This is the Last Will and Testament of me William SPARKS the elder of Forthington (i.e. Fordington) in the County of Dorset Fellmonger made the twenty seventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty (i.e.1740/1).
First I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping through the merits of my Saviour to have pardon of my sins
My body I commit to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my executor herein after named and as for the worldly effects wherewith it has pleased God to bless me I give and dispose of the same as follows
First I give & bequeath unto my son William SPARKS - All that my leasehold tenement with the appurtenances lying in the Manor of Puddletown in the County aforesaid named Waterston to hold for his executor or administrator and in trust for and during the estate and interest which I shall have therein at the time of my demise
Also I give unto said son William SPARKS one hundred pounds
Also I give unto my daughter Sara [Sarah] DAVIS the sum of twenty pounds of legal money of Great Britain
Also I give unto my son James SPARKS the sum of thirty pounds of like legal money of Great Britain
Also I give unto my son [Note: - very faint might be Isaac?] SPARKS of the sum of twenty pounds of like money of Great Britain to be paid within twelve months next after the expiration of his apprenticeship [----- illegible section-----]
--part of the said two? Hundred ? pounds unto my [???? -- ----- illegible section-----]
--said two? hundred pounds to my son Benjamin SPARKS and my daughter Mary SPARKS to be equally divided between them share & share alike.
Also I give and bequeath unto my son Benjamin SPARKS - All that my tenement in Puddletown aforesaid called Styress to hold to my said son Benjamin SPARKS his executor or administrator in [----illegible words--] from and in [--illegible words--] after the of expiration of his [illegible to end of line]
the estate and interest that I shall have therein at the time of my demise. Burth? --- illegible
and his said apprentishipp even? [ -illegible word--]
give his said tenement called Styress unto my son John SPARKS to hold to him, his executor or administrator (in trust?) from and (during?) the residue of the same term and interest which shall be therein then to come and unexpired
On Condition my said son John do under(take to?) pay out of the Rents and profits of the said tenement unto my//
daughter Mary SPARKS the sum of ten (--pounds? a--) year thereafter:
I further do? (----illegible------) pounds the first payment thereof to be made at
after my said son John SPARKS shall obtain possession of the same tenement//
I also give unto my said daughter (D? illegible) SPARKS one hundred and twenty pounds//
of like lawful money of Great Britain and our Bed and furniture thereunto belonging.
Also I give unto my said daughter Mary SPARKS the sum of one hundred & twenty // pounds of like lawful money of Great Britain and one Bed (---illegible--) belonging.
Also I give unto my said son Nathaniel SPARKS (---illegible -----) Bed with furniture thereunto belonging.
Also I give unto my sister Mary (illegible possibly SYMES) two shillings by the week to be paid to her weekly (---illegible---) of my said sister (Baturalise??) for and towards her better support
Also I give my spoused [ie married] children Isaac SPARKS, Rebecca SPARKS, Sarah DAVIS and Mary [illegible section] All the [illegible word] //
and remainder of my goods chattels ready money bills bonds and [illegible] Money Book deeds stock in hand? And of [illegible section]
I bequeath unto my said son John SPARKS [illegible lines & signatures]
Information about this family has kindly been provided by descendants Mary Skilton and Robert Barr. I am happy to pass on any additional information to them if contacted by e-mail - see the Dorchester/Fordington parish page for my e-mail address
1. William SPARKS [1665-1741/2] the subject of this Will is thought to be the son of James SPARKS who died 25 July 1685 at the Battle of Sedgemoor. It is clear from the Will that he had a sister called Mary to whom he left 2 shillings. A derisory sum such as this was often included in Wills to show they had been considered and prevent any contesting of the Will, but this case it is paid weekly, so she was alive and receiving a small amount of support.
2. He was buried in the churchyard at St Georges Church in Fordington on 10 March 1741/2 aged 76. As there is no mention of his wife in the Will it is presumed that she pre-deceased him. A possible candidate for his wife was Mrs Honor Sparks who was buried in Fordington on 4 Sep 1740 but this needs to be confirmed from other documentation. If she was his wife her death in Sep 1740 may have precipitated the writing of this will the following January. The following eight children are mentioned in the Will.
3. His son and heir also named William SPARKS [1700c-1778] became a Maltster by trade and married at St Georges church Fordington on 28 June 1726 to Elizabeth BONNETT/BENNETT . William was buried at Fordington on 26 July 1778. Elizabeth his wife joined him on 12 Nov 1789. He is likely to be the eldest son
4. Sarah SPARKS, likely to be the eldest daughter, obviously survived to at least 1740 and married. The name is very faint on the first entry but luckily she is mentioned again lower down the Will where her surname is reasonably clear as DAVIS
5. James SPARKS probably his second son was presumably still alive in 1740 but nothing else is known about him
6. Isaac SPARKS nothing is known, very faint but seems likely as his heir William [1700c-1778] also named one of his sons Isaac
7. Benjamin SPARKS
there is evidence of possible descendants in the Fordington Parish Registers. A Benjamin Sparks married in Fordington on 8 May 1787 to a Grace GALLOP and there are two burials - Benjamin Sparks the son of Benjamin and Sarah Sparks who was buried in Fordington on 20 April 1793. He was an adult as he is described as a Maltster and left a Will (which I have not seen) but may throw some light on relationships and is held at the Wiltshire & Swindon Archives Ref 15/169. The second burial is for a Benjamin Sparks on 8 Apr 1821 whose age is given as 70 (therefore born circa 1751).
8. John SPARKS probably his third son married Elizabeth POPE in St Georges church Fordington on 23 Sep 1746. He seems to have died either 3rd March 1747/8 or 25 Nov 1750.
6. Nathaniel SPARKS married in St Georges church Fordington on 8 Feb 1741/2 to Elizabeth MITCHELL. Nathaniel was buried there 12 Oct 1779 and his wife 9 May 1770
7. Mary Sparks likely to be his youngest daughter married after the date of this will in Fordington to John BRETT on 26 Feb 1743/4 and is mentioned in her brothers William's Will when he left her a share of his wearing apparel.