Obituary of Edward Lane Sear (d.1895)

This obituary was printed in the Bucks Herald on 26 July 1895. Read more about the Sears' house in the High Street.

The death of Mr Edward Lane Sear, coachmaker, of this town took place on Tuesday morning. Mr. Sear was by far the  oldest tradesman and almost the oldest inhabitant of the town. He was a Nonconformist and a Liberal, and seemed in good health and spirits on polling day, but on Monday he was taken unwell and died after a few hours’ illness.

1891: Census
High Street (site of fire station / telephone exchange)

Edward Lane Sear head widower 80 Coachbuilder b. Bletchley
Elizabeth Ann Sear daughter single 46 Housekeeper b. Winslow
George James Sear grandson single 21 Watchmaker b. Winslow
Elizabeth Sear granddaughter single 19 Draper's assistant b. Ramsgate

Ann Sear (the other daughter mentioned in the will below) was a stationer in High Street, Bagshot.

The map below shows the Sears' house (coloured red; the blue is Coxill's) on the 1880 25 inch OS map (left) and the same site in 1978 (right)
Site of Sears house 1880 and 1978

Will of Edward Lane Sear, coachbuilder, 1891 (proved 1896)

Oxford Probate Registry

BE IT KNOWN  that at the date hereunder written the last Will and Testament of Edward Lane Sear of High Street, Winslow in the County of Buckingham, Coachbuilder, deceased, who died on the 23rd day of July 1895, at High Street aforesaid, within the District of the Counties of Oxford, Berks and Buckingham and was proved and registered in the District Probate Registry of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice at Oxford and that Administration of the personal estate of the said deceased was granted to  Edward Lane Sear of Bagshot in the County of Surrey, Coachbuilder and Frederick Lane (in the will named Frederick) Sear, of Thame in the County of Oxford, Poulterer, the Sons of the deceased, the Executors named in the said Will, they having been first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.
Dated the 8th day of January 1896
Gross value of Personal Estate £65-18-0
Extracted by the Executors

This is the last Will and Testament of me of Edward Lane Sear of Winslow in the County of Bucks Coachbuilder I revoke all former wills and appoint my sons Edward Lane Sear and Frederick Sear to be the Executors and Trustees of this my Will I give and bequeath all my household furniture and other household effects unto my six children namely to my sons William Sear James Sear Edward Lane Sear and Frederick Sear and to my daughters Elizabeth Sear and Ann Sear I give and devise all my house and premises situate in the High Street Winslow unto my said executors and trustees in trust for my said daughters Elizabeth Sear and Ann Sear for their joint lives and after the decease of either of them in trust for the survivor for her life but subject to this condition namely that they shall let the shops and yard at a fair rent to my sons James and Edward or either of them should they or one of them desire to hire it for the purpose of carrying on the business of a Coachbuilder it being my wish that the business I have so long carried on at that place shall continue in the name of Sear and after the decease of the survivor of them my said daughters then in trust to make sale and dispose of the house and premises and after payment thereout of the expenses of sale shall hold the proceeds in trust for my said four sons in equal shares. And I direct that my said Trustees may exercise the aforesaid power of sale with the consent or by the direction of my said daughters or the survivor of them at any time after my decease and I further direct that no sale shall be made by my said Trustees until the said house and premises have been offered by them in writing to whichever of my said sons may be carrying on the business of a coachbuilder on the said premises at a price to be fixed by valuation in  the usual manner and such offer shall have been refused or shall not have been accepted in writing within fourteen days from the making thereof. I direct my executors and trustees to collect all my book and other debts in accordance with the powers given to executors by the Act 23 and 24 Victoria C145 S30 and thereout to pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and just debts in exoneration of all other portions of my estate and after payment of the same to hold the surplus if any in trust for my said six children share and share alike  I bequeath to my said executors and trustees all my stock in trade trade tools and fixtures upon trust to sell and dispose of the same and I direct that in the first place offer the same at a price to be fixed by a competent valuer to my said sons James and Edward or to either of them who may decide to carry on my business as aforesaid and subject to the payment thereout of any of my just debts that my book debts may have been insufficient to discharge to hold the proceeds of the said sale for my said four sons share and share alike I give to my said executors and trustees all my residuary estate if any in trust for all my children.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty fourth day of March One thousand eight hundred and ninety one.
Edward Lane Sear [signature]
Signed by the said Edward Lane Sear the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses.
Herbert Bullock [signature] Solicitor Winslow Bucks
Hugh Ray [signature] his Clerk Winslow

On the Eighth day of January 1896, Probate of this Will was granted at Oxford to Edward Lane Sear and Frederick Lane (in the will named Frederick) Sear the Sons the Executors.
It is hereby certified that the foregoing is a correct copy.
Dated this Sixteenth day of January 1896.

John Sear

John Sear, born in 1839, was the second son of Edward Lane Sear and his wife Ann, nee Fox. In the 1871 Census he was living in Ramsgate and was described as "professor of drawing and painting". His wife Emma was born at Swanbourne and they had four children born at Ramsgate. He appears in the 1867 Post Office Directory for Ramsgate as John Sear, artist, 18 Frederick Street. In 1881 and 1891 he was a resident of Kent Lunatic Asylum, described as artist and then decorative painter. He died in 1898. In 1876 Arthur Edward Roland Sear aged 12 was buried at Winslow, "usual abode Ramsgate". He had another son called Percy Lane Sear (b.1875) who seems to be the most likely candidate for the "P. Sear" who painted the picture of the family home in 1884.

In 2003 the Buckingham Advertiser (30 May) published a photo of a drawing of "the Inn in Back Lane" said to have been done by John Sear when he was 16. Click here for more information.

Painting of thatched cottage with lean-to at the front
This painting of the Sears' house and shop in the High Street from 1884 is by P. Sear, probably Edward Lane Sear's grandson Percy who would have been 9. We don't know how accurate it is but it fits with the details of the building which are visible in photos. The house is viewed from the east side of the High Street.

Obituary of Elizabeth Ann Sear (d. 1931)

The following is taken from an obituary printed in the Buckingham Advertiser on 28 March 1931.


Miss Elizabeth Ann Sear, who has passed away at Winslow at the age of 87, had passed all her life in the picturesque old thatched cottage which stands near to Winslow Post Office. Her father, Mr. E.L. Sear, a coach-builder, who took a great deal of pride in his work, until, alas, modern conditions deprived him of it, had also occupied the same cottage at Winslow. His coach-building business was nearly a century old and he also passed away at a great age, being 86 at the time of his death.

Miss Sear, who was highly-respected in Winslow, was the aunt of Mr. C.J. Sear, a Winslow watch and clock-maker, whom she cared for and brought up in his childhood. Much sympathy is felt in Winslow for Mr Sear, in the loss which he has suffered, of a relative to whom he was greatly devoted. Miss Sear had been ill for two months before her death.

In the photo below, the Sears' house is the thatched building on the left, next to Coxill's (sign not quite legible) which was pulled down before 1911 (Richard Coxill was a cooper).
High Street c.1900 showing Coxill's

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