Will of John Merry, butcher 1738.

"Executors they paying and receiving all my debts and Legacys and bringing my body decently to the ground to be buried in good Christian like manner "

By David Miller

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of John Merry, butcher 1738.' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Will of John Merry, butcher 1738.' page

Commentary.

It would appear that John Merry has had a very successful life as a butcher. He has bought up a considerable landholding from several different owners, and is able to give his daughter Anne Swann a new house, and his other daughter the house 'late Bartons.' This other daughter has married John Sell, a name which is still current in the nearby village of Bassingbourn. Bartons cottage is shown on the 1686 map of Orwell as being on the corner of the track up to the Clunch Pit. The cottage now there is known as "Well Cottage."

Probably the testator's wife and his brother William are able to carry on the butcher's business between them, and this would explain the rather unusual bequest of various property in Orwell to them for the duration of their lives. If they are running a butchers shop, then the land which goes with the bequest would be that needed for keeping the cattle and for fattening them up

Much of the other land mentioned in the Will, however, is arable. John must have been an arable farmer in quite a big way as well as a butcher. It looks as if the two sons John and William are intended to take over the farming business, while son Richard gets the butchery side. It might be possible to confirm this if there are any wills of these boys held at the record office.

Transcript of the Will of John Merry, butcher, 1738.

In the name of God Amen!  I John Merry of Orwell in the County of Cambridge Butcher being infirm in body but of sound and perfect memory thanks be to God for the same and calling to mind the uncertain State of this life and being desirous to settle things in order as touching such worldly Goods as the Lord in mercy hath lent me my Mind and will is the same shall be employed and bestowed as is hereinafter in this my Last will and Testament mentioned and expressed First I give and devise to my Son John Merry my freehold land at Barrington late Casbolts to hold to him and his heirs for ever Item I give to my Son William Merry All that my Copyhold Cottage and Tenement situate in Orwell aforesaid late Godfreys, with two acres of arable land thereunto and also one parcel of customary arable land late ?Feazer by estimation five and twenty acres more or less dispersedly lying in the fields and lands of Orwell aforesaid with their appurtenances To hold to him the said William Merry his heirs and assigns for ever Item I give to my said Son William Merry fifteen pounds of current money of this Realm to be paid to him by my Executors three months after my decease Item I give and devise Item I give and devise unto my beLoved Wife Mary and to my Brother William Merry all my Freehold Estate situate in Orwell aforesaid with the appurtenances for and during the term of their two lives and to the longer Liver of them and after both their deceases then to my Son Richard Merry his heirs and assigns for ever Item I give to my said Wife Mary all my household Goods for use during the term of  her Life and then to my Son Richard Merry Item I give to my Daughter Margarett the Wife of John Sell all that Customary Cottage late Bartons and ten pounds of Current Money of this Realm To hold to her and her heirs for ever Item I give to my Daughter Ann Swann the new house she now lives in for term of her natural life and then to my two sons John Merry and William Merry their heirs and assigns for ever I likewise give and devise to my said two Sons John and William all those two and twenty acres of Customary arable lands late Fairchilds with a Cottage and Lammas Close thereunto belonging situate in the bounds of Orwell aforesaid To hold to them the said John and William Merry their heirs and assigns for ever Item I give and devise to my son Richard Merry and his heirs forever All those Customary Copyhold arable Lands (late Simon Gregs) containing by estimation eight and twenty acres more or less dispersedly lying in the fields and bounds of Orwell aforesaid with their and every of their appurtenances Lastly all the rest of my Goods and Chattles of whatever nature soever they are I wholly give and bequeath unto my said Son Richard Merry and to my Brother William Merry whom I make constitute and ordain to being whole and sole Executors they paying and receiving all my debts and Legacys and bringing my body decently to the ground to be buried in good Christian like manner and this I do declare to be my very last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other wills and bequests by me made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the twenty  fifth day of June in the year of our Lord Seventeen hundred and thirty seven (John Merry ) Signed sealed Published and declared by the Testator in the presence of Myers Titmuss George Hubbert Robert Cowell

 

July 5th 1738  Proved by all the Executors.

This page was added by David Miller on 25/03/2013.

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