I wrote recently about the likely first marriage of my great-great-great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Holdsworth nee Gibson(1733 – 1809), to John Collins, a gentleman of Epping. Drawing on information in the will of Richard Collins, who I believe to have been John’s father, I was able to construct the beginnings of a family tree for this landed Essex family. I’ve now come across another will that provides further interesting details about the Collins family. It specifically mentions John Collins, and intriguingly hints at a possible geographical connection with the Holdsworths.
Elizabeth Collins, spinster of Epping, drew up her last will and testament in 1759. The will was proven two years later, in 1761. Elizabeth, who was born in 1697 and so was 64 when she died, was the younger sister of Richard Collins, who had died in 1748 – and thus the aunt of John Collins who married Elizabeth Gibson.
In the next post I’ll offer an analysis of the will, but here I’ll simply reproduce my transcription of it:
In the name of God Amen. I Elizabeth Collins of Epping in the county of Essex spinster being aged and infirm in body but of sound mind memory and understanding praised be Almighty God for the same and considering the great uncertainty of human life do hereby make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say) first I resign my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Creator and my body I commit to the earth to be decently buried in a leaden coffin at the direction of my executors herein after named in Epping churchyard near my friends and relations who lye buried there and I do order and direct to have a brown outside wooden coffin and that the same shall not be covered with black cloth or otherwise and that a black marble stone with an inscription thereon be laid over my grave and as to such real and personal estates which it hath pleased Almighty God to bestow upon me I dispose thereof as followeth and first I give and devise unto my nephew William Collins (the youngest son of my late brother Mr Richard Collins deceased) and to his heirs all that my customary messuage or tenement with the barns stables outhouses buildings yards gardens orchards and appurtenances and also all the arable meadow and pasture lands as well freehold as copyhold to the said messuage or tenement belonging or in any wise appertaining with their and any (?) of their appurtenances as the said messuage or tenement lands and premises are situate lying and being in the parish of Northweald otherwise Northweald Bassett in the said county of Essex and now in the tenure or occupation of Robert Gilderson (?) To hold the said messuage or tenement lands or premises with their appurtenances unto and to the use of my said nephew William Collins his heirs and assigns forever upon condition nevertheless that he my said nephew William Collins or his heirs shall and do out of the said messuage and tenement lands and premises so devised to him and them as aforesaid well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto my cousin Susanna the wife of William Clarke of Epping aforesaid husbandman the sum of four shillings a week of lawful money of Great Britain every week weekly in the year for and during the term of her natural life free and clear of all taxes and charges whatsoever on Fryday in every week in the year during her life as aforesaid The first payment thereof to begin and be made on the first Friday which shall next happen after my decease and my mind and will is and I do hereby direct that the said weekly sum of four shillings shall be paid into the proper hands of my said cousin Susanna Clarke from time to time for her sole and separate use benefit and maintenance exclusive and apart from the said William Clarke her husband and shall not be subject to his debts or control and that the receipt of acquittances of the said Susanna Clark under her own hand shall from time to time notwithstanding her ?? be a sufficient discharge for the same and also upon this further condition That he my said nephew William Collins his heirs or assigns shall and do out of the said messuage or tenement lands and premises so devised to him and them as aforesaid well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto my nephew John Collins one other of the sons of my said late brother Richard Collins deceased one annuity or yearly sum of forty shillings of like lawfull money for and during the term of his natural life free and clear of all taxes and charges whatsoever ?? upon two of the most usual feasts or days of payment in the year (that is to say) The feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Michael the Archangel by even and equal portions the first payment thereof to begin and be made at or upon the first of the said feasts which shall next happen after my decease Also I give and devise unto my niece Elizabeth Collins the youngest daughter of my said late brother Mr Richard Collins deceased and to her heirs all that my customary messuage or tenement called Squires otherwise Tylers and now divided into two tenements with the barns stables outhouses buildings yards gardens orchards and appurtenances thereunto belonging as the same last mentioned premises are situate and being in Epping Street in Epping aforesaid and which I purchased of Thomas Nicholls and are holden of the manor of Epping Bury by copy of court roll To hold the said last mentioned messuage or tenement and premises with their appurtenances unto and to the use of my said niece Elizabeth Collins her heirs or assigns forever upon condition nevertheless that she my said niece Elizabeth Collins her heirs or assigns shall and do out of the said messuage or tenement and premises so devised to her and them as aforesaid well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto my said nephew John Collins one annuity or yearly sum of eight pounds of like lawfull money of Great Britain for and during the term of his natural life free and clear of all taxes and charges whatsoever at or upon two of the most usual feasts or says of payment in the year (that is to say) the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Michael the Archangel by even and equal portions The first payment thereof to begin and be made at or upon the first of the said feasts which shall next happen after my decease provided always and it is my mind and will that if my said nephew William Collins or my niece Elizabeth Collins or either of them their or either of their heirs or assigns shall or do make default of or in payment of the said weekly sum or of the said annuities or yearly sums of money or any of them or any part of them or any of them contrary to the true meaning of this my will That then and in such case it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Susanna Clarke and John Collins or their respective assigns or either of them (to whom such weekly sum or the said annuities or yearly sums or either of them shall ?? in arrear of unpaid) from time to time to enter into and upon the said respective messuages or tenements lands and ?? hereby respectively charged therewith as aforesaid with their or any of their appurtenances or any part thereof and the same or and or any part thereof to have hold and enjoy and the rents ?? and profits thereof to receive and take to ?? and their own respective use and uses until the said weekly sum and the said annuities or yearly sums so respectively charged thereon as aforesaid shall be fully paid and satisfied together with all costs and charges sustained for or by reason of the non-payment of them or any of them or any part of them or any of them anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding Also I give and bequeath unto my nephew Joshua Small the sum of one hundred and thirty pounds of like lawfull money of Great Britain and to my two nieces Sarah the wife of Mr John Franklin and the said Elizabeth Collins the sum of fifty pounds a piece of like lawfull money of Great Britain to be severally paid them the said Sarah Franklin and Elizabeth Collins by my executors herein after named within twelve months after my decease Also I give and bequeath unto my said nephew William Collins the sum of sixty pounds of like lawfull money to be paid him by my said executors at his age of twenty one years Also I give and bequeath unto my niece Sarah the wife of Mr Dillworth late called Sarah Collins spinster the sum of twenty pounds of like money to be paid her by my executors herein after named within twelve months after my decease in lieu of and in full satisfaction and discharge of all claims or demands which the said Mr Dillworth and Sarah his wife or either of them have ?? or may make upon or against me or my executors for board lodging or otherwise howsoever and also upon condition that they the said Mr Dillworth and Sarah his wife do and shall upon payment of the said sum of twenty pounds make an execute a good and sufficient release and discharge in the law to my executors as well for the said legacy or sum of twenty pounds as also for all claims or demands which they or either of them have ?? or may make upon me or my executors or otherwise howsoever Also I give an bequeath unto my niece Jane Reynolds spinster the only daughter of my niece the late Mrs Jane Reynolds deceased the sum of one hundred pounds of like money to be likewise paid her at her age of twenty one years together with such interest or improvement thereof as shall or may be made in the meantime for and towards her support maintenance and education provided always and it is my mind and will that in case any or either of my said nephews and nieces the said Joshua Small Sarah the wife of John Franklin Elizabeth Collins William Collins and Jane Reynolds shall happen to dye before his her or their legacy or legacys shall become due and payable by this my will as aforesaid then and in such case I give and bequeath the legacy of him her of them so dying unto the survivors and survivor of them equally to be divided between them share and share alike Also I give and bequeath unto my much esteemed friends Mr Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon in the county of Essex gentleman and to Mr William Cole of Epping aforesaid tallow chandler the sum of ten pounds apiece of like lawfull money to be paid to them within three months after my decease Also I give and bequeath unto the poor of the parish of Epping aforesaid the sum of ten pounds of like lawfull money to be distributed to and amongst them in bread by my said executors at the parish church of Epping aforesaid on the ten following Sundays next after my decease at twenty shilling each of the said Sundays and as for and concerning all the rest and residues of my ready moneys securities for moneys mortgages bonds goods chattles and all other my personal estate whatsoever and whereseover (after my debts legacies funeral expenses the charges of proving and all other charges relating to the execution of this my will paid and satisfied) I give and bequeath the same unto my nephew the said Joshua Small his executors and administrators And I do hereby make and appoint the said Philip Martin and William Cole joint executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made And I do hereby will and direct that my said executors or either of them their or either of their executors or administrators shall not be charged or chargeable or any ways answerable for any more or other moneys than shall be by them respectively received and not one of them for the other of them or for the acts receipts defaults or miscarriages of the other of them but each of his own acts and receipts only And I do also will and direct that it shall and may be lawfull to an for my said executors respectively and their respective executors and administrators from time to time in the first place to receive and take or default 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 any or either of them shall pay bear expend or be put unto or be damnifyed in or about any 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 In witness whereof I the said Elizabeth Collins the testatrix have to this my last will and testament contained in four sheets of paper to the three first sheets set my hand and to the last sheet thereof my hand and seal this twelfth day or June in the thirty second year of the reign of King George the Second over Great Britain and in the year of our old one hundred seven hundred and fifty nine . Eliz. Collins signed (+) sealed published and declared by the said Elizabeth Collins the testatrix as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us who at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses to the same the words (the wife of John Franklin) in the twentieth line of the third sheet first appearing to be wrote upon an erasure. Mary King. Thomas Davids. J. Walkley.
This will was proved at London on the tenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty one before the Worshipfull Andrew Colfer Durant (?) Doctor of Laws surrogate of the Right Worshipfull Edward Simpson Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by Philip Martin and William Cole the executors named in the said will to whom administration was granted of all and singular the goods chattles and credits of the said deceased to wit the said Philip Martin having been first sworn and the said William Cole having first made a solemn and sincere affirmation or declaration according to Act of Parliament only to administer.