The will of John Vogwell (c.1753 – 1845)

(a 6xgt great uncle of mine)

Surprisingly this will was proved not in the Archdeaconry Court of Totnes or even the Diocesan Court of Exeter, but in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The will is therefore in the National Archives at Kew, TNA ref: PROB 11/2016/350.

The paragraph breaks are mine to aid reading. {} indicates superscript text inserted

In the Name of God Amen

I John Vogwill of the Parish of Sampford Spiney in the County of Devon Yeoman being sick in body but of sound mind memory and understanding do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say

First and principally I give my Soul to God who gave it and my body to the Earth to be decently buried at Whitchurch at the discection of my Executrix hereinafter named

I give and bequeath to my son John Vogwill a house the Lower part of Borgoyns Tenement within the parish of Sampford Spiney now occupied by William Crossman as Tenant thereof with the Barn belonging to the same and the pigs house and the lower part of the Garden which I now hold on a Lease of Lives the aforesaid John Vogwill is to have to hold during his life and dispose of the same at his own will after his death but he is not to sell or mortgage any of the foresaid premises during his life and keep the same in good repair and pay the chief rent for the same to C. Tolsher Esqr. high Lord of the same

Also I give to the foresaid John Vogwill three pounds of lawful English money to be paid him within twelve months after my decease by my Executrix and also the bed and bedding I now lye on and a third part of the rent of my Leasehold Estate in the parish of Whitchurch known by the name of Stone after the premises are kept in good repair and the high rent and land Tax is paid which he is to receive during his life or so long as the life shall life and after him to belong to his brother and sister or either of them that shall be living after his decease

I also give to the foresaid John Vogwill a third part of the interest of £550 now in the funds or so much as shall remain in the said funds at the time of my decease during his life after his decease to belong to his brother and sister or either of them that shall be alife at the time of his decease The foresaid John Vogwill shall not sell or mortgage any part of the foresaid interest and if neither of his brother or sister be alive at the time of his death then the foresaid interest to be divided equal among my Grandchildren that shall be living on English Ground I give and bequeath to my second son William Vogwill during his life or so long as the lives shall live my leasehold Tenements known by the name of Dosterbrook[1] in the Parish of Whitchurch with the Blacksmith Shop and all other out houses and rights belonging to the same and after his decease to belong to his brother and sister or Either of them that shall be alive at the time of his decease or during the lifetime of either of them

I give to the foresaid William Vogwill the sum of Three pounds of lawful English money to be paid him by my Executrix within twelve months after my decease and one third part of the rent of my Leasehold Estate in the parish of Whitchurch known by the name of Stone after the premises are kept in good repair and the land tax and high rent is paid and all other necessary payments made which he is to receive during his life or so long as the life shall live and after his decease to belong to his brother and sister or either of them that shall be alive after his decease and also one third part of the interest of £550 now in the funds or so much as shall be in the funds at the time of my decease which he is to receive during his life and after him to belong to his brother and sister or Either of them that shall be alive at the time of his decease or during the lifetime of Either of them and after him and them to be shared equal among my Grandchildren that shall be alive on English Ground the foresaid William Vogwill or his brother and sister x [in right margin, tiny, photocopied poorly, barely legible: “x shall not sell or mortgate any part of the foresaid premises or  ?? during ?? lifetime”] or after their decease

I give my watch to my Great grandson James Simons so soon as he is capable of taking care of it

I give and bequeath to my only daughter Johanna Simons a house which I now live in known by the name of Borgoyns tenement the upper part of the same and the upper part of the garden belonging to the same and the third part of the interest of £550 in the funds namely in the Consolutary 3 per cent Annuities and the third part of the rent of my Leasehold Estate in the Parish of Whitchurch in the County of Devon known by the name of Stone which she is to recive during her life and after her to belong to my two sons John and William Vogwill or either of them that shall be alive at the time of her decease and after her and them to belong to my Grandchildren that shall be living on English Ground at the time of my decease in equal share the foresaid Johana Simons shall not sell or mortgage any part of the foresaid premises or interest for her life time or after her decease

I give my clothes to my two sons John and William Vogwill to be divided between them at the discretion of my Executrix and Trustees and the Rest Residue and Remainder of my Property and all my goods chattels bills bonds and every thing I may die possessed of (after paying all my just debts and funeral expences) I give and bequeath to my only daughter Johana Simons now living with me in the parish of Sampford Spiney

and I hereby nominate and appoint the foresaid Johana Simons my whole and sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament I also hereby nominate my nephew Thomas Vogwill and John Foot yeoman Trustees of this my last Will and Testament. Made[?] sealed signed published and declared on this twenty fifth day of April one thousand eight hundred and forty four. I John Vogwill declare this my last Will and Testament in the presence of you Richard Toope and William Gawman witnesses and do make void all former Wills. The mark IV of John Vogwill Testator

LB – William Gawman – Richard Toops Witnesses

[1] Dostabrook in the Tithe Commutation listsings (transcriptions on FODA website, browse Whitchurch Parish). It appears to be on the Whitchurch Road in Horrabridge.

I happened to notice a bapt in 1831 of a Richard Atwill Toop, son of Richard (mason) and Jane, in Whitchurch, of the parish. Richard the mason may well be the Richard who witnessed the will, and it maybe that his wife Jane was John’s sister-in-law, by his second marriage.

In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
In the Goods of John Vogwill Farmer deceased
Appeared Personally Richard Toop of Horrabridge in the Parish of Whitchurch in the County of Devon and made oath that he is one of the subscribed witnesses to the last will and Testament of the above named John Vogwill late of Horrabridge in the Parish of Sampford Spiney in the County of Devon hereto annexed bearing date 25th April 1844 and he further saith that the twenty fifth day of April aforesaid the Testator the said John Vogwill set his mark at the foot or end of the said in the presence of him the Deponcer and William Gawman the other subscribed witness thereto both being present at the same time and who at the request and in the presence of the deceased and ^ {in the presence} of each other respectively subscribed their names as Witnesses thereto Richard Toop. On the second day of April 1845 the said Richard Toop was duly sworn to the truth of this Affidavit by virtue of the annexed Commission Before me. Jn. Sleeman Com.

[Something is written in the left margin by the above Affidavit, tiny writing together with poor quality photocopy means I can’t read much of it; it starts On the 13th day of December 1851 …]

 Proved at London 7th April 1845 before the Judge by the oath of Joanna, in the will written Johana Simons, widow the daughter the sole Executrix to whom Admon was granted having been first sworn by Com[missi]on duly to administer.

Sadly this will was to give rise to a dispute between two siblings, John’s grandchildren,  the son and daughter of Johana Simons. I have transcribed the bill of complaint that Betsey and her husband Thomas King brought against her brother John – it can be found here.


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