John Smith Jr’s Will 1821

John Smith Will 1821 excerpt

Transcription of the Will of John Smith 1821

In the Name of God Amen I John Smith of Melmerby in the Parish of Melmerby and County of Cumberland yeoman being in good health and of sound and disposing mind and memory praised be God for the same do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Hannah Smith all my Household Furniture of what nature and kind secure for her sole use and disposal also to each of my Sons Thomas Smith and Lancelot Smith I give and bequeath the sum of fifty pounds also to my Son Joseph Smith I give and bequeath the sum of one hundred pounds and also to my three Daughters Mary Harrison Hannah Jameson and Agnes Longrigg I give and bequeath the sum of twenty five pounds  with all which legacies bequeathed as aforesaid to my Sons and Daughters aforesaid I charge and make chargeable upon my Freehold Messuages and Tenement situate at Melmerby aforesaid and to be paid out of the same to the respective Legatees aforesaid by my Executor hereinafter named at the expiration of one year after my decease and further my Will is that in case any one or more of the aforesaid Legatees shall die before their respective legacy or legacies shall become due then I will and order that this legacy or legacies bequeathed to such deceased Legatee or Legatees shall not relapse but descend to their respective legal representatives share and share alike and lastly for the due execution of this my last Will and Testament I do hereby make ordain and appoint my Son William Smith sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and also sole Residual Legatee of all my Personal Estate and Effects whatever and I do hereby revoke and make void any other Will or Wills at any time heretofore by me made and do publish and declare this only to be my last Will and Testament
in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this 16th day of October 1817
John Smith  SS  Signed Sealed declared and published by the above named John Smith as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request and in his presence have subscribed our names as Witnesses thereto   Elizabeth Slee   John Slee

Proved the 7th day of April 1821 by William Smith the Sole Executor
Effects under £100


The will was probated (or proved) at the Prerogative Court at Carlisle, that being the place where wills were proven for the area within the bishopric or see of Carlisle.  At that time, the Established Church still had responsibility for many legal matters.

Interestingly enough, this will was also probated in London in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury later the same year, on 14 September 1821:

Proved at London 14th Sept 1821 before the Judge by the oath of William Smith his Son the sole Execr to whom admon was granted having been first sworn by comon duly to adm


Usually the only reason a will would be probated in both the Prerogative Court of York and the Prerogative Court of Canterbury was if the deceased person owned property in both areas of the country.  I am not aware that John Smith owned property outside the see of Carlisle let alone outside the jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of York.  He may have owned land or other property in Westmoreland as well as Cumberland but that would still have been within the jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of York.  This question about why John Smith’s will was probated in London is something that could be investigated further.

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