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- Brown Family Certificates Received!
- Robert Unwin Will
- Search for New Evidence 1
- Search for New Evidence 2
- Charles Healey Will
- Going Around the Brickwall
- The Lost Children
In my last post, I shared the newly found marriage certificate of my great grandaunt Caroline Brown and Joseph Unwin. After the death of her first husband, Walter White, Caroline married Joseph on 23 February 1870 at Christ Church, Pitsmoor. Like Caroline’s father, Joseph was a file cutter by trade and was the son of Robert Unwin, a publican and the proprietor of the Old White Lion Inn, Wicker. Sadly, only six years after his marriage to Caroline, Joseph Unwin died at the age of 37 on 1 February 1876 and was buried on 3 February 1876 at Burngreave Cemetery.
Robert UNWIN was born about 1804 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. He appeared in the census on 30 Mar 1851 at Queen Street in Sheffield, Yorkshire as a file maker. Robert appeared in the census on 7 Apr 1861 at 3 Wicker in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England as a file smith and beer house keeper. He died on 30 Dec 1881 at the age of 77 and was buried on 2 Jan 1882 at Grave Number 12, Section G of Burngreave Cemetery. Robert married Martha in about 1830. Born in about 1807 in Doncaster, Yorkshire, Martha died at the Old White Lion on 13 Mar 1865 at the age of 58 and was buried on 17 Mar 1865 at Burngreave Cemetery.
Robert UNWIN and Martha had the following known children:
Joseph UNWIN, born 26 Nov 1838, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England; married Caroline BROWN, 23 Feb 1870, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England; died Feb 1876, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.
William UNWIN was born on 9 Apr 1841 in Sheffield, and was baptised on 18 Apr 1841 at Sheffield Parish Church. William died and was buried on 18 Apr 1873 at Burngreave Cemetery.
Robert UNWIN was born about 1847 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.
Thomas UNWIN was born about Jan 1851 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.
When Robert Unwin died in December of 1881, he left a will and I wondered if he might have left a bequest to Ann Unwin, my great grandaunt, who was the widow of Robert’s deceased son Joseph. I ordered a copy from the brilliant new online probate service at gov.uk to find out. Following is a transcription of that probate document [without line breaks and with some punctuation added for readability].[hr]
On the thirtieth day of January 1882 the Will with a Codicil thereto, of Robert Unwin, late of Sheffield, in the County of York, Publican, deceased, who died on the thirtieth day of December 1881, at Sheffield aforesaid, was proved in Her Majesty’s Court of Justice in the District Registry attached to the Probate Division thereof at Wakefield by the Oaths of Robert Unwin and Thomas Unwin, both of Sheffield aforesaid Publicans, the sons of the said deceased, and John Unwin of Sheffield aforesaid, Publican the brother of the said deceased, the Executors named (in the said will) they having been first sworn duly to administer.
Personal Estate £1915″0″0 gross value
£1894″12″0 net value
Extracted by Messrs Smith, smith and Elliott Solicitors, Sheffield
This is the last Will and Testament of me Robert Unwin of Sheffield in the County of York publican. I direct the payment of my past debts funeral and testamentary expences by my executors hereinafter named as soon as conveniently may be after my decease. I give devise and bequeath all my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever unto my sons Robert Unwin and Thomas Unwin and my brother John Unwin. To hold to them their heirs executors administrators and assigns according to the nature and quality thereof respectively but upon the following trusts that is to say upon trust to sell and convert into money my said estate and effects either by public auction or private contract and to collect and get in all moneys which may be owing or belonging to my extate and to stand processed of the money to be derived as aforesaid. Upon trust after paying and discharging my said debts funeral and testamentary expences to pay the legacies following that is to say. To the widow of my late son Joseph Unwin the sum of fifty pounds and to Fanny the wife of Henry Batty of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster Brickmaker the legacy of nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings (which legacies I hereby bequeath accordingly) And then to divide the remainder of the money to be devised so aforesaid unto and equally between my said two sons Robert and Thomas their respective executors administrators and assigns to whom I give and bequeath the same accordingly. I declare that the receipts of my said trustees for such moneys as shall be paid to them by virtue of my will shall effectually discharge the person paying the same from liability to see to the application thereof And I declare that my said trustees shall be answerable for their own respective acts receipts and default only and shall be at liberty to retain and to allow to each other out of the moneys coming to their hands by virtue of my will all expences incurred in executing the trusts thereof. I appoint my said sons Robert Unwin and Thomas Unwin and my said brother John Unwin to be Executors of my will and I revoke all other will. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this first day of February one thousand eight hundred and seventy six.
Signed by the said testator Robert Unwin as and for
his last Will and Testament in the presence of us
who at his request in his presence and in the presence
presence [sic] of each other have subscribed our
names as witnesses
Henry Elliott Junr
Alexr H Dockrey
Clerk to Messrs Smith Hinde & Smith
This is a Codicil to the above Will of me the undersigned Robert Unwin. Whereas I have by my will bequeathed a legacy of fifty pounds to the widow of my late son Joseph Unwin Now I do hereby revoke the said bequest and in lieu thereof I bequeath to her the sum of nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings only and direct my executors to pay that sum to her accordingly and I confirm my said will in all other respects. As witness my hand this second day of March One thousand eight hundred and seventy six.
Henry Elliott Junr
Clerk to Messr Smith Hinde & Smith
Proved at Wakefield with a codicil the 30th day of January 1822 by the oaths of Robert Unwin and Thomas Unwin the sons and John Unwin the Brother the Executors named in the Will to whom Administration was granted.
The Testator Robert Unwin was late of Sheffield in the County of York Publican and died on the 30th day of December 1881 at Sheffield aforesaid.
Personal Estate £1915″0″0 gross value
£1894″12″0 net value
Messrs Smith Smith & Elliott
On the day that Joseph died, his father, Robert, must have glimpsed his own mortality because he made his will on that day, presumably overcome with grief at the loss of his oldest son. In that will, he bequeathed “to the widow of my late son Joseph Unwin the sum of fifty pounds,” not even mentioning my great grandaunt Caroline by name. A month later, likely after his initial grief lessened, Robert created a codicil to his will and revoked the original bequest, leaving Caroline only 19 pounds, 19 shillings: “Whereas I have by my will bequeathed a legacy of fifty pounds to the widow of my late son Joseph Unwin Now I do hereby revoke the said bequest and in lieu thereof I bequeath to her the sum of nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings only.”
Although 19 pounds and 19 shillings seems an odd amount to leave in a will, the bequest was a common one. I’ve read in several places that this was the value of 20 guineas, however I’ve also read that a guinea was actually fixed at £1 and 1 shilling which would make 20 guineas worth £21 pounds, not £19 and 19 shillings. I’ve also read that it was the highest amount that could be bequeathed in an individual inheritance without incurring succession duty.
For a long period of time Britons were expected to pay ‘Succession Duty’ – an percentage between 1 and 10% of anything inherited, with waivers for individual inheritances of under £20 or entire estates worth under £100. Laws were changed throughout the 19th and early 20th Centuries, often in favour of the poor (such as the amendment in 1889 which raised the tax threshold on an Estate to £300 and added to the percentage that a liable person paid).
~from the Inheritance Issues website.
The other bequest that Robert left, in addition to the one to Caroline, was in the same amount: “to Fanny the wife of Henry Batty of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster Brickmaker the legacy of nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings”.
From the Free BMD website, I find that Fanny Saynor married Henry Batty in Sheffield in the December quarter of 1855 and at Find My Past, I find a transcription of a marriage record showing that a Robert Unwin married widow Martha Saynor in Bradfield, Yorkshire on 12 August 1836, so presumably Fanny was a relative of Robert’s late wife Martha.