The value of a will

Of course, I’m not talking about the cash value but the family history value. Having said that, in my family wills are almost as rare as hen’s teeth. But in my wife’s slightly more prosperous family, they have been a wonder in finding and tracing relatives. The will transcribed below is that of my wife’s five greats grandfather, Josiah Rathbone and was proved in 1802. That’s before the era of useful (to genealogists) censuses and it does a grand job in  helping to tie families together and let’s those interested find new lines and new stories to tell.

Sorry folks. It is quite a long read.

I Josiah Rathbone of Gawsworth in the County of Chester carpenter being of sound mind memory and understanding do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say I will and direct that all my just debts funeral expenses and the charges of proving this my will be paid and discharged with all convenient speed after my decease out of my personal estate

I give and devise all that my freehold estate of inheritance situate and being within Macclesfield in the said County of Chester at a place there called the Park Lane now in the occupation of Samuel Worthington with the gardens lands buildings plot of common ground and hereditaments thereunto belonging with their and every of their appurtenances except the cottage or small dwelling house now in the occupation of Samuel Ryder cooper during the life of my wife in manner hereinafter mentioned unto John Fisher of Gawsworth aforesaid husbandman and John Jackson of Gawsworth aforesaid farmer ——————————————————-their heirs and assigns upon the trusts following that is to say upon trust that they the said John Fisher and John Jackson or the survivor of them or the heirs or assigns of such survivor do and shall by and out of the rents ????? and profits of all or any part of the said receiver or to raise therefrom levy and take the sum of two hundred and seventy pounds and pay and apply the same unto my younger sons and daughters Abel Rathbone Olive the wife of John Thompston Edna the wife of the Reverend James Crabtree Lois Rathbone Etchells Rathbone Henrietta Rathbone and Rhode Rathbone to whom I give and bequeath the same at the times by the instalments and in the proportions manner and form hereinafter expressed

To my son Abel the sum of forty pounds To my daughter Olive the sum of forty pounds To my daughter Edna the sum of thirty pounds To my daughter Lois the sum of forty pounds To my son Etchells the like sum of forty pounds to my daughter Henrietta the like sum of forty pounds and the remaining sum of forty pounds unto my daughter Rhode and I do direct that they the said John Fisher and John Jackson or the survivors of them his heirs or assigns shall raise and pay the said sum of two hundred and seventy pounds out of the said rents and profits unto my said younger children by annual or yearly sums of twenty pounds and no more and without any interest for the same or any part thereof and pay to each of them twenty pounds at one payment as the same shall become due according to the instalments aforesaid and in the rotation or order I have before placed them or their monies and not as they shall be in seniority of age or priority of birth and that when each of them shall have received twenty pounds then I direct that each of them shall be paid the remainder of their respective legacies with the like order until the whole shall be paid but in and by the instalments aforesaid and after the payment of the said sum of two hundred and seventy pounds by the instalments aforesaid but subject thereto I give and devise the said hereditaments and premises unto my son Noah Rathbone and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life and from and after his decease I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid to the first and every other son and sons of the said Noah rathbone severally successively and in remainder one after another as they and every of them shall be in seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such sons the heirs made of his body always to be preferred and to take before the younger of them and the heirs male of his and their body and bodies issuings and for the default of such issue male then I give and devise the said last mentioned premises subject as aforesaid unto my son Etchells Rathbone and his assigns for and during the term of his natural life and from and after his decease I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid to the firsat and every other son and sons of the said Etchells Rathbone severally successively and in remainder one after another as they and every of them shall be in seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such son and sons and the heirs male of his body always to take always to take and be preferred before the younger of them and the heirs male of his and their body and bodies issuings and for default of such male issue then I give and devise the same premises subject as aforesaid unto my son Abel Rathbone and his heirs and assigns for ever provided that if either or any of my said younger sons or daughters shall happen to die before his her or their respective legacy or legacies shall become due without having lawful issue then I give and bequeath the legacy or legacies of him her or them so dying unto and amongst the survivors and survivor of them equally share and share alike to be paid them at the times aforesaid and by the instalments before aforesaid and if any of them my said younger children shall happen to die before the said legacy or legacies shall become due leaving lawful issue then I give and bequeath the share or shares of such of them so dying unto and amongst each of their issue equally if more than one share and share alike such issue to take their parents share only

I give and devise unto my wife Elizabeth Rathbone all that cottage or small dwelling house situate and being in Park Lane within Macclesfield aforesaid being part of my said freehold estate now in the occupation of the said Samuel Ryder to hold to her my said wife and her assigns during her natural life and from and immediately after the decease of my said wife then I will and direct that the said cottage and premises shall be again annexed to and be part of my said freehold estate in Park Lane aforesaid and I give and devise the same cottage and premises to such person and persons said for such estates and interests and with such remainders conditions and charges as are hereinbefore expressed concerning my said freehold estate and to or for no other use intent or purpose whatsoever I give and bequeath all and singular my household goods and furniture implements stock in trade monies securities for money and all other my personal estate and effects whatsoever or of what nature or kind so ever or in whose hands the same may be which be possessed of or entitled unto at the time of my decease unto my said wife Elizabeth Rathbone her executors administrators and assigns absolutely for ever subject nevertheless to the payment of all my just debts funeral expenses and the charges of proving this my will and I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said wife executrix and my said son Noah Rathbone and John Fisher of Gawsworth aforesaid husbandman executors of this my last will and testament and hereby revoking and making void all former and other wills by me at any time heretofore made  ???? publish and declare this to be my last will and testament only in writings whereof I the said Josiah Rathbone the testator have to this my will written on three sheets of paper set my hand and seal to whit my hand at the bottom of the two first sheets and my hand and seal to this last sheet and published and declared it to be my last will and testament the sixteenth day of March one thousand eight hundred and two.

Josiah Rathbone

 

The writing contained in this and the two preceding pages of paper was signed and sealed by the above named Josiah Rathbone and by him published and declared as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names ??????? in his presence of the said testator and of each other. The word ????? on the second sheet being first inter??????

 

John Warrington of Gawsworth Baker

William Warington of the same place Blacksmith

Philip Hall? Of Macclesfield attorney

The twelfth day of October 1802 Elizabeth Rathbone Noah Rathbone and John Fisher the executors within named were sworn in common form before me

L Healy Surrogate

Under one hundred pounds

Probate proved

Dated 12th October 1802

If we look for a story then why did most of the children get £40 but Edna, the wife of Rev James Crabtree got only £30. The Crabtrees were certainly not well off for the reverend gentleman was a put upon curate, not a Vicar living off the fat of the land and labours of others as many were in times past.

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3 Responses to “The value of a will”

  1. Judith Webb Says:

    Sorry to correct you, but Josiah’s daughter, Edna, was the (second) wife of the Rev JAMES Crabtree. My 3 X great-grandparents.

    • locksands Says:

      Don’t be sorry. I’m delighted you have pointed out a silly mistake. All our records say James. I have no idea why I wrote Thomas but thanks to you it is now correct.

      I’m very grateful

      • Judith Webb Says:

        Have you come across Raymond Richards’ book on “The Manor of Gawsworth”? In which James Crabtree is described as having ‘short legs and a short body, and was very corpulent … [but] he prided himself on knowing how to step it … leading off an Irish jig or dancing a hornpipe with the servant-maids’.

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