Will of William Charlton (1829 – 1896)

THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me WILLIAM CHARLTON of the Station Hotel Ebchester in the parish of Ebchester in the County of Durham Publican and Farmer made this ………………….. day of ……………… 1892.

  1. I APPOINT my wife Charlton and my friend                                             to be the Executors of this my Will and Trustees for the purposes hereinafter expressed and I constitute my wife for her life and the Trustees or Trustee for the time being of this my Will afterwards to be the guardian and guardians of my children during their respective minorities.
  2. I DEVISE APPOINT AND BEQUEATH all the real and personal estate of which I can dispose unto and to the use of the Trustees hereinafter expressed and which real and personal estate is hereinafter referred to as “the trust premises”.
  3. In the first place my Trustees shall pay funeral and testamentary expenses and all my debts and also to pay all such sums of money and expenses as they my Trustees shall desire it necessary or expedient to pay or incur in the management of the trust premises or otherwise in the execution of the trusts and powers of this my Will.
  4. SUBJECT and without prejudice to the last preceding clause the trust premises shall be held upon trust to permit my wife as from my decease to have an enjoy during her life she continuing my widow and as to real estate without impeachment of waste the same premises or the net annual income thereof howsoever the premises maybe constituted and whether terminable or otherwise and whether yielding more or less than the ordinary rate of interest or income so long that she maintain thereout in such a manner as she shall think proper my son William until he attains the age of twenty one years and my daughter Esther until she shall whether under or above that age be married and also my sister in law Mary Richardson for the remainder of her life or until she shall be married.
  5. From and after the decease or second marriage of my said wife whichever shall first happen the trust premises shall subject to the trusts aforesaid by held UPON TRUST for my said son William and my said daughter Esther in equal shares until my said son shall have attained the age of twenty one years or dying under that age shall leave issue surviving or until my said daughter shall have attained that age or be previously married and for their heirs executors administrators and assigns of such child or respective children And in the case of my said daughters share shall be for her separate use and benefit and free from marital interference or control.
  6. PROVIDED ALWAYS and I direct that in case either of my said children shall die in my lifetime leaving issue at my decease and which issue being male shall live to attain the age of twenty one years or dying under that age shall leave issue surviving or being issue female shall live to attain that age or be previously married then and in such case the share to which each child so dying would if he or she had survived me and had attained the age of twenty one years have become entitled aforesaid of and in the trust premises shall be held upon trust for his or her issue if more than one for them equally and for their respective heirs administrators and assigns but so nevertheless that such issue in their several degrees shall take only after the decease and by representation of their respective parents.
  7. PROVIDED ALWAYS and in addition to the statutory power of maintenance I am empower my Trustees to raise and advance and apply any sum or sums of money not exceeding together the full and reasonable value of one moiety of the expectant share for the being time of each or any child or grandchild of mine under the trusts aforesaid of and in the trust premises either in possession or reversion but not exceeding in the whole one hundred pounds in the case of any child or grandchild for the placing or putting of him or her in or any profession, business or employment or for his or her instruction therein or on his or her marriage or otherwise for his or her benefit or advancement in the world and whether such child or grandchildren shall have attained a vested interest in his or her share or not but so that during the widowhood of my wife such advance shall not be made without her consent in writing.
  8. PROVIDED ALSO and I hereby expressly empower my Trustees at their discretion to carry on and continue to carry on during so long as they shall think proper my business of a publican and farmer or any other business in which I may be engaged at my death whether solely or jointly with any other person or persons and from time to time to increase or diminish or concur in increasing or diminishing any such business or my capital therein or diminishing any such business or my capital therein or otherwise to deal with and manage the same as they in their absolute discretion shall think proper with full power for my Trustees to sell discontinue wind up or otherwise realise if and when they shall think proper any such business or my share and interest therein and to transfer the same business or share and interest free from any lien or charge giving credit with or without security for any money payable to them under any such realization. I EXPRESSLY DIRECT that it shall be incumbent on my Trustees to interfere in the management of any business hereinbefore authorized to be carried on or to give any more time or attention thereto than they shall think proper and that they shall not be answerable for any loss which may arise by reason of any neglect or omission on their part or for any other loss and especially that they shall not be bound to examine the accounts nor shall they be responsible for any wrongful or other act of any partner manager or other person and that the whole of the trust premises shall be a fund to indemnify my Trustees against any loss which they or any of them may incur sustain or be put into by reason or in consequence of their carrying on any such business or otherwise in relation thereto.
  9. PROVIDED ALSO and without prejudice to the provisions herein before contained concerning business I further direct that it shall be lawful for my Trustees at their sole discretion to continue all or any part of the trust premises whether consisting of real or personal estate. In the state or investments in or upon which the same shall be at the time of my decease whether in possession or reversion and however limited doubtful or hazardous the description or nature of the property or investment maybe or otherwise at the like sole discretion without the consent of any other person to sell and dispose of or call in or realise the same and layout and invest the monies to be thereby produced and all other monies to be from time to time received by them under the trusts or powers herein contained in their names in or upon any securities for the time being authorised by law or upon the bonds debentures or other securities of any Municipal Corporation in Great Britain or of any Railway or other company in Great Britain incorporated by special Act of Parliament or Charter or of any incorporated or unincorporated Building Society in Great Britain or in the purchase of any stock or shares in any such Railway or other Company or Building Society as aforesaid or in the stock of any Municipal Corporation in Great Britain or in the purchase of any freehold or copyhold or customary hereditaments of inheritance situate or arising in England or Wales but not in any other mode of investment.
  10. I empower my Trustees to do the following things in relation to the said premises and as to property of which I shall have only an undivided share or a limited or partial interest either separately or in concurrence with all or any of the other persons interested namely sell in fee simple or for a less estate renew leases purchases the reversion in fee simple of any premises held on lease enfranchise copyholds make exchanges and partitions complete purchases raise money by way of mortgage insure against damage by fire make repairs and improvements grant leases. make and accept surrenders, reduce rents or otherwise vary the terms and conditions of leases and tenancies, make allowances to tenant and others, pay calls, subscriptions and monies payable in respect of stock ors shares Companies or Building Societies compounded for or allow time for the payment of or absolute to abandon and realise arrears of rent or other debts satisfy of settle demands, whether supported by legal evidence and whether barred by any statutory or other limitation or not refer matters to arbitration and generally to comprise settle and determine accounts and disputes in such manner and on such terms as my Trustees shall deem expedient AND I ALSO empower my Trustees to employ such manager or manageress agents collectors of debts and other persons in and about the management of the trust premises as they shall think proper and to pay them such salaries and remunerations as they shall think fit and generally I give my Trustees power to do or cause to be done all such acts and things relating to the management of the trust premises as they shall in their discretion think fit.
  11. I HEREBY nominate and empower my wife during widowhood and from and after her decease or second marriage them the surviving or continuing Trustee or Trustees for the time being of this my Will or any of them or if there be no such trustee then any retiring or disclaiming trustee or trustees or the executor or executors administrator or administrators or anyone or more of the executors or administrators of any trustee who shall die either in my lifetime or after my decease to exercise the statutory power of appointing a new trustee or new trustees of this my Will given by the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act 1881 or by and other the statutory provision in that behalf for the time being in force AND I DIRECT that every new trustee shall be an executor of this my will and every retiring trustee shall cease to be such executor.
  12. I DIRECT that in case my wife shall marry again she shall be deemed incapable to act as a trustee or executor of this my Will and shall accordingly on such marriage cease to be such trustee and executor and shall on immediately before such marriage release of assure her estate and interest as such trustee in the trust premises to my other trustees or trustee solely unless a new trustee or trustees shall be appointed in which case the trust property shall be vested in such other trustees or trustee and such new trustee or trustees jointly or in such new trustee or trustees solely as the case may require.
  13. IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that the (executors and) trustees or trustee for the time being may in their or his uncontrolled discretion instead of acting personally employ and pay a Solicitor or any other person to transact any business or do any act of whatever nature required to be done in the premises including the receipt and payment of money and that any executor or trustee hereunder being a solicitors or other person engaged in any profession or business may be so employed or act and shall be entitled to charge and by paid all professional or other charges for any business or act done by him or his firm in connection with the trust including acts which and executor or) a trustee could have done personally.
  14. I REVOKE all former and other Wills by me heretofore made
  15. IN WITNESS whereof I the said WILLIAM SHARLTON have to this my Will set my hand this

Day of                   19      .


Signed by the said Testator as his last will in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.

The will is not dated other than the year and William never signed it neither has the Testator.

It is interesting that he didn’t fill in his wife’s name – was he hedging his bets?

The will is tied in the top left corner with a piece of red ribbon




Probabate of the Will of William Charlton 1829 – 1896

Within ‘The Chest’ is the Probate of the Will of Esther’s Father – William Charlton. It is quite a large document and even has a seal. The paper feels quite waxy to the touch.

What I like most about the Will, is that unlike other Wills I have read over the years, this is the first one to divide the Estate equally between his two children: William and Esther. Esther was not only the youngest child, but she was (obviously) a girl. I think that a will dividing the Estate in this way would have been very unusual. Gender equality in 1896 – William Charlton was considerably ahead of his time!


In the High Court of Justice Durham Probate Registry

Probate of the Will


William Charlton deceased

Dated 28th January 1897
Extracted by J.W. Welford

Probate Letter

Probate The District Registry at Durham

In Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice

BE IT KNOWN, that at the date hereunder written, the last Will and Testament (a Copy whereof is hereunto annexed) of William Charlton of the Station Hotel Ebchester in the County of Durham Licensed Victualler deceased, who died on the ninth day of October 1896, at The Station Hotel aforesaid, and who at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode at The Station Hotel aforesaid within the District of the County of Durham was proved and registered in the District Probate Registry of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice, at Durham and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to Margaret Charlton, Widow the Relict of the said deceased and Charles David William Balleny, the Executors named in the said Will, they having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.

And it is hereby certified that an Affidavit for Inland Revenue has been delivered, wherein it is shewn that the gross value of the personal estate of the said deceased within the United Kingdom (exclusive of what the said deceased may have been possessed of or entitled to as a Trustee and not beneficially) amounts to £580:18:6

And it is further certified that it appears by a Receipt signed by an Inland Revenue Officer on the said Affidavit that £45:2:2 for Estate Duty and interest on such duty has been paid, the duty being charged at the rate of £3 per cent.

Dated the twenty eighth day of January 1897

Joshua Earles

District Registrar

(side note: Extracted by J. W. Welford, Solr, Consett)


William Charlton Will 1896

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Charlton of Ebchester in the County of Durham Farmer and Publican made this _________ day of ____________ one thousand eight hundred and ninety two. I appoint my wife Margaret Charlton and my friend Charles David William Balleny Exectutors and Trustees of this my Will I devise herein before named upon trust to pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and all my first debts and subject to the payment of the same to pay the net annual income of my estate to my wife for her life or so long as she shall continue my widow upon her death or second marriage whichever shall first happen I direct that my estate shall be divided in equal shares between my son William Hedley Charlton and my daughter Esther Elizabeth Charlton as tenants in common and not as joint tenants for their sole use and benefit I further direct that my Executors and Trustees shall not be responsible the one for the acts of the other I revoke all former and other Wills by me heretofore made In witness whereof I the said William Charlton have to this my Will set my hand _____ Signed by the said testator as his last Will in the presence of us present at the same time who in his presence and his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses

William Charlton Sept 5th 1896

I Davidson

Archbold Burns

Extracted Will of John Thirlewall

This is one of my mum’s favourite documents in the chest and she suggested that I Blog about it next. It is a most unusual document as it is sewn into the pages of a newspaper! It is a will of a gentleman called John Thirlewall of Newbegun (assume Newbiggin?, Northumberland) who died in 1699. The dates on the newspaper indicate that it was published in 1844. I do not know of any family connection with the Thirlewall family. Why it is in the chest, I have no idea, and quite probably will never know – however it does make for interesting reading! Attached is a scan of the original document together with my transcription (as far as possible the original punctuation, spelling, capitalisation have been copied). Just clock the link below.

Extracted will of John Thirlewall

Hot off the press! My mum has now discovered this: In 1711, a certain William Charlton was involved in a quarrel with Henry Widdrington of Buteland and the latter as killed. His body was taken to the church and buried by the door of the Charlton’s pew which would require Charlton to step over the grave every time he attended church. That he was put off entering church may have been no great sacrifice Source. A William Widdrington was one of the executors of John Thirlewall’s will! There must surely be some connection to my family of Charltons.

My Silver Surfing Mother has also discovered his family tree just click here