Evans's will'

Transcript:

To all Christian people to whom...Christopher Evans

thelder of yeavill in the County of Somersett Taylor and Christopher Evans the yonge

sonne of the said Christopher Evans thelder send greeting … Christopher Evans

late father of the said Christopher Evans thelder did in and by his last will and

testament ...date five & twentieth day of December in the yeare of our

Lord one thousand sixe hundred fifty and two Give and bequeath...

[more, confirms Christopher Evans the child in the will of 1652 has received his 5 pounds legacy. Also that Hester Evans had married Morgan Richmond of Yeovil, shoemaker, and she has since died. Dated 22 February 1672. Signatures, marks. Remains or marks of seals.]