The will of James Hockham [Hacom] (1727-1812)

James Hacom is a 6 x great grandfather of me.
This is the last Will and Testament of me James Hockham of the parish of Westhampnett in the County of Sussex Shepherd as follows (to wit) First I give and bequeath to my Sons and Daughter James William Mary Thomas and Richard the Sum of Ten Pounds apiece to be paid within twelve Calendar Months next after my Decease Also all the Rest and Residue of my Monies Household Goods and Furniture Linen Wearing Apparel Chattels and Personal Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever (after my just Debts Legacies and funeral and testamentary Charges and Expences are first paid and satisfied) I give and bequeath to my eldest Son John Hockham absolutely and for ever And I do hereby make and appoint him my said Son John Hockham sole Executor of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this Twenty sixth day of September in the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and eleven _ The Mark and Seal of X James Hockham _ Signed sealed published and declared by the said James Hockham the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us _ Wm. Wms. Wilmot _ Jno. Tappin_
This Will was proved before the Revd. James Baden Carpenter, Clerk, Surrogate as on the 6th day of August in the Year of our Lord 1812 on the Oath of John Hockham the Executor named therein to whom a Day was given for exhibiting an InventoryAffects worth } under £100 }
Not the most interesting will, James’ decision to leave everything to one person after a monetary sum to each of his children meant there was no need to described any of his clothes, household goods or furniture and (to my mind) it is these details which make a will most interesting. It is, though, useful in telling us James’ occupation at the time he wrote his will and in confirming that the children of a James and Mary baptised in West Tarring, in Parham and in Graffham were his. Yeoman and husbandmen often left wills, but farm workers less often, so it is interesting to note that he had been described as a husbandman when his daughter Mary was married (some 34 years earlier). Possibly he had given up farming on his own account due to the difficult economic times, or maybe had semi-retired (he was, after all, aged about 84 when he wrote his will and subsequently died). If his economic status had declined it is not so surprising that he still wrote a will, whilst labourers rarely left wills I have found them doing so when they were the sons of farmers etc. and descended from will-making families; if the habit persists down to another generation it is less surprising that one who had had farmed on his own account should leave one. (With thank to Martyn Haulkham, a descendant of James’ son John, for sending me a copy of the will)

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