The will of Dorothy Cruwys, spinster of Westminster
Proved on 6 December 1757
© Crown Copyright
National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/834,
Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Herring Quire Register 331-378
Dorothy CRUWYS was the eldest daughter of John CRUWYS, Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard, and Sarah FOOTE, the daughter of Samuel FOOTE, MP. Her father recorded Dorothy's birth and baptism in his diary as follows: "ye 27 day of august 1683 I had a daughter born named dorothy ye witnesses of her Baptism were my own moth'r my fath'r & moth'r in Law & my Cousin William Colman of Gorney. She was baptisd on ye 8 day aft'r her Birthe by Mr. Jonas Holmes".1 Dorothy's baptism was not entered in the Cruwys Morchard registers until 1684 and the entry was recorded thus: "Dorothy the daughter of John Cruwys Esq and Sarah his wife baptised the 26th of August 1683", with the year 1683 being underlined. Clearly either Dorothy's father or the Reverend Jonas HOLMES, the then Rector of Cruwys Morchard, had made a mistake over the date. Dorothy signed her will on 22nd August 1757 and it was proved in London on 6th December by her sister Bridget CRUWYS, the sole executrix.
In the name of God Amen I Dorothy Cruwys of St. Martins Westminster being in sound Mind and Memory Blessed be the Supreme Being the Creator of all Things for it But considering the uncertainty of Human Life do with my own Hand make this my last Will and Testament in the manner following that is I first bequeath my Soul to God and hope for his Mercy and the Intercession of my Mediator and Blessed Redeemer that all my Sins may be pardoned that I have committed in this imperfect State of human Life As to my Body my desire is to have it buried in a deep Grave in St. Margarets Church Yard Westminster underneath the North Window next to the West end of the Abbey as near the Wall as the Dean and Prebends will give leave If I dye out of Town I desire to be carried directly to my Grave in a plain Wainscot coffin covered with thin sheets of Lead and no other Covering or Inscription or any Ornament to adorn it in a Hearse and four horses and one Mourning Coach to attend it If I die in my own House to be carried to my Grave late at Night in the same manner I have mentioned I give unto my Sister in Law Mrs. Cruwys twenty Guineas for Mourning to my Brothers and Nephews that survives me to each ten Guineas for Mourning I give to my Nephew Mr. Thomas Cruwys one thousand pounds after the decease of my Sister Mrs. Bridget Cruwys Item I give to my Nephew Mr. Henry Cruwys two Thousand Pounds after the decease of his aunt Mrs. Bridget Cruwys Item I give to Elizabeth Finney if she is my servant when I dye Fifty pound the worst half of all my Cloaths excepting my Laces Five Guineas for Mourning I give to my servants that are so when I dye three Guineas for Mourning and Half a Years Wages provided they have lived with me two years I give to my Nephew Mr. Thomas Cruwys my Plate Ornamental China and Japan, chest cabinet and Boxes after the decease of his Aunt Mrs. Bridget Cruwys I give unto my Nephew Mr. Henry Cruwys all my Books excepting his Aunt Mrs. Bridget Cruwys chuses any of them for her own amusement but to be returned to him 'tis my Order and Request that my Legacies excepting these two; to my Nephews be discharged within a Fortnight after I dye and all my just debts and Funeral Expenses within a Month and I make my only Sister whole and sole Executrix to every thing I leave For her own Life Mrs. Bridget Cruwys and at her death desire my Nephew Mr. Thomas Cruwys may have my Tapestry or before if she'll think it right, 'tis to give it him, and 'tis my absolute desire that my Sister Mrs. Bridget Cruwys which I have made my only Executrix bequeaths at her death to those of her own Family what she has in her power to dispose of that was mine provided they behave well to her with decency and affection and 'tis my desire that none of my Goods China Plate or Jewels be sold at any auction or publick Sale whatsoever If they are I bequeath the Money it produces to poor House Keepers that belong to the Parish of St. Margaret Westminster their Number not exceeding twelve This is my last Will and Testament made and wrote by me the twenty second of August One thousand seven hundred and fifty seven - Witness my Hand and Seal - Dorothy Cruwys
7th December 1757
Appeared personally the Right Reverend Doctor Thomas Hayter Lord Bishop of Norwich and George Love of the Parish of St Margaret Westminster in the County of Middlesex Apothecary and being sworn on the Holy Evangelists made Oath each for himself as follows That they very well knew Dorothy Cruwys late of the parish of St. Martin in the Fields in the County of Middlesex Spinster deceased and are well acquainted with her Manner and Character of Hand-writing having often seen her write and having now carefully viewed the paper writing hereto annexed purporting to be the last Will and Testament of the said deceased beginning thus "In the Name of God Amen I Dorothy Cruwys" and ending thus "the twenty second of August one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven Witness my hand and seal" and thus subscribed "Dorothy Cruwys" they say that they do verily believe the whole Body and Contents of the said Will and the said Name Dorothy Cruwys thereto subscribed to be all of the proper Hand-writing of the said Dorothy Cruwys deceased - Tho: Norwich - G Love - same day the said Right Reverend Thomas Lord Bishop of Norwich and George Love were sworn to the Truth of this Affidavit before me Arthr Collier Surrogate present Hen: Stevens Notary Publick
This Will was proved at London the sixth day of December in the year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and fifty seven before the Worshipful Arthur Collier Doctor of Laws and Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir George Lee Knight also Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the Oath of Bridget Cruwys Spinster the Sister of the deceased and the sole Executrix named in the said Will to whom Administration was granted of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased she having been first sworn duly to administer
1 Cruwys, M.C.S. The Diary of John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard (1682-8). Devon and Cornwall Notes & Queries, Vol. XVIII (1933-4), p260.