The last will and testament of Richard Aldridge (died 1848)

In the last post I wrote about Elizabeth Gibson (born 1803), daughter of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817) and his second wife Mary Catherine Bretman. Elizabeth married ship owner and widower Richard Aldridge in 1842. He died six years later. In this post, I’m reproducing my transcription of Richard Aldridge’s will. Much of it is legalistic detail, but it also provides useful confirmation of some of the facts of Richard’s life, and the lives of his children. For example, the will confirms the married names of his daughters Mary Jane Reynolds and Esther Holliday. It’s also touching that Richard Aldridge describes William Price Inglis, his son-in-law and the husband of his recently-deceased daughter Emily, as a ‘friend’.

Custom House, London, in about 1840

Custom House, London, in about 1840

It’s interesting to note that Richard Aldridge describes himself as a lighterman, the same occupation that I believe was followed by my 6 x great grandfather John Gibson, father of Bowes John. Richard’s association with Trinity House recalls that of my 8 x great grandfather Captain William Greene (grandfather of John Gibson’s wife Mary Greene), who was an Elder Brother and at one time Warden of that institution. And Aldridge is not the only person in my family tree to have served as a Custom House Agent: my 4 x great grandfather James Blanch was described as such at the time of his death, and his son, another James, was a customs officer until his transportation to Australia, having been convicted of stealing from one of the ships he was inspecting.

John Dalston Jones, named in the codicil to the will as a new executor after the death of Captain Joseph Short, was a Welsh-born surgeon and neighbour of the Aldridge family in Dalston.

In the transcription that follows, (?) indicates doubt about a transcribed word, while (???) stands for words that were illegible or otherwise impossible to understand.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Richard Aldridge the elder of Old Trinity House Water Lane Tower Street in the City of London and of No. 20 Dalston place Dalston in the County of Middlesex Lighterman and Custom House Agent as follows (that is to say) I direct my executors as soon as conveniently may be after my death to carry into effect the provisions in the deed of partnership executed by me and my sons Richard Aldridge the younger and Thomas Aldridge and bearing date on or about the nineteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and forty six contained in the event of my departing this life before the expiration of the partnership term of twenty one years And in particular I direct my executors to do what may be proper of expedient to enforce the execution and delivery to my beloved wife Elizabeth Aldridge of a proper Bond or covenant for securing to her the payment of an annuity of one hundred pounds during her life as stipulated in the seventeenth clause of the said deed of partnership. I give to my executors hereinafter named the sum of three thousand four hundred and fifty three pounds four shillings and nine pence three per cent consolidated Annuities now standing in my name in the Books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England Upon the Trusts following (that is to say) Upon trust to pay the dividends interest and annual proceeds of the said consolidated bank annuities into the proper hands of my said dear wife during her natural life for her sole and separate use free from the control debts or engagements of any husband she may hereafter marry and so as not to be anticipated or allowed by her and from and after the decease of my said wife then as to and concerning the said consolidated bank annuities and the dividends interest and annual proceeds thenceforth to arise therefrom Upon trust for the equal benefit of my four children hereinafter mentioned as tenants in common (that is to say) my daughter Mary Jane (now the wife of Jonathan Reynolds) my daughter Esther now the wife of John Holliday the younger my son Richard Aldridge the younger and my son Thomas Aldridge And I declare that the respective shares in the said trust fund of my said daughters shall be held upon trust for their respective sole and separate use free from the control and engagement of their respective present or any after taken husbands provided always and I so further declare that in case either of my said daughters shall die in my life time or in the lifetime of my said wife leaving a husband her my said daughter surviving then from and after the decease of my said wife the share of each of my said daughters so living shall go to and be held in trust for all or any one or more of the children Grandchildren or other issue of such daughter (such Grandchildren or other issue to be born in her lifetime) for such interest or interests and in such proportions and subject to such conditions restrictions and limitations over in favor of any other or others of their said children Grandchildren or other issue and with such regulations for a maintenance duration and advancement and to be paid or transferred at such age or ages either absolutely or upon such contingencies as such daughter of mine as aforesaid notwithstanding coverture shall at any time or from time to time by any deed will or other Testament in writing with or without power of Revocation direct or appoint And in default of such direction or appointment and subject to any appointment or appointments which shall not be a complete disposition of the whole of the said trust funds constituting the share of such daughter of mine as aforesaid then as to the said stocks funds and securities and the dividends interest and annual produce to arise therefrom In trust for all and every the child and children of such respective daughter of mine who being a son or sons shall attain the age of twenty one years or being a daughter or daughters shall attain that age or marry if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common for the absolute use and benefit of such child or children respectively and if there shall be no child of my said daughter who shall live to acquire a vested interest in such daughters share of the said trust provided In Trust for such person or persons in such manner in all respects as such daughter as aforesaid shall not withstanding coverture by any deed will or other testament in writing with or without power of revocation direct or appoint and for want of such direction of appointment and subject to any appointment which shall not be a complete disposition of my said daughters share of the said trust provided then in trust for the person or persons who would by virtue of the Statutes of distribution be entitled to the personal estate of my said daughter at the time of her decease if she has died intestate and without leaving a husband or child and if more than one in the like shares. I give and bequeath the several Legacies next hereinafter mentioned (that is to say) To my foreman William Thomas Fyfe the Legacy or sum of one hundred pounds To my said daughter Mary Jane Reynolds the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said daughter Esther Holliday the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said son Richard Aldridge the younger the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning To my said son Thomas Aldridge the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning and To my said friend Mr William Prince Inglis of the General Post Office the sum of nineteen Guineas for mourning and to my friends Captain Joseph Short of Rosalind Cottage Deptford Road and Thomas Hastings of Clements Lane Lombard Street Shipping Cheesemonger (?) the sum of ten pounds a piece for mourning provided also and I further declare that it shall be lawful for the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my will at any time and from time to time with the consent in (???) of my said wife (notwithstanding any future coverture) during her life And after her decease then in the discretion of the said trustees or trustee to sell and dispose of all or any part of the said Consolidated Bank Annuities hereinafter settled as aforesaid and to invest the money to arise from such sale in any other of the stocks or funds or other Government Securities of the United Kingdom or on mortgage of freehold copyhold or leasehold estates in England or Wales but not in Ireland and to vary of transfer the same as occasion shall require or as shall be thought fit provided also and I do hereby declare that in case the said trustees hereby named or either of them shall die in my life time or shall renounce the execution of the trusts hereby created or in case the said trustees or either of them shall die or shall be absent from the United Kingdom for the space of 6 calendar months at one time or shall otherwise become unwilling or unable to act in the aforesaid trusts then and so often as the same shall happen it shall be lawful for my said wife during her life notwithstanding any future coverture and after her decease for the surviving or continuing trustees or trustee or if there shall be no such trustee them for the retiring or remaining (?) trustees or trustee for the time being or if there shall be no such last mentioned trustee then for the executors or administrators of the last deceased trustee to nominate any fit person or persons to supply the place or places of the trustee or trustees respectively so dying residing abroad or becoming unwilling or unable to act as aforesaid and that immediately after such appointment the said trust estates monies and effects stocks funds and securities shall be converted or transferred in such manner that the same may (???) in such new trustee or trustees jointly with the surviving or continuing trustee or trustees or in such new trustees or trustees solely as the case may require And such new Trustee or Trustees shall have and be capable of exercising all the powers and authorities whatsoever hereinbefore contained in the same manner to all intents and purposes as if he or they had been appointed as a trustee or trustees by this my will provided also that the trustees for the time being of this my will shall be charged and chargeable only with such sums as they respectively shall actually receive by virtue of the trusts hereby reposed in them notwithstanding their joining in any receipt of receipts or doing (?) any other act for the sake of conformity and that they or any of them shall not be answerable or accountable for involuntary misfortune loss or damage which may happen in the execution of the aforesaid trusts or in relation thereto provided also and I hereby further declare that it shall be lawful for the said trustees or trustee for the time being by and out of the money which shall come to their or his hands by virtue of the trusts aforesaid to deduct retain and reimburse for themselves respectively or himself and also to allow to each other all costs charges damages and expenses and fees to counsel for advice which they or any of them may sustain disburse or incur in or about the execution of the aforesaid trusts or in relation thereto I give to my said wife my leasehold dwelling house No. 20 Dalston place Dalston aforesaid together with all my household furniture plate pictures prints glass china and other household effects and also all the housekeeping provisions wine spirits linen and consumable stores and also any bank notes and other ready money which shall be in my said dwelling house at the time of my decease and I bequeath to my said wife all the balance of cash which shall be standing to the credit of my private account with my bankers at the time of my decease subject nevertheless and charged with the payment out of the said Balance of cash of the several pecuniary legacies hereinbefore by me bequeathed and also with the payment of any housekeeping debts I may be owing at the time of my decease and of my funeral expenses and of the expenses of proving this my will and I declare that all the provisions hereby made for my said wife shall be held by her for her sole and separate use free from the control of any husband she may hereafter marry And that the same shall be accepted by her in full satisfaction of all dower (???). or free (???) to which she would otherwise be entitled in or out of any freehold or copyhold hereditaments now or heretofore belonging to me And as to All the Residue and Remainder of my estate and of effects real and personal not hereinbefore bequeathed I give and devise the same to my said sons Richard Aldridge the younger and Thomas Aldridge their heir executors administrators and assigns in equal shares as tenants in common And I give to my said two sons and their heirs and equals in right as tenants in common all real estates which may be vested in me at the time of my death upon any trust or by way or mortgage Upon the trusts and subject to the several rights or equities of redemption affecting the same real estates respectively And I appoint my said wife Elizabeth Aldridge and my friends the said Joseph Short and Thomas Hastings to be Executors and Trustees of this my will and I revoke all other wills by me at any time heretofore made In witness whereof I have to this my will contained in this and the four preceding pages or sheets of paper set my hand this nineteenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and forty seven – Rd. Aldridge – Signed published and declared by the said Testator Richard Aldridge the elder as and for his last will and Testament in the presence of us being present at the same time who in the presence of each other and of the said testator have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses – Hugh Shield Sol. 26 Queen Street Cheapside. Richd. Snelling Junr. his Clerk

This is a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Richard Aldridge the elder of Old Trinity House Water Lane Tower Street in the City of London and of No. 20 Dalston place Dalston in the County of Middlesex Lighterman and Custom House Agent Whereas since the date and publication of my said will Joseph Short one of the Executors and Trustees therein named hath departed this life Now I do hereby nominate my friend John Dalston Jones of Queens Road Dalston aforesaid Surgeon to be an Executor and Trustee of my said will in the room of the said Joseph Short and I declare that the said John Dalston Jones shall have and exercise all power trusts rights and interests whatsoever which he would have had and been entitled to exercise respectively in case the name of the said John Dalston Jones had been used throughout my will instead of the name of the said Joseph Short And I give to the said John Dalston Jones a Legacy of ten pounds for mourning and I declare the Legacy of ten pounds in my said will bequeathed to the said Joseph Short to be lapsed and no longer payable In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September one thousand eight hundred and forty eight – Rd. Aldridge – Signed published and declared by the said testator Richard Aldridge the elder as and for a codicil to this last will and testament in the joint presence of us present at the same time who in the presence of each other and of the said testator have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses –Hugh Shield – Rich. Snelling Jnr. 

Proved at London with a codicil 7th November 1848 before the Worshipful Frederick Thomas Pratt doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oaths of Elizabeth Aldridge widow the relict and Thomas Hastings the executors named in the will and John Dalston Jones the executor named in the codicil to whom admon was granted having been first sworn duly to administer.

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