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Last Will and Testament of

Samuel James - 1770

In the Amen of God Amen I Samuel James of South Benfleet in the County of Essex Yeoman being in a bad state of health but of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner following

I desire my body may be decently interred in the churchyard of South Benfleet aforesaid four feet to the Southward of the tomb wherein rests the body of my grandfather Lawrence Gilder (sic Skilder) And as to my temporal estate I dispose thereof as follows

I give to my friends Reginald Heaver of Hadleigh in Essex Gentleman Weathers Jennings of South Benfleet aforesaid Butcher Thomas Spitty of the same Yeoman and Ambrose Spitty of Horndon on the Hill in the same County Yeoman ten guineas apiece for the trouble they will have in the execution of the trusts hereinafter reposed in them And I also direct that they and the survivor of them shall and do retain to themselves and himself all expenses they or he shall sustain or be put to in and about the execution of the said trusts

All the rest and residue of my real estate goods chattels and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever and of whatever kind or denomination the same are or may be after payment of all my just debts funeral charges and probate of this my Will I give and devise the same with every of their hereditaments and appurtenances unto the said Reginald Heaver, Weathers Jennings, Thomas Spitty and Ambrose Spitty and to their heirs and assigns In Trust that they or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivor shall and do apply the rents and profits of my said real estate as far as the same will extend in keeping the same in useful repair and in the maintenance education and bringing up in such way as they shall think proper my younger children Ruth, Susanna and Jemmy until they shall attain their respective ages of twenty one years and In Trust to place my said personal estate at interest on good security or securities and to apply the interest arising therefrom in the same manner and to the same purposes and as soon as my said several children or such of them as shall be living shall have attained their respective ages of twenty one years Then I direct and Will that my said trustees or the survivor of them or the heirs of such survivor shall and do make an equal division of all my said real and personal estate either by sale of the whole or part of my said real estate and dividing the money arising thereby or by allotment of the same as they or the survivor shall think proper and by collecting together my personal estate, between my several children Samuel, Ruth and Jemmy in equal shares and proportions But if either of my said children shall die under the said age of twenty one years then I direct the survivors or survivor shall have and be entitled to the whole of my said real and personal estate at their or his or her said ages or age of twenty one years

And I hereby will and direct that neither of my said trustees shall be responsible for any loss or losses that shall happen by bad securities or otherwise unless the same shall happen through their or his own neglect or default And I appoint the said Reginald Heaver, Weathers Jennings, Thomas Spitty and Ambrose Spitty joint executors of this my Will and lastly hereby annulling all former Wills by me made I do declare this alone to be my Last Will and Testament In witness whereof I have to each sheet of the same contained in two sheets of paper set my hand and seal this seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty
Saml James

Signed sealed and declared by the said Samuel James the testator as and for his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us whom in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto M: Kirby, Frank Underwood, J. Griffith.

This Will of Samuel James late of the Parish of South Benfleet in the County of Essex deceased was proved on the second day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy before the Reverend John Tindal Clerk Bachelor of Laws Surrogate by the oath of Weathers Jennings on of the executors to whom administration of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased was granted and committed he being first sworn duly to administer power being reserved of making the like grant to Reginald Heaver Thomas Spitty and Ambrose Spitty the other executors in the said Will when they or any one of them shall apply for the same.


Samuel James was the son of John James & Mary Skilder. His father John died whilst he was a child and his mother Mary married 2nd Thomas Spitty of Rettendon/Bowers Gifford in 1713. The two Spitty trustees above were Samuel's half brothers by his mothers 2nd marriage. It is well documented that Mary's father and family name was Lawrence Skilder, not Gilder as referred to in this will.


Bishop of London Commissary Court (Essex & Herts Divn.) ERO ref - D/ABR 26/140
Acknowledgement to the Essex Record Office

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