THIS IS THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT of me William Chapman of King Street in the parish of Saint Saviours in the Borough of Southwark in the County of Surry carpenter first I direct all my just debts funeral charges & testamentary expenses to be fully paid & satisfied I give devise and bequeath unto my dear wife Ann Chapman all my household goods plate linen ... prints books & wearing apparel of every description to & for her own use and benefit absolutely I give & bequeath unto my said dear wife Ann Chapman & my friends John Raymond of Hatfield Street in the parish of Christ Church in the said County of Surry corn lighterman Mead Raymond of the same place corn lighterman & John Proctor of High Street in the Borough of Southwark aforesaid butcher all my leasehold messuages or tenaments lands & premises situate lying & being in the several parishes of St. Saviours & St. George the Martyr in the Borough of Southwark and also such other leasehold messuages or tenaments & premises as I now am or at the time of my decease shall or may be possessed or interested in or entitled unto and wheresoever the same may be situate lying or being to hold the same several leasehold premises unto the said Ann Chapman John Raymond Mead Raymond John Proctor ... executors ... assigns for all the residue ...
The will continues for another four and a half pages. It was DATED fourth day of March eight hundred and fifteen and PROVED at London 3 December 1816 before the Worshipfull Samuel Rush M... Doctor of Laws & Surrogate by the oaths of Ann Chapman widow Mead Raymond John Raymond John Proctor the executors to whom Admon was granted they being first sworn duly to administer.
TRANSCRIBER NOTE: The will witnesses were a solicitor Francis Child and two of his clerks whose address of "King Street" was the same as given for the testator - the "King" street name spelling (from 1879 the street was renamed - Newcomen Street) is confirmed by an advert. solicitor Francis Child placed in The Times of 13 Sep 1815 concerning the estate of a deceased Southwark lighterman.
The will, as transcribed to the court probate register, was 269 lines in length and covered almost five pages. It has not been fully transcribed because it would be exceedingly difficult to decipher most of the handwriting and because there would be no benefit as was mostly directed at providing for all possible future scenarios that may arise during the continuation of the trusts it created in favour of wife Ann, two daughters, and issue surviving them who survived to twenty one years of age. Daughter Ann was first mentioned at line 63 and Elizabeth at line 96!
Wife Ann and daughters Ann and Elizabeth were the only beneficiaries named. They were also identified as being the wives respectively of Mead and John Raymond who with Ann and a John Proctor were the four executors. No property was specifically identified other than that mentioned in the above transcription of part of the first page. The archiac term messuage is defined as - a dwelling house with outbuildings and land attached. Indicated is that the testator owned tenanted leaseholds, freehold premises, or land, in both St. Saviour and St. George the Martyr parishes at Southwark. In respect of St. Saviour parish Poor Rate and Land Rate records post 1748 have survived and are held by the Southwark Local History Library and they may contain details of his property holdings in that parish.
Transcription & comment by John Raymond, Brisbane, OLD., Australia - 9 Mar 2008