The will of William GOTHAM (1740-1778)

Mariners often wrote wills when healthy, aware of the dangers of the sea. William, appears,  however, not to have been one such but to have left it until he was on his death bed. Clearly important to him was taking care of his family, especially making provision for his children. Since there is a register of duties paid on apprentice indentures, 1710 – 1811, we might have expected to find entries for William’s children, but I have not managed to do so. William’s son became a cooper like his step-father, presumably learning his trade from him, and hence presumably there was no formal indenture and so no duties paid. What became of Ann I know not.

The writing at left edge of the PDF available from TNA is faint, sometimes to the point of not existing, hence the uncertainty of a few words on the left.

(line breaks as in the PCC register copy)

In the Name of God Amen
I William Gotham of the Parish of Woolburrough
in the County of Devon Mariner and Victualler but
at the present time belonging to the Ship Ceres
in the service of the East India Company Thomas
Newte Esq. Commander being weak of Body but of
sound and disposing Mind and Memory do for
avoiding Controversies after my Decease make
Publish and Declare this my last Will and Testament
First I give and bequeath to my trusty Friend
James Westeway of the parish aforesaid Blacksmith
the Sum of twenty Guineas In Trust for the sole
use of my two Children William and Ann that is
to say Ten Guineas each to be paid as a fee
to bind them when at a proper age apprentice to
some Trade or profession which shall be most
agreeable to themselves and in Case of the
death of either of them before that shall happen
the Survivor to be Intitled to the whole sum
the one half to be paid as a Fee aforesaid and
the other half at the age of twenty one years
or Expiration of their Apprenticeship which shall
first or next happen but in Case of the death
of both my said Children before those periods
shall happen then I Give and bequeath the said
sum of twenty Guineas or such part as may be
unapplied to the aforementioned purposes to my
wife Ann Gotham. Secondly I Give and bequeath
to my said Wife Ann all my Wages Sum and
Sums of Money Lands Tenements Goods Chattels
and Estate whatsoever as shall be any ways due
owing or belonging to me at the time of my
decease And I do hereby Appoint my said Wife
Ann and my said Friend James Westeway Executors
of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking
all former and other Wills Testaments and Deeds of
Gifts by me at any time heretofore made and I
do Ordain and Ratify these presents to stand And be
for and as my only last and Testament In Witness
whereof I have set my Hand and Seal this 23d. day
of July 1778 William Gotham his X mark (LS) Signed
Sealed and Delivered published and Declared in the
presence of – James Wallis – Samuel Radford.
This Will was proved at London the third
day of September in the year of our Lord one
thousand seven hundred and seventy eight before the
Worshipful Francis Simpson Doctor of Laws and
Surrogate of the Right Worshipful Sir George Hay
Knight also Doctor of Laws. Master Keeper or
Commissary of the prerogative Court of Canterbury
lawfully Constituted by the Oath of Ann Gotham
widow the Relict of the Deceased and one of the
Executors Named in the said Will to whom Admon
was Granted of all and singular the Goods Chattels
and Credits of the said Deceased she having been
first Sworn duly to administer power reserved of
making the like Grant to James Westeway the other
Executor Named in the said Will when he shall apply
for the same

TNA ref: PROB 11/1045/108 (more details about source will be available on William’s page)


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