I’m afraid this will be quite a lengthy post, as I’ve decided to share full my transcription of the unusually long will of John Mortimer, gentleman of Paddock, near Huddersfield, who died in 1823. This is a very important document for one branch of my family’s history, since its publication prompted my nineteenth-century Holdsworth ancestors to begin researching their origins, in order to prove a claim to a bequest included in it.
In the next post, I’ll try to summarise what I think Mortimer’s will tells us about him and his family – and about his possible links to my own Holdsworth forebears. For now, though, here is the will. As usual, I’ve kept the original layout, punctuation and spelling, using ‘xxx’ for any words that are unclear and (?) where I’m unsure of my interpretation. I’ve also highlighted in bold some key names, and also the key phrase that appears to refer to the Holdsworths:
This is the last Will and Testament of me John Mortimer of Paddock in the Parish of Huddersfield in the County of York Gentleman. I order and direct that all my just debts funeral and Testamentary Expenses be fully paid and satisfied by my Executors hereinafter named. I give and bequeath unto my friends Mr John Booth of Huddersfield aforesaid Ironmonger and William Stocks the younger of the same place Linen Draper their Executors and Administrators all my Leasehold Estate situate at Paddock aforesaid or elsewhere in the said County of York and all my Household furniture plate Linen Books debts sum and sums of money and all my personal Estate and Effects of whatever nature tenure or kind the same be To hold the same to the said John Booth and William Stocks the younger their Executors and Administrators upon the trusts and to and for the several ends intents and purposes hereinafter expressed and declared concerning the same (that is to say) Upon Trust to permit and suffer my dear wife during her life to occupy and enjoy the Dwellinghouse or Tenement wherein I now reside with the outbuildings and appurtenances and all the Household furniture plate linen and other Effects which I may leave therein at the time of my decease and also to permit and suffer my said dear wife for and during the term of her natural life to receive all the rents issues trusts and dividends interest and proceeds of my said Leasehold Estate monies and Effects for her sole use and benefit and upon further trust to pay over any sum or sums of money not exceeding one thousand pounds to such person or persons and in such manner and form as my said dear wife by any Deed or Instrument in writing under her hand or by her last Will and Testament or any Codicil thereto or other Testamentary paper shall direct or appoint and from and immediately after her decease Then upon Trust to permit and suffer my sister in law Miss Ann Hanson in case she shall be living at the time of the decease of my said wife to reside in and occupy the said Dwellinghouse and appurtenances with all the Household furniture therein and to receive and take all the rents issues dividends xxx of my said Estate monies and Effects (except such part as shall have been appointed as aforesaid) xxx and during the term of her natural life and from and immediately after the death of the xxx of them my said wife and sister in law Then upon Trust that they my said Trustees and the survivor of them and his Executors and Administrators do and shall stand possessed of and interested in the sum of four thousand pounds upon Trust to invest the same at Interest at his or their discretion upon Leasehold real or Government security and to pay the annual Dividend interest and proceeds arising therefrom unto my half sister Mrs Le Bass (the wife of Paul Le Bass Esquire of the City of Dublin in that part of the United Kingdom called Ireland) by two even and equal half yearly payments the first payment thereof to be made at the expiration of six calendar months next after the decease of the survivor of them my said wife and sister in law for and during the term of the natural life of my said sister and I do hereby direct and declare that the receipt or receipts of my said half sister under her hand shall alone be good and sufficient discharges for the same or so much of the said Dividends Interest and proceeds as therein or thereby shall be acknowledged to have been received and that the same or any part thereof shall not in any manner be subject to the debts control or engagements of her present of any future Husband and from and immediately after her decease then upon trust that they my said Trustees and the survivor of them and his Executors and administrators shall stand possessed of the said sum of Four Thousand pounds Upon Trust to pay divide assign and transfer the same unto and equally between my nephew Charles le Bass and my niece Mary Ann le Bass son and daughter of my said half sister if they shall be living at the time of her decease and in case either of them shall have departed this life without leaving lawful issue then living him or her surviving then Upon Trust to pay assign and transfer the whole of the said principal sum of Four thousand pounds unto the survivor of my said Nephew and Niece But in my case either my said Nephew or Niece shall have departed this life before the decease of my said half sister and having lawful issue him or her surviving who shall be then living then my will and mind is that the part or share of the said principal sum of Four Thousand pounds which he or she so dying or leaving issue would have been entitled to shall go and be divided unto and equally amongst such issue if more than one in equal shares and proportions or if but one then the whole to such only one. Provided nevertheless that in case both of them shall happen to die without leaving such issue him or her surviving then and in such case my will is and I do hereby direct that the said sum of Four Thousand pounds shall sink into and become part of the residue of my Estate and from and after the decease of my said wife and sister in law and the survivor of them I give and bequeath unto my Trustees hereinafter named to be assigned and transferred by them unto the Treasurer for the time being of a Voluntary Society for the relief of the Sick Poor of Huddersfield commonly called the Huddersfield General Dispensary the sum of Five hundred pounds to be put out at Interest upon Mortgage or in the Government Funds or otherwise employed at the discretion of the Managers or Committee of the Institution for the time being in some prudent manner for the permanent benefit and support of that excellent Institution and I hereby give them as great a liberty and discretion as to the mode of employing the Legacy as I can by the Rules of Law or Equity and hope it may be an encouragement to others to assist the Charity so that it may be enlarged and converted into an Infirmary or at least have the means of receiving some of the Sick or wounded Poor within walls of its own and from and immediately after the decease of my said wife and sister in law or the survivor of them I give and bequeath the sum of Five hundred pounds unto my said Trustees to be by them assigned transferred and settled to and upon the Trustees of the time being of a Charity at Huddersfield aforesaid established (I believe) by a Mr Waterhouse and usually distributed there on St Thomas Day and to Lewis Tenton (?) of Spring Grove near Huddersfield aforesaid Esquire and their successors to be decided or succeed (?) in the same manner as the said Trustees of the said Mr Waterhouse’s Charity Upon Trust to be by them put out on Mortgage or in the Government Funds or otherwise at their discretion and the Interest proceeds and dividends thereof to be by them and their successors xxxxx x distributed in money on St John’s Day in December at Paddock aforesaid xxx and among such old Men and Women as shall have resided three years within the Hamlet of Marsh in the Parish of Huddersfield who shall have attained the age of Sixty years or upwards and who do not receive Parochial relief and among such other infirm People of the said Hamlet tho’ they shall not have attained that age as shall appear to such Trustees to be proper objects of Charity And as to the Dwellinghouse or Tenement outbuildings and appurtenances situate at Paddock aforesaid being part of the Leasehold Estate given to my said Trustees for the benefit of my said dear wife during her life and for my sister in law should she survive her and in the occupation of Mr Thomas Shiers of Paddock aforesaid Woolstapler as Lessee thereof for a term of twenty one years which is nearly expired It is my will and mind that from and after the expiration of the said Term and I hereby direct my said Trustees to permit and suffer the said Thomas Shiers to occupy and enjoy the said Dwellinghouse and Premises with the appurtenances as the same are now occupied by him during the life of my said wife and sister in law and the survivor of them at and under the yearly rent or sum of Sixty give pounds clear of all deductions whatsoever and from and immediately after the decease of my said wife and sister in law or their leaving the House I now dwell in for another habitation I order and direct my said Trustees to transfer and assign the same Dwellinghouse and outbuildings and also the Dwellinghouse outbuildings and appurtenances now in my own occupation with part of the Garden in a direct line from the West end of the Messuage now in the occupation of Mr Livingstone unto the said Thomas Shiers his Executors administrators and assigns (Subject to a proportionate part of the Ground rent payable to Sir John Ramsden Baronet his heirs and assigns in respect of my said Leasehold Estate) on receiving from him or them within twelve months from the happening of either of the aforesaid events the sum of one thousand five hundred and fifty pounds as and for the purchase thereof As to the Dwellinghouse or Tenement outbuildings and appurtenances situate at Paddock aforesaid being also part of the said Leasehold Estate given to my said Trustees for the benefit of my said dear wife during her life and for my sister in law should she survive her and in the occupation of Mr William Livingstone of Paddock aforesaid Merchant as Tenant from year to year It is my will and mind and I do hereby direct my said Trustees to permit and suffer him to occupy and enjoy the same during the life of my said wife and of my sister in law should she survive her at and under the yearly rent of Twenty seven pounds and fifteen shillings clear of all deductions whatsoever and from and after the decease of my said wife and sister in law or their leaving the House I now dwell in for another habitation I order and direct my said Trustees to transfer and assign to the said William Livingstone his Executors administrators or assigns (on receiving from him or them within twelve months from the happening of either of the aforesaid events the sum of Four hundred pounds as and for the purchase thereof) the said Dwellinghouse with part of the Garden lying in front thereof and the yard behind the same to be divided by a straight line drawn from the west and thereof adjoining to the Messuage in my own occupation to the bottom of the Garden and from the division behind the spout at the backside thereof separating the said Dwellinghouses in a direct line to the boundary wall of the said yard behind the said Dwellinghouse (saving and reserving out of the said transfer assignment the Stable and yard now occupied by the said William Livingstone and which is comprised in a separate Ground Lease granted by the said Sir John Ramsden dated the day of one thousand hundred and Subject to a proportionate part of the Ground rent payable to the said Sir John Ramsden his heirs and assigns in respect of the said Leasehold Estate) And I hereby direct my said Trustees immediately after the decease of my said wife and sister in law or their removal as aforesaid to cause the said Dwellinghouses above directed to be assigned and transferred unto the said Thomas Shiers and William Livingstone and their respective Executors administrators and assigns to be measured and the ground rent to be apportioned by some proper and competent person prior to such assignments and transfers being Executed by them and the same premises shall be delineated and described and the rents to be apportioned shall be fixed and reserved in such transfers and assignments according to such measurement and valuation I also give and bequeath the sum of Fifty pounds to my friend Mr William Taylor of Huddersfield Cloth Merchant as a mark of my esteem for him to be paid to him six months after my decease And as to all the rest residue and remainder of my Estate and Effects not hereinbefore by me disposed of after the death of my said wife and sister in law of the survivor of them and which I hereby direct my Trustees by sale of any part of my Estate and Effects not in money to reduce into money I give and bequeath the same unto and equally amongst all and every my first cousins on my late Father’s side who shall be living at the time of the decease of the survivor of them my said wife and sister in law and the issue of such of them as shall be then dead leaving issue such issue taking equally among themselves but only in the place of their deceased Parent and to be paid to such of them as shall have attained the age of twenty one years at the time of the decease of the survivor of them my said wife and sister in law at the expiration of twelve months after the decease of the survivor of them my said wife and sister in law and to such of them as shall not then have attained that age when and as they shall attain it together with the Interest which shall have accrued and been received by my said Trustees on each party’s share in the meantime I give devise and bequeath all Estate which at the time of my deceased shall be vested in me upon any trusts whatsoever or by way of mortgage in fee or otherwise unto the said John Booth and William Stocks, their heirs Executors administrators and assigns xxxxxxxxx xxxx and quality thereof respectively Upon the Trusts and subject to the Equity of xxxxxxxxxx xxx at the time of my decease shall be subsisting or capable of taking effect xxxx xxxx xxx unto my said Trustees Mr John Booth and Mr William Stocks the sum of Fifty xxxxxxx xxx a piece as a mark of my respect for them and not as a recompense for their trouble in the xxxxxx of this my said will to be retained by them respectively within six months after my decease And I hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said dear wife and said John Booth and William Stocks joint Executrix and Executors of this my will Provided always and I do hereby declare that it shall and may be lawful for my said Trustees and the survivor of them and the Executors and administrators of such survivor or such Trustee or Trustees as shall be introduced into the Trusts aforesaid in pursuance of the provision hereinafter contained for that purpose at any time or times and from time to time to call in and receive change alter vary or transpose all or any of the sums of money hereinbefore directed to be invested and placed out at Interest and so from time to time at his and their discretion again to lay out and invest the monies so to be called in and received upon any other Government or real security or securities of the like nature upon under and subject to the trusts interests and purposes hereinbefore mentioned expressed and declared concerning the same trust premises or such of them as shall be subsisting or capable of taking effect And I hereby will and declare that the receipt or receipts of my said Trustees or the survivor of them his Executors or administrators shall be good and sufficient discharges to the purchaser or purchasers of the whole or any part of my said Estate and Effects for his her or their purchase money and that such purchaser or purchasers shall not afterwards be answerable or accountable for such purchase money nor be liable to see to the application thereof or any part thereof Provided also and it is my will and mind that in case either of my said Trustees herein named or any Trustee or Trustees to be appointed under or by virtue of this provision shall happen to die or be desirous to be discharged from the aforesaid Trusts or shall be about toe reside abroad or beyond the Seas or shall neglect or refuse or shall become incapable of acting in the Trusts aforesaid before the same shall be fully carried into Effect then and in that case and as soon and as often as the same shall happen It shall and may be lawful for the acting Trustee or Trustees for the time being and I do hereby require him and them to nominate and appoint one or more fit and proper persons or person to act in the place of the Trustees or Trustee so dying desiring to be discharged or refusing or becoming incapable to act as aforesaid and that after such appointment the said Trusts xxx monies and securities then vested in the Trustees or Trustee of this my will or in the Trustees or Trustee so dying refusing or becoming incapable of acting or to act shall be conveyed assured (?) and transferred so and in such manner that the same may vest such new Trustees or Trustee jointly with the continuing Trustee or Trustees or solely as the case may require and his or their Executors administrators and assigns upon the Trusts hereinbefore expressed and declared concerning the same And that such new Trustee or Trustees shall have and may exercise all and every the same powers and authorities as if he or they had been originally appointed by this my will and my will further is and I hereby declare that my Executors and Trustees shall be charged and chargeable only with and for so much of the said Trust monies and premises as they shall respectively actually receive and that one of them shall not be accountable for the other of them or for the acts receipts neglects or defaults of the other of them but each of them only for his own acts receipts neglects or defaults nor shall either of them be answerable or accountable for any Banker Broker or other person with whom or in whose hands any part of the said Trust monies shall be placed for safe custody of otherwise nor for the insufficiency or deficiency of any stocks funds or securities whereon (?) or in any of the monies hereinbefore directed to be placed out at Interest may be invested in pursuance (?) of this my will nor for any loss or damage which may happen in the Execution of the Trusts aforesaid or otherwise in relation thereto unless the same shall happen by or thro’ his or their willful neglect or default and that they my said Trustees and xxx and their Executors administrators and assigns shall and may out of the monies which shall xxx to their respective hands retain and reimburse himself herself and themselves and allow to his her and their Co Trustee and Co Trustees all and all manner of such (?) charges and expenses which they respectively may sustain or be put unto in or about the Execution of the Trusts aforesaid or in anywise relating thereto In Witness thereof I the said John Mortimer the Testator have to this my last Will and Testament contained in eight sheets of paper to the first seven sheets thereof set my hand and to their eighth and last sheet thereof my hand and seal this Twenty eighth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty three. John Mortimer (S), Signed sealed published and declared by the above named John Mortimer the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other at his request have subscribed our names as witnesses the word ‘Trustees’ being interlined over the word ‘Executors’ which was truck out near the top of the third sheet and a few immaterial obliterations and erazures having first been made Jno Bathie, Francis Sheirs, Wm Jennings,
Passed 29th May 1823