Will of Roger MELHUISH, 1745
Written 20th June 1744, codicil 29th June 1745, proved 17th January 1745/46.
Taken from original document (will copy) in Devon Record Office ref: 56/8/14/6.
Transcribed by David Carter 2017
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Will: In the name of God Amen. I Roger Melhuish of Watertowne within the parish of Northam in the County of Devon esquire, being of sound perfect and disposing mind and memory (praised be God), Do make and ordain this to be my last Will and in many or following.
First I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it me hoping for remission of all my sins through the merits death and passion of my saviour Jesus Christ, and my body to commit to the earth to be decently buried in such manner as my executors in trust or either of them shall in his or their discretion think fit not exceeding sixty pounds in the charges thereof over & beyond such legacies as I have hereinafter in this my Will given for or on account of mourning.
And for all my worldly goods and estate I give and dispose thereof as follows (that is to say) I give and bequeath to the poor widows of the parish of Northam aforesaid (who have no relief of the said parish) the sum of four pounds.
To the poor widows of the parish of Witheridge in the said County (who have no relief of the said parish) the sum of three pounds.
To the poor widows of the parish of Burrington in the said County (who have no relief of the said parish) the sum of three pounds.
And to the poor widows of the parish of Kings Ash otherwise Ashreigny in the said county (who have no relief of the said parish) the sum of three pounds.
To be paid to the several & respective overseers of the poor of the said parishes by my executors.
In Trust hereinafter named within three months next after my decease, to be distributed by the respective overseers as they think fit.
I also give and bequeath unto the vicar of Northam aforesaid which shall be living & officiating there at the time of my death the sum of five pounds to be paid him within six months after my death.
I also give unto each of my servants & apprentices that shall be living with me at the time of my death ten shillings a piece excepting only my old servant maid Ann Young to whom I do hereby give five guineas in case she shall be living with me at the time of my death to be paid her within six months next after my decease.
I also give unto my servant man that shall then attend & wait on me as much of my woollen & linen apparel as my trustees hereinafter named shall think proper.
And First Whereas my late dear wife Eleanor Melhuish sometime before her death did (with my privity and consent in pursuance of the power to her given and reserved in and by a certain deed indented bearing date on or about the first day of March which was in the year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and twenty seven) duly make and publish her last Will & Testament in writing bearing date on or about the nineteenth day of October which was in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty nine in presence of three credible witnesses and therein and thereby give & bequeath diverse pecuniary & other legacies to my children therein named.
Now I do hereby ratify allow & confirm the same according in every respect and do hereby desire & direct my said Trustees to see the due performance thereof as much as in them lieth.
And I do hereby charge all my messuages lands & tenements and all my goods & chattles rights credits and all other my estate real and personal with this payment of all the said pecuniary legacies so given my said children by my said late wife at the respective times therein limited according to the true intent & meaning of my said late wife's Will.
Also I give and bequeath unto my son William Melhuish the sum of twenty pounds to be by him bestowed in mourning.
I also give unto my said son William my silver coffee pot given my said son William in his infancy.
And I also give my said son William all other my plate on which are engraved the Melhuish Coat of Arms or crest.
I also give unto my said son William Melhuish my large silver pitcher.
I also give unto my son Thomas Melhuish and unto my daughter Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish the sum of ten pounds a piece for mourning.
I also give unto my daughters Grace Buck and Frances Benson five pounds a piece for mourning.
And I do hereby direct all the aforesaid respective sums hereinbefore by me given for mourning to be paid within six months next after my death.
And whereas I did sometime hereto fore grant a lease to some person of my capital messuage called Watertowne with the appurtenances thereunto belonging. In Trust and for the sole and only use of the said Roger Melhuish my executors administrators and assigns during the continuance of the same lease.
Now I do hereby give & bequeath unto my said son William my said capital messuage with the appurtenances called Watertowne and all my estate and term therein both in law & equity by virtue of the said lease during the continuance thereof conditionally that my said son William do permit & suffer my executors In trust thereinafter named to have the use of my said Capital Messuage with the appurtenances called Watertowne for the space of three months next after my death for the disposal of the goods & effects there and for the settling & managing of their affairs as being my executors In Trust without any let or interruption & not otherwise.
Also I give to Mary the daughter of Robert Doleman clerk deceased (my God daughter) one guinea.
I also give unto my son-in-law Thomas Benson one guinea to buy him a mourning ring.
The said two last mentioned legacies to be paid within one month next after my death.
Also I give & bequeath to my aforesaid son Thomas Melhuish the right of the next presentation nomination or avoidance of the vicarage of Burrington in the said County of Devon and all the small tythes oblations & perquisites whatsoever to the same vicarage belonging in case the same shall happen to become vacant during the life of my said son Thomas Melhuish.
Also I give & bequeath unto my said son Thomas Melhuish over & beyond what he will become entitled unto in & by my marriage settlement and also over & beyond what is given unto him in & by the said will & testament of his said late mother deceased the sum of six hundred and twenty five pounds to be paid unto my said son Thomas Melhuish within twelve months next after my death.
I also give unto my said daughter Frances the now wife of Thomas Benson esquire (over and beyond what she will become entitled unto by my said Marriage Settlement and also over & beyond what is given her in and by the said last will of the said late mother) the sum of six hundred and twenty five pounds to be paid her also within twelve months next after my decease.
Also I give and bequeath unto my said daughters Eleanor Melhuish & Elizabeth Melhuish and unto each of them the sum of seven hundred and twenty five pounds over and beyond what is allotted for them in and by the marriage settlement and over & beyond also what is given then respectively in and by the last Will and testament of their said late mother deceased which I do hereby ratify & confirm unto them respectively as aforesaid which said sum of seven hundred and twenty five pounds a piece I do hereby direct shall be paid to them the said Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish when they shall attain their respective ages of twenty one years.
And I do hereby further direct that in case either of my said two daughters Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish shall happen to die before the age of twenty one years, then the survivor of them shall have the whole benefit of the said legacy of seven hundred and twenty five pounds of her sister so dying.
And to the intent that there may no dispute or difference and hereafter touching what may be thought reasonable for the maintenances yearly for my said younger children Eleanor and Elizabeth between them & the trustees in my marriage settlement named and for the preventing thereof (as much as in me lyeth) I the said Roger Melhuish do hereby allot & allow for such maintenances yearly the sum of thirty five pounds a piece yearly for each of my said daughters Elianor and Elizabeth during their respective minorities which I hereby desire & direct be paid to my said daughters Eleanor and Elizabeth accordingly by my said trustees in quarterly payments out of the rents & profits of the lands charged with their several portions and maintenances in and by my said Marriage Settlement.
I also give unto my said daughters Elianor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish equally between them all the wearing apparel & jewels that were or were commonly reputed to be) their late mothers my late dear wife Eleanor Melhuish deceased, and in order to prevent any dispute touching such division I do hereby request their Aunt Elizabeth Barbor to take upon her the trouble of making such division between my said two daughters and if either of them the said Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish should happen to die before such division be made then the survivor of them to have the whole of the said wearing apparel & jewels. And for the enabling of my trustees herein named to pay and discharge all my debts the several portions maintenances legacies funeral expenses and all other charges and such other the sum and sums of money herein by me given and bequeathed I do hereby give and bequeath unto my brother in law William Barbor of Barnstaple and George Newell of the same gentlemen whom I do hereby appoint executors in trust of this my last Will & Testament.
All my goods and chattles rights & credits and all other my Personal Estate of what nature kind or quality so ever (not herein before given) and also all my right title term and terms of and in all those several and respective reversionary estates which I have at any time or times heretofore granted of and in the several lands & tenements called North Grindon lying in Rose-Ash, and the moiety of one tenement called Crowdall in Creycombe and three quarters of one tenement called Wheydon in Witheridge and one entire tenement called Pillavin in Witheridge aforesaid, and one other tenement called South Grindon in Witheridge aforesaid and of one other tenement called Radford in Abbotsham, and of one other tenement called Langley in Romsley in the said county, and one other tenement called Hennicastle in Northam aforesaid, and all other my reversionary estates that I have at any time heretofore granted In Trust for me my executors administrators and assignes either to late Dame Ann Berry or the said William Barbor my brother in law, or to any other person on the account of any such trust herein before by me disposed of (the lease hereinbefore mentioned to have been by me granted In Trust to the aforesaid capital messuage with the appurtenances called Watertown) but subject to the condition aforesaid (only excepted).
And moreover for the further enabling of my said Executors In Trust to raise and make good the aforesaid several sums of money herein before directed to be paid.
I do hereby also give & devise unto the aforesaid William Barbor and George Newell my Rectory and Sheave of Burrington aforesaid (subject to the aforesaid gift of the next avoidance thereof unto my said son Thomas Melhuish in manner as aforesaid) and my several messuages lands and tenements called Bragga-marsh, Caddin-marsh Pool-Batt in Little Hansford Hill and all other my unsettled lands in Burrington aforesaid and my messuage & tenement called Narracott lying in Winkleigh in the said county of Devon, and all my manor or reputed manor of Hansford with all the messuages & lands & tenements thereunto belonging lying in Burrington aforesaid and elsewhere, and my moiety of Little Hansford and all my messuages lands & tenements with the appurtenances commonly called by the several names of Deston, East Hayne Towne and West Hayne Towne lying in the parish of Warkleigh or elsewhere in the said county, and all my messuages lands and tenements called Atlane Tenement, Coal Hill Barn, two fields at Assells and a tenement or house called Stutsons which said last mentioned premises are lying in Northam aforesaid.
And one annuity or yearly rent charge of 10 shillings yearly issuing out of lands belonging to Richard Stevins esq lying at Appledore in Northam aforesaid formerly the lands of Yeo.
And also all other my messuages lands tenements & hereditaments hereof I now stand seized in fee simple lying in the said county of Devon and the rents remainders revertions and services thereof with all and singular the appurtenances to the said several lands & premises or to any part thereof belonging.
To Have and To Hold the aforesaid several messuages lands tenements manors or reputed manors and all other the premises with the appurtenances unto the aforesaid William Barbor and George Newell and to their executors administrators and assigns from and immediately after my death for and during the full term of five hundred years in trust for raising and levying the sum of fifteen hundred pounds of lawful money in manner and for the uses & purposes hereinafter mentioned (that is to say) I do hereby declare that my intent purpose and meaning in giving bequeathing and devising my goods and chattles rights & credits and testamentory and reversionary estates and my said manor messuages lands tenements hereditaments and premises aforesaid unto my said executors & trustees in manner and during the term aforesaid was & is Upon this special Trust and confidence that my said executors & trustees their executors administrators and the survivor of them do by means thereof pay and discharge my debts legacies funeral expenses portions and maintenances hereinfore given and bequeathed and all such other sum or sums of money which I have hereinbefore directed them to pay discharge and lay out and all the charges & expenses that may attend the same.
And to That End it is my will and meaning that my said executors in trust and the survivor of them do with efir~[blotted]~ace apply my goods & chattles rights and credits towards the payment of my said debts funeral charges portions maintenances and sums of money hereinbefore directed to be paid and the charges and expenses that shall or may be occasioned in and about the execution of the true trusts and their terms(?) what moneys they can by sale of all or any of the aforesaid reversionary leases And then for the raising of such remaining parts as may be sufficient to discharge the same I do hereby desire and empower my said executors In Trust and the survivor of them to sell lease or mortgage all or any parts or parcels of my said lands tenements or hereditaments for and during the whole or any part of the said term of five hundred years which I have hereinbefore given to them for that purpose, To the end that such sum and sums of money as my goods & chattles and personal estate hereinbefore to them bequeathed for that purpose shall come and fall short of raising my be thereby raised and paid for the full performance of this my Will and for paying my just debts funeral expenses portions maintenances and sums of money hereinbefore directed to be paid and for satisfying and paying of my said trustees for all such costs & expenses as they shall necessarily have been at in the execution of this my will and the trusts hereby in them reposed provided always and it is my will and meaning and I do hereby direct that my said executors in trust and the survivor of them do and shall within six months next after the full performance and execution of the several trusts hereby in them reposed deliver up unto my aforesaid son William Melhuish all such overplus of money (if any there be) as shall have been by them raised out of my said unsettled lands more than sufficient for the purposes aforesaid and which shall be then remaining in their hands unapplied and that at then and from thenceforth the said term of five hundred years so vested in my said trustees as aforesaid or such part thereof as shall then remain undisposed of shall cease and determine any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding And I do hereby also desire authorise & empower my said executors & trustees and the survivor of them and the executors & administrators of such survivor to demand recover & receive as well all my rents heriotts & other profits which shall become due out of all or any of my lands & tenements to them hereby devised and to set & let the same or any part of thereof during the continuance of the trust hereby in them reposed as also to manage all my moneys and all other my personal estate and to employ and place out at interest all such sum & sums of money as they shall think fit or to improve the same in any other manner and form and immediately after the full performance & execution of the several trusts aforesaid and the expiration or other sooner determination of the said term of five hundred years.
As aforesaid concerning all in my aforesaid unsettled messuages lands tenements hereditaments & premises I do hereby give and devise the same and every part thereof unto the aforesaid William Barbor & George Newell and their heirs to and upon the following uses (that is to say) To the use of the aforesaid William Melhuish for the term of ninety nine years if he so long live therein and or thereof to the use of the said William Barber and George Newell their heirs & assigns during the natural life of the said William Melhuish the better to support the contingencies hereinafter limited the remainder after the death of the said William Melhuish to the use of the first son of the body of the said William Melhuish lawfully to be begotten in tail male and for want of such issue to the use of the second third fourth fifth & sixth and every other son & sons of the said William Melhuish lawfully to be begotten in tail male one after the other according to seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such sons and the heirs males of his body being always to be preferred to the younger of such sons and the heirs male of his body and for want of such issue to the use of my aforesaid son Thomas Melhuish for the term of ninety nine years if he so long live. The remainder thereof to the use of the aforesaid William Barber and George Newell their heirs & assigns during the natural life of the said Thomas Melhuish, the better to support the contingencies hereinafter limited the remainder after the death of the said Thomas Melhuish To the use of the first son of the body of the said Thomas Melhuish lawfully to be begotten in tail male and for want of such issue to the use of the second third fourth fifth and every other son & sons of the said Thomas Melhuish lawfully to be begotten in tail male one after the other according to seniority of age and priority of birth the elder of such sons and the heirs males of his body being always to be preferred to the younger of such sons and the heirs males of his body. And for default of such issue to the use of the right heirs of my said son William Melhuish for ever.
And it is my further will that each of my said trustees shall be answerable only for his own receipt and act and not the one for the other and also that neither of my said trustees shall be answerable for any debt or debts that may be lost or not recovered through the insolvency of any person or persons from whom the same shall be due and doing or by means of any other inevitable or accidental loss.
And I do hereby desire authorise and empower my said trustees or executors in trust to depute and person or persons whom they shall think fit to act under them as their agent in the execution of the trusts aforesaid and to pay him or them what they the said trustees or the survivor of them shall think reasonable for so doing and I do hereby revoke all former wills by me made and I do hereby appoint my said son Thomas Melhuish and daughter Eleanor & Elizabeth joint executors and residuary legatees.
In Witness whereof the said Roger Melhuish the testator have to each of these three sheets annexed together containing my last will and testament respectively subscribed my name and set my seal of arms this thirtieth day of June in the year of our lord One Thousand seven hundred and forty four.
Signed sealed published & delivered by the aforesaid Roger Melhuish as & for his last will & testament in the presence of us who subscribed our names as witnesses hereto in the said testament presence and also in the presence of each other of us (the abovesaid being first interlined (to wit) and I do hereby appoint my said son Thomas Melhuish & daughters Eleanor & Elizabeth joint executors and residuary legatees - Thomas Strange, John Wood, Nar(cissus): Hatherly junr.
Signed: Roger Melhuish.
Codicil: I Roger Melhuish of Watertown in the county of Devon esquire do make this codicil to my last will and testament to which the same is annexed.
And first whereas I have in and by my will given unto my servant maid Ann Young therein named a legacy of five guineas, now I do hereby revoke such legacy of five guineas and in consideration of her faithful service and great care of me in my old age I do instead thereof give and bequeath unto her the said Ann Young in case she continue to live in my service at the time of my death the sum of ten guineas to be paid her within 8 months nest after my decease.
And whereas I have also in and by my said will given and bequeathed unto my two daughters Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish therein named the sum of seven hundred twenty five pounds a piece and have directed the same to be paid at their respective ages of twenty one years and lave also therein and thereby further directed that in case either of my said two daughters Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish should happen to die before she attain the age of twenty one years, that then the survivor of them should have the whole benefit of such legacy of seven hundred twenty five pounds of her sister so dying before the said age of twenty one years, Now I do hereby declare that my will is since altered in that respect and I do hereby expressly order and direct, and it is now my will intent and meaning that if and in case either of my aforesaid two daughters Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish shall happen to die before she attain her age of twenty one years, that then and in such case the survivor of them together with my two sons William Melhuish and Thomas Melhuish (who in such case are to come in for their equal shares thereof together with such survivor) shall by the whole benefit of the legacy of seven hundred twenty five pounds of such my said two daughters Eleanor Melhuish and Elizabeth Melhuish as shall happen to die before she attin her said age of twenty one years equally amongst them share and share alike any thing in my said will contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
In all other respects I do hereby confirm my said Will.
In witness whereof I the said Roger Melhuish have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty ninth day of June in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and forty five.
Subscribed sealed published by the said Roger Melhuish (as a codicil to his last will and testament) in the presence of us who subscribed our names as witnesses hereto in his presence, Jos(eph): Brinley, John Wood, Nar(cissus): Hatherly.
Probate: 17 January 1745 - probate of will of Roger Melhuish (document damaged)
Proved at Barnstaple 17th Jan 1745, on the renunciation of George Newell gent of Barnstaple one of the executors in trust, granted to William Barber doctor of physick of Barnstaple.
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Summary of the above taken from Moger Wills collection:
Will of Roger Melhuish of Northam.
Written: 30 June 1744.
Leaves to certain poor widows of Northam, £4.
To poor widows of Witheridge, £3.
To poor widows of Burrington, £3.
To poor widows of King Ash, otherwise Ashreigny, £3.
To vicar of Northam, £5.
To all his servants & apprentices 10s a piece excepting Ann Younge.
To Ann Young £5.5s.0d.
To servant man his wearing apparel.
He ratifies his wife Eleanor's will and charges legacies given thereby to his children, on his real and personal estate.
He leaves to his son William £20 for mourning, silver coffee pot, the spoon given in his infancy and all other his plate on which was engraved the Melhuish Coat of Arms, and his large silver pitcher.
To his son Thomas and daughters Eleanor and Elizabeth £10 a piece for mourning.
To his daughters Grace Buck and Frances Benson £5 a piece for mourning.
To his son William a messuage called Water Towne on certain conditions.
To Mary Dolman one guinea and to his son-in-law Thomas Benson a guinea for mourning ring.
To his son Thomas the right of next presentation of the Vicarage of Burrington, and a legacy of £625.
To his daughter Frances wife of Thomas Benson £625, and his daughters Eleanor and Elizabeth £725 each at age 21, beyond that given them by his marriage settlement and their mother's will with benefit of survivorship as regards the two last named legatees.
He allots £35 a piece yearly for the maintenance of his young children Eleanor and Elizabeth, and leaves them equally all wearing apparel jewels etc, of their mother's with benefit of survivorship.
For the purpose of paying his debts etc, and legacies thereinbefore given he leaves to his trustees William Barbor and George Newell both of Barnstaple (whom he appointed executors) all the residue of his personal estate. And also his reversionary estates in North Grindon in Rose Ash, the moiety of a tenement called Crowdall in Croycombe, and three quarters of a tenement called Wheydon in Witheridge, and a tenement called Pillavin in Witheridge, and a tenement called South Grindon in Witheridge, and a tenement called Radford in Abbotsham, a tenement called Langley in Romsley, a tenement called Hennicastle in Northam, and all other his reversionary estates (except Watertown).
And for the purposes aforesaid he also leaves to his said Trustees the Rectory and Sheafe of Burrington (subject as aforesaid) and his several messuages lands and tenements called Braggamarsh, Caddinmarsh Pool, Battin Little Hansford Hill and all other his unsettled lands in Burrington and his tenement called Narracott in Winkleigh, and all "my Mannour of Hansford" with all the messuages etc thereto belonging lying in Burrington and elsewhere and his moiety of Little Hansford, and his messuages called Deston East Hayne Towne and West Hayne Towne in Warkleigh or elsewhere, and all his messuages called Atlane tenement Coal Hill Barn, two fields at Assels and a house called Stutsons in Northam. And an annuity of 10s issuing out of lands at Appledore and Northam, and all other his freehold lands etc in Devon. To hold for the term of 500 years in trust to raise £1500 (here follows the trusts of the Will) the Trustees are within six months after the full performance of the said Trusts to pay over all surplus money to his son William and from thenceforth said term in unsettled lands to cease.
The unsettled messuages, lands etc, are there entailed on his son William and his heirs male, and in the event of William's death without issues then it is entailed on his son Thomas and his male issue.
Witnesses: Thomas Strange, John Wood, Warr: Hatherly junr.
Seal: Coat of Arms.
29th June 1745 - Codicil to said Will whereby he leaves Ann Young ten guineas instead of five. And alters his will in regard to the survivor of his two daughters taking both legacies given to them in case of death of either and he declares that his sons William and Thomas shall share with such survivor.
Witnesses: Jos: Brinley, John Wood, War: Hatherly.
Will and Codicil proved 17 Jan 1745.
Will proved 17 Jan 1745 
[The above taken from Moger will extracts in Devon R.O.]
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Monument in Northam Church:
Sacred to the Memory of ROGER MELHUISH esquire late of this parish who died Sept 6th 1745.
And ELEANOR his wife who died Oct. 25th 1740.
She was a prudent virtuous wife and excellent mother. He was truly an honest man.
They left behind them five children William, Thomas, Frances, Eleanor and Elizabeth.
William married Mary the daughter of James Awse esquire of Torrington and died without issue March the 27th 1770. Two hundred years after whose death the following estates will revert to the heirs of Thomas Melhuish vicar of Witheridge.
The manor of Northam, Watertown, Martins Ground, Higher and Lower Assells, Lords Meadow, Hengist Castle, Ford, Lewis Hillfield, Grigs Close, Gutter Meadow and other tenements in Northam parish. Radford in Abbotsham. North Grindon in Roseash parish. Downland, Foxdown and Downey Ground, Witheridge Parish.
Frances married Thomas Benson esquire who died leaving three children John and Peter and Grace the wife of John Husbands of this parish, gent.
Elizabeth died unmarried March 23rd 1783.
And three days after died Eleanor the relict of Joseph Veale esquire without issue.
At whose request this monument was caused to be erected by her brother THOMAS MELHUISH [he died 1793].
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