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Benson and Stafford Court case (1758)

National Archives reference E 134/32Geo2/Mich9

© Crown Copyright

Transcribed by David Carter

National Archives Catalogue Record Summary:

Katherine Stafford, widow, John Stafford, Robert Stafford, Thomas Stafford, Kate Stafford, the younger, and Mary Stafford (late infants), by Robt. Stafford their late father and next friend by original bill, and the said Mary Stafford, by the said Katherine Stafford her mother and next friend by supplemental bill v. Thomas Benson, John Benson, and Peter Benson, sons of said Thomas Benson, Narcissus Hatherley, and the Attorney-General: Last wills and testaments of John Benson, Peter Benson the son, and John Benson the son, and the value, &c., of their estates; and estates including messuages, &c., called "Gammaton," in the parish of Bideford (Devon), in the possession of George Sage; an annuity issuing out of the barton of Hansford, in the parish of Burrington (Devon); a tenement, &c., called "Halls Pill," in the parish of Weare Giffard (Devon); messuages in the parish of Northam (Devon) called "The New Key;" a messuage, &c., at Northam called "Yapps," "Yeo," "Bidna," "Hammetts," at Silford, in Northam, near the schoolhouse in Northam, formerly in the possession of Daniel Sowden; a messuage in Northam called Collybeare Quarry; a wharf or key at Appledore, in Northam parish, called Jeffreys Key; houses, cellars, a messuage called the Red Lion and a malthouse adjoining said key, in the possessions of Messrs. Ellis, Lancey, and Jeffrey; a tenement in Northam called "Barseys," with a key near called Docton's Key, and a wharf or key at Appledore, in Northam, called "Hubberstone." Also messuages, &c., called "Conygars," in the possession of Humphrey Ching, "Dunscombes," in the possession of John Walters, and messuages, &c., in the village of Bibery, in the possession of Henry Stoneman, &c., &c. [See also 33 Geo. 2., Mich., No.12; 33 Geo. 2., East., No. 8.]: Devon

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N.B. This document contains almost no punctuation, so some implied breaks have been placed in the text by the transcriber, thus: // in an attempt to make easier understanding of the contents. For a verbatim transcript, ignore these marks.

N.B. The sections of this document listing the land-holdings have been itemized by bullet-points, to make these easier to read. In the original document, these words were all continuous.


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Preliminary pages:

The Commissioners Oath.
You shall according to your best skill and knowledge truly faithfully and without partiality to any or either of the partys in this cause take the examinations and depositions of all and every the witness or witnesses produced and examined before you by virtue of the commission hereunto annexed upon the interrogatories now produced and left with you and you shall not publish disclose make known to any person or persons whatsoever except to the clerk or clerks by you employed and sworn to secrecy in the exemption of this commission the contents of all or any of the depositions of the said witnesses or any of them to be taken by you and the other Commissioners in the said commission named or any of them until publication shall pass by Rule or Order of the Court of Exchequer. So help you God.

The Clerks oath:
You shall truly faithfully and without partiality to any or either of the parties in this cause take write down transcribe or ingross the Depositions of all and every the witness and witnesses produced before and examined by the Commissioner or any of them named in the commission hereunto annexed as far forth as you shall be directed and employed by the said Commissioner or any of them for that purpose and you shall not publish disclose or make known to any person or persons whatever the contents of all or any of the depositions of the witnesses so to be taken wrote down transcribed or ingrossed by you or whereto you shall have recourse or be any ways privy until publication shall pass by Rule or Order of the Court of Exchequer. So help you God

George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the faith. To our declared James HILLOW, John HIERN, William WILLIAMS the younger and John PALMER gentleman --- Greeting know ye that we having great confidence in your ability and care in transacting our affairs have appointed you and by these presents do give unto you or and two or more of you full power and authority for the careful examination of any witnesses whatever on certain articles or interrogatories to be exhibited before you or any two or more of you on the part and behalf of Katherine STAFFORD widow, John STAFFORD, Robert STAFFORD, Thomas STAFFORD, Catherine STAFFORD junr, Mary STAFFORD all late infants of Robert STAFFORD their late father & made ??~extfriendplts?? a~?~ Thomas BENSON our Attorney General ~~thers Deft? By original bill ~~~ on the se~~~ of Mary STAFFORD an infant Pl[aintif]f against the said Thomas BENSON our Attorney General and others Def[endan]ts by supplemental bill and f~~tak~~ ~~?~~ ~~~ons thereon and reducing the same in writing on parchment and therefore we command you that at such day and place or days and places which you or any two or more of you shall appoint for that purpose You diligently proceed in the prem---ds and call the said witnesses and cause them to appear before you or any two or more of you and that you carefully examine the witnesses and each of them separately by him or herself upon the said articles or interrogatory on their corporal oaths to be taken on God's Holy Gospel and take their examinations and ~edine the same in writing on parchment as aforesaid and when ye shall have so taken the same that you send the same together with the said interrogatories and this writ close sealed up under your seale or the seale of any two or more of you to the Barons of our Exchequer at Westminster on the morrow of Saint Martin next coming and we further command you and each of you that every of [hole] before he shall proceed to administer the oath to the said witnesses or any of them or to examine any witness to be produced before you to be present at any such examination ne shall take the oath first specified in the schedule hereto annexed and we give full power and authority to any three two or one of you jointly and severally to administer the said oath to the rest or any other of you corporally on God's Holy Gospels and we further command you that the person or persons who shall serve as clerk or clerks to take write down or transcribe the depositions of the witnesses to be produced and examined by virtue hereof before he or they shall serve as clerk or clerks as aforesaid or suffered to be present at the examination of any such witness he or they shall take the oath last specified in the said schedule and we give to you and each of you full power and authority jointly and severally to administer that oath corporally on God's Holy Gospels to such clerk or clerks witness Sir Thomas PARKER I~~ at Westminster the fourteenth day of June in the thirty first year of our Reign by the Barons. Masham.

Page 1.

Interrogatories to be administered to witnesses to be produced or sworn and examined in a certain cause now depending in his Majesties Court of Exchequer at Westminster wherein: Katherine STAFFORD widow, John STAFFORD, Robert STAFFORD, Thomas STAFFORD, Catherine STAFFORD the younger, and Mary STAFFORD late infants under the age of twenty one years by Robert STAFFORD their late father and next friend by original Bill and the said Mary STAFFORD by the said Katherine STAFFORD mother and next friend be supplemental Bill are the complainants.

Thomas BENSON, John and Peter BENSON his sons and Narcissus HATHERLY and also his Majesties Attorney General are the defendants on the part and behalf of the said complainants.

FIRST - Do you know the complainants and defendants in the Title of these Interrogatories named or any or other and which of them and how long have you known them or any or either and which of them declare the truth herein according to the best of your knowledge remembrance and belief.

SECOND - Did you know or was you acquainted with John BENSON the younger late of Parkham in the County of Devon Merchant // if yea how long and for what time did you so know him or was you so acquainted with him // Is the said John BENSON the younger living or dead // if dead when and about what time did he depart this life // was or was not the said John BENSON the younger in his lifetime and at the time of his decease or at any time and when and where seized and possessed of or otherwise and how and in what manner interested in or intitled unto a considerable or any and what zeal and personal or anyone what estate or estates //vif yea into whose hands custody possession or power did the same or anyone what part or parts thereof come after the time of his decease and how and for what purpose, Declare the truth herein according to the best of your knowledge remembrance information and belief together with your reasons and the circumstances at large concerning the same.

THIRD - Did you know or was you acquainted with John BENSON the father of the said John BENSON the younger in the next preceding interrogatory named // if yea how long and for what time did you so know or was you so acquainted with the said John BENSON the father // Is the said John BENSON the father living or dead // if dead when and about what time did the said John BENSON the father depart this life // did or did not the said John BENSON the father on the marriage of him the said John BENSON the son or at any time and when give him his Bond for the Payment of anyone what sum of sums of money and also goods and merchandize to anyone what amount and value and was or was not the same or anyone what part or parts thereof at anyone what time satisfied or paid off or received and by whom and to whom and how and in what manner or is or are or is or are not the same or anyone what part or parts thereof now remaining unsatisfied or unpaid // if yea why and for what reason was or was not the said John BENSON the father in his lifetime or at the time of his decease at any time or times and when and where seized and possessed of or otherwise and how and in what manner interested in or intitled unto a considerable or any and what real and personal estate or anyone what estate or estates // if yea into whose hands custody possession or power did the same or anyone what part or parts thereof came after the time of his decease and how and for what purpose is or are or is or are not some or anyone what part or parts of the estate or estates land tenements hereditaments and premises in the inquisition in the pleadings in this cause mentioned and set forth some or any and what part or parts of the estate or estates lands tenements hereditaments and premises of which the said John BENSON the father died seized or possessed or otherwise and how interested in or intitled unto, Declare the truth herein according to the best of your knowledge remembrance information and belief together with your reasons and circumstances at large concerning the same.

FOURTH - Did you know or was you acquainted with Peter BENSON in the pleadings in this cause named the son of the said John BENSON the father in the next preceeding Interrogatory and brother of the same John BENSON the son in the second Interrogatory named // if yea how long for what time did you so know or was you so acquainted with the said Peter BENSON // Is the said Peter BENSON living or dead // If dead when and about what time did the said Peter BENSON depart this life // was or was not the said Peter BENSON in his life time and at the time of his decease or at any time or times and when and where seized and possessed or otherwise and how and in what manner interested in or intitled unto all or any and what part or parts of his said late father John BENSONs real and personal estate or estates and of any other and what real and personal estate or estates // if yea into whose hands custody possession or power did the same or any and what part or parts thereof come after the time of the decease of him the said Peter BENSON and how and for what purpose is or are or is or are not some of any and what part or parts of the estate or estates lands tenements hereditaments and premises in the Inquisition in the pleadings in this cause mentioned and set forth some or any and what part or parts of the estate or estates lands tenements hereditaments and premises of which the said Peter BENSON died seized or possessed or otherwise and how interested in or intitled unto, Declare the truth herein according to the best of your knowledge remembrance information and belief together with your reasons and the circumstances at large concerning the same.

FIFTH - Did you know Roger STAFFORD in the pleadings of this cause named one of the legatees of the said Peter BENSON and is the said Roger living or dead // If dead when did he dye whether before or after the death of the said Peter BENSON and whether he died under the age of twenty one years or above and whether with or without issue and whether he died before or after the birth of the complainant Mary STAFFORD his sister, Declare what you know herein.

SIXTH - Are you an officer or servant or messenger of or from any and what Court of any Judge or any and what Court and where did you find or had the several parchments or paper writings now exhibited by and shown to you at the time of this your examination purporting to be the last Wills and Testaments of John BENSON the younger John BENSON his father and Peter BENSON his brother or of any and which of them and where when and by whom were these parchments and paper writings delivered to you and to what purpose // have the same or any or either and which of them been anyway altered erased interlined obliterated or otherwise defaced and how and in what manner since they came into your hands or custody. Declare.

SEVENTH - Was you and anyone and who else besides you at any and what time or times and when present as witness or witnesses and did the said John BENSON the son and John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON herein before and in the pleadings in this cause respectively named or either and which of their sign seal publish and declare the paper writing or writings now produced and shown to you at this the time of your examination marked respectively with the letter A.B.C.D.E.F. and purporting to be the last will or wills testament or testaments codicil or codicils of him or them the said John BENSON the son, John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON or either // and which of them in your presence and in the presence of any other person or persons and whom as and for his or their or either and which of their last will or wills testament or testaments codicil or codicils of whose hand writing is the name or names of each and every of them the said John BENSON the son John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON thereunto respectively sett and subscribed // and what word or expressions did they the said John BENSON the son, John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON and each of them particularly respectively say declare or make use of touching or concerning the said produced paper writing or writings respectively the time or times they and each of them particularly respectively signed sealed published or declared the same respectively or how and in what manner did they and each of them particularly respectively to sign seal and publish or declare the same respectively // was or were the said John BENSON the son, John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON or either and which of them then and at that time of sound and disposing mind memory or understanding or not did you and who else besides you sett subscribe or attest your and their name or names as a witness or witnesses thereto in the presence of them the said John BENSON the younger, John BENSON the father and Peter BENSON or either and which of them respectively // or how otherwise and is or are the person or persons or either and which of them whose name or names is or are sett and subscribed thereto respectively as testator or testators or as a witness or witnesses living or dead // If dead when and about what time or times did he she or they respectively depart this life and are you acquainted with their or any or either and which of their character and hand writing or not and is your name and are the names of the other persons so sett subscribe or attested as testator or testators as a witness or witnesses to such paper writing or writings purporting as aforesaid or either and which of them of your and their or any or either and which of their own proper hand writing or not // and was or was not the said Peter STAFFORD one of the complainants in the said original bill named the child which the said complainant Katherine STAFFORD was eusient with or with child of at the time the said paper writing marked and purporting to be the last will and testament of the said John BENSON the father bears date // if yea is the said Peter STAFFORD living or dead // If dead when or about what time did the said Peter STAFFORD depart this life and was or was not the said complainant Mary STAFFORD born of the body of the said complainant Katherine STAFFORD after and when and how long after the time the said paper writing marked with the letter F and purporting to be a codicil to the will of the said Peter BENSON bears date // declare the truth of all and singular the matters aforesaid according to the best of your knowledge remembrance information and belief together with your reasons and the circumstances at large concerning the same.

EIGHTH - Is or are the certificate or certificates writing or writings now produced and shown to you at this the time of your examination respectively marked with the letter A.B.C.D.F.G.H.I.K.L.M or either and which of them the original or originals or a true copy or copies or extract or extracts of any and what book or books entry or entries registry or registries of in or belonging to any and what court or courts registry or memorial kept in or for any and what town parish or place and for what purpose did you at any time and when where and with whom compare and examine the same. Declare.

NINTH - Was or were any and which of the parchment or paper writings indentures receipts indorsements and exhibits produced or and any which of them duly and in what manner and when signed sealed and declared or executed by any person or persons and whom and in the presence of you or any other person or persons and whom // Are such witnesses living or dead? Are any and which of the names of the persons set at parties or witnesses to the produced exhibits of their respective handwriting as you know or believe and how do you know or why do you believe the same? Declare.

TENTH - Do you know or can you set forth any other matter or thing whatsoever material or for the benefit of the said complainants in this cause or either of them // if yea set forth and declare the whole thereof according to the best of your knowledge remembrance and belief together with your reasons and the circumstances at large concerning the same?

Signed: James Hillow. John Heir. J.Crale (or Croile?).

Page 2

DEPOSITIONS of Witnesses had and taken the fourth day of November in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and fifty eight at the house of Henry BOWEN having a Publick Inn and known by the Sign of the Crown within the Town of Bideford in the County of Devon by virtue of a commission issued out of his Majesty's Court of Exchequer to James HILLOW and John THORN gentlemen and others directed for the examination of witnesses upon Interrogatories in a cause there depending between Katherine STAFFORD widow John STAFFORD Robert STAFFORD and Thomas STAFFORD Catherine STAFFORD junior and Mary STAFFORD all late infants by Robert STAFFORD their late father deceased and next friend complainants // and Thomas BENSON and his Majesties Attorney General and other defendants by original bill // and also between Mary STAFFORD an infant complainant and Thomas BENSON his said Majesties Attorney General and others defendants by Supplemental Bill // the said James HILLOW and John HIERN having before then beginning to act under the said commission severally taken the oath first mentioned in the schedule to the said commission annexed intitled the commissioners Oath and also having administered unto Henry BOYCE and William BRAGG the younger their clerks the Second Oath in the said schedule mentioned Intitled the clerks oath before they were permitted to act as clerks under the said commission are as follows:

John OXENHAM of Northam in the County of Devon yeoman aged fifty two years or thereabouts // A witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainants to the eighth Interrogatory only deposeth and saith that the paper writing now produced by him marked at the foot thereof with the letter (G) doth contain true copies of seven entries in the register books of burials kept in and for the parish of Northam aforesaid relating to the Burials of the several persons in the said paper writing mentioned who this deponent believes are named in the pleadings of this cause, with which entries this deponent who is Parish Clerk of Northam aforesaid and as such for several years past hath had and still has the custody of the said Register Books did this day carefully examine and compare the said copies.

Grace SAMM of the parish of Northam in the County of Devon widow aged about fifty five years // A witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainants to the first second third fourth fifth and seventh Interrogatories deposeth and saith:

To the first Interrogatory this deponent saith that she has known the complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow for about forty years last past and all the other complainants from their respective births and had known the defendants Thomas BENSON and John and Peter BENSON his sons from their respective infancies and the defendant Narcissus HATHERLY for twenty years past and upward but does not know his Majesties Attorney General.

To the Second Interrogatory this deponent saith that she well knew John BENSON the younger in this Interrogatory named from this from this deponents infancy home to the time of his death which happened in or about the month of August One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Eight to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time // And this deponent saith that the said John BENSON the younger was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized or possessed of several lands in Northam aforesaid and elsewhere but what estate or interest he had therein or of what value the same were this deponent cannot depose // And this deponent further saith that the said John BENSON the younger was in his lifetime and at the time of his death also possessed of some personal estate but the particulars or value thereof this deponent cannot depose nor can this deponent depose into whose hands possession of power such his real and personal estate came.

To the Third Interrogatry this deponent saith that she was well acquainted with John BENSON the father in this Interrogatory named for about twenty years next before his death during great part of such time this deponent lived with him as a servant // And saith that he died sometime in or about the month of June or July One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Nine // And this deponent saith that the said John BENSON the father was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized in fee of diverse lands lying in Northam and elsewhere in the County of Devon and also possessed of interested in diverse other lands in Northam and elsewhere for years absolute or for years determinable with lives and also possessed of a very large other personal estate consisting of many ships merchandises and other effects to a very great amount or value but to what amount or value or the particulars thereof this deponent cannot set forth // And this deponent saith that the said John BENSON the father made his Will and thereof made and appointed Peter BENSON his son executor and residuary legatee and devisee of this real and personal estate who upon the death of the said father entered upon and became seized and possessed of the said residuary estate.

To the Fourth Interrogatory this deponent saith that she was well acquainted with the aforesaid Peter BENSON in this Interrogatory named for upwards of twenty years next before his death // and that the said Peter BENSON died in or about the month of May One Thousand Seven hundred and forty three seized and possessed of a very considerable real and personal estate but the particulars or values thereof this deponent is not able to set forth or what parts thereof are contained or particularized in the in the inquisition in this Interrogatory mentioned.

To the Fifth Interrogatory this deponent saith that she well knew Roger STAFFORD deceased late son of the complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow and in this Interrogatory named from his birth to the time of his death // and that he survived the aforesaid Peter BENSON his uncle for some considerable time but how long this deponent cannot remember // And saith that the said Roger STAFFORD died under the age of twenty one years and without issue And after the birth of the complainant Mary STAFFORD his sister.

To the Seventh Interrogatory this deponent saith that she hath looked upon the paper writings now produced and shown unto her consisting of three sheets of paper severally marked on the backs thereof with the letters (A) (B) (C) the two first sheets thereof being stitched together purport to be the last Will and Testament of the said John BENSON the father deceased dated the twenty ninth day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and thirty nine // And the other of such sheets purports to be a codicil to the said last Will and Testament of the said John BENSON the father dated the same twenty ninth day of June One Thousand Seven hundred and thirty nine // And saith that the said two first sheets were signed and sealed by the said John BENSON the father and by him published and declared to be his last Will and Testament on or about the date thereof in the presence and sight of Jacob RUGGE late of Northam aforesaid ropemaker now deceased // this deponent and Narcissus NATHERLY late of Bideford in the said County gentleman now also deceased who thereupon severally set or subscribed their names on the second sheet as witnesses to the said John BENSON the fathers signing sealing publishing and declaring thereof in the presence of the said testator John BENSON the father and of each other of them the said Jacob RUGGE this deponent and Narcissus HATHERLY // and that the last or third sheet thereof marked on the back with the letter (C) purporting to be a codicil to the said last Will and Testament of the said testator John BENSON the father deceased was also on or about the day of the date thereof signed and sealed by him and published and declared to be a codicil to this said Will in the presence of the said Jacob RIGGE this deponent and the said Narcissus HATHERLY deceased who thereupon severally set or subscribed their names to the said paper writing marked (C) as witnesses to the signing sealing publishing and declaring thereof in the presence of the said Testator John BENSON the father deceased and of each other of them the said Jacob RUGGE this deponent and the said Narcissus HATHERLY // And this deponent saith that the same John BENSON set or subscribed to oath of the said sheets of paper near the seals thereof as the party or testator executing the same and also the names Jacob RUGGE Grace SAMM Narcissus HATHERLY set or subscribed to the said two sheets of paper marked (B) and (C) as the witnesses attesting the signing sealing publishing and declaring the said last Will and Testament and codicil respectively are the respective proper hands writing of the said testator John BENSON the father and of the said Jacob RUGGE this deponent and the said Narcissus HATHERLY deceased // And this deponent further saith that the said testator John BENSON the father deceased was at the time of the signing sealing publishing and declaring of his aforesaid last Will and Testament and Codicil of a sound and disposing mind memory and understanding // And this Deponent further saith that she has looked upon one other paper writing marked on the back with the letter (F) dated the fifteenth dau of May One Thousand Seven Hundred and forty three purporting to be a codicil to the last Will and Testament of the said Peter BENSON late of Northam aforesaid esquire deceased in this Interrogatory named and saith that the same was on or about the date thereof signed and sealed by the said Peter BENSON and by him declared to be a codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence and sight of the deponent Ester the wife of Thomas SALMON of Northam aforesaid mariner (whose Maiden was VELLACOTT) and one Jane SHORT then of Bideford in the said County of Devon spinster who this deponent has been informed is since married but to whom she cannot dispose who thereupon severally sett or subscribed their names as witnesses to the signing sealing publishing and declaring the same to be a codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of the said Testator Peter BENSON and in the presence of each other of them this deponent the said Ester SALMON and Jane SHORT // And this deponent saith that the name Peter BENSON thereto sett or subscribed near the sale thereof as the party or testator executing the same and also the names Grace SAMM Estor VALLACOTT Jane SHORT thereto set or subscribed as the witnesses attesting the signing sealing publishing and declaring the said codicil are the respective proper hands writing of the said testator Peter BENSON this deponent the said Ester now the wife of the said Thomas SALMON (whose maiden name was VALLACOTT) Jane SHORT // And this deponent further saith that the said testator Peter PENSON was at the time of the signing sealing publishing and declaring the said codicil of a sound and disposing mind memory and understanding // And this deponent further saith that the said complainant Peter STAFFORD in this Interrogatory named was the child which the complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow was Ensient with or with child at the time of the aforesaid last Will and Testament of the said John BENSON the father bears date and saith that Peter STAFFORD the son died about three or four years ago to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time // And this deponent saith that the complainant Mary STAFFORD was born of the body of the said complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow after the death of the said Peter BENSON and after the time the said paper writing marked with the letter (F) (and purporting to be a codicil to his Will) bears date.

Mary STRANGE of Northam in the County of Devon widow aged sixty eight years or thereabouts // a witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainants to the first second third fourth and seventh Interrogatories deposeth as follows:

To the first Interrogatory this deponent saith that she has known the complainants and all the defendants in the Title of these Interrogatories named from their respective childhoods except his Majesties Attorney General whom this deponent knows not.

To the second Interrogatory this deponent saith that she knew John BENSON the younger in this Interrogatory named from his childhood to the time of his death but how long since he died this deponent cannot recollect and believed he was seized or possessed of real and personal estate at the time of his death but the values or particulars thereof or into whose hands custody or power the same came after his death this deponent cannot sett forth.

To the third Interrogatory this deponent saith that she knew and was well acquainted with John BENSON the father of the said John BENSON the younger in the said second Interrogatory named a great many years next before and home to the time of his death which happened a great many years ago but how many exactly this deponent cannot recollect // and saith that the said John BENSON the father was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized and possessed of a considerable real and personal estate and hath heard and believes that by far the greatest part thereof after his death came into the hands possession custody or power of Peter BENSON his son heir and executor but what the particulars or values of such real and personal estate were or whether any and what parts thereof are particularized or sett forth in the Inquisition in the pleadings of this case mentioned this deponent knows not.

To the fourth Interrogatory this deponent saith that she knew and was well acquainted with Peter BENSON in the pleadings of this cause named (son of the said John BENSON the father in the next preceeding Interrogatory and brother of the said John BENSON the son is the second Interrogatory named) from his childhood to the time of his death which happened several years ago but how long exactly this deponent cannot set forth // and saith that the said Peter BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized and possessed of a considerable part of the real and personal estate which were of his said father John BENSON and as this deponent apprehends and believes of some additional real and personal estate which the said Ester acquired after the death of his said father // And that she hath heard and believes that the greatest part of the real and personal estate which the said Peter BENSON died seized and possessed of did on his death come to the hands possession and power of the said defendant Thomas BENSON who was at that time the said Peter BENSONs only brother and heir and also as she believes his residuary devisee legatee and executor but what the particulars or values of such real and personal estates which the said Peter BENSON died seized or possessed of were or what parts thereof are contained or specified in the said Inquisition in the pleadings of this cause mentioned this deponent knows not.

To the seventh Interrogatory this deponent saith that the three sheets of paper writing now produced and shown to this deponent severally marked on the back thereof with the letters (A) (B) (C) and at the foot of each with the figures :1:2:3: and which are stitched another sheet of paper writing marked on the back with the letter (F) which three sheets purport to be the last Will and Testament of the said Peter BENSON deceased bearing date the second day of May in the year of our Lord Christ One Thousand and seven hundred and forty three were on or about the said second day of May One Thousand seven hundred and forty three to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time signed sealed published and declared by the said Peter BENSON as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of Jacob RUGGE then of Northam aforesaid rope maker since deceased and of Ester VALLACOTT then of the same place spinster but now the wife of Thomas SALMON of Northam aforesaid mariner and of this deponent who severally sett and subscribed their names to the last of the said three sheets marked at the foot thereof with the figure (3) and on the back with the letter (C) as witnesses to the said Peter BENSONs signing sealing and publishing and declaring the same as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of him and of each other of them // And saith that the name Peter BENSON sett and subscribed to each of the said three sheets of paper writings as the party or testator executing the same and the names Jacob RUGGE Mary STRANGE Ester VALLACOTT sett or subscribed to the attestation on the third of the said sheets as witnesses attesting the said Peter BENSONs executing the said Will are the several proper hands writing of the said Peter BENSON Jacob RUGGE Ester VALLACOTT (now SALMON) and of this deponent respectively // And saith that the said Peter BENSON at the time of his executing the said Will as aforesaid was of a sound and disposing mind memory and understanding.

Ester the wife of Thomas SALMON of Northam in the County of Devon mariner whose maiden name was VALLACOTT aged forty years and upwards a witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainants to the first second third fourth seventh and ninth Interrogatory deposeth and saith:

To the first Interrogatory this deponent saith that she hath known the complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow for twenty years last past and upwards and all the other complainants from their respective births and hath known the defendants Thomas BENSON and Narcissus HATHERLY for more than twenty years and the defendants John and Peter BENSON from their respective births but does not know his Majesties Attorney General.

To the second Interrogatory this deponent saith that she well knew John BENSON the younger in this Interrogatory named for several years next before his death which happened about twenty years ago // And saith that she hath heard and believes that he was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized and possessed to a real and personal estate but the particulars or values thereof this deponent doth not know now can she set forth nor into whose hands possession or power the same came after his decease.

To the third Interrogatory this deponent saith that she very well knew John BENSON the father in this Interrogatory named for many years next before his death and that he died to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time about nineteen years ago seized and possessed of a very considerable real and personal estate in the whole of a very great value but of what value of the particulars thereof this deponent cannot sett forth // but saith that she hath heard and believes that he left the bulk of such his real and personal estate to his son Peter BENSON since deceased in the pleadings of this cause mentioned who was his heir and executor and upon the death of his said father entered upon the same and became seized and possessed thereof.

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To the fourth interrogatory this deponent saith that she was well acquainted with the said Peter BENSON in this Interrogatory named for many years next before his death and that he died in or about the month of May One Thousand Seven hundred and forty three to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time seized and possessed of a very considerable real and personal estate but the values or particulars thereof this deponent does not know nor can she sett forth // and this deponent saith that she hath heard and believes that the said Peter Benson by his will gave to his brother the said defendant Thomas BENSON who was his heir the bulk of such his real and personal estate and that on the death of the said Peter Benson the said defendant Thomas BENSON became seized and possessed thereof.

To the Seventh and Ninth Interrogatories this Deponent saith that she hath looked upon the paper writing now produced and shown unto her consisting of four sheets of paper and severally marked on the backs thereor with the letters (A) (B) (C) (F) and at the foot of each with the figures :1:2:3:4: and which are stitched together // And that the three first sheets thereof purport to be the last Will and Testament of the said Peter BENSON deceased nearing date the second day of May in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and forty three and the fourth of such sheets Marked on the back with the letter (F) and at the bottom with the figure (A) bearing date the fifteenth day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and forty three purports to be a codicil to the said last Will and Testament of the said Peter Benson and is stitched of annexed to the said three other sheets of paper marked on the backs with the letters (A) (B) (C) // and this deponent saith that the said three sheets of paper severally marked on the backs with the letters :A:B:C: and at the foot of each of them with the figures 1:2:3: were (on or about the said second day of May One thousand Seven Hundred and forty three to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time) signed sealed published and declared by the said Peter BENSON as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of Jacob RUGGE of Northam aforesaid ropemaker who is since deceased Mary STRANGE of the same place widow and this Deponent who thereupon severally sett or subscribed their names to the last of the said three sheets marked on the back thereof with the letter (C) and at the foot thereof with the figure (3) as Witnesses to the signing sealing publishing and declaring of the same as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of the said Peter BENSON and of each other of them the said Jacob RUGGE and Mary STRANGE // and this deponent whose name was then VALLACOTT // and saith that the name Peter BENSON set or subscribed to each of the said three sheets of paper writing marked on the backs thereof with the letters (A) (B) (C) and at the foot thereof with their figures :1:2:3: as the party or Testator executing the same and the names Jacob RUGGE, Mary STRANGE, Ester VALLACOTT sett to the attestation on the third of the said sheets as witnesses attesting the said Peter BENSON signing sealing publishing and declaring the said Will are of the respective proper hands writing of the Peter BENSON and Jacob RUGGE both deceased and of the said Mary STRANGE and this deponent // And this Deponent further said that the fourth of such sheets marked on the back thereof with the letter (F) and at the foot with the figure (4) was on the said fifteenth day of May in the said year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and forty three to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time signed sealed published and declared by the said Peter BENSON as and for a codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of Grace SAMM of Northam aforesaid Widow Jane SHORT then of Bideford in the said County Spinster who this deponent hath been informed is since married to one TIMEWELL who thereupon severally sett or subscribed their names thereto as witnesses attesting the signing sealing publishing and declaring the said codicil by the said Peter Benson // And saith that the name Peter BENSON thereto sett or subscribed as the testator or party executing the same and the names Grace SAMM Ester VALLACOTT Jane SHORT thereto sett or subscribed as the witnesses attesting the execution thereof are of the respective proper hands writing of the said testator Peter BENSON the said Grace SAMM Jane SHORT now called TIMEWELL and this deponent who severally wrote their names thereto in the presence of the said testator Peter BENSON and of each or other of them the said Grace SAMM Jane SHORT now TIMEWELL // And this deponent saith that the said testator Peter BENSON was at the time of the execution of this said last Will and Testament and Codicill as aforesaid of a sound and disposing mind and memory understanding and further to their Interrogatories this deponent cannot depose.

Jane the wife of Edward TIMEWELL of Kenton in the County of Devon yeoman (aged fifty three years or thereabouts) whose maiden name was SHORT // A witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainants to the Seventh interrogatory only deposeth and saith that the paper writing now produced and shown to this deponent consisting of one sheet marked on the back thereof with the letter (F) and at the foot with the figure (A) dated the fifteenth day of May in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and forty three and purporting to be a Codicil annexed to the Last Will and Testament of Peter BENSON therein and as she believes in the pleadings of this cause mentioned was on the day of the date thereof to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time signed sealed published and declared by Peter BENSON then of Napp in the parish of Northam in the County of Devon esquire since deceased as and for a codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of Grace SAMM of Northam aforesaid and Ester VALLACOTT then of the same place spinster but now the wife of Thomas SALMON mariner and of this deponent who was then called SHORT who severally sett or subscribed their names to the said paper writing as witnesses to the said Peter BENSON's execution therefore in the presence of him and each other // And saith that the name Peter BENSON sett or subscribed to the said paper writing as the party executing the same and the names Grace SAMM Ester VALLACOTT Jane SHORT sett or subscribed thereto as witnesses are of the respective proper hands writing of the said Peter BENSON Grace SAMM Ester VALLACOTT now SALMON and of this deponent // And saith that the said Peter BENSON at the time of such his execution of the said paper writing appeared to this deponent to be and as she verily believes was of a sound mind and memory and understanding.

George DONN of Bideford in the County of Devon glazier and clerk of the parish of Bideford aforesaid aged thirty six years or thereabouts // a Witness produced sworn and examined on the part of the complainants to the Eighth Interrogatory such deposeth and saith:

That the paper writing now produced by him marked on the back with the letter (L) Doth contain true copies of entries in the register book of Christenings kept in and for the Town and parish of Bideford aforesaid relating to the Christenings of Peter the son and Mary the daughter of Robert STAFFORD and Katherine his wife therein named and as this deponent believes) also named in the pleadings of this cause which copies this deponent did about five hours next preceding the time of this his examination carefully compare and examine with the said entries in the said register book of Christenings in the said parish of Bideford which for some time last past has been and still is kept by or in the custody of John WHITFELD Clerk Rector of the said parish.

Grace the wife of Thomas SALTREN of Parkham in the County of Devon clerk aged forty seven years or thereabouts // A witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the complainant to the first second third and fourth Interrogatory deposeth and saith.

To the first Interrogatory this deponent saith that she has known the complainant Katherine STAFFORD widow and the defendant Thomas BENSON and Narcissus HATHERLY from her youth and all the other complainants and the defendants John and Peter BENSON from their respective childhoods but does not know his Majesties Attorney General.

To the Second Interrogatory this deponent saith that John BENSON the younger in this Interrogatory named was this deponents first husband and that he died on or about the fourteenth dau of August One thousand seven hundred and thirty eight seized and possessed of some real and personal estate and that he made this deponent executrix of his Will and gave her part of his personal estate and the residue thereof to several legatees in his Will named.

To the Third Interrogatory this deponent saith that she was well acquainted with John BENSON the father who lived at Napp in the parish of Northam in the County of Devon in this Interrogatory named he being this deponents father in law for many years next before his death which happened sometime in or near the month of July One thousand seven hundred and thirty nine and that he died seized of a considerable real and personal estate but of what value this deponent cannot sett forth // And this deponent further saith that he made his Will and Peter BENSON his son in the pleadings of this case named executor thereof who was also his heir and to whom he left the bulk of fortune subject to the payment of several legacies in the said Will mentioned // And this deponent saith that in a treaty about this deponents marriage with the said John BENSON the son of the said John BENSON the father proposed and agreed to give to the said John BENSON his son a Bond or Obligation for payment of the sum of Two Thousand Pounds in money and merchandize and which bond this deponent has been credibly informed and believes was given by the said John BENSON the father to the said John BENSON the son accordingly and that such Bond together with the settlement made on this deponents said marriage and several other writings was soon after the execution thereof put into an Isorntore(?) or Buree which this deponents said first husband had at Napp aforesaid and which remained there - home to the time of his death // And this deponent believes that the said Bond upon the death of the said John BENSON the younger came to the hands of the said John BENSON the father and she is rather induced to believe so now not only because the said Buree of Executore in which the said Bond and other writings were kept remained at Napp aforesaid at the time of this deponents said husbands death but because she this deponent received of the said John BENSON the father by the hands of the said Peter BENSON fifty pounds part of the money remaining due on the said Bond specifically given by the Will of the said John BENSON to be disposed of by this deponent and because the remainder of the money due on the said bond at the death of the said John BENSON the younger was given by the Will of the said John BENSON the younger to the said John BENSON the father subject to the payment of several lives in the said Will particularly mentioned to be paid thereout amounting as near as this deponent can recollect to the sum of four hundred pounds or thereabouts // And this deponent saith that she hath heard and believes that the said John BENSON the father paid to the said John BENSON the son in his lifetime by several payments in cash and by goods the sum of one thousand pounds or thereabouts in part discharge of the said two thousand pounds // And this deponent is very well satisfied that at the death of her said husband there remainid due on the said Bond the Sum of One Thousand Pounds or thereabouts.

To the Fourth Interogatory this Deponent saith that she well knew Peter BENSON in this interrogatory named for many years next before his death which happened some time in or about the year one thousand seven hundred and forty three to the best of this deponents remembrance as to the time and saith that the said Peter BENSON died seized and possessed of a very considerable zeal and personal estate and that by his will he gave and devised the bulk of his fortune to the defendant Thomas BENSON who was his heir and brother and upon his death entered upon and became seized and possessed of and more to this interrogatory this Deponent Cannot Depose.

Thomas LAKE of Bideford in the County of Devon gentleman aged fifty years or thereabouts // A Witness produced Sworn and Examined on the part and behalf of the Complainants to the third and fourth interrogations deposeth as follows:

To the Third Interrogatory this Deponent saith that he was acquainted with John BENSON the father in this Interrogatory and in the pleadings of this Cause Named this Deponent having served in the capacity of a clerk to him as a Justice of the Peace for several years next before his death which happened in or near the month of July One Thousand Seven Hundred and thirty nine to the best of his deponents remembrance and that during the time this deponent was concerned for the said John BENSON or the Capacity aforesaid he acted as his Attorney also and was employed by him in making Contracts and Conveyances for Several Lands and Estates which the said John BENSON purchased during that time and that he made out one or more Survey or Surveys Rental or Rentals of the said John BENSON freehold and leasehold lands and estates // And says he knows nothing of the Bond enquired after by this Interrogatory but saith that the said John BENSON was at the time of his Death seized and possessed of a considerable Real and Personal estate the principal part of which did on his Death come into the hands possession and possession and power of Peter BENSON his son there and Executor Subject as this Deponent has heard and believe to the payment of Several Legacies and says that he apprehends and believes that Several of the Lands Tenements Hereditaments and Estates contained and specified in the Inquisition in the pleadings of this cause mentioned are parts of the Estates Lands Tenements and Hereditaments which the said John BENSON died seized or possessed of and particularly those hereinafter mentioned to wit:

  • All those messuages Lands and Tenements situate at or called Gammaton in the parish of Bideford aforesaid in possession of George SAGE
  • One Annuity or Yearly Rent of five pounds and eight shillings or thereabouts issuing out of the Barton of Hansford in the parish of Burrington in the said County of Devon
  • One Tenement called Halls Pill lying in the Parish of Weare Giffard in the said County with a lime kiln and landing place thereto adjoining and belonging
  • One other messuage or tenement lying in the parish of Northam in the said County of Devon called the New Key
  • One Other Messuage and Tenement lying in Northam aforesaid called Napp and Yeo
  • One other Messuage or Tenement called Bidna in Northam aforesaid
  • One other tenement called Hammetts at Silford in Northam aforesaid
  • One other messuage or tenement near the School House in Northam aforesaid formerly in possession of Daniel SOWDEN
  • A Messuage Tenement called Collybeare in Northam aforesaid
  • One Other Messuage of Tenement in Northam aforesaid called Quarry
  • A Wharf or Key called Jefferys Key in Northam aforesaid and a new built house erected thereon by the said John BENSON
  • And also Several Houses Rooms and Cellars hereinafter mentioned towit the North Cellar
  • The house formerly in possession of One ELLIS
  • The House formerly in possession of One LANCEY
  • A Dwellinghouse in possession of one JEFFERY // a messuage called the Red Lion
  • A Malt House adjoining to the said Key
  • And the cellar on the South Side thereof called the South Cellar all lying contiguous on or near the said Key and which were as his Deponent hath heard and believed formerly the Lands of One JEFFERY
  • One other tenement in Northam aforesaid called Barzeys together with a Key near the same Doctons Key and two Cellars thereon
  • And also a Wharf of Key in Northam aforesaid called Hubbastone with a little House at the end thereof

All which lands and premises this Deponent apprehends and believes the said John BENSON was at the time of his Death seized of in fee-simple to his own use And this Deponent further...

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...believes the said John BENSON was at the time of his death seized in fee simple in possession to his own use of and in several other tenements and Closes of Land in Northam aforesaid which he purchased of One Thomas SMITH but there singular names or descriptions thereof or whether the same are comprised in the said inquisition or not this Deponent cannot with certainty set forth // And saith that the said John BENSON was at the time of his death seized of the Reversion the subject to several leases determinable with lives under small concessionary rents of and in several other Tenements hereinafter particularly mentioned and which the Deponent apprehends are also comprised aforesaid Inquisition to wit:

  • A dwelling house with the Shambles and other the Appurtenances to the same belonging in Appledore within the parish of Northam aforesaid in the possession of Thomas CLIBBETT
  • One other Dwellinghouse with the appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid in possession of Richard HARRIS
  • Another Dwellinghouse and Garden in Appledore aforesaid in possession of James LEACH
  • Another Dwellinghouse and garden with its appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid in possession of James BURDEN
  • Another Dwellinghouse and Garden with the appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid in possession of John WEBBER
  • Another Dwellinghouse and garden with the appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid in possession of James BOND
  • Another Dwellinghouse and Garden with the appurtenances in Appledore aforesaid in possession of William BROOKS
  • Another Dwellinghouse with the appurtenances lying on the Strand in Appledore aforesaid in possession of James DENNIS
  • A Dwellinghouse in Northam aforesaid in possession of Joan JOANS
  • A Messuage and Tenement with the appurtenances called Higher NALL in Northam aforesaid in possession of John JURY
  • One Close of Land and a new erected Dwellinghouse and Smiths Shop in Northam Lane in the parish of Northam aforesaid in the possession of Roger BOND
  • A messuage and Tenement called Conygars in the parish of Bideford aforesaid in possession of Humphrey CHING
  • A messuage or tenement in Bideford aforesaid called Diniscombs in possession of John WALTER
  • A messuage and tenement called Summers Bibery in Bideford aforesaid in possession of Henry STONEMAN
  • A messuage and tenement in Bideford aforesaid called Griggs Bibery in possession of the said Henry STONEMAN
  • A messuage and tenement in Bideford aforesaid called Darracotts Bibery in possession of the said Henry STONEMAN

And believes that the said John BENSON at the time of his death was seized of the reversion in fee of several other tenements in Northam aforesaid some of which this Deponent apprehends are comprised in the said Inquisition but the particulars thereof this Deponent cannot set forth // And this Deponent saith that he hath been credibly informed and verily believes that the said John BENSON died seized of the reversion in fee expectant on the Deaths of two persons of and in

  • Messuages consisting of two dwellings with a garden behind the same situate in Mill Street in the Town of Bideford aforesaid then in the possession of Humphry CHING which his Deponent believes is not comprised in the said Inquisition

And this Deponent further saith that the said John BENSON at the time of his death was possessed of or interested in either for years absolute or determinable with lives of and in the several messuages tenements and rents hereinafter mentioned which he believes are comprised and specified in the said Inquisition to wit:

  • A tenement called Boathead with a Ropeyard and a new erected Dwellinghouse and garden on and belonging to the same a tenement called Hyde
  • A messuage and farm called Raleigh
  • A rent charge of twenty shillings Issuing out of a House and Garden (near Raleigh Farm House) which was erected by Thomas SMITH
  • A Messuage or tenement called Ford
  • A large Dwellinghouse in Appledore aforesaid called Doctons House
  • And several Closes of Land at Irsha all which said last mentioned leasehold premises and situate within the parish of Northam aforesaid.

To the fourth Interrogatory this deponent saith that he well knew and was acquainted with Peter Benson in the pleadings of this Cause named for many years next before his death which happened as this Deponent believes in or about the month of May One thousand seven hundred and forty three // And says that the said Peter BENSON was at the time of his death as this Deponent hath heard and verily believed seized and possessed of by far the greatest part of all his said fathers real and personal Estate and in particular that he was seized of all the freehold and leasehold Estates which were of this said father and are particularly mentioned and set forth in this Deponents Deposition to the next preceding Interrogatory except

  • The large House at Appledore called Doctons House and the fields at Irsha which as this Deponent believes belonged to and were leased with the said House which House and fields this deponent apprehends and believes were given together with other things by the said John BENSON to the Defendant Thomas BENSON his son

And saith that he hath been informed and believes that the said Peter BENSON at the time of his death was also seized of or Intitled unto the fee simple and Inheritances of

  • A Tenement called Thorn Lands in the parish of Abbotsham in the said County which he purchased of One John SHEBBEARE
  • And also of a tenement called Wooda in Northam aforesaid which he purchased of One BURNARD

And saith he hath been credibly informed and verily believes that all the said freehold and leasehold Estates of which the said Peter BENSON died seized and possessed as aforesaid together with almost all his Ships and Merchandize Stock in Trade and ready money and other personal estate which amounted to a great many thousand pounds did on the death of the said Peter Benson (subject to several legacies) come into the hands custody possession or power of the said Thomas BENSON who was his heir and executor.

Richard SHUTT of Parkham in the County of Devon Yeoman aged sixty years or thereabouts // A Witness produced Sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the Complainants to the third and fourth Interrogatories Deposeth as follows:

To the third Interogatory this Deponent saith that he well knew John BENSON the father in this Interogatory named for many years before his death which happened in or near the month of July One Thousand Seven hundred and thirty nine // and that this Deponent for several years next before his death was employed by him in writing and keeping his Accounts and in looking after his Estates and receiving Rents from and Settling accounts with his Tenants and in transacting other business for the said John BENSON relating to his Merchantile Affairs by which means this Deponent was well acquainted with the affairs of the said John BENSON // And this Deponent saith that the said John BENSON died seized and possessed of a very considerable real and personal estate (the whole of which except the Legacies given by his Will) as this Deponent apprehends upon the death of the said John BENSON came to the hands possession and power of Peter BENSON in the next preceding Interrogatory named who was his heir and executor and this Deponent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON the father was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized in fee simple to his own use or possessed for long terms of years absolute of and in the several Lands Tenements and Hereditaments hereinafter mentioned (that is to say)

  • A Messuage and Tenement called Pill together with a Lime Kiln and landing place thereto belonging lying in the parish of Weare Giffard in the said County
  • and also five several messuages and Tenements situate at or called Gamaton now in the possession of George SAGE lying in the parish of Bideford in the said County
  • Also a chief rent or Annuity by five pounds a year and upwards Issuing out of the Barton of Hansford in the parish of Burrington in the said County
  • And also of a Messuage and Tenement called Napp
  • Another Messuage and Tenement called Yeo
  • Another Messuage and Tenement called Bidna
  • Another messuage and Tenement called Collybeare
  • Another Messuage and Tenement called Quarry all which last mentioned premises are situate lying and being in Northam in the said County of Devon
  • and also seized in fee simple to his own use or possessed for long terms of years absolute of a certain Key or Wharf lying at Appledore within the parish of Northam aforesaid commonly called Jefferys Key
  • And also a New Built Messuage or Dwellinghouse and certain rooms or cellars adjoining to the said Messuage or Dwellinghouse
  • Also a messuage or Dwellinghouse lying upon the said Key then in the possession of One ELLIS
  • One other Dwellinghouse lying on the said Key in possession of Joseph LANCEY
  • Also a messuage or Dwellinghouse lying on the said Key then in the possession of one JEFFERYS formerly known by the Sign of the Dolphin
  • One other Messuage or Dwellinghouse and Garden with the appurtenances lying on the said Key then known by the Sign of the Red Lion
  • And also certain rooms or Malt Houses lying on the said Key
  • And also a certain cellar or cellars lying on the South of and adjoining to the last mentioned Rooms or Malthouses
  • And also of Another Wharf or Key and certain Cellars thereon lying in Appledore aforesaid
  • And also a messuage or Tenement situate near the said Wharf or Key then in the possession of One BARZEY
  • And also another Wharf or Key situate at or near Hubberstone at Appledore aforesaid together with a little House or Cellar thereto adjoining
  • And also several fields lying near Hubberstone aforesaid

all which said last mentioned premises are situate lying and being at or near Appledore aforesaid // And saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was also in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized of the reversions in fee or possessed for long terms of years absolute subject to Leases for Years determinable on the Death of one two of three person or persons of and in the several messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments hereinafter particularly mentioned that is to say

  • One Messuage and Tenement called Conygars then in the possession of Humphry CHING now deceased
  • A Tenement or Adjustment called Dunscombes then in possession of John WALTERS
  • And also several messuages and Tenements commonly called or situate lying and being in the Village of Bibery then in the possession of Henry STONEMAN

All which said last mentioned premises are situate lying and being in Bideford aforesaid // and that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his death also seized of the reversion in fee or possessed for long terms of years absolute subject to leases for years determinable on the death or deaths of one two or three person or persons of and in

  • A messuage and tenement with some closes of land thereto belonging lying near the Schoolhouse in Northam Town aforesaid
  • And another Messuage or Tenement lying in the village of Silford commonly called Hammetts
  • And also two messuages Dwellinghouses and gardens then in the possession of and formerly built by Daniel BOND
  • Another Messuage and Tenement with the Appurtenances then in possession of and built by James BURDEN
  • Another Messuage and Tenement with the appurtenances then in possession of and before built by One LEWORTHY but late in the possession of John WEBBER
  • Another Messuage and Tenement with the appurtenances then in the possession of and before built by One LEWORTHY but now in possession of James LOATH
  • Another Messuage and Tenement with the Appurtenances late in possession of William BROOKS all which said last mentioned are situate lying and being in Appledore aforesaid

And this Deponent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death seized in fee simple of possessed for long terms of years absolute of

  • A plot of land lying between the said several Messuages and Tenements hereinbefore mentioned to be in the possession of the aforesaid James BURDON and James LOATH and which was measured out or allotted by the said John BENSON in his lifetime in order to be built on, but whether any House had been built thereon this Deponent cannot Depose he not having been at Appledore aforesaid for many years last past

And this Deponent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized of the Reversion in fee of possessed for long terms of years absolute subject to leases for years determinable on the death of one two of three person or persons of and in

  • A messuage and tenement with Shambles thereto belonging situate lying and being in the flesh market in Appledore aforesaid then in possession of Thomas CLIBBETT
  • And also another messuage and tenement with the Shambles thereto belonging lying in the said flesh market in Appledore aforesaid opposite to the said last mentioned Messuage and Tenement then in possession of Richard HARRIS
  • And also A Messuage and Tenement called Higher Nall then in possession of John JURY
  • And a field or Close of land called Windmill Field then in possession of Roger BOND lying in Northam Lane whereon are now erected a Dwellinghouse and Smiths Shop

All which said lands and premises are situate in the parish of Northam aforesaid // And this Deponent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized of the reversion in fee or possessed for long terms of years absolute subject to lives for years determinable with lives of several other Lands within the parish of Northam but the particulars thereof this Deponent cannot set forth and this Deponent apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death also possessed of or Intitled to the several messuages lands and tenements herinafter particularly mentioned for the remainder of several terms of years determinable on the deaths of one two or three person or persons (that is to say) of and in

  • A Messuage and tenement called Hyde
  • Another Tenement and Ropeyard with a new built Dwellinghouse and cellars called Boathide otherwise Boathead
  • And another Messuage and Tenement or Farm called Raily which last mentioned premises are situate in Northam aforesaid

And this Deponent apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was also at his death Intitled to some Revertionary Leasehold Interests for years determinable with lives of and in

  • A tenement called Ford in Northam aforesaid which was to commence on the death of one Samuel TETHERLY

But this Deponent saith he does not know anything of this Inquisition in this Interogatory mentioned or whether all of any part of the Lands Tenements and Hereditaments hereinbefore mentioned are therein comprised or not.

To the Fourth Interogatory this Deponent saith that he was well acquainted with Peter BENSON esquire deceased in this Interrogatory Named also died sometime on the month of May One thousand Seven Hundred and forty three and that he this Deponent served him from the death of his father to the Death of him the said Peter BENSON in the like Capacity as he had before served the said John BENSON in his lifetime // and saith that the said Peter BENSON after his death of his said father entered upon or became seized of possessed of or Intitled unto all and singular the said Messuages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and premises in this Deponents Deposition to the next preceding Interogatory mentioned and that he continued so to the time of his death // And this Deponent saith that the said Peter BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death as he apprehends and believes seized in fee simple to his own use or possessed for a long term of years absolute of and in

  • A Tenement of Overland called Thorn Lands which he purchased of John SHEBBEARE situate in the parish of Abbotsham in the said County
  • And a Messuage and Tenement situate in Northam aforesaid called East Wood or Wooda which he purchased of one BURNARD
  • And also a new built messuage or Dwellinghouses in Northam Town aforesaid wherein Mrs DOLEMAN formerly lived and since One Mr Charles YOUNGE lived
  • And also of a Messuage and Tenement lying near the Tree in Northam Town aforesaid known by the Sign of the Swan

but whether the said Peter BENSON or his said father purchased the said two last mentioned tenements this Deponent knows not // And this Deponent saith that in the Death of the said Peter BENSON all and Singular the aforementioned Messuages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and premises and also all other his personal estate and effects which were of the value of a great many thousand pounds came to the Hands Custody possession of power of the said Defendant Thomas BENSON who was his heir and Executor subject to several legacies Susanna the wife of Robert BROOKS of Appledore within the parish of Northam in the County of Devon Mariner aged fifty years of upwards // A Witness produced sworn and Examined on the part and behalf of the Complainants to the Ninth Interrogatory only Deposeth and saith that the parchment writing now produced to her and marked on the back with letter M was on or about the Day of the Date thereof to the best of this Deponents remembrance as to the time signed sealed delivered and executed by Grace MELHUISH John BENSON and John BENSON the younger therein named in the presence of this Deponent and one John BATH (then a clerk to Mr HATHERLY Attorney at Law) who severally set their Names to the attestation indorsed in the said parchment writing as Witnesses to the Execution thereof and saith that the names Grace MELHUISH, John BENSON, John BENSON junr, set and subscribed to the said Deed as the parties Executing the same and the Names John BATH Susanna BROOKS set and subscribed to the said attestation as Witnesses to the Execution thereof are of the respective proper hands writing of Grace MELHUISH now the Wife of Thomas SALTRON Clerk John BENSON the elder and John BENSON the younger (both then of Northam aforesaid since deceased) the said John BATH and this Deponent.

Robert SARLES of Northam in the County of Devon sailmaker aged forty five years or thereabouts // A witness produced sworn and examined on the part and behalf of the Complainants to the Third and fourth Interrogatories Deposeth as followeth:

To the third Intergotaory this Deponent saith that he well knew John BENSON the father in this Interogatory Named for several years now before his death which happened sometime on or near the Month of July One Thousand Seven Hundred and thirty nine and that he died seized and possessed of a very considerable estate of the value of a great many thousand pounds the principal part of which came on his Death to the Hands Possession and Power of Peter BENSON his son heir and.

Signatures: James HILLOW(?), John HEIRN(?)

Page 5

... executor who became seized and possessed thereof subject to the Payment of the Legacies given by his Fathers Will // And saith that he was well acquainted with the Freehold and Leasehold Estates which belonged to the said John BENSON at the time of his death this Deponent living in the parish of Northam aforesaid where the greatest part of them lye // And this Deponent having been employed by the Defendant Thomas BENSON since the death of his brother Peter BENSON to collect the rents of several of such freehold and Leasehold Estates // And saith he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death seized in fee simple in his own right or possessed of or entitled for long terms of years absolute to the several Messuages Tenements Lands and Hereditaments hereinafter particularly mentioned that is to say:

  • A Messuage and Tenement with a landing place and Lime Kiln thereto Adjoining called by the Name of Halls Pill lying in the parish of Weare Giffard in the said County
  • A Messuage and Tenement called Napp // A Messuage and Tenement called Yeo // Another Messuage and Tenement called Bidna
  • A Messuage and Tenement called East Wood
  • A Messuage and Tenement called C~~leaze
  • A Messuage and Tenement in the Village of Silford called Hammetts
  • A Messuage and Tenement called Quarry
  • A key or Wharf lying at Appledore which was formerly the lands of one JEFFERY
  • And also a new Built Messuage and Garden lying on the said Key
  • A certain rooms or cellars lying on the said Key called the North Cellar
  • A Messuage or Tenement lying on the said Key called Ellis's
  • A Messuage and Tenement on the said Key called Lanceys
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying on the said Key called Jefferys
  • Another Messuage and a Tenement lying in the said Key called or known by the Sign of the Red Lion
  • Diverse Rooms or Buildings lying on the said Key called the Malt House
  • Certain Rooms or Cellars lying on the said Key called the South Cellars
  • Certain parts of a field possession of John JURY
  • A Wharf or Key called Hubberstone
  • A Messuage or Tenement called Barzeys lying in Appledore aforesaid
  • And also a certain Wharf or Key called the New Key
  • And certain cellars or Rooms lying on the said Key at Appledore aforesaid
  • And several Fields of Land lying between Northam Town and Appledore aforesaid which the said John BENSON purchased from Mr DOCTON Thomas SMITH Thomazin DARRACOTT and Thomas HARRIS

All which said last mentioned lands and Tenements are situate lying and being in the said parish of Northam // And all those:

  • Messuages and Tenements or Messuage and Tenement called Gamaton lying in the parish of Bideford
  • A Chief rent or rent charge of five pounds or upwards yearly Issuing out of the Barton of Hansford in the parish of Burrington in the said County
  • A Chief Rent of One pound and One shilling a year issuing out of Lands in Woolfardisworthy in the said County
  • And One Rent or acknowledgement for a way of four shillings out of a Messuage and Tenement lying at Appledore aforesaid called the Leopard Inn

And this Deponent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death seized of the Reversion in fee possessed of or intitled to long term of years absolute subject to leases for years determinable on the lives of and in the several Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments hereinafter mentioned, to wit:

  • A Messuage and tenement with Shambles lying in the Flesh Market in Appledore aforesaid in possession of Thomas CLIBBETT
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in the said Flesh Market in possession of Richard HARRIS
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in Appledore aforesaid in a place or Street Commonly called the New Buildings in possession of James LEACH
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying there late in possession of James BURDON deceased
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying there late in possession of John WEBBER
  • Two Other Messuages and Tenements lying there in possession of James BOND
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying there late in the possession of William BROOKS
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying there late in possession of Daniel BOWDEN but now of Susanna VERNAM
  • A Garden lying there in possession of Mary BROOKS
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in or near the Strand in Appledore aforesaid late in the possession of James DENNIS
  • A Messuage and Garden lying at Northam Town aforesaid in possession of Joan JOANS
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying there in possession of Philip MAYNE
  • Another Messuage and Tenement lying in or near Northam aforesaid and called Lousehill in possession of this Deponent
  • Another Messuage or Tenement called Voscombes lying in or near Northam Town aforesaid in possession of Wilmott BOWER
  • A Messuage and Field in and near Northam Town aforesaid called Collacotte
  • A Messuage Tenement and Orchard and three fields late in possession of Ann KNILL
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in Northam Town aforesaid late in possession of Mary WHITSON
  • A Dwellinghouse and Curtlage lying there in possession of William SUSSEX
  • A Messuage and Tenement called Higher Nall in Northam aforesaid in possession of one John JURY
  • An undivided Moiety of a Tenement lying at Wooda in the said parish of Northam in possession of Susanna VERNON
  • A Meadow near Northam Burrows late in possession of George BEAKE
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in Northam aforesaid in possession of Mary HOBBS
  • A Close of Land called the Pitt or Fair field late in the possession of one WILKINSON
  • A Dwellinghouse in Northam Town aforesaid late in possession of Rebeccah HAWKIN
  • A Dwellinghouse Smiths Shop and Field called Windmill Field in Northam aforesaid late in the possession of Roger BOND
  • A Dwellinghouse in Northam aforesaid late in possession of John PARROTT
  • One Field of Close of land ['late' crossed through] lying under Northam Burrows aforesaid late in possession of James PYKE
  • A Field called Winsoryes lying in Northam aforesaid fallen into hand and now rented by John HALLS at a Yearly rent
  • Another Field called Row's Field now fallen into Hand and rented by an undertenant
  • Also two Fields of Ground lying in Northam aforesaid called Hockadays late in possession of Roger BOND
  • Two Fields or Closes of Land late Middletons lying in Northam aforesaid in possession of Robert FRANCES
  • Part of a Tenement in Northam aforesaid called Haskins in possession of John OCENHAM
  • A Messuage and Tenement in Bideford aforesaid called Conygars late in possession of Humphrey CHING deceased
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying in Bideford aforesaid called Duncombes in possession of John WALTERS
  • A Messuage and Tenement called Summars Bibery
  • Another Messuage and Tenement called Griggs Bibery
  • And Another Tenement called Darracotts Bibery

All which said three last mentioned messuages and premises are situate lying and being in Bideford aforesaid and now in the possession of one Henry STONEMAN // And the Depoent saith that he apprehends and believes that the said John BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his Death possessed of or Intitled to the Messuages lands and Tenements hereinafter particularly mentioned for the remainder of several terms of years Determinable on the Deaths of One two or three person or persons (that is to say):

  • All that Messuage and Tenement called Hyde
  • All that Tenement with the Ropeyard and new erected buildings thereon called Boathide
  • A Messuage Tenement and Farm called Raily
  • (Another Messuage and Tenement called Ford for a Reversionary Lease which commenced on the death of Samuel TETHERLY who is lately deceased)
  • And also two Fields Called Muddy Meadows for the remainder of a term which is determinable on the death of the said death of the said Defendant Thomas BENSON

All which said premises are situate in Northam aforesaid // And this Deponent saith that he never saw the Inquisition in this Interrogatory mentioned and therefore he cannot depose what part of the lands and premises hereinbefore mentioned and therein contained and this Deponent hath heard and believes that the aforesaid Key or Wharf called New Key and the Messuage and Tenement called Barzeys both lying at Appledore aforesaid were Given by the Will of the said John BENSON to the Defendant Thomas BENSON.

To the Fourth Interogatory this Deponent saith that he well knew the said Peter BENSON the son in this Interrogatory Named and that he Died in or about the Month of May One Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Three seized and possessed of a very considerable rent and personal estate of the value of many thousand pounds and particularly of all the Freehold and Leasehold Lands and Tenements which belonged to his late Father and which are particularly mentioned and set forth in this Deponents Deposition to the next proceeding Interogatory // And that he also died seized in fee of Intitled - or possessed for a long term of years absolute of in and to all that

  • Tenement or Overland called Thorn Lands lying in Abbotsham in the said County which he purchased of John SHEBBEARE and allua(?)
  • A Messuage and Tenement called Wooda in Northam aforesaid formerly the lands of BURNARD
  • A Messuage or Tenement Called Arscotts in Northam aforesaid part of which is let out at a Rack Rent and the residue thereof is let out on Leases for years Determinable on lives
  • A Messuage and Tenement lying near the Tree in Northam Town aforesaid known by the Name of the Swan Inn

And saith that the said Peter BENSON was in his lifetime and at the time of his death seized of the reversion in fee or Intitled for long terms of years absolute Subject to Leases for Years Determinable on Lives of and to the several Messuages and Tenements in Northam aforesaid hereinafter particularly mentioned that is to say

  • Four Fields or Closes of Land near Northam Town aforesaid in possession of Elizabeth GLOVER
  • Two Fields lying there in possession of John LANE
  • A Messuage and Garden lying in Northam Town aforesaid in possession of Elizabeth GLOVER
  • A Messuage and Garden lying there in possession of Richard WILLIAMS
  • A Messuage and Garden lying there in possession of Joseph TALLIN
  • A Dwellinghouse Orchard and Garden lying there late in possession of Joan ROOKE deceased
  • And also a Messuage and Garden there now in possession of George YEO
  • And also a Messuage and Garden there in possession of Grace SAMM widow

All which said last mentioned premises were purchased by the said Peter BENSON since the Death of his said Father // And this Deponent saith that as well the aforesaid Lands mentioned in his Deposition to the preceding Interrogatory (and which came to the said Peter BENSON from his said father) as also the several Lands and premises hereinbefore mentioned to have been purchased by him since the Death of his said father and all the greatest part of his other personal Estate which was very Considerable and Amounted to many thousand pounds upon his death came to the hands possession of power of the said Defendant Thomas BENSON who was his heir and Executor Subject to Several Legacies.

[Document ends]