Elizabeth Godolphin’s Will

In the Prerogative Court of Canterbury

In the Name of God Amen
I, ELIZABETH GODOLPHIN widow Relict and Executrix of the Honourable Charles Godolphin late of the parish of Saint James’s within the liberty of Westmr Esqr Decd Do make this my last Will and Testament in manner following Whereas by Deed bearing date on or about the one and twentieth Day of December 1703 made between me and my said late Husband of the one part & George Langton of Langton in the county of Lincoln Esqr William Thomas of the parish of St Anne within the said Liberty of Westmr Esqr & Samuel Edwards of St Margaret’s Westmr Esqr of the other part the said Charles Godolphin did grant and convey unto the said George Langton William Thomas Samuel Edwards & their heirs certain peiees or parcells of Ground on which houses have since been erected lying and being on the west side of St James’s Street in the Parish of St James within the liberty of Westmr formerly demised by the said Charles Godolphin under the yearly Ground Rents of five & twenty pounds & Twenty pounds for the pious uses and charities therein mentioned that is to say that they the said George Langton William Thomas & Samuel Edwards and their heirs should from time to time and at all times for ever receive and take the said respective Ground Rents of five & twenty pounds & twenty pounds or other profits of the said premises and issue and pay the same for the Education & maintenance of poor Scholars the Relief of decayed virtuous Gentlemen The Redemption of Prisoners or the placing out of poor Children to Trades or other such like pious & charitable uses & in such manner & to such persons and in such proportion as I the said Elizabeth wife of the said Charles Godolphin and the niece of one of the Administrators of the Donor Sr William Godolphin during my life should direct & appoint and after my death as such person and persons as I by any writing under my hand and seal testified by two or more credible witnesses or by my last will in writing or any writing purporting or in the nature or forme of my last will so testified as aforesaid should for that purpose nominate his her & their heirs should from time to time direct and appoint And it is by the said Deed further declared that no person or persons should be capable in any time to come of having or receiving any part or proportion of the said Charity without having a certificate of the Minister & Churchwardens of the respective Parishes where such person & persons shall inhabit or dwell signifying their respective Conditions and Qualifications and how they do or may pretend to be intitled to have any Benefit from the said Charity nor without such certificate should from time to time be approved by the Dean of St Paul or the Dean of Westmr for the time being or one of them or their respective successors as in & by the said Deed may more at large appear Now I the said Elizabeth Godolphin do by this my last will testified as by the said Deed is directed nominate direct & appoint that the said George Langton William Thomas & Samuel Edwards & their heirs shall from time to time and at all times for ever receive & take the said respective Ground Rents of five & twenty pounds & twenty pounds and other the profits of the said Premises and issue & pay the same for the Education and Maintenance of poor Scholars the relief of decayed Virtuous Gentlemen the Redemption of Prisoners or the placing out of poor children to trades or other such like pious & Charitable uses in such manner & to such persons as my nephew the Honourable William Godolphin Esqr & his heirs shall direct & appoint And I do by this my Will in pursuance of the power to me given and reserved & by ye said recited Indentures nominate the said William Godolphin and his heirs for the purposes afore¬said And whereas on a division of the personal estate of the said Sr William Godolphin there was allotted & assigned to me & my said late Husband amongst other monys 42890 Ducats & 13 Grosses in the Deposit of the Zeccha at Venice towards our share of the said Sr William Godolphins personal Estate & it being my said late Husbands Intentions and mine that the said mony should be layd out for some Charitable purposes, A scheme was drawn up at my Desire by my said Husband for a charitable foundation for Improving the Education of young Orphan Gentlewomen at which time the mony in the Zeccha corresponding to about eight thousand pounds English mony we proposed that the same should be layed out in the purchase of lands to the value of four hundred pound a year & that the same when purchased should be settled for the better Education and maintenance of twelve Young Gentlewomen under the care and direction of a Governess from the age of 12 to 19 who were to live together under certain Rules thereby prescribed And to that end my said Husband by his Deed poll bearing date on or about the 29th day of October 1717 assigned all his Interest in the said monys to Dr Samuel Clark Rector of the said parish of St James & the said Saml Edwards their Extors Admrs for such uses as should he declared & referred to by his will In Trust for such Charitable uses as I if I survive him should direct And afterwards my said Husband by his will or codicil dated in the month of June 1719 taking notice of such his assinmt to the said Dr Clark & Saml Edwards in trust for such uses a, should be declared in his will And that he had about the same time made a will and had therein declared as he did there again in that his prsent will that his intention in raising the said Trust then and still was to answer the purport of a Scheme which at my desire he had drawn for a particular Institution of Charity proposed by me and then recommended to his said Trustees the calling over the said mony from Venice and the vesting the same in the purchase of Lands & settling such Lands to answer the purport of the said Scheme or any other scheme for charitable uses with my approbation as by the said Deed Wills & Codicils may now fully appear But after we had settled the said Scheme by reason of the late warr with the Turks the publick credit of the Funds at Venice sunk very much and the mony in the Deposit of the Zeecha fell short more than half from what it was before esteemed to be worth and was likely to become less valuable And there – upon I found it necessary that the original Scheme should be alter’d & another Scheme appointed & instituted as agreeable and as consistent as possible with our first design And to that end I proposed to call over the said mony from Venice with all convenient speed & invest the same in the purchase of Lands but herein I met with Great Difficulties not only by the stress of the times but the Dean and Chapter of Sarum in whose names the lands were to be purchased & under whose Direction the charity was chiefly intended to be managed refused to be concerned therein or intermeddle therewith and the said Dr Clark one of the Trustees declined accepting the said Trust Whereupon I by the Advice of my Counsell preferred a Bill or Information in chancery in the Name of the Attorny General at my Relation against the said Dr Clark Samuel Edwards & the Dean & Chapter of Sarum praying that the said Charitable uses might be made & settled according to such other Scheme (in case the mony should not be sufficient to answer its original Intention, as the Attorny Generall and I the Relator should think proper and convenient & if the said Dean & Chapter refused to accept the Trust (as they have since done by their Answer) that then I the said Relator with the approbation of the said Court might appoint & nominate such other proper persons for that purpose that should be willing to accept the same And that the said good and Charitable uses as the circumstances thereof would allow might be settled established & confirmed by the said Court and the said Samuel Edwards having put in his answer & declared his readiness to act in the said Trust And the said Dr Clark & the Dean & Chapter of Sarum refusing to accept the same On hearing the said Cause in the said Court on or about the 4th of July 1721 it was amongst other things order’d & Decreed that some person should be appointed to remit over the mony to England & when it was come over it should be deposited in the Bank of England with Liberty for the parties to apply to the Court for ye further Disposition thereof And it being alledged that the mony then in the Zeccha would not be sufficient to answer the original Intention of the Charity Therefore when the mony as come over and it should appear how much the same would amount unto in English mony I the said Relator was to propose to the Master a Scheme how & in what manner I would have ye mony laid out in Charitable Uses and under what orders & Regulations as near as might be to the Scheme already made as far as the mony would extend to do it & the master was to report the same to the Court who would then give further Directions And after obtaining the said Decree I used my utmost Diligence and application in getting the said mony out of the Zeccha and returned over into England and which with great difficulty I accom¬plished and notwithstanding all the Caution & care that could be used It produced no more nett than three thousand three hundred fifty nine pounds seven shillings and ten pence English mony besides the Charges of the Court of Chancery and other expences which I paid out of my own pockett And my said Husband having by his will given me a Capital Sume of 4760 Ducats lodged in the Deposit of the Oglio at Venice with all the pro and Interest incurred thereon together with the sume of 2400 ducats due for his share of a debt not then adjusted from the Senr Rezzonico a noble Venetian I proposed with myself to give these two Debts likewise to augment the said Charity And these Debts likewise I having procured to be returned into England the mony in the Oglio produced clear but three hundred and thirty pounds twelve shillings and eleven pence and my share of the Debt from Rezzonico I was obliged to compound at Two hundred pounds And all those three sumes together & which I have for the present invested in Government Securities in the name of the said Samuel Edwards, amount¬ing to three thousand eight hundred & ninety pounds & nine pence I determined should be layed out in the purchase of Lands for the uses intended But all these falling short not only of what I at first designed but even of my latter Resolutions I fully designe & intend if I can meet with a proper purchase in my lifetime to add to those sumes out of ‘my own pockett for augmenting the said Charity But if it shall please God to call me out of this world before the said monys shall be layed out in the purchase of Lands and the uses thereof settled then my will is and I do hereby give and bequeath the sume of One thousand one hundred & nine pounds nineteen shillings & three pence as an augmentation to the said Charity And I do hereby direct that the said several sumes of £3359 s7 d10, £330 s12 d11, £200 s0 d0 and £1109 s19 d3 making in the whole five thou¬sand pounds shall be vested in Lands or a Rent charge in the County of Wilts or some other County adjoining thereto And for as much as the whole five thousand pounds will not be sufficient to answer the original Designe and Intention of the said Charity And the said Court of Chancery having so far indulged me as to give me leave to propose before the Master a Scheme how and in what manner I would have the said mony layed out in Charitable uses and under what orders and Regulations as near as might be to the Scheme already made as far as the mony would extend to do it I do hereby propose this following Scheme and which I hope will be approved of and confirmed by the said Court of Chancery vizt – That the Lands when purchased may be settled to the uses & upon the Trusts and in such manner as that the Rents Issues & profits thereof may yearly and every year for ever be paid and applied for the better education & maintenance of eight young Gentlewomen to be brought up at Sarum or some other town in the County of Wilts under the care and direction of some wise & prudent Governess or schoolmistress to be nominated & appointed by my said nephew William Godolphin his heirs allowing to each young Gentlewoman Twenty pounds p.ann. & that such young Gentlewomen shall be tabled or boarded with such Governess or Schoolmistress and be taught to Dance work Read write cast account and the business of Housewifry in the best manner as it can be afforded for the price above mentioned and shall be constantly obliged to attend the Service of the Church of England at all proper seasons and that they shall not be admitted till after they have attained the age of twelve years nor be continued after they have accomplished the age of nineteen years That they are to be Gentlewomen borne of parents of the Church of England and such as have some portion left them but not exceeding four hundred pounds And that they shall from time to time be nominated by my said nephew William Godolphin and his heirs It is also my will that my said Nephew & his heirs shall appoint a steward or Bayliff to manage the estate to be purchased and to collect the rents allowing him a salary for his pains & trouble not exceeding ten pounds p.ann. and who shall pay the said allowance of twenty pounds p.ann. for each such Young Gentlewoman to the said Governess or School mistress on New years day yearly or at such other times as my said Nephew & his heirs shall direct And that this Governess or School Mistress shall on New Years day yearly give my said nephew & his heirs a certificate of the number of Gentlewomen in the said schoole and of their Times of admission of the Improvement & Behaviour of the sd Young Gentlewomen And I do further appoint that my said Nephew & his heirs shall nominate some wise & discreet person who shall monthly or oftener visit the said Governess & Young Gentlewomen & see how the said Governess demeans herself and how the said young Gentlewomen are maintained Instructed & educated & what improvements they make and what faults or neglects they are guilty of And from time to time to transmit an account thereof to my said nephew & his heirs and in case my said nephew or his heirs shall on examination find any Defaults in the Governess or Young Gentlewomen and they shall not amend their faults on admonition Then my Desire is that my said nephew & his heirs remove the said young Gentlewomen from the Governess if she misbehaves herself & place them with some other Governess or School mistress And in case of misbehaviour in the said young Gentlewomen that they be removed from the said School and that my said nephew & his heirs nominate & place others in their roome And it is my Direction that such person so to be appointed Inspec¬tor be allowed a yearly salary out of the Rents & profits of the said Estate not exceeding six pounds p.ann. And I do further appoint that at the end of every year or of every two years after a deduction of the said yearly allowance of twenty pounds p.ann. for each Young Gentlewoman the said salarys & other payments and outgoings what shall remaine of the Rents & profits of the said Estate shall be layed out by my said Nephew & his heirs in the Binding out of poor Boys or poor Girls apprentices But for as much as it is impossible for me to foresee the many accidents that may attend an Establishment of this Nature And the Church of Sarum having declined the Trust originally intended to be invested in them It is my Desire that when any difficulty shall arise touching the Regulation or management of the said Charity or any Orders or Rules shall be wanting to supply what is not herein sufficiently provided for that my said Nephew & his heirs do forthwith apply to the Court of Chancery where proper Directions will be given and under which they may act with safety And whereas my said Husband in and by his said will gave to the Library of Wadham College in Oxford all his Greek Latin Spanish & Italian Books with as many of the French & English also as I should think fit I now confirme the said Devise & desire that all my said Husbands Books after my death be delivered up for the use of the said College I appoint that a Monu¬ment shall be placed over my said Husbands Tombe at the charge of my Executrix not exceeding Two hundred pounds with a proper Inscription and in particular expressing his Benificence My Desire is to be buried in a decent & private manner and my Body to be intombcd under the white marble stone where my Husband and our Children are interr’d in the western Cloyster of the Abby Church at Westmr And then I desire that the vault may be Brick’d & wall’d up as firm as possible Item I give unto my said Nephew William Godolphin the sume of Four Thousand pounds and all my plate & pictures as well at London as at Coulston or elsewhere and I also give unto my said Nephew all my furniture in my house at Coulston Item I give unto my neece Mrs Elizabeth Burslum To my neece Mrs Barbara Mapletoft To my neece Mrs Mary Godolphin & to my Nephew Mr Francis Godolphin two hundred pounds apeice I give unto the Revrd Dr Godolphin Dean of St Pauls and to his wife and also to my sister Mrs Boscawen the sume of fifty pounds apeice I give unto the said Mrs Elizabeth Burslum an Annuity wch I have in the Excheqr of five & forty pounds p.ann. or thereabouts for the Remainder of the Years I have therein I give unto Mrs Dorothy Quick & her three Daughters twenty pounds apeice I give to my three Godchildren Mr Charles Northcott Mr James Burslum and Mrs Elizabeth Mapletoft Ten pounds apeice I give to my cousins Mrs Margaret Godolphin Mrs Eleanor Godolphin & my Lady Pendarvis Ten pounds apeice I give unto my neece Mrs Penelope Hesket ten pounds I give to Mrs Margery Jones wife of Mr Charles Jones Ten pound p.ann. to be paid to her halfyearly during her Life by my Executrix I give to Mrs Jane Coward my House Keeper Ten pounds p.ann. to be paid to her halfyearly during her life by my Executrix and half my wearing Clothes I give to my old servant Gertrude Thompson five pounds I give to my two old servants Edward Barnett and Rebecca his wife Ten pounds apeice I give to the servant that waites upon me one year’s wages and the other half of my wearing clothes I give to the rest of my servants forty shillings apeice amongst which number Hanna Howletson is to be included I give to the poor the some of fifty pounds to be disposed of at the discretion of my Executrix I give the sume of two hundred pounds to be layed out in the beautify¬ing the Chancell at Couleston to be layed out in such manner as my Nephew the said William Godolphin & my Extrix shall think fit I give unto my said nephew William Godol¬phin the sume of eighty pounds to be by him layed out with the approbation of my Executrix in the purchase of an annuity of four pounds p. ann, for ever or as much as the said money will purchase to be paid yearly to such poor widow Woman of Coulston or Eddington as my said Nephew or his heirs shall from time to time for that purpose appoint for keeping the said Chancell clean Item I give unto Francis Hall of the Parish of St James in the said liberty of Westmr Esqr the sume of ffifty pounds. All the rest of my Goods Chattles & personal Estate after the payment of my Legacies and Funerall expences I give unto ffrances Hall wife of the said ffrancis Hallto her own particular separate and peculiar use exclusive of her said Husband & to be by her disposed of in such manner & to such person and persons as she shall think fit and wherewith her said Husband is not to intermeddle but to permit her to have the sole & absolute power thereof to give and dispose of the same by will or otherwise as she shall think fit And I do hereby constute authorize and appoint her the said ffrances Hall my full whole & sole EXECUTRIX of this my last will and testament IN WITNESS whereof I the said Elizabeth Godolphin have to this my said Will consisting of six sheets of Paper set my hand & seal this day of – One thousand seven hundred and twenty four – ELIZA Godolphin (SEAL) – Signed sealed published & declared in the presence of –
WHEREAS since the drawing the before written Will and before the executing thereof I purchased three Annuities issuing out of Lands in Somersetshire vizt out of the Estate of Thomas Nicholls one hundred & twenty pounds p.ann. Out of the Estate of Thomas Burges forty pounds p. ann. & out of the Estate of Hanna Burgess Twenty pounds p.ann. In the whole one hundred and eighty pounds p.ann. for these annuities I paid four thousand eight hundred and sixty pounds and which with other monys expended by me relating thereto considerably exceeded the sume of five thousand pounds Now I do hereby Revoke the Devises of the five thousand pounds mentioned in my Will and direct the same shall not be raised or paid And in lieu thereof I give the said annuities & all my Interest therein unto my said Nephew William Godolphin & his heirs upon the severall Uses & Charities in my said Will mentioned specified & declared In Witness whereof I have hereunto and to each sheet of my said Will subscribed my name and set my seal this twenty second day of July one thousand seven hundred and twenty five – ELizA : GODOLPHIN (SEAL) Signed Sealed published & declared in the presence of – Da : THOMAS – P. DAvis – JOHN ROBBINS.

Proved 18th August 1726.

The bequest by Charles and Elizabeth in 1703 of houses in St. James’ Street for the educating of poor scholars and other charitable purposes is interesting, as the Godolphin and Latymer School for Girls in Hammersmith (of which Miss Zachary, an old girl of the Godolphin School at Salisbury, is the Head Mistress) had its origin in that bequest, or even earlier, as it was Sir William Godolphin, the envoy to Spain, who desired to leave money for the educating of poor scholars, and Charles and Elizabeth were instructed to make good the wishes of their uncle. His wishes are made clear by the extract given below from Godol¬phin records in the British Museum, but here it may be stated that the bequest dated 1703 was fated to remain dormant until, after many proceedings in the Court of Chancery, a decree was pronounced in April 1852 which established the creation of the Boys’ School in Hammer¬smith, which was opened in August 1856. This Boys’ School gave place to the great Godolphin and Latymer School for Girls in 1904.
Thus, if Charles and Elizabeth Godolphin were not so distinguished as other members of their family during their lifetime, our hope is that their name will live for evermore and be honoured in the good and useful lives of Godolphins wherever they may be found.
Sir William Godolphin, diplomatist at Madrid, made three wills:¬
(1) In March 1669, just before leaving England for the last time, when starting for Spain as envoy, he made the first will, leaving his property in the main to his brother Francis, in charity for the poor of Camelford £20, of Lis¬keard £10, of St. Maben £10; and a further sum of £3000 to be employed by his executors ” to and for the education and maintenance of poor scholars, of the relief of decayed virtuous gentlemen, the redemption of prisoners, the placing of poor boys to trades, or any other pious and charitable uses as they should consider best.”
(2) In March 1696 he had a stroke of paralysis and appeared in imminent peril of death; “then surrounded by friars, priests and Jesuits as he lay bedrid he was influenced to execute ` a notarial instrument,’ a deed certified by a notary but not signed by him, giving power to three ecclesiastics and a lawyer to make for him, so soon as he should be dead, a last will, and assigning to each of these persons a legacy, and leaving his soul his universal heir.”
(3) News of his illness at last reached his relatives in England, and Francis, his nephew, son of his elder brother Francis, went to Madrid to visit him, but could rarely be admitted to his presence, so surrounded was the old man by priests. However, Francis gained his end, and Sir William, some few days before his death, made another testamentary disposition, witnessed by the English Envoy at the Spanish Court, leaving all his property to his kindred.

On 30th December 1697 the Jesuits petitioned the House of Commons to be allowed to call in the administration granted to Francis and Elizabeth. This petition was referred to a committee, and the committee reported that the act notarial set up by the Jesuits was null and void, and the administration well granted. The House accepted the report and ordered the results to be embodied in a Bill. On its second reading the Bill was referred to committee with instructions to insert a clause making good such charities as appear to have been expressly declared by Sir William Godolphin in writing before he went out of England. In such form the Bill received the Royal Assent of King William III on 2nd April 1698.

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