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Help and advice for Cruwys Morchard: Will of Susanna Cruwys 1756

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The Will of Susanna Cruwys relict of Samuel Cruwys Esquire

6th July 1756

© Crown Copyright

National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/823,
Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Glazier Quire Numbers: 152-201

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

Susanna CRUWYS née BRETTON was the daughter of Thomas and Frances BRETTON. Her father was a vintner from London. Susanna's husband Samuel CRUWYS was born on 29th September 1685 at Cruwys Morchard, the son of John CRUWYS {1656-1711) and Sarah FOOTE. Samuel trained as a barrister in London, entering the Inner Temple in 1701 at the age of 16. He was called to the bar in 1706. Samuel succeeded his father as Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard in 1711 but he was an absentee landlord leaving his family in Devon to manage the estate for much of the year. Samuel was Deputy Recorder of Totnes in 1718 and Recorder of South Molton in 1744. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society. Samuel CRUWYS and Susanna BRETTON had six children, all of whom were probably born in London: John, Thomas Augustus, Francis, William, Robert, and Elizabeth. John CRUWYS (1715-1791), the eldest surviving son, succeeded his father as Lord of the Manor and was the Rector of Cruwys Morchard for 50 years. Thomas Augustus CRUWYS was Solicitor to the Stamp Office. One of their other sons died of smallpox in October 1729 when the family were living at a house in Sheer Lane in the parish of St. Dunstan's in the West in London. Thomas Augustus also succumbed to smallpox but fortunately survived. The other three children all died at a young age but no record has yet been found of their burials.

This is the last Will and Testament of me Susanna Cruwys of Carey Street in the parish of Saint Clement Danes in the County of Middlesex Widow and Relict of Samuel Cruwys late of the Middle Temple Esquire deceased Whereas in and by the Settlement made previous to and in consideration of my Marriage with the said Samuel Cruwys my late husband and bearing date the sixteenth day of June 1713 (after reciting amongst other things) that I the said Susanna Cruwys (then Susanna Bretton) was possessed of and intitled to several jewels pieces of plate and other things mentioned and contained in the Schedule thereunto annexed and hereinafter more particularly described It was covenanted and agreed that I should have the sole and free use and enjoyment of the said jewels plate and other the things in the said Schedule mentioned during my Life and that in Case I should happen to have any child or children by my said Husband at the time of my death It should and might be lawful to and for me at any time or times during my natural Life by any Deed or Deeds Writing or Writings to be executed by me in the presence of two or more credible witnesses as by my last Will and Testament in writing to be executed in the presence of the like number of Witnesses to give bestow and dispose of all the said several jewels pieces of plate and other the Things specified in the said Schedule unto and amongst or In Trust for all or any or other of such child or children and that the said jewels plate and other the things mentioned in the said Schedule or any of them should not be subject or liable to or chargeable to the debts or Dispositions of my said Husband or any after taken Husband and whereas the said Samuel Cruwys died on or about the fourteenth day of March 1746 leaving by me his widow The Reverend John Cruwys Clerk and Thomas Augustus Cruwys his only children and whereas I have not made any alteration or variation in the said jewels plate and other the things mentioned in the said Schedule excepting in the following particulars (that is to say) two stones taken out of the pair of Diamond Ear-Rings with Knots and three drops therein mentioned and which I intended to have been added to my Diamond Necklace therein also mentioned in the place of two taken therefrom and which I have put into the solitair [sic] of my late Mother permitted to be worn by me during my Life and the Gold Watch therein mentioned which I have now changed to a new middle-sized chased watch My silver Tea Kettle Stand and Lamp is by Mistake in the said Schedule mentioned to be only a silver canister and Lamp and my Diamond Necklace is by Mistake therein also mentioned to contain 47 Diamonds whereas it never consisted of more than 43 [?] Now for the full Disposition of the said jewels plate and other the things mentioned and specified in the said schedule annexed to my said recited Settlement and all other powers and authorities whatsoever I do hereby give devise and dispose of the said jewels plate and other the things mentioned and comprised in the said Settlement and Schedule thereto annexed and all other the jewels and ornaments of my person belonging to me either before Marriage or after unto my Son Thomas Augustus Cruwys his Executors Administrators and Assigns as Recompense and Satisfaction for his dutiful regard to me and whereas my Mother Ffrances Bretton some years since gave me her gold repeating watch and a present of a silver gilt Branch for two candles in order to be fixed upon a gilt pedestal which now belongs to her Executors and which I am very desirous should not be separated and therefore I desire that my son John Cruwys will permit his Brother to have the said pedestal and in consideration thereof I give unto my said Son John Cruwys my gold repeating watch But in case he refuses to comply with my said Request then I give my said gold repeating watch to my Son Thomas Augustus Cruwys Item I give unto my son John Cruwys the Sum of fifty pounds payable at the End of one year next after my decease But in Case he shall within that time interrupt or molest my Executor in the Execution of this my Will then I will that the said Legacy shall immediately upon such Interruption become void Item I give unto ______ Palmer i and Martha Palmer her daughter in case they live with me at the time of my decease all my cloaths and all my plain Linen which I am known to have now in my life time equally to be divided between them and I give unto the said ______ Palmer the Widow Twenty Guineas; and one years wages unto the said Martha Palmer together with a Suit of Mourning each over and above what I may be indebted to them at the time of my decease In case they or either of them shall be living with me at the time of my decease and I recommend my Executors ffriendship to the said _____ Palmer during the Term of her natural Life she having been a sincere ffriend to me Item I direct that all my Debts ffuneral expenses and Legacies by fully paid and satisfied by my Executor hereinafter named and I desire to be buried with my ffather and mother and that my ffuneral expenses exceed not the Sum of ffifty pounds and I leave it to the discretion of my Executor to give Mourning Rings to such of my intimate ffriends as he shall think proper and all the Rest and Residue of my Estate be it real or personal of what Nature or Kind soever the same may be and which I have not hereby otherwise disposed of I give devise and bequeath unto my Son Thomas Augustus Cruwys his Executors Administrators and Assigns and I do hereby constitute and appoint my said son Thomas Augustus Cruwys sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me made In Witness whereof I the said Susanna Cruwys have to this my last Will and Testament containing two sheets of paper set my Hand and to the last my Hand and Seal this twenty fifth day of December 1749 Susanna Cruwys Signed sealed published and declared by the said Testatrix Susanna Cruwys to be her last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at her Request and in her presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as Witnesses hereunto Stan: Sanderson Ones: Sheere2 1749 Robt Burd Junr

This Will was proved at London the sixth day of July in the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and fifty six before the Worshipful Arthur Collier Doctor of Law and Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir George Lee Knight also Doctor of Law Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the oath of Thomas Augustus Cruwys the Son of the deceased and the sole Executor named in the said Will to whom Administration was granted of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased having been first sworn duly to administer.

1There is a note in the margin of the will against all the mentions of the widow Palmer stating "Origl. so." presumably to indicate that the Christian name of the widow Palmer was left blank in the original will.
2Onesiphorous Sheere was named as one of the Trustees in the will of Susanna's son Thomas Augustus Cruwys which was proved in 1770. An Onesiphorous Sheer was baptised on 21st January 1719 at St James's Church, Huish by Hatherleigh, Devon, the son of Onesiphorous and Grace Sheer.

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Elizabeth Glover Howard for her invaluable advice and assistance.