The will of James Baker (c.1754 – 1837)

(a 5xgt grandfather of mine)

With thanks to my late Mother for transcribing this for me.

I have tried to keep capitals and spelling as in the copy the transcription was made from (but that does assume I read what my Mum wrote correctly!)

The line breaks are mine, to aid readability

This is the last Will and Testament of me James Baker of Woodford in the Parish of Blackawton and County of Devon, Yeoman which I publish and declare in form and matter as follows

I give and bequeath to my Wife Sarah Baker all my Estate Real and Personal that is to say the House, Garden and Orchard with the appurtenances thereunto belonging during her natural life that is the House wherein I now reside together with all the furniture, also all monies, Bonds, Notes and all other property whatsoever the same may be of which I may be possessed at my Death

and also after the Death of my wife Sarah Baker I give and bequeath the House and Garden and Orchard with the appurtenances aforesaid unto my two daughters (viz) unto Grace the wife of William Pitts Butcher at Wadstray and to Elizabeth the wife of William Hambling of Blackawton Gunsmith in equal share

I give and bequeath to my son James Baker after his mother’s decease the sum of Ten pounds to be paid to him at the end of three months after his mother’s death.

The remainder of my effects after my wife’s death I give and bequeath unto Grace Pitts aforesaid also to Elizabeth Hambling aforesaid and to the surviving children of my deceased Daughter Sarah Dinniss the late wife of Edward Dinniss of Woodford Yeoman to be equally divided between them, that is to say one third to Grace Pitts, one third to Elizabeth Hambling and one third to Sarah Dinniss’s Children

and I hereby appoint my two sons-in-law William Pitts and William Hambling joint Executors to this my last Will and Testament whereunto I have this day the 29th of November in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty six.

And I do also give and bequeath unto Susan Ellis the wife of William Ellis the sum of five pounds to be paid to her at the end of three months after her mother and my wife decease to this also I have this day put my hand the day and year just above written.

Signed, sealed, Published and declared by               }
the said James Baker the Testator as and for           } James Baker (SS)
his last Will and Testament in the presence of us     }

William Lamble
James Hambling
Esther Edwards

Died 15th December 1837
Sworn 25th April 1838

Effects under £300

Most of this will is self-explanatory. James leaves a bequest to Susan Ellis, the illegitimate daughter that his wife had had before they married. Although she was born only 10 months before James and Sarah married, James’ lack of reference to her as his daughter and his treatment of her (i.e. the much smaller bequest) suggests she was not his – unless he had already given her much more than to his daughters born in wedlock.

Although his son also received far less than his sisters, he had probably taken over a farm from his father and so effectively already had his inheritance. It is noticeable that although a farmer, James only mentions a house, garden and orchard.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *