The Will of the Reverend Henry Shortrudge Cruwys
Proved on 1 February 1805
© Crown Copyright
National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/1420,
Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Nelson Quire Register Numbers 55-107
Henry Shortrudge CRUWYS, LL.D., D.Litt., was the only son of Matthias CRUWYS of Cruwys Morchard and Elizabeth SHORTRUDGE of Thelbridge. He was born on 3rd March 1735/6 and baptised on 1st April 1736 at South Molton. He was ordained as a priest on 14th June 1772 at Fulham. Henry succeeded his cousin, the Reverend John Cruwys, as Lord of the Manor and Rector of Cruwys Morchard in 1791. Henry died on 8th February 1804 and was buried on 13th February 1804 at Cruwys Morchard. Henry married Mary HUTTON, the daughter of the Reverend Charles HUTTON, Rector of Nymet St George, on 23rd June 1765 at Barnstaple. Henry and Mary had seven children. Their eldest daughter Elizabeth, born on 21st June 1767 in Holborn, London, married Richard MELHUISH of Witheridge. Their second daughter, Harriet, born on 27th March 1771 in Kensington, London, married George SHARLAND of South Molton. Three daughters and a son died in infancy. Their youngest son, John Henry CRUWYS, born in 1776, died on 15th October 1791 at the age of 15 years, supposedly from the effects of an injury to his back caused by being bullied at school. Henry had the sad task of burying his own son on 19th October 1791 at Cruwys Morchard. Henry's wife Mary died on 4th October 1776, probably from puerperal fever, shortly after John Henry's birth. Henry Shortrudge CRUWYS was the last of the male line to live at Cruwys Morchard House. The surname was not restored in the parish until some thirty years later when Henry's grandson, George SHARLAND, assumed the name and arms of CRUWYS by Royal Licence on 9th November 1831.
I Henry Shortrudge Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard in the county of Devon Clerk do make publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following First I give and bequeath unto my Trustees within after named the Sum of fifty pounds together with all my Clothes both Linen and Woollen immediately after my decease to be paid applied and disposed of at the discretion of my said Trustees towards the maintenance and support of Betty Milford1 of Cruwys Morchard aforesaid and her children and whereas Elizabeth the wife of Richard Melhuish Esquire will as one of my Daughters be intitled to a considerable Sum of Money under and by Virtue of the last Will and Testament of Henry Cruwys late of Hillersdon2 Esqr deceased and has at present no Issue born of her Body and my Daughter Harriet having six Infants now alive and may yet have more and in the Event of my daughter Elizabeth's having a Son will be intitled to nothing of Consequence under this my Will I therefore do hereby make no provision for her my said daughter Elizabeth the wife of the said Richard Melhuish whereas John Cruwys late of Cruwys Morchard aforesaid did in and by his last Will and Testament in Writing duly Executed (amongst other things) give and devise his advowsons and Right of Presentation to the Livings of Cruwys Morchard and Wemworthy [sic] to Trustees therein named their heirs and assigns for ever in trust to present the said Henry Shortrudge Cruwys or such person as I should direct in the first place and in the Second place John Henry Cruwys my son and if under age to get the Living of Cruwys Morchard held for him in the third place to present such person as my Daughter Elizabeth should desire and in the next place as my daughter Harriet should desire as by the said will of the said John Cruwys reference being thereto had may more plainly appear and whereas my Son John Henry Cruwys to whom such second presentation was to have been by the said Trustees Given Died a Minor under the age of twenty one years so that such second presentation was wholy [sic] undisposed of by the will of the said John Cruwys Clerk and did descend and fall to me as heir at Law to the said John Cruwys I do therefore give devise and Bequeath such second turn or presentation in and to the Living of Cruwys Morchard unto Thomas Melhuish Comins of Witheridge in the County aforesaid Gentleman and John Comins of Rackenford in the said County Clerk their heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns in Trust after my own avoidance by death otherwise to present such person as Harriet my Daughter Wife of George Sharland Gentleman shall nominate and appoint I also give devise and bequeath unto the said Thomas Melhuish Comins and John Comins their heirs Executors Administrators and assigns all the Rents Issues and profits which shall arise out of all or any of the survivors Freehold and Leasehold Estates or any other property whatsoever which was undisposed of by the will of the said John Cruwys Clerk deceased during the life time of the said Elizabeth my Daughter or untill she shall have a Son born of her body Lawfully begotten and which belongs to me and in my power and Disposal for the periods before mentioned In Trust to and for the only use and benefit of my said daughter Harriet the wife of the said George Sharland her heirs Executors Administrators and assigns and to be disposed of to and for her own Sole and Separate use and benefit or to such person or persons as she by any Writing Signed with her proper hand shall from time to time Notwithstanding her present or any future [husband] constitute direct and appoint and my will is that such present or any future husband shall not Intermeddle therewith neither shall the same be subject or liable to his Controul Debts or Engagements all the rest residue and remainder of my Estate of what Nature or Quality soever and also all my Goods Chattles and Testamentary Estate of what Nature or kind soever I also give devise and bequeath unto the said Thomas Milhuish [sic] Comins and John Comins their heirs Ex[ecut]ors Administrators and assigns In Trust also as aforesaid for the said Harriet the wife of the said George Sharland and I appoint the said Thomas Melhuish Comins and John Comins Executors and trustees of this my last Will and Testament contained on two sheets of paper In Witness whereof I have to the first set my hand and to the second and last sheet my hand and seal this second day of February One thousand Eight hundred and Four Hen: Sh: Cruwys Signed Sealed published and declared by the above named Henry Shortrudge Cruwys as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto Subscribed our Names as Witnesses at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other the words "Harriet" being first interlined Richard Comins William Thorne Thos. Comins
On the first day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and Five Administration with the will annexed of all and Singular the Goods Chattles and Credits of the Revd Henry Shortrudge Cruwys Doctor in Divinity late of Cruwys Morchard in the County of Devon deceased was granted to Harriet Sharland (wife of George Sharland) the daughter and Residuary Legatee named in the said Will having been first sworn by Com[missi]on duly to administer Thomas Melhuish Comins and John Comins the Executors and residuary Legatees in Trust named therein having first renounced as will the Execution thereof as Letters of Administration (with the said Will annexed) of the Goods of the said deceased Ex[amine] d
1Betty MILFORD was the daughter of William MILFORD and Ann ROW. She was baptised on 18th July 1756 in Cruwys Morchard. Betty had three illegitimate children who were all baptised at the Church of the Holy Cross in Cruwys Morchard by the Reverend Henry Shortrudge CRUWYS, who carefully signed his name at the bottom of each page of the baptismal register. Elizabeth "base born of Betty Milford" was baptised on 9th August 1790. John the "son of Betty Milford base born" was born on 4th December 1792 and baptised on 6th May 1793. William the "son of Betty Milford" was born on 3rd March 1797 and baptised the same day.
2Hillersden is a manor in the parish of Cullompton.
Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Elizabeth Glover Howard for her invaluable advice and assistance.