Will of William Smith, mariner, of Appledore, Northam
Written 14th January 1782, Proved(?) 14th July 1829, Confirmed(?) 14th July 1879
© Crown Copyright
Copy deposited in North Devon Record Office, ref: P/183
Transcribed by David Carter
On outside cover:
14 July 1829
Probate of William Smith's Will
John Bull clerk, Doctor of Divinity Archdeacon of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple lawfully constituted. Do by these presents make known unto all men that on the 14th day of July in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine [1879-sic], before the Rev'd Thomas Harrison Vallitort Mill clerk our surrogate lawfully appointed the last Will and Testament of William SMITH late of Appledore in the County of Devon and Archdeaconry aforesaid, Mariner deceased, was introduced proved approved and registered. And that administration of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased anyway concerning his said will was committed to Mary SMITH his widow and sole executrix in the said will named, she being first sworn on the Holy Evangelists well and faithfully to administer the same (saving every one's right).
In Testimony whereof we have hereunto set our seal of Office dated the day and year above written.
James Pearce Jr Reg.
Effects sworn under £100.
In the name of God Amen. The 14th day of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Two [1782-sic], I William SMITH of the Parish of Northam in the County of Devon, mariner, and now a sojourner in the Parish of Braunton in the County Aforesaid being of sound and perfect mind and memory thanks be to God. Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all flesh once to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament that is to say Principally and First of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I recommend it to the earth or sea as it shall please God to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God, And as touching such wordly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. Imprinis: I give and bequeath my well beloved brother John SMITH my silver shoe buckles provided my wife shall happen to have no child begotten by me. Item: I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife Mary SMITH whom I do hereby constitute make and ordain my only and sole executrix of this my last Will and Testament, All and singular my lands and all my goods chattels rights credits and effects whatsoever or wheresoever by her freely to be possessed and enjoyed. And I do hereby utterly disallow revoke and disannul all and every other former testaments wills and legacies bequests and executors by me in any ways before this time named willed and bequeathed ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament.
In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the day and year first above written. William SMITH (seal)
Signed sealed published pronounced and declared by the said testator as his last will and testament in the presence of us:
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The above Will was found in a set of House Deeds relating to 16 Market Street, Appledore (and 12 & 13 The Quay, Appledore). Prior to its discovery, it existed only as a List Entry in a Wills Catalogue.
The document is puzzling however, because the will was written in 1782, but does not appear to have been proved until 14th July 1829.
On 15th July 1829, William's widow Mary SMITH sold the house which belonged to her at 16 Market Street, Appledore, so this may have served as a requirement for her late husband's will to be formally proved. Earlier in these deeds, in April 1797 Mary SMITH described herself as a 'widow', so William had presumably died by then, however there is no recorded burial for him in Northam (Appledore), or Braunton where he said that he was a sojourner. He may therefore have died at sea.
The documents also include a further confirmation that this will was proved, with a document dated 14th July 1879 (sic, the year was clearly written in text, there was no mistaking this). Why was this document apparently written almost 100 years after William wrote his original Will?
William SMITH may have been the child baptised at Northam on 26th Nov 1729. A sibling John SMITH was baptised on 17th March 1731/32. There is no suitable marriage for a William SMITH to Mary recorded in Northam.
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