Wills & Testaments

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The Last Will and Testament of Sir John Franklin

This transcription is based on a will that can be found within the records of Prerogative Court of Canterbury under the reference PROB 1/92. Obligatory thank you to Kathryn H. Stutz and other friends for helping out with the adjusted version of this will.

Direct Transcription

This is the Last Will and Testament of Me Sir John Franklin Knight a Captain in the Royal Navy now residing in Devonshire street, Portland Place in the County of Middlesex. I bequeath to my dear Wife Jane Franklin her Wearing Apparel, Jewels Watches, Trinkets and other Articles of her dress and Personal Ornaments and all Provisions Wines and Liquors which shall be in the House in which she shall reside at my death. I bequeath unto my Brother in Law Henry Sellwood of Horncastle in Lincolnshire Esqre Joseph Kay Esqre Architect of Greenwich Hospital and Nicholas Garry Esqre Merchant in Old Broad street London and my Father in Law John Griffin of Bedford Place Esqre all the residue of my Personal Estate and Effects whatsoever which shall belong to me or be held in Trust for me at my death To hold and receive the same to them their Executors administrators and assigns Upon Trust to pay my debts and to permit my said Wife to reside if she shall think fit in my Leasehold House in Devonshire street Portland Place during the Interest I shall have therein at my death (she paying the rent and all rates and taxes for the same) and to have the use of all my Household Goods and Furniture Plate Linen and China during her life and subject thereto upon trust for them and the survivors and survivor of them and the Executors administrators and assigns of such survivor at their and his discretion to call in sell and convert all my property and effects into money and to invest such money in the Public stocks or funds or upon Government or real securities and to vary such stocks funds and securities from time to time at the discretion and to pay the annual produce thereof unto my said Wife during her life and at the death of my said Wife to pay the sum of One Thousand Pounds sterling to my Sister Mrs. Thomas Cracroft to be a vested Interest in her at my own death and if my said Sister shall die in my life time then I direct such sum to be paid at my said Wife’s decease unto or amongst the Child or Children if any of my said Sister who shall be living at my death; if more than one in equal shares to be a vested Interest or vested Interests in such Child or Children at my death and subject thereto to stand possessed of the said Stocks funds and securities as to the sum of One thousand pounds Sterling part thereof In Trust for my daughter Eleanor Isabella Franklin her executors administrators and assigns And as to the residue thereof In Trust for all or such one or more of my Children by my said present Wife born and to be born for such interests and in such shares (if for more than one) and at such ages or age and times or time and subject to such conditions restrictions and limitations over (the same being for the benefit of some or one of such Children) and with such provisions for maintenance and education and advancement and in such manner in all respects as my said present Wife shall from time to time by any writing or writings under her hand with or without powers of revocation and new appointment or by her Will or any Codicil or Codicils thereto to be signed and published by her and attested by two Witnesses direct or appoint and in default of any such direction or appointment and so far as none such shall extend In Trust for my Child or Children by my said present Wife born and to be born who being a son or sons shall attain the age of twenty one years or being a Daughter or Daughters shall attain that age or marry (with the consent of my said Wife if living) if more than one in equal shares Provided always and I direct that subject to any direction or appointment to be made by my said Wife as aforesaid the annual produce of the presumptive portion of every or any Child during minority shall after my said Wifes decease be paid to and applied by his and her Guardian or Guardians for or towards his and her maintenance and education respectively And it shall be lawful for my Trustees or Trustee for the time being after my said Wifes decease or in her life time with her permission to apply the whole or any part of the presumptive portion of every or any son respectively in or towards his advancement fitting out or placing out in life provided also that no Child taking any share by appointment of my said Wife shall unless she shall so direct be entitled to share with any other Children or Child in the unappointed part of the said Trust property without bringing such appointed share into Hotchpot and accounting for the same accordingly Provided nevertheless and I declare that my Trustees and Trustee for the time being may in their and his discretion let at a rent or rents instead of selling any Messuage or Leasehold Estate to which I shall be entitled with or without any fixtures and furniture belonging to or being upon the same all such rents to be considered as annual Interest or produce of my Estate And I direct that if I shall have no Child by my said present Wife who under the aforesaid Trusts and powers shall live to become entitled to the said Trust property then subject as aforesaid the same or the unapplied part thereof shall be held In Trust as to Five thousand pounds Sterling in Trust for my said present Wife her executors, administrators and assigns if she shall be living at my decease And as to Three Hundred Pounds Sterling in Trust for Miss Elizabeth Franklin if living at my decease and subject thereto In Trust for my said Daughter Eleanor Isabella Franklin her Executors administrators and assigns but if my said Daughter Eleanor Isabella Franklin shall not be living at my decease then In Trust for my said present Wife and my two Sisters the said Mrs Thomas Cracroft and Miss Elizabeth and my Sister in Law Mrs Kay Wife of the said Joseph Kay or such of the same four persons as shall be living at my deceased (if more than one) in equal shares And whereas I have for some time with my said Wifes approbation made and may hereafter during my Life continue to make an allowance to my said Sister Mrs Thomas Cracroft. Now I do not think proper to make any provision for her by my Will during my Wifes life, my said Wife I have no doubt will be disposed to assist my said Sister in case her own circumstances and those of our Children shall make it in her Judgement expedient so to do And I hereby Appoint and Confirm my said Wife and in case of and after her death the said Henry Sellwood, Joseph Kay, Nicholas Garry and John Griffin Esquires and the Survivors and Survivor of them Guardian and Guardians of my Children born and to be born until such children shall respectively attain the age of twenty one years And I appoint my said Trustees to be the Executors of this my Will Provided always and I declare that the receipts in writing of my Trustees and Trustee for the time being shall be sufficient discharges for all money payable to them or him under this my Will and that the Persons to whom the same shall be given shall not afterwards be answerable for any loss or misapplication nor concerned to see the application of the money therein acknowledged to be received Provided always and I declare that if the Trustees named in this my Will or either of them or any Trustee or Trustees to be appointed as hereinafter is mentioned shall die or be desirous of being discharged from the trusts hereby created or shall decline or become incapable to act therein It shall from time to time be lawful for the surviving Trustees or Trustee or the executors or administrators of the last surviving Trustee for the time being (nevertheless with my said Wife’s consent during her life) by any deed or deeds to appoint any person or persons to be a Trustee or Trustees in the place of the Trustee or Trustees so dying or declining or becoming incapable to act And that upon the appointment of any new Trustee, the Trust Estate and Funds then vested in the Trustee or Trustees so desiring to be discharged or declining or becoming incapable to act as aforesaid either solely or jointly with the other Trustee or Trustees or in the surviving Trustee or Trustees for the time being or the Executors or administrators of any deceased Trustee shall be so transferred as to become vested in such Trustee or Trustees Jointly with the continuing Trustee or Trustees if any or solely as the case may require And that such new Trustee or Trustees may act in the execution of the Trusts to which he or they shall be so appointed with all the same powers as if he or they had been hereby named a Trustee or Trustees And that the Trustees hereby named and the Trustee or Trustees to be appointed as aforesaid shall not be answerable for each other but each of them for his own acts and receipts only and that they respectively shall not be answerable for the insufficiency of any Stocks funds or securities in which any Trust monies may be invested or for any involuntary loss or damage And further that it shall be lawful for the Trustees for the time being out of the Trust monies to reimburse themselves and allow to their co-trustees all Costs charges and expenses incident to the execution of the Trusts hereby created or in any manner relating hereto In witness whereof I the said Testator have to this my last Will and Testament contained in five sheets of paper set my hand and seal (that is to say) to the first four sheets thereof my hand and to this fifth and Cast sheet my hand and seal this eight day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty nine.

Signed, sealed, published and Declared by the said Testator John Franklin as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of Us who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as Witnesses hereto
W. H. Tinney of Lincolns Inn, _
Mr Lewis, Clerk to Mr. Tinney

I, Sir John Franklin Knt Captain in the Royal Navy do declare this to be a Codicil to my last Will and testament Whereas my friend Nicholas Garry who is named in my will an Executor and trustee thereof jointly with my brother in-law Henry Sellwood Esqre Joseph Kay Esqre and my father in-law John Griffin Esqre is become from ill health incapable of attending to business  I do therefore revoke the appointment of the said Nicholas Garry to be such trustee and executor and also the bequest to him jointly with the said Henry Sellwood Joseph Kay and John Griffin contained in my said will and do confirm the appointment of the said Henry Sellwood Joseph Kay and John Griffin to be such Executors and trustees and do bequeath to them all such property as by my will was giving in trust as therein expressed Upon the same trusts and under subject to the like powers in such manner as if the said Nicholas Garry had not been named in my said will In witness whereof I have to this codicil to my said will set my hand seal this twenty second day of August in the year One thousand eight hundred and thirty six.

John Franklin (L. S.)1

Thomas Goddard Grinfield
Robert Simmons

Henry Sellwood Esquire, the surviving Executor named in this Will was duly sworn to the truth and faithful performance of the same and of the annexed codicil hereto and further as issued that the whole of the Deceased’s Personal Estate does not amount in va2 within the Province of Canterbury does not amount in value to the sum of Nine thousand Pounds and that the Deceased died in or since the month of July in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty five 
Before me 
J. Parker Deane

Proved at London with a Codicil 11th January 1855 before the Worshipful James Parker Deane, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the Oath of Henry Sellwood Esquire the surviving Executor to whom Admōn was granted having been first sworn duly to Administer.

  1. Actual seal, not the common abbreviation in the probates ‘L.S.’ meaning locus sigilli or place of the seal.
  2. Cross out happened in the original document. The last word is likely ‘value’.