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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