The will of Thomas Efford (abt. 1768* – 1835)

Although Thomas Efford was only a relation by marriage, I was interested in learning more about him because of all the Issells who appear to have been named after him. Of course, after the first one or 2, they could be named after other Thomas Efford Issells, but it seemed worth finding out. Actually, it’s his wife’s will which has proved the more interesting – and she did favour the first Issell to be named after his uncle-in-law over his brothers, but discovering more about Thomas has been interesting – he was a master mariner and seems to have had some “interesting” experiences. At the moment I have simply transcribed the newspaper snippets (into the “occupation” section on his page) that I think are probably about him and his ship, but I will probably expand this to an article with more background information in time.

All the newspaper snippets referring to a Captain Efford are talking about a mariner from Dartmouth, so it is interesting to see that while, when he died, a Bristol newspaper referred to him as “many years master of a vessel out of this port”, it was a Dartmouth master mariner who gave evidence regarding his handwriting (needed to ascertain the validity of a codicil). This suggests he must have had a reasonably long association with Dartmouth before moving to Bristol, increasing the liklihood at least some of the items about Dartmouth’s Captain Efford are about him and not another.

(* – see birth notes on Thomas’ page for more about uncertainty concerning date of birth)


In the Name of God Amen.
I Thomas Efford of the City of Bristol Master Mariner Do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to sayI give and bequeath to my dear Wife Susannah Efford her executors administrators and assigns All and singular my property Estate and Effects of every kind sort and description to and for her own sole and entire use for ever subject only to the payment of my just debts funeral expences and the charges of proving this my willAnd I appoint my said wife Executrix of this my Will and hereby revoking all other Wills by me made I declare this to be my last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the twenty fourth day of May in the fifty seventh year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Kind Defender of the faith and in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen  Thos. Efford—(SS)—Signed sealed published and declared by the said Testator as and for this his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in the presence of each other in his presence and at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses-J.B. Grindon Solr. Bristol – Robert Woolf Highridge house

Bristol 18 July 1835

This is a Codicil to my Will made and dated 24 May 1817 that is to say I give and bequeath to Thomas Edwin Oxenham eldest son of Roger Oxenham of Castle Street in the City of Bristol Woollen Draper the sum of ten pounds of the lawful coin of the Realm to be paid him by my Executrix within six months after my decease Also I give and bequeath to William Oxenham second son a like sum of ten pounds to be paid him in the same period after my death by my Executrix. As Witness my hand this 18th July 1835 –Tho. Efford –

Witness to the signt. Richd. Thos. Williams, Surgeon, Old Park—

I believe the above Signature to be that of Mr. Thos. Efford. C. Paul Castle Bk.

In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury

In the Goods of Thomas Efford deceased.

Appeared Personally Richard Rich of Dartmouth in the County of Devon Master Mariner and Charles Paul of the City of Bristol Gentleman and severally made oath as follows and first the said Richard  Rich speaking for himself saith that he knew and was well acquainted with the said Thomas Efford late of the parish of Saint Philip and Jacob in the City of Bristol Master Mariner deceased for some time before and to the time of his death also with his manner and character of handwriting and subscription having frequently seen him write and subscribe his name and having now carefully viewed and inspected the paper writing hereunto annexed purporting to be and contain a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of the said deceased the same beginning thus “Bristol 18 July 1835 This is a Codicil to my Will” ending thus “As Witness my hand this 18th July 1835” And this subscribed “Tho. Efford” he further made oath that he verily and in his conscience believes the said subscription “Tho. Efford” so set and subscribed to the said Will to be of the proper handwriting and subscription of the said Thomas Efford deceased

And the said Charles Paul speaking for himself and having now inspected the memorandum written at the end of the said Codicil to wit “I believe the above Signature to be that of Mr Thos. Efford  C Paul Castle Bk” saith that the same was so written by this Deponent on the twenty seventh day of July last the said Codicil having been presented to him by Mr Roger Oxenham the elder for the purpose of ascertaining whether he could prove the handwriting of the said Thomas Efford deceased and instead of giving a verbal answer to the enquiry made on that occasion this Deponent wrote the memorandum at the bottom of the said paper writing as the same thereon appears and that the same was wrote by this Deponent in ignorance and without any fradulent intention of purpose And this Deponent Charles Paul further saith that he has the same belief as to the signature of the said Thomas Efford as is expressed in the said Memoranda but that his Co Deponent the said Richard Rich from his intimate acquaintance with the said deceased his manner and character of handwriting is enabled to authenticate the same with greater certainty.  Richard Rich — Chas. Paul – On the sixth day of August 1835 the said Richard Rich and Charles Paul were severally duly sworn to the truth hereof by virtue of the annexed commission Before me Samuel E. Day, Commissioner

Proved at London with a Codicil ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ 15th August 1835

Before the Judge by the oath of Susanna from the Will written Susannah Efford Widow the Relict the sole Executrix to whom Admon was granted having been first sworn by Commission only to administer


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