The will of Burlison Shell (1667/8 – 1742)

Burlison Shell is one of my 8 x great grandfathers.

In the Nme of God Amen, The Eight day
of May, in the Year of ou Lord, one Thousand
Seven hundred forty and two, I Burlison Shell of
Woodhorn, in the County of Northumberland, Yeoman,
being Sick and Weak of Body, but of good & perfect
memory & mind, thanks be given to God for the same, and
Calling to mind the mortality of the Body and knowing that it is
Appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last
Will & Testament: That is to Say principally and first of all, I give
and Recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that gave it; and for
my Body, I Recommend to the Earth, to be Buried in a Christian like
and decent manner at the discretion of my Exacutor, nothing doubting
but at the general Resurrection I ahll Receive the same again by the
Almighty power of God And as touching such worldly Estate, wherewith
it hath pleased God to bless me in this life, I give devise and dispose
of the same in the following manner and form
Imprimis It is my will & pleasure which therefore I do order &
enjoyn, that my Dear wife Jane Shell, Shall have possess & enjoy my
Dwelling House & Appurtenances, the Household goods Appertaining
thereto, with two Closes on the backside of my said House, freehold
Estate for & during the Term of her Natural Life, together with two milk
Cows, which she is to make Choice of from amongst the rest in my Possesion
And that she have brought her yearly & every year the Quantity of Six
Fother [1] of Coals for her fire, by my Son & Heir Ralph Shell
2:dly It is my Will & Pleasure, which I do therefore order and appoint that
at the Decease of my Said Deare Wife Jane Shell, the moveable goods and
Houshold furniture in the said House, and shall be in the Possession of my
said Wife at her Decease, shall be divided equally betwixt my two Daugh=
=ters Kathrine Swan & Elizabeth Richardson, as either themselves shall
agree on, or shall be Deem’d so by Impartial Judges appointed to apprise
them ___
3:dly It is my Will and Pleasure and I do hereby ordain and appoint that
my Grand Daughter Jane Swan Shall have a Legacy paid to her by
my Son and Heir Ralph Shell the Sum of Ten pounds legal money of
England, which said Sum shall become payable when the said Jane
Swan shall arive at the Age of twenty one years and not before, and
in Case she the said Jane Swan should die before she comes to that
Aage then it is my Will & Pleasure that the Heir of my Son in Law
Joseph Swan
shall be entitled to the said Legacy
4:th It is my Will and pleasure and I do hereby ordain and Appoint that
my Grand Son Burlison Richardson shall ^ {have} a Legacy to be paid to him
by my Son & Heir Ralph Shell, the Sum of Ten pounds Legal money
of England, which said sum shall become payable when the said
Burlison Richardson arives at the Age of twenty one years, and

not before – and in Case he the said Burlison Richardson should
die before he comes to that Age then it is my will and Pleasure
that the Heir of my Son in Law William Richardson shall be
entitled to the said Legacy ___
5:th It is my Will and pleasure and I do hereby Appoint and declare
my Son Ralph Shell to be my Lawfull Heir and Executor of all
my Land and Tenements and my Personal ^ {Estate} goods (except as before
excepted) And that He my said son, Heir and Executor, He
his Heirs or Executors shall Discharge all my Lawfull debts,
shall pay the Legacyes aforementioned when they become due, and
defray my funeral Charges Necessary on such an Occasion, and
which is left to his discretion, And I more over declare this to
be my last Will and Testament, Revoaking all former wills
and Testaments heretofore made by me. In witness whereof

I have hereto sett my Hand and Seal the Day & Year above

Sign’d seald published
pronounced & declared by
the said Burlison Shell as his
last Will & Testament in the
Presence of usWm. Simcoe.
William Davison
Jno Coxon
Burlison + Shell

[A probate statement was written at the end of the original will:]

June 28 } John Coxon one of the subscribing witnesses was
1742 } sworn to the due execution thereof. & Ralph Shell sole
Executor therein named was also sworn well & faithfully
to execute & perform the same

before me Jno Wilson Surrogate.


[1] Fother – a load. Judging from the OED examples this old word continued in use in the NE when it was no longer used elsewhere, such that it was even included in a dictionary of Northumberland words


It is interesting to note that the only grandchildren who were left bequests shared the Christian names of Burlison and his wife. Possibly they were also Godchildren, and favoured for this reason (I have seen this in other cases).

Transcription of the original will by me, Teresa Goatham, from image on FamilySearch

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