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