The Last Will and Testament of Mary Palmer

Temple House, High Street which was inherited by Mary Palmer in 1788.
Photograph by Bruce Huett

Introduction

The Palmer family had a long association with Meldreth, stretching over several centuries. Mary or Mollie Palmer was born in 1755 and died in 1827. She inherited Blacks, otherwise known as Temple House, in Meldreth’s High Street from her father George in 1788.

Note
Whilst every attempt has been made to transcribe the will accurately, MLHG accepts no responsibility for any errors. A copy of the original will may be downloaded from the National Archives site, ref. PROB-11-1727-266.


The Will

This is the last Will and Testament of me
Mary Palmer of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge, spinster. First I give and
devise to Mary Palmer daughter of my cousin Aleph Palmer of Orwell, all that
my cottage in Meldreth aforesaid now in the occupation of the widow Hornby and William
Wilson, with the orchard adjoining now in my own occupation and also my cottage
and estate at Sandon in the County of Hertford, to hold for her life and from and
immediately after her decease I give and devise the same cottages and estate unto her
eldest or only daughter and her heirs if she should happen to have a daughter living
at her decease, and if the said Mary Palmer shall have no such daughter living at
her decease then I give the same cottages and estate unto the said Mary Palmer
and her heirs forever. Also I give to George Palmer the youngest son of my said
cousin Aleph Palmer, and to the heirs of the said George Palmer, all my
freehold and copyhold messuage, farmlands, allotments and the rest of my real
estates in Meldreth aforesaid; and also all my freehold and copyhold
and other real estate at Fulbourn in the county of Cambridge to the said
George Palmer and his heirs, paying thereout to my faithful servant Charles
Charter weekly and every week for the term of his natural life the sum of fifteen
shillings of lawful money to commence from my death. And I hereby charge
the same estates therewith accordingly with the necessary and proper powers for the
due recovery thereof weekly by distress or otherwise, and also paying one hundred
pounds unto Robert Ellis of Wittingham son of Robert Ellis of Meldreth within
one year after my decease if the said Robert Ellis the younger shall be then
living. But if he shall be then dead then the said George Palmer or his heirs
shall pay the said one hundred pounds to Charlotte Stockbridge, the daughter of
William Stockbridge of Meldreth at her age of twenty one years or day of
marriage, which first happens, and charge the said estates at Meldreth so given
to the said George Palmer therewith accordingly. Also I give and devise to Aleph
Palmer the oldest son of my cousin Aleph Palmer, and to the heirs of the said
Aleph Palmer the younger, all my freehold and copyhold lands and
real estates at Foxton in the said County of Cambridge. Also I give to Mrs Hitch
the wife of Mr Joshua Hitch my chaise and ten pounds for a ring and my
three folio volumes of Henry’s exposition of the Bible. Also I give to Mrs Martha
Clements the wife of Joseph Clements the sum of ten pounds; and I give my
best wearing apparel to the said Mrs Clements and Mary Bishop of Bourn,
widow, to be allotted and equally divided as near as maybe between them
at the best discretion of my Executors. And all the rest of my apparel and wearing
clothes I give to my said servant who may be living in my service at the
time of my decease. Also I give my silver pint pot marked “G P” to the said George
Palmer. Also I give and bequeath all the rest of my plate and all the rest of my
printed books to the said Aleph Palmer the younger and Mary Palmer, to be
equally divided between them as near as maybe at the like discretion of

my said Executors. Also I give the silver watch of my late mother to the said
George Palmer. Also I give to Mrs Carver of Melbourn all my pewter dishes
and plates as I think they may be useful to her in her school. Also I give
to the said Mrs Carver ten pounds in money. Also I give to Mrs Sarah Norris
ten pounds and to David Baker of Melbourn, pew opener of the meeting house
there, five pounds. Also I give to the two children of Mrs George Wallis, namely
Ann and Sarah, five pounds apiece to be laid out to buy each of them a
ring. Also I give the two mourning rings which I had for the late Mrs Cooper
and Mrs George Wallis to Mrs Hitch. Also I give to Mrs Joseph Clear and Mrs Kezia
Fitzjohn five pounds apiece. Also I give to Job, son of William Kefford of Whaddon, five
pounds to be paid to him, or his father for him, within one year after my decease.
Also I give to Mary Croft, daughter of Mr Robert Hulme of Leadenhall London the
sum of fifty pounds. I also will and direct that my yearly servants who shall be
living with me at my death shall receive their full year’s wages as if this year’s services
of each had been completed at my death. And I direct that my funeral shall be
conducted in such manner as I shall direct by any writing under my hand in
case I shall leave any such, and if I shall leave no such then at the best discretion
of my Executors. And after payment of my debts, legacies and funeral expenses and
the expense of proving this my will, I give and bequeath all the rest and residue
of my furniture, goods, chattels, stock, crop and personal estate unto my said cousin
George Palmer of Orwell, for his own use and benefit, hoping and expecting that
he will come to live and reside in my house and on my estate at Meldreth
now in my own occupation, and thus given to him; and it is my particular
request that he will not cause or permit any of my said furniture or effects above
given to him to be sold by auction. And lastly I give and devise to my friend Mr
William Nash of Royston and to his heirs all my real estate, both freehold
and copyhold, at Barkway Hertfordshire and at Little Wilbraham
in Cambridgeshire, he paying thereout to Mr Joseph Pattisson Wedd one hundred pounds
which I give him for his troubles in acting as one of my Executors. And I appoint
the said William Nash and Joseph Pattisson Wedd joint Executors of this my last
will and testament. In witness whereof I, the said Mary Palmer, the testatrix, have
to this my last will and testament contained in two sheets
of paper set my hand and seal; that is to say, my hand to the first sheet and
my hand and seal to this second and last sheet, this seventh day of May in
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen. Mary Palmer
Signed sealed published and declared by the said Mary Palmer, the testatrix, as and for
her last will and testament in the presence of us, who in her presence at her request
and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses, the
words ‘Great Wilbraham and Little’ being first interlined between the seventh and eighth lines from the bottom of this second and last page. Thomas Elliott
Octavius Wedd  James Seabrook.

This is a Codicil to be annexed to and taken as part pf the Will and Testament
of one Mary Palmer of Meldreth in the County of Cambridge, spinster, bearing date
the seventh day of May one thousand eight hundred and seventeen. First I direct that
the legacy of ten pounds by my said will bequeathed to Mrs Sarah Morris since deceased
shall sink into my personal estate for the benefit of my residuary legatee; also I
revoke the legacy of one hundred pounds by my said will bequeathed to or charged
in favour of Mr Joseph Pattisson Wedd my Executor; also I direct that the clothes
and wearing apparel by my said will bequeathed shall be divided among the several
legatees to whom the same are given by my said will, by and at the discretion of
my friend Miss Hester Nash of Royston, whose division as to the same shall be binding
on my said legatees. Also I revoke the devise in my said will contained of my
estates at Barkway and Little Wilbraham to my friend Mr William Nash and in
lieu thereof I give and devise all my messuages, land, tenements and hereditaments
whether freehold or copyhold, or of what tenure soever which are situate, lying or
being in Great Wilbraham and Little Wilbraham in the County of Cambridge, and in
Barkway in the County of Hertford or in any or either of the said parishes to
William Hollick Nash of Royston and his heirs and assigns to the intent that he
and they may be admitted customary tenants of the copyhold parts of the said
premises and may stand and be possessed of all the said premises in trust for
Master Nash aforesaid, Elizabeth Nash, Mary Wedd, Sarah Fordham and Martha Nash
the five daughters of the said William Nash as tenants in common for their respective
lives with remainder as to the one fifth share limited to each of them for her life,
as aforesaid in trust for the said Mary Wedd and Sarah Fordham for their respective
lives as tenants in common, with remainder as to the moiety of each of them in trust
for all her children as tenants in common, their heirs and assigns for ever, and
revoke the appointment of the said William Nash to be an executor of my said will,
and I appoint the said Joseph Pattisson Wedd sole Executor thereof, and in all other
respects I ratify and confirm my said will, in witness whereof I have hereunto set
my hand and seal this fifteenth day of September in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and twenty four. Mary Palmer. Signed, sealed, published
and declared by the said Mary Palmer as and for a codicil to her last Will and
in the presence of us who at her request in her presence and in the presence of each
that have hereunto set our names as witnesses, Chas. Stokes, Thos. Pickering, J.H Edwards.

This is a further codicil to be annexed to and taken as part of the last will
and testament of me Mary palmer, of Meldreth, in the County of Cambridge, spinster.
I give to Mrs Bygrave of Malton for her kind assistance to me the sum of twenty five
pounds of lawful money and a handsome suit of mourning. And I leave all my
freehold and copyhold estates in my will devised to my cousin George Palmer and his heirs with
the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, and my legacies not
charged on other real estates in aid of my personal estate, and in all other
respects I ratify and confirm my said will and codicil heretofore made by me
thereto in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty sixth
day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty
Seven. Mary Palmer Signed sealed, published, and declared by the said Mary
Palmer as and for a further codicil to her last will and testament in the presence of
us who at her request in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto
set our names as witnesses the interlineation above the seventh line
from the top being first made. Sophia Crook, Benjamin Howard Junior, Emma Bullen,
Meldreth, Cambs.
Proved at London with two codicils the 19th June 1827, before the worshipful
Jesse Addams, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate, by the oath of Joseph Pattisson Wedd the
sole Executor named in the first codicil to whom administration was granted having
been first sworn duly to administer.

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