Oh my word, I've found a STINKER of a will from 1837
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 21:04
I've been transcribing C18th & C19th wills. They're often fascinating – but this is a corker!
Our testator is not a happy bunny...
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 21:05
"The following is the last Will & Testament of me James Bell of Clay Hill Epsom in the County of Surry – before it shall please God to take me from this World where in my early years I acquired by Industry & in Commercial Establishments a very large fortune and being desirous to enable my Brother William Bell as he had a large family I supported him in his Commercial pursuits with large sums of money but instead of his being grateful I may say my overkindness & confidence in his integrity he contrived by the most artful means & cunning to embarrass my affairs on which I unfortunately gave him a controul when I was absent and having also made it appear that his own affairs were in a similar state he ran off to Scotland & then by the assistance of his father in Law he got himself made a Bankrupt as by the Law in that Country he could more easily obtain his Certificate of discharge He made it appear that all that he had done in Business had always ended in losses of money to a large amount – and when Mr Mundell the eminent Solicitor in Great George Street went to Scotland on my behalf to examine into this my unworthy Brother’s affairs as stated in the Court of Bankrupty in Edinburgh Mr Mundell wrote to me Will[ia]m Bell in his examination before the Commissaries admitted that he had received from me some other of his Fathers family money to the amount of £102,000 - say one hundred & two thousand pounds I quote the words in Mr Mundells Letter altho[ugh] the sums from other of the family was a triffle I shall not add more to this sad detail – but only to mention that altho[ugh] the property he surrendered to the Bankruptcy Court in Scotland was so small that I got a mere triffle as my dividend and he having got his discharge in Scotland he came then to London – and some time afterwards he dropped down dead in [blank] Street in London in which he left his Widdow & several of his sons who appear living in affluence & some of them like men of Fortune from the time that their Father died. I have thought it right to leave some record of this my unworthy Brothers conduct – And now I shall proceed to make my Will & Testament as follows…"
suziedoozy · 28/09/2021 21:08
Wowsers! That is a corker!!
I saw “I specifically disinherit my wife” in one I looked at!
Are you researching wills?
RustyBear · 28/09/2021 21:08
Love it! He really was pissed off with his brother, wasn't he, even though he was already dead 😁
TheMarzipanDildo · 28/09/2021 21:09
Bloody hell that’s a lot of exposition. And not a lot of punctuation.
Fumnudge · 28/09/2021 21:12
That's fabulous. I can't help but read it in my head using using the BFG voice, makes it even better!
MushMonster · 28/09/2021 21:15
Well said Wiiliam! Those were some uncanning affairs he got himself, and William, in!
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 21:16
I can see his wife's MN thread now:
"Final straw with DBIL. AIBU to think DH should go NC?"
lljkk · 28/09/2021 21:17
phew... that was a huge sum of money to be swindled out of though, wasn't it, at the time?
Lockdownbear · 28/09/2021 21:21
£102k how much would that be worth now???
That must be absolute millions!
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 21:24
I'm doing a bit of a one-name study on an Edinburgh name. Some of the families are very ordinary folk who aren't very visible – they turn up in the newspapers as the victims, perpetrators or witnesses of crime, or in adverts for their shops.
But there are also a couple of fabulously rich families – and their sisters and their cousins and their aunts. They're into everything. East Indies (HEICS), West Indies (slavery), Town Council, Parliament, army, Royal Navy, agents for navy prize money (Napoleonic Wars), contracts for naval supplies...
They write wills, and have stupendous amounts of money to leave. £102K as just one payment! In 1837! It's eye-watering.
Lockdownbear · 28/09/2021 21:28
I have no real clue what it is in today's money
All I know is £7000 built an amazing building which is now 7 2&3 bed flats in 1893, so 60 years early blows my mind!
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 21:32
That must be absolute millions!
National Archives currency converter reckons £102,000 would be worth over £6 million today.
MaggieFS · 28/09/2021 21:33
Wow, that's a cracker of a will. A website via a quick google reckons that's £11.7m in today's money. Unbelievable.
Gingernaut · 28/09/2021 21:41
That might well be an explanation why he wasn't going to leave a bean to to his brother's widow or his brother's children.
StargazerAli · 28/09/2021 21:46
Fascinating! Nothing really changes does it? Love often flies out the door where money’s concerned and family members are still screwing each other over (I can think of two instances in my own). Such is life.
TressiliansStone · 28/09/2021 22:21
One of my favourites is by a captain of Honorable East India Company ships, who became filthy rich using his 50-ton personal cargo allowance wisely (UK luxuries, eg cheese, wine, publications to India; cloth, tea and artisan goods from India to UK).
His will states that, as he's set his sons up in the HEICS to make their own fortunes, they agree with him that his entire estate should go to their sisters. So after the captain's death in 1815 his four surviving daughters inherited a stupendous fortune.
The captain was meticulous, however. His youngest son hadn't yet taken up the job in India when the will was written, so he added a codicil in 1805:
"Having got my Son George appointed a Writer in East India Company’s Service in Bengal [...] that in case of his being captured by our Enemy or otherwise lose his cloaths & other necessarys he has with him he shall be fitted out again from the principal Sum of my fortune also his expences paid until his arrival in Bengal"
MsTSwift · 28/09/2021 22:24
The word “artful” should definitely make a comeback it’s great!
HarveySchlumpfenburger · 28/09/2021 22:43
That is amazing.
Perhaps the AIBU will be from the SIL or nephews complaining they have been cut out of the will. With the reason being given as a massive drip feed about 100posts in.
PermanentTemporary · 28/09/2021 22:48
I had some rich ancestors (all spent and not by me) and the shenanigans over wills are unbelievable. A common thread of screwing over the women of the family who are left dependent, so nice to read that not all families are like that.
Cocomumma · 28/09/2021 22:53
How do you search these online? I find this kind of thing very fascinating
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