The last will and testament of James Champain (died 1785)

In the last post I wrote about James Champain, the London wine merchant whose sister Ann married Richard Collins of Epping, brother of John Collins, the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809). I’m exploring James Champain’s family, with the aim of understanding something of the context of my ancestor’s life. In this post, I’m sharing my transcription of James Champain’s will of 1781, since it throws useful light on the history of his family. In the next post, I’ll discuss what we can learn from the will.

Via gutenberg.org

Via gutenberg.org

I’ve managed to transcribe most of the will, but inevitably there are odd words that remain difficult to decipher. ‘ ???’ indicates an illegible word and ‘(?)’ an uncertainty about a word.

This is the Last Will and Testament of me James Champain of the Borough of Weymouth in the County of Dorset Merchant as follows that is to say I desire to be decently and privately buried at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter named and first I order all my just debts which I shall owe at the time of my decease and my funeral charges and legacies shall be duly paid in order to provide for such payment. I do hereby Give devise and bequeath unto my son in law William Edwards of London Merchant and Thomas Hill of Lincolns Inn in the County of Middlesex Esquire all my Freehold and Copyhold Messuages Farms Lands Tenements and Hereditaments situate and being in the County of Essex or ??? in that part of Great Britain called England and also all and singular my Leasehold Estates for all my ??? and Interest therein and all other my personal Estate whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind the same be to hold to them the said William Edwards and Thomas Hill their heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns upon Trust that they my said Trustees and the Survivor of them or the Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns of such Survivor shall and do as soon as conveniently may be after my decease sell and dispose of my said Freehold Copyhold and Leasehold premises either together or in parcels for the most Money and best price that can be had or gotten for the same and with the Money arising thereby and by the Rents and profits of the same ??? sold and other my personal Estate hereby bequeathed to them pay all my just debts and funeral charges and all Legacies given by this my Will or by any Codicil I may make thereto And I Give to my said Wife Ann Champain the Annuity or yearly sum of twenty pounds for and during the time of her natural life which I charge to be issuing and payable half yearly out of and from the rents and profits of my ??? Estates Freehold and Copyhold and likewise my Leasehold till sold and on sale thereof I direct my said Trustees to place out at Interest or Government or ??? Securities A principal sum the Interest whereof shall be applied to pay the said Annuity for my said Wife’s life and upon her decease the fund or principal to be deemed and go as I have hereby given the Residue of my Estates. And I also Give to my said Wife so much of my Household Goods and furniture as shall amount to the value of One hundred pounds and also fifty Ounces of my plate which is to be chosen by her To and for her own use and I also Give to my said Wife whatsoever Household Goods plate silver and china she brought into my house on our Marriage and it is with concern I regret considering my family that it is not in my power with a greater Bounty to show my Affection to my dear Wife who has every merit to my esteem And I give my Sincerest Blessing to my Son James Champain now in the East Indies And I forgive him all Bonds Notes or other debts he may owe me And I give my Sincerest Blessing to my Son John Champain now also in the East Indies wishing it were in my power to show him further Kindness and I hope from his situation he will be enabled to assist his Brothers as I truly believe he would not wish to partake of my Estate to their prejudice And I give to my daughter Elizabeth Edwards, Wife of the said William Edwards ten Guineas for Mourning And I Give to my son William Burgundy Champain now a Lieutenant in his Majesty’s Navy the sum of One hundred pounds as a token of my affection to be paid to him at his Age of twenty one years or to be applied sooner for his benefit if my said Trustees think proper hoping his merit and good character will promote his Advancement and make his situation in life beyond what I can for his younger Brother and Sisters. And I Give to the said William Edwards and Thomas Hill the sum of twenty pounds apiece for their Trouble in and about the execution of this my Will of which I make and appoint them Executors And all the Rest and Residue of the Money arising by Sale of my Real and Leasehold Estates and other my personal Estate I Give and bequeath unto my Son George Hawkins Champain and to my three daughters Ann Sally and Frances Champain equally amongst them share and share alike and to the survivors and survivor of them and to be paid and payable to my said son George Hawkins Champain at his age of twenty one years and to my said three daughters at their age or ages of twenty one years or day or days of their respective Marriages and my daughter Ann having attained the Age of twenty one years I direct that my said Trustees shall allow and pay her for her maintenance forty pounds a year by half yearly payments till the share and fortune can be raised and paid to her And I direct that my said Truestees shall allow and pay or apply to the support of my other children George Sally and Frances such yearly sums for their maintenance as they shall think proper and I so hereby also empower my said Trustees if they think proper for the advancement or benefit of my said son George or my daughters Sally and Frances to advance and pay such sums as they think proper out of their respectives shares for such benefit and Advancement before their portions or shares become payable which sums so advanced shall be allowed out of the shares the same shall be so paid and on sale of my said Estates the share or proportion of such of any children as shall not then be of Age I desire and direct my executors and Trustees to place at Interest or Government funds of Real Annuities for their benefit and support and hereby appoint my said Trustees Guardians of the person as well as the fortunes of my said children under the Age of twenty one years at my decease or till their fortunes become payable provided always and my Will is and I do hereby direct that my said Trustees shall be only charged or chargeable with or accountable for such and so much Money only as they respectively shall actually receive by Virtue of the Trusts of this my Will and with no more nor the one for the other nor the Acts Receipts Rights Faults of Payments of the other And shall and may deduct and retain and be saved harmless (?) by and out of my Estates hereby devised to them for all such charges costs and expenses as they respectively shall sustain expend or be put unto by reason of their undertaking the execution of this my Will and my Will and meaning is and I do hereby declare that all and every person and persons to whom my said Trustees or the Survivor of them or the heirs Executors Adminstrators or Assigns of such Survivor shall sell my said real and leasehold Estates or any part thereof hereby devised to them for that purpose shall upon payment of their respective purchase Monies to my said Trustes or out of them and upon their or his signing Receipts for the same be effectually discharged from such purchase Money and that after such receipts the said Purchases shall not nor shall any of them be answerable or accountable for any loss misapplication or nonapplication of the said purchase Money or any part thereof and I do hereby revoke all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made In Witness whereof I have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand and Seal this twenty fourth day of April in the twenty first year of the reign of his Majesty King George the third of Great Britain and so forth and in the year of our Lord Christ One thousand seven hundred and eighty one Jas. Champain (S) Signed Sealed Published and declared by the above names James Champain as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who as Witnesses to the same have at his request and in his presence subscribed our names Thos. Combe. Jona. Langley. Chas. Cookney.

A Codicil to be taken as part of the last Will and Testament of me James Champain late of the Borough of Weymouth in the County of Dorset but now of the City of Exeter Merchant as follows

Whereas I have by my last Will and Testament bearing date the twenty fourth day of April One thousand seven hundred and eighty one forgiven to my son James Champain now in the East Indies all such sums of Money which I have advanced for him on any Bonds Notes and other Securities he hath given me for securing the said sums But considering that he is in a situation to accommodate a considerable fortune by his attention and Industry far Superior to what I can give his Brothers and Sisters in England and what he owes me will be an addition considerable to their fortunes therefore I do hereby revoke the said forgiveness to him and declare that my said son James Champain shall stand charged and liable to the payment of all such sum or sums of Money as he may owe me on any Security or of ??? Howsoever and the same shall be demanded received and recovered by my Executors and Trustees named in my said Will and that the said sums when received shall be deemed part of the residue of my Estates and be paid and applied as I have by my said Will given and directed such residue In Witness whereof I have to this Codicil to my Will set my hand and Seal this ninth day of October in the Year of our Lord Christ One thousand seven hundred and eighty four. Jas. Champain (S). Signed Sealed published and declared by the above named James Champain the elder as and for a Codicil to his Will in the presence of us who as Witnesses to the same have in his presence subscribed our names Thos. Combe. Chas. Cookney. ??? ??? ???

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James Champain, wine merchant (died 1785)

I’m continuing to explore the Champain family, who were were connected by marriage to the Collins family of Epping, as were my Gibson ancestors, as a result of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson‘s marriage to John Collins. I’m hoping that understanding more about Elizabeth’s wider family will enable me to throw light on some of the mysteries that still surround her life.

In the previous post, I wrote about John Champain, the London wine cooper with property in Epping, whose daughter Ann married John Collins’ older brother Richard. In this post I want to set out what I’ve been able to discover about Ann’s brother, and John Champain’s only son, James Champain.

First marriage to Hannah Hawkins

Abingdon today (via picturesofengland.com)

Abingdon today (via picturesofengland.com)

On 22nd May 1744 James Champain of the parish of St Dunstan in the East, London, alleged that he intended to marry Hannah Hawkins of Abbington (sic) in the county of Berkshire. The wedding was to take place in the parish church of St Mary At Hill, or St Anne Aldersgate, in London, or at St Mary Savoy in Middlesex. James was said to be above the age of twenty-one, but Hannah was only nineteen and thus a minor who needed the consent of her father, William Hawkins. It’s interesting that William is referred to as Hannah’s ‘natural and lawful father’. There’s a will made in 1780 by a William Hawkins Esquire of Abingdon, in which he leaves property to his ‘natural and reputed’ children William, James and Maria, all of whom he claims to have had ‘by my housekeeper’. There is no mention of Hannah, perhaps because she was no longer alive at this date, so we can’t be absolutely sure it’s the same man: but it raises the possibility that she, too, was a product of this ‘natural’ liaison.

James Champain and Hannah Hawkins were married on 29th May 1744, exactly a week after the allegation was signed, at the church of St Anne and St Agnes, which appears to be another name for St Anne Aldersgate. London trade directories list James Champain variously as a merchant and wine cooper of Tower Street (1749,1752 and 1753) and Seething Lane (1758), and as someone engaged in ‘iron hoop warehouse metal works’ at 143 Upper Thames Street (1768 – 1772). In other words, James was in the same business as his father John (see the previous post).

On 25th April 1745, James and Hannah Champain’s first child, James junior, was born; he was baptised on 14th May at the church of St Dunstan in the East. Three years later, in September 1748, their daughter Elizabeth was christened at the same church. She was followed by a second son, John, baptised there in August 1750. A second daughter, Ann, was baptised in February 1755.

By the time their next child was born, some four years later, James and Hannah seemed to have moved out of London, or at least to have acquired a country house, since their curiously but appropriately named son William Burgundy Champain was christened at the church of All Saints in Edmonton, then a village outside the city.

Another move must have occurred before the birth of James’ and Hannah’s daughter Sally, who was christened at the church of St Alfege in Greenwich on 16th March 1761. Three years later and yet another move found the family in Weybridge, Surrey, where George Hawkins Champain was christened in July 1764. This was also the location for the baptism of a daughter, Frances, in the following year, and for that of their last child, Thomas, on 10th August 1766.

Second marriage to Ann Andrews

James Champain’s wife Hannah seems to have died either at this time, or some time in the next few years, since on 1st June 1775 James married Ann Andrews at the church of St Giles without Cripplegate. James was said to be a widower ‘of this parish’, while Ann was a widow from the parish of Stoke d’Abernon, just a few miles from Weybridge. It turns out that Ann’s maiden name was Hawkins and that she too was originally from Abingdon, so she was almost certainly a close relation of James’ first wife Hannah. From her will of 1804, we can deduce that Ann had a brother named George, whose wife’s name was Mary, and a daughter named Sarah Eaton Andrews whose married name was Clealand. Neither Ann nor George are mentioned in the will of the William Hawkins mentioned earlier, so it’s possible either that (i) they were his legitimate children, as opposed to his natural or illegitimate offspring (but if so, why were they not mentioned in his will?) or (ii) that they were related to Hannah in some other way, perhaps as cousins. I’ve discovered that Ann and George were, in fact, the children of a William Hawkins of Abingdon and his wife Henrietta Baker, but I’m still unsure whether this is the same William who was the father of Hannah Hawkins, James Champain’s first wife.

Ann’s first husband was William Eaton Andrews of London, and Sarah seems to have been their only surviving child. William’s brief will of 1768 (he died in 1773) describes him as a gentleman of Bedford Street near Bedford Row (off Theobalds Road, near Holborn). Ann’s Surrey address might have been a country residence, but it’s possible that she moved there to be close to her relation Hannah Champain née Hawkins, and that when the latter died, a marriage between the widowed Ann and the widower James Champain seemed the most natural option for both of them.

Sarah Eaton Andrews

Sarah Eaton Andrews

James Dowsett Rose Clealand

James Dowsett Rose Clealand

Ann Andrews’ daughter Sarah married James Dowsett Rose Clealand of Ireland at Exeter in August 1790. James had been born James Dowsett Rose at Fort St David’s, Cuddalore, India, in 1767, the only child of Lieutenant Richard Rose of Abingdon and his wife Agnes née Clealand. Richard was mortally wounded at the siege of Atoor in 1768 and his widow took the infant James to England, where he was brought up, taking the additional name of Clealand in 1784 upon inheriting the family estates in County Down, which included Rath Gael House in Bangor. James Clealand served as a Justice of the Peace and as deputy-lieutenant and sheriff for the county. He was also apparently a deeply religious man and a pioneering naturalist. (I’m grateful to ‘hilbourne516′ at Ancestry, for allowing me to share the images featured above and below.)

Lieutenant Richard Rose

Lieutenant Richard Rose

Agnes Clealand

Agnes Clealand

James and Sarah Clealand had a son, William Nicholson, who died in infancy, and a daughter, Elizabeth Hawkins Rose Cleland, who in 1829 married Fortescue Clegg, a magistrate for the counties of Down and Antrim. They had three children.

In 1832, and unusually for women of the time, Sarah Clealand made her own will, even though her husband was still alive. By now Sarah was living in Milford, Pembrokeshire, though James Cleland was still resident in Bangor, and their daughter Elizabeth and her husband were living near Belfast. These facts, and references in the National Archives to legal disputes over the will between her widower and her daughter and son-in-law, suggests that the couple may have been living apart at the time of Sarah’s death. In December 1832 James Cleland married for a second time, to Elizabeth, described by one source as ‘the beautiful eldest daughter’ of William Nicholson-Steele-Nicholson of Balloo House, Bangor, and the couple had four sons and three daughters.

The death of James Champain

On 4th April 1772, three years before her father James’ second marriage to Ann Andrews, Elizabeth Champain married William Edwards at the church of St Stephen, Coleman Street, in the City of London. He was ‘of this parish’, while she was said to be of Weybridge, Surrey. William Edwards may be the ‘Russia merchant’ of that name who, together with Isaac Buxton, took on an apprentice named George Beauchamp in 1775. William is certainly described as a merchant in his father-in-law’s will.

William Edwards is one of the main beneficiaries of James Champain’s will, made in 1781, by which time James was living in Weymouth, Dorset. He died in 1785. Since James’ will is a useful source of information about his children’s lives, I’ll devote a separate post to discussing it.

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Collins, Champain and Stumphousen

Continuing my exploration of the life and times of John Collins of Epping (1733 – c.1763), the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809), I’m taking another look at what we know about John’s older brother Richard, and more broadly at the links between the Collins and Champain families. I have a suspicion that learning more about Richard and his immediate family might help me to understand some of the mysteries that still surround the lives of Elizabeth and John.

As I noted in the previous post, Richard Collins married Ann or Anna Champain in September 1747. I’ve written before about the Champain family, but I thought it might be useful to rehearse the information about them, particularly as new details have recently come to light. In this post, I’ll explore the family’s background, focusing mainly on Ann’s father John Champain, and in the next post I’ll write about the lives of his children.

An 18th century wedding (via britlitwiki.wikispaces.com)

An 18th century wedding (via britlitwiki.wikispaces.com)

The first point worth noting about the marriage of Richard Collins and Ann Champain is the date. We know that Richard was baptised in Epping on 16th December 1731, and yet his marriage to Ann took place on 15th September 1747, when he was not quite sixteen. Was Richard christened some years after his birth, or was there a reason for marrying so young? His father, Richard Collins senior, would die five month later, in February 1748: was it important to marry before his death?

A document in the Essex County Archives describes a marriage settlement of £1200 made on 14th September 1747, the day before Richard and Ann were married. The description reads as follows:

(i) Richard Collins of Epping, gent.; (ii) John Champain of Tower Street, London, citizen and wine cooper and Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon, gent.; (iii) Ann Champain, daughter of John Champain

On marriage of Richard Collins and Ann Champain

In trust for purchase of estate

Although the document is said to be ‘damaged by damp and rodents’, it would be fascinating to read it. ‘Richard Collins of Epping, gent’ must be Richard senior, and we know that Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon was one of the executors of his will and, according to that will, one of the guardians of his seven children, including Richard junior. The document is useful in confirming the identity of Ann Champain’s father: he was John Champain, a London wine cooper. However, we know from other sources that John also owned property in Epping.

There are land tax records for John Champain in the Tower ward of the City of London from 1726 onwards: so far, these are the earliest records that we have for him. I’ve also found an apprenticeship indenture from February 1730, when a certain Will Fisher was apprenticed to John Champain of London, wine cooper.

On 20th December 1735, a marriage was recorded in the Fleet Registers between John Champain of Epping, a widow, and Sarah Stumphousen of the same, a spinster. This John Champain was described as a farmer, but I have reason to believe it’s the same man. John was said to be a widower and Sarah a spinster. I’m certain this information is correct as far as John is concerned. We know from his will of 1756 that two children, James and Ann or Anna, survived him. Since the former was married in 1744 and the latter in 1746, they must have been born before 1735 and therefore be the product of their father John’s first marriage.

St Paul's, Deptford  (via www.stpaulsdeptford.co.uk)

St Paul’s, Deptford
(via http://www.stpaulsdeptford.co.uk)

However, I believe that the marriage record is incorrect in stating that John’s bride Sarah was a spinster: I’m fairly sure that she was a widow, since we know that she had three children from an earlier marriage. Our main source for this information is the 1749 will of Adam Stumphousen of St Paul’s, Deptford, who was, like John Champain, a wine cooper, suggesting that his father might have followed the same profession and that this is how John Champain met Sarah. In other words, it would seem that in 1735 the widowed John Champain probably married the widow of one of his business associates.

In his will Adam Stumphousen refers to James Champain as ‘my brother’ and also mentions the latter’s sister, Anna Collins – i.e. the Anna or Ann Champain who married Richard Collins. Adam also refers to a sister of his own named Sarah Stumphousen, who presumably was unmarried, and to another sister named Mary, the wife of Robert Mills. Mary Stumphousen had married Robert Mills of Stepney at the church of St Peter Upon Cornhill, London, in 1739. Adam’s will also describes John Champain as ‘my father in law’, but I’ve come across other examples of this term being used for ‘stepfather’.

From parish records, we know that Adam Stumphousen was married twice. On 22nd October 1733 he married Elizabeth West of Deptford (perhaps explaining how he came to be living there) at the church of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey. Adam was said to be from the parish of All Hallows, Barking, in the City of London. Since, as I’ve noted before, the records of this parish are still in the process of being digitised, it might explain why I’ve been unable to find baptismal records for Adam or his siblings.

Adam Stumphousen’s first wife Elizabeth appears to have died in 1738, and on 21st January 1740 he married Margaret Walker at the church of St Mary At Hill , London. On 3rd July 1748 their son Adam was baptised at St Nicholas Deptford: the father was said to be a wine cooper in Kings Street. If Adam senior’s will is to believe, the younger Adam was the couple’s only surviving child. I have reason to believe that he grew up to be an important Dissenting minister who studied at the Countess of Huntingdon’s college at Trevecca, Wales, and later served at various nonconformist churches in Wiltshire, dying in 1819.

18th century wine coopers

18th century wine coopers

It’s likely that the three Stumphousen siblings – Adam senior, Mary and Sarah – were born some time in the 1720s, and that their father died some time around 1730. The Christian name ‘Adam’, and the profession of wine cooper, seems to have been in the family for at least a century before that, making it difficult to distinguish between individuals and generations. An Adam Stompenhowson (sic) married Anne Johnson in 1633 at St Augustine Watling Street, London. Two children with the name Adam Stumphousen, presumably the offspring of this marriage, were baptised in the same parish in 1645 and 1650. I’m not sure of the identity of the Adam Stumphousen who was buried at St Botolph Aldgate in February 1694.

The family seems to have crossed the Thames to the Surrey side at some point, since on 16th July 1678 another Adam, son of Adam Stumphousen, a cooper, and his wife Sarah, was christened at the church of St Olave Bermondsey. Despite the coincidence of names, I believe this birth is too early to be the Adam who died in 1749: his father would seem to be the Adam Stumphousen who was buried at the same church in 1682 and whose probate inventory can be found in the National Archives. If this were the right Adam, we would need to believe that his mother Sarah married John Champain half a century after the death of her first husband, and that her son Adam was in his fifties when he married for the first time. It’s much more likely that the Adam Stumphousen born in 1678 was in fact the father of the Adam who died in 1749, and therefore the first wife of Sarah who later married John Champain. I would hazard a guess that their marriage took place in the first decade of the 18th century, and that it’s either hidden in the All Hallows records, or waiting to be found in the Essex archives.

Since Stumphousen is such an unusual name, deriving perhaps from German or Dutch immigrants to London in the early 17th century, it follows that those who shared this surname probably belonged to the same family. For example, on 6th July 1657 a Katharine Stumphousen married someone with the surname Wobes (?) at St Olave, Southwark, and in 1661 an Anne Stumphousen married Richard Niblett by licence. In 1699 Roger Stumphousen married Elizabeth Carter at St James Dukes Place: he was said to be a cooper of St Olave Southwark and there are land tax records for him in the Tower ward in the City of London in 1703, 1706 and 1707: perhaps he was a brother of the Adam Stumphousen who was Sarah’s first husband? Interestingly, an Anna Stumphousen paid land tax in the same ward, in Petty Wales Precinct to be precise, in 1738. Her neighbour, just four doors away, was John Champain. Petty Wales, though not marked on Rocque’s 1746 map (see below) was next to Gloucester Court, which connected with Beer Lane. (Interestingly, this is also the district associated with the Boulton family, connected by marriage with my Alice Byne née Forrest, my 8 x great grandmother and Elizabeth Gibson’s great grandmother.)

As I noted in an earlier post, the first edition of Osborn’s ‘Compleat Guide to All Persons Who Have Any Trade or Concerns Within the City of London, and Parts Adjacent’, published in 1740, lists John Champain as a wine cooper with premises ‘at the corner of Beer Lane, Thames Street’. The third edition of 1744 describes him as a merchant of Tower Street. The 1741 edition of the Universal Pocket Companion also lists John Champain as a wine cooper at ‘the corner of Beer Lane, Thames Street’. The 1745 edition has an identical listing.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing Tower Street and Beer Lane

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing Tower Street and Beer Lane

Beer Lane ran north to south between Tower Street and Thames Street. Trinity House and the church of St Dunstan in the East were to the west, the Custom House to the south, by the river. To the east was the church of All Hallows, Barking, and beyond that Tower Hill, the London home of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson, who in 1753 would marry John Collins and thus become the sister-in-law of John Champain’s daughter Ann or Anna. Given that they lived so close together in London, and that they both possessed properties in or near Epping, it seems almost certain that the two families were known to each other, even without the connection by marriage via the Collins family.

In the next few posts, I’ll write about John Champain’s children, their families, and their connections with the Collins family.

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The brothers and sisters of John Collins

The last post looked at the lives of the uncle and aunts of John Collins of Epping, the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson. In this post I’m continuing my exploration of John Collins’ family by reviewing what we know about his brothers and sisters.

Born in 1733, John Collins was the second of the seven children of Richard Collins (1693 – 1748) and Jane Stoker (died 1741). According to his father’s will of 1742, John had an older brother Richard and younger siblings William, Sarah, Jane, Elizabeth and David. I’ve been unable to find any further information about David and it’s possible he didn’t survive into adulthood. William and Elizabeth are mentioned in the 1759 will of their aunt Elizabeth Collins, but no details are given of William’s spouse and children, while Elizabeth still bore her maiden name. I’ve failed to find our anything more about William. There are a number of possible marriages for an Elizabeth Collins in the records, but to date I haven’t been able to confirm that any of them is the correct one.

It seems likely that ‘my niece the late Mrs Jane Reynolds’ mentioned in the will of Elizabeth Collins refers to John’s sister Jane, who was almost certainly the wife of Epping innkeeper Matthew Reynolds. They had a daughter Jane, born in 1752. Matthew died in 1755 and his wife Jane must have died shortly afterwards, since she was deceased by the time of her aunt’s will of 1759. I’m not sure what became of the younger Jane.

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

Church of All Hallows Barking, London

According to the same will, John Collins’ sister Sarah married a ‘Mr Dillworth’. On 19th July 1758 George Thomas Dilworth, a bachelor from Ealing, declared his intention to marry Sarah Collins, a spinster resident in the parish of All Hallows Barking in the City of London. We learn from the allegation that Sarah had been resident in this parish for four weeks past, and that the marriage was due to take place there, so it’s possible this was an address of convenience rather than an indication of her permanent home. A George Thomas Dilworth had been born in the parish of St Mary, Stratford le Bow, in 1732: he was the son of Thomas and Sarah Dilworth. There’s no proof that this is the right Mr Dilworth, nor have I been able to find any children from this marriage.

St Peter upon Cornhill (via www.londontown.com)

St Peter upon Cornhill (via http://www.londontown.com)

The Collins sibling about whom we know most is John’s elder brother Richard. On 15th September 1747 Richard Collins, a bachelor from Epping, married Anna Champain, a spinster of the same parish, at the church of St Peter upon Cornhill in the City of London. I’ll write about Richard, Anna and the links between the Collins and the Champain families in another post.

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The uncle and aunts of John Collins of Epping

Richard Collins (1693 – 1748), the Epping landowner whose will I discussed in the previous post, was the father of John Collins (born 1733), the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson. Richard Collins was himself the third of the four children of another Richard Collins (1656 – 1742). He had an older brother John (1686 – 1742), an older sister Sarah (born 1688), and a younger sister Elizabeth (1697 – 1761). Fortunately, there are extant wills for three of the four siblings (I’ve yet to track down a will for Sarah, or details of when she died), which make it possible to piece together some of the Collins family history, and to provide some context for John Collins’ own life.

We also have the will of the first Richard Collins, the father of these four siblings, who died in 1742. To his eldest son John he left the property in which he himself lived, together with a number of other properties, all of them in Epping. To his younger son Richard he bequeathed the property know as Turners, which Richard would in turn leave to his own son, a third Richard Collins, as well as his property ‘at the sign of the George’ in Epping, which would be passed on to William Collins (see previous post). To his daughter Elizabeth, Richard Collins left his property in the village of Northweald, also known as Northweald Bassett. His youngest daughter Sarah, who by then was married to Henry Small, was bequeathed a property known as ‘the Harpe’ in Epping Street, which was to pass to her daughter Sarah Small after her death. In addition Elizabeth Collins was to receive a legacy of one hundred pounds together with all of the household furniture and implements to be found in her father’s parlour, and the use of that parlour until the time of her marriage (in fact, she never married). Richard’s grandchildren Richard, Sarah, Henry and Mary Small received legacies of forty pounds each. 

Epping High Street today

Epping High Street today

Sarah Small née Collins

The first of the four children of Richard Collins the elder to marry was his daughter Sarah. On 12th May 1708 Henry Small, a bachelor, and Sarah Collins, a spinster, both of Epping, were married at the church of St James, Dukes Place, in the City of London. According to the marriage allegation, Henry was twenty-six and Sarah twenty-one at the time. We know from her father Richard’s will that Sarah Small née Collins had children named Richard (1711), Sarah (1713), Mary (1715) and Henry (1718), all of them baptised at Epping. We also know from the parish records that another daughter named Mary was born to Henry and Sarah Small but died in 1710. The same records inform us that a son named John was born and died in 1721, and that another son, Joshua, was born in 1722. The latter’s survival is confirmed by the 1759 will of his aunt Elizabeth Collins, who leaves one hundred and thirty pounds to ‘my nephew Joshua Small’.

We know very little about Sarah’s husband Henry Small: his will of 1750 is held in the Essex Archives and from the online entry we know that he was living in Theydon Mount at the time. His name appears in an Epping electoral register for 1715, beneath that of John Collins, presumably his brother-in-law.

According to the parish records, Mary Small may have died in 1741 and Henry Small junior may have died in 1742, the same year as his grandfather Richard Collins. Joshua Small was buried at Epping in 1777, but nothing else is known about him.

More is known about Sarah Small the younger, daughter of Henry and Sarah. In 1734 she married widower John Franklin at St Benet Paul’s Wharf in the City of London. He was said to be of Much Hallingbury near Bishops Stortford while she was said to be from Theydon Mount. In her will of 1759, Sarah’s maiden aunt Elizabeth Collins left money to her niece ‘Sarah the wife of Mr John Franklin’. In his own will of 1769 John Franklin describes himself as an ‘innholder’ and refers to his wife Sarah Franklin and to ‘my only son Richard Franklin’, who is named as executor. Sarah must have remarried after her husband’s death 1760, since her own will, signed and sealed in 1789, in which she describes herself as ‘the relict of John Franklin late of (Epping) victualler and before that Sarah Small’, is written under the name of Sarah Cary. 

John Collins

Coopersale House, once home of the Archer family, in about 1958

Coopersale House, once home of the Archer family, in about 1958

John Collins was the second child of Richard Collins the elder to marry. On 5th November 1722, John Collins, a bachelor from the parish of Epping, married Mary Archer, a spinster from the neighbouring parish Theydon Garnon, at the church of St Andrew Undershaft in the City of London.

As I’ve noted before, it’s possible that Mary was the daughter of the William Archer (1677 – 1739) who had been born William Eyre and inherited the substantial estate of Coopersale in Theydon Garnon from John Archer on the condition that he marry Eleanor Wrottesley, John Archer’s niece, and take the Archer name. When Eleanor died without issue, William married Susanna, daughter of Sir John Newton, baronet, and I assume Mary was their daughter. According to one source William Archer ‘entered Parliament as a Tory at a by-election in 1734 and was returned unopposed later in that year, voting against the Government on the Spanish convention in 1739.’ We also learn that, as a result of his marriages, William and his family ‘were of considerable wealth; his daughter Susanna was said to have a fortune of £50,000 on her marriage in 1751 to Edward Harley, 4th Earl of Oxford.’

John Collins’ will of 1742 names a ‘William Archer the elder’ as one of his executors and the will was witnessed by, among others, one Nicholas Archer, who is probably the person of that name listed, with John Collins and Henry Small, in the electoral roll for Epping in 1715. However, I’ve yet to find confirmation that William and Nicholas Archer were members of the Archer family of Coopersale. John’s will mentions his wife Mary, father-in-law William Archer ‘the elder’, and son Richard. He also makes reference to his brother Richard (making him one of the executors, as well as guardian of his son Richard, together with William Archer), and his nephews Richard, John, William and David.

Elizabeth Collins

As already noted, Elizabeth Collins, the sister of Richard, Sarah and John, and the daughter of Richard Collins the elder, did not marry. She made her will in 1759, leaving the property in Northweald Bassett that she had inherited from her father Richard to her nephew William. She bequeaths a property ‘called Squires otherwise Tylers’ in Epping Street to William’s younger sister Elizabeth, who is to pay an annuity of eight pounds to her brother John. As mentioned above, the elder Elizabeth Collins also makes provision for her nephew Joshua Small, son of her sister Sarah, and for the latter’s daughter Sarah, the wife of John Franklin. Mention is also made of ‘my niece Sarah the wife of Mr Dillworth’.

There are a number of individuals named in Elizabeth Collins’ will whose exact relationship to her is still a puzzle: these include ‘my cousin Susanna the wife of William Clarke of Epping’ and ‘my niece Jane Reynolds spinster the only daughter of my niece the late Mrs Jane Reynolds’.

1786 map of the Epping area, Essex

1786 map of the Epping area, Essex

Conclusion

My purpose in exploring the lives of these members of the Collins family has to been to provide some context for understanding the life of John Collins of Epping who married my ancestor Elizabeth Gibson. His uncle John Collins the elder died when John was only nine years old, but he had a son Richard who would have been the younger John’s cousin. His aunt Sarah Small was probably still alive when John married Elizabeth Gibson, and her children would have been his cousins and contemporaries. Finally, his unmarried aunt Elizabeth was also alive during most of John’s adult life, dying just a few years before him.

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Reflection on the will of Richard Collins of Epping (died 1748)

In the last post I reproduced my transcription of the will of Richard Collins of Epping, Essex (1693 – 1748). He was the father of John Collins (born 1733), the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809). Richard Collins’ will is a key source of information about the Collins family of Epping: specifically, it includes the names of his surviving children and the details of their inheritance.

I’ve written before about the properties bequeathed by Richard Collins to his three eldest sons. His firstborn son and main heir, Richard junior, is to receive a considerable amount of property in the Lindsey Street area of Epping, including a property known as ‘Turners otherwise Colports otherwise Colworthyes’, amounting to about fifteen acres, and another called Hight Holes, comprising another fifteen acres.

John Collins, as the second son, appears to receive an even larger share of his father’s property, judged by mere acreage. Richard senior bequeaths him a property called Deacons at Stivyers Green, which is in the parishes of both Epping and neighbouring Great Parndon. As I noted in an earlier post, the area has also been known at various times as Severs Green and Chivers Green. This property comprises thirty acres, equivalent to the total amount inherited by John’s older brother Richard. However, in addition John is to receive a property by the name of Westmill, consisting of twenty-six acres and three roods.

Old map of Epping (date unknown) showing Sivers (Stivyers) Green

Old map of Epping (date unknown) showing Sivers (Stivyers) Green at top and Lindsey (Linset) Street at bottom

Richard Collins’ third son William is to inherit property associated with the George Inn in Epping. Richard also makes provision for ‘my four youngest children namely David Collins Jane Collins Sarah Collins and Elizabeth Collins’. However, if my information about the birth dates of these children is correct, then strictly speaking only David can be said to be one of Richard’s ‘youngest’ children. He was christened at Epping on 18th September 1740 and his mother Jane is said to have been buried there on 12th February 1741, perhaps having died from complications following David’s birth. But there are baptismal records for Sarah and Elizabeth in 1735 and 1737 respectively – I have yet to find a record for the younger Jane Collins – suggesting that Richard Collins counted his daughters as among his youngest children simply because they were female. They and their brother David would all have been very young when their father died, with ages ranging from eight to perhaps thirteen years.

The will mentions a number of other key figures who are not members of the Collins family. Richard Collins refers at one point to ‘the several farms and lands I now hold of John Conyers Esquire in Epping’. John Conyers lived at Copped Hall, a large mansion and estate adjacent to Woodredon, in Waltham Abbey, the property owned by Elizabeth Gibson’s parents John and Mary (my 6 x great grandparents). A few years ago Copped Hall was saved from demolition by a local campaign and is in the process of restoration: it is clearly visible from as you drive along the M25 between junctions 26 and 27, which cuts through the area, dividing Copped Hall from its historic neighbours in Epping and Waltham Abbey.

John Conyers was the son of Edward Conyers who purchased the estate in 1739, but he only enjoyed the house for three years before dying in 1742. John (1717-1775) inherited the property and considered repairing the original Hall as it had become dilapidated. However, in the end he decided to build a new house on a different site. This was built between 1751-58 after demolishing the old one in about 1748.

Copped Hall, Essex  (via commons.wikimedia.org)

Copped Hall, Essex
(via commons.wikimedia.org)

It would seem that some at least of the lands inherited by John Collins were part of the Copped Hall estate. As I’ve noted before, in the catalogue of Essex Archives Online there is reference to a document relating to the Copped Hall estate, Epping, containing ‘Deeds of Messuage called Deacons and another messuage, both at Chivers (Stivyers) Green, lands called West Mills, Epping and Great Parndon’. I’m still very keen to view this document, since it covers the period 1757 – 1763. John Collins married Elizabeth Gibson in 1753, and was dead by 1763 at the latest, so it’s likely that it will provide some insight into his ownership and possibly his place of residence.

Richard Collins was a widow when he made his will (his wife Jane had died two years earlier, in 1740) and his eldest son Richard junior was only twelve years old. It was probably for these reasons that Richard named two friends or associates – ‘Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon … Gentleman and Joseph Innever of Epping … yeoman’ as executors of the will. Philip Martin’s name occurs in a number of documents connected with the Collins family. For example, he would be one of the parties to the marriage settlement of Richard Collins junior in 1747, and he would be named as an executor, and described as an ‘esteemed friend’ by Elizabeth Collins, the unmarried sister of Richard Collins senior, in her will of 1761. As for Joseph Innever or Ennever, the other executor of Richard’s will, I’ve been unable to discover anything conclusive about him, except that a number of people with the same surname owned property in Epping, Waltham Abbey and other parts of Essex at this period.

Richard Collins was buried at Epping on 18th February 1748 and his will was proved on 1st March. When he died his eldest son Richard would have been about eighteen years old, his second son John fifteen and his third son William only nine. As mentioned above, Richard’s other children Jane, Sarah, Elizabeth and David would also have been quite young. This is presumably why Richard appoints his executors, Philip Martin and Joseph Innever, as guardians of all his children, to ‘have the care custody and tuition of all and every my sons and daughters and of their respective estates during their respective minoritys’.

There is a slight anomaly in the records I’ve found for Richard Collins junior. The parish records note that he was baptised on 16th December 1731. However, we also know that he married Ann Champain on 15th September 1746. Was Richard only fifteen when he married, or was he christened some years after his birth (his parents were married in 1727)? We know that when his father Richard senior made his will in 1742, Richard junior was still under twenty-one, but we don’t know his exact age. At any rate, Richard junior would have been married for just over a year when his father died. However, perhaps he didn’t come into his inheritance until he was twenty-one.

As for his younger brother John, I’m curious to know when he inherited the generous amount of land left to him by his father Richard – if indeed he did so. As I’ve noted before, John married my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson on 21st February 1753. I’ve been assuming that both John and Elizabeth were under age when they married, and that this might explain why they married at St George’s Chapel, Mayfair, a notorious location for clandestine marriages. However, reviewing the dates, I see that John Collins was christened in Epping on 14th January 1733. If the wedding actually took place in February 1754 by today’s reckoning, then he would have been able to marry without the permission of his guardians and presumably would also have recently inherited the properties left to him by his late father. Perhaps it was my ancestor Elizabeth who did not have the blessing of her father, who may in fact have been in the Fleet Prison at the time (see these posts). At the same time, I wonder if a secret marriage might have been frowned on by his guardians and might have jeopardised his inheritance?

St George's Chapel, Mayfair in the 18th century

St George’s Chapel, Mayfair in the 18th century

I’m curious to discover whether John Collins ever inherited the properties of Deacons or Westmill at Stivyers Green, and if so, whether he and Elizabeth lived there, presumably enjoying considerable wealth, until his death in about 1763. We know that their daughter Frances was born at Darby Street in East Smithfield, London, but it’s possible that Elizabeth was simply staying there during her confinement, with her mother or even her widowed grandmother, who is known to have lived there. Or perhaps, like her parents, Elizabeth during her first marriage to John Collins enjoyed the luxury of both a country seat and a house in town?

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The will of Richard Collins of Epping (1693 – 1748)

Old map of Epping, with Lindsey Street at top left

Old map of Epping, with Lindsey Street at top left

Last week I summarised what I’ve been able to discover about the family of John Collins of Epping, the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809). I’m revisiting the Collins family in the hope of gaining a greater understanding of Elizabeth’s life and solving some of the mysteries that still surround her story. John Collins was the second son of Richard Collins, an Epping landowner, and in this post I’m sharing my transcription of Richard’s will, one of our main sources of information concerning the Collins family in the first half of the eighteenth century. I’ll discuss what the will can tell us in another post. Richard Collins made his will in December 1742 but he didn’t die until February 1748; his will was proved in March of that year.

In the Name of God Amen. I Richard Collins of the parish of Epping in the County of Essex Gentleman being infirm in health and considering the great uncertainty of human life do therefore make my last will and testament in manner following that is to say as for and concerning my temporal estate I dispose thereof as followeth First I give and devise unto my eldest son Richard Collins and his heirs all that my customary messuage or tenement called or known by the name of Turners otherwise Colports otherwise Colworthyes situate and being at or near Lindsey Street in Epping aforesaid with the barns stables cowhouses outhouses yards gardens orchards and appurtenances thereto belonging and also all and singular the customary lands meadows pastures and hereditaments to the same messuage belonging and therewith used containing together by estimation fifteen acres more or less lying and being in Epping aforesaid with their and every of their appurtenances and which were purchased by my late father Richard Collins deceased of and from one Stephen Flower and also all that my other customary messauge or tenement called Hight Holes with the outhouses edifices yards gardens orchards and appurtenances situate at or near Lindsey Street aforesaid in Epping aforesaid and also all and singular the customary lands pastures and hereditaments whatever to the same last mentioned messuage belonging or therewith now used call Parklands or otherwise containing together also fifteen acres more or less and lying and being in Epping aforesaid with their and every of their appurtenances and which my said late father had and purchased of Richard Day Gentleman since deceased to hold the said two several messuages or tenements lands hereditaments and premises with their and every of their appurtenances unto and to the use of my said son Richard Collins his heirs and assigns for ever upon this express condition nevertheless that he my said son Richard or his heirs shall and do thereout well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto my son William Collins the sum of two hundred pounds or lawful money of Great Britain within one year after my decease in case he shall then be of the age of one and twenty years or else not to be paid to him until he shall attain such age I give and devise unto my second son John Collins and his heirs all that my freehold messuage or tenement called or known by the name of Deacons situate and being at Stivyers Green in the parish of Epping aforesaid with the barns stables outhouses yards gardens orchards and appurtenances thereto belonging and also all and singular the lands meadows pastures and hereditaments whatsoever as well freehold and copyhold to the same messuage or tenement belonging and therewith now used occupied or enjoyed containing in the whole by estimation thirty acres be the same more or less lying and being in the several parishes of Epping aforesaid and Great Parringdon otherwise Parndon in the said County of Essex late in the occupation of William Greygoose and now of Stephen Holton or his undertenants and which I purchased of and from George Hayes and Elizabeth his wife with their and every of their rights and appurtenances and also all that my other freehold messuage or tenement called or known by the name of Westmill situate and being at or near Stivyers Green aforesaid in Epping aforesaid with barns stables cowhouses outhouses yards and gardens orchards and appurtenances thereto belonging and also all and singular the lands meadows pastures woodgrounds and hereditaments whatsoever to the said last mentioned messuage belonging containing together by estimation twenty six acres and three roods be the same more or less lying or being in the several parishes of Epping and Great Parringdon otherwise Parndon aforesaid and now in the occupations of me and the said Stephen Holton or his assigns with their and every of their rights and appurtenances to hold the said two several messuages or tenements lands hereditaments and premises hereinbefore last mentioned with their and every of their appurtenances unto and to the use of my said Son John Collins his heirs and assigns forever Also I give and devise unto my third son William Collins and his heirs all that my customary messuage or tenement wherein William Rumball now dwelleth called or known by the name or sign of the George situate and being in Epping Street in Epping aforesaid with the barns stables granarys maultshops outhouses yards gardens and appurtenances thereto belonging or therewith used or occupied or taken as part or parcel thereof To hold the same unto and to the use of my said son William Collins his heirs and assigns for ever Also I give unto the poor people of the parish of Epping aforesaid the sum of ten pounds to be paid and distributed by the church wardens and overseers of the poor of the same parish in [?] as they shall see proper on the next Sunday after my interment at the church of Epping aforesaid Also I give unto my said son Richard Collins a large silver cup marked R.C. which Captain Brown his Godfather left him and as for and concerning all the rest and residue of my ready moneys securitys for money mortgages bonds household goods and other goods chattels cattle corn hay and implements of husbandry and all other my personal estate whatsoever (after my debts legacys funeral expenses and charges of proving and the execution of this my will paid and satisfied) I give and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my well esteemed friends Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon in the said county of Essex Gentleman and Joseph Innever of Epping aforesaid yeoman and the survivor of them his executors and administrators upon trust that they the said Philip Martin and Joseph Innever and the survivor of them his executors or administrators shall so soon as conveniently can be after my decase leave and quit or else assign the several farms and lands I now hold of John Conyers Esquire in Epping aforesaid and the leases thereof if he will consent to the same and also shall and do sell and dispose of all my said household goods and other goods chattels cattle corn hay and implements of husbandry and other my personal estate in such manner as they or the survivor of them shall think fit and proper an the moneys arising by sale thereof or otherwise by or from my said personal estate I give and bequeath the same unto and amongst my four youngest children namely David Collins Jane Collins Sarah Collins and Elizabeth Collins equally to be divided share and share alike and to be paid to my said son David at his age of one and twenty years and to my said three daughters at their respective ages of twenty one years or days of marriage which shall first happen and in case any of them my said four youngest children shall happen to dye before his or their shares or parts of my said personal estate shall become payable by this my will that then and in such case I give and bequeath the share or part or shares or parts of him her or them so dying unto the survivor and survivors or them equally as aforesaid and I do hereby make and appoint the said Joseph Innever and Philip Martin join executors of this my last will and testament and do give unto each of them the sum of twenty pounds for their trouble in the execution of this my will and the trust thereby reposed in them And I do hereby will order and direct that the moneys arising by sale of my said stock goods chattels and personal estate or otherwise by or from my said personal estate shall be put and placed out at interest or laid out by my said executors or the survivor of them in the purchase of government securities or in such other securities as they or the survivor of them his executors or administrators shall from time to time think fit and that the interest or yearly produce thereof or of such part thereof as my said executors or the survivor of them think reasonable shall be yearly paid and applied for the maintenance education and cloathing of my said four children David Jane Sarah and Elizabeth Collins respectively and the survivors of them during their respective minoritys or until such time as their said respective shares of my said personal estate shall become due and payable to them respectively by virtue of this my will aforesaid And I do hereby will and direct that my said executors or either of them their or either or their executors or administrators shall not be charged or chargeable or any ways answerable for any more or other of the said trust moneys ten shall be by them respectively received and not one of them for the other of them or for the acts receipts defaults of miscarriages of the other of them but each for his own acts and receipts only and I do also will and direct that it shall and may be lawfull to and for my said executors respectively and their respective executors and administrators from time to time in the first place to receive and take or defalte [?] and deduct out of my said personal estate to his and their own use and uses all such moneys costs charges and expenses whatsoever as they or either or any of them shall pay expend or be put unto or be damnifyed in or by or my suit or suits in law or equity travelling charges or otherwise howsoever for or in respect or by reason of the execution of this my will or the trusts thereof and further it is my will and I do hereby direct that it any person or persons to whom the moneys arising by or from my said personal estate or any part thereof shall be lent to his her or their heirs executors or administrators shall pay in the same or any part thereof that then and in such case the receipt or receipts discharge or discharges of my said executors or the survivor of them his executors and administrators shall be a good discharge or discharges to the person or persons his her or their executors so from time to time paying in the said trust moneys or any part thereof and lastly I do hereby will and direct that the said Philip Martin and Joseph Innever and the survivor of them shall be guardians to and have the care custody and tuition of all and every my sons and daughters and of their respective estates during their respective minoritys In witness whereof I the said Richard Collins the testator have to this my last will and testament contained in four sheets of paper set my hand to the three first sheets thereof and my hand and seal to the last sheet thereof the one and thirtieth days of December in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand hundred and forty two Richard Collins. Signed sealed published and declared by the said Richard Collins the testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who subscribed our names as witnesses to the same in his presence Mary King – Robt. King – Wm. Rush. 

This will was proved at London the first day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty eight before the worshipfull George Hay Doctor of Laws, surrogate of the right worshipfull John Bettesworth also Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the oaths of Joseph Innever and Philip Martin the executors named in the said will to whom administration was granted of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the deceased being first sworn duly to administer.

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