Will of Samuel Cleaver of London, soap manufacturer, 1805 (proved 1806)

National Archives, PROB 11/1436/228

The will of Samuel Cleaver late of Tottenham Court Road but now of Gate Street, Lincolns Inn Fields, Soap Manufacturer.

Summary of the main provisions

£50 apiece to my executors.
To my eldest son William Cleaver £2,000.
To my second son Samuel Cleaver £1,000.
To my sons Charles and Edward Cleaver £3,000 apiece.
All to be paid out of the debts owing to me in my trade and out of my stock in trade.

To my younger sons Henry, Thomas, John, James and Joseph Cleaver £3,000 apiece.
To my daughters Sarah and Charlotte Cleaver £2,000 apiece.
All to be paid when they are 23, but £1,000 can be advanced to them when they are 21.

To my daughter Mary Ann, wife of William Fell of Westminster, currier, £1,000.  William is discharged from all debts to me.

To Peter Ludgate of Holborn, carpenter, David Badham of London Street, Fitzroy Square, wine merchant, and Benjamin Colchester of Ipswich, soap manufacturer: £1,000 on trust to be invested, with the interest paid to Mary Ann Fell.

To the same trustees: £1,000 to be invested with the interest paid to my daughter Sarah.  And £1,000 with the interest paid to my daughter Charlotte.

To my sister Mary Eden of Winslow: an annuity of £20, payable half-yearly.  After her decease, an annuity of £15 12s to her son William Eden, payable monthly.
To my nephew Robert Eden, son of Mary Eden, £50, to be paid immediately after Mary’s decease.
To my niece Hannah, wife of William Rose [legacy has been omitted]
To Elizabeth, wife of John Ball of Stratford, daughter of Mary Eden, £100, to be paid immediately after Mary’s decease.
Robert Eden and William Rose are discharged of their debts to me.

To Richard Pearson of Aylesbury, husband of my late sister Elizabeth: an annuity of £20, to be paid half-yearly, and the interest on £250 which he owes me.  The principal shall not be called in until 3 months after his decease.
I discharge my nephews Samuel and William Pearson from whatever debts they owe to me.

To the trustees: £500 of 4% bank annuities, the interest to be paid to my sister Hannah Cleaver of Darby Street, Westminster, widow.  To be divided amongst her children after her decease.

To John and Sarah Harris of Winslow, nephew and niece of my wife, £100 when they are 21.

To my niece Mary Atwood of Elstree [sic] near Bedford £100.
To my niece Elizabeth her sister, wife of Thomas Eyles of Elstree, butcher, £100.
To my niece Ann Grain wife of [blank] Grain late clerk to Mr Chaplin, attorney of Aylesbury, an annuity of £15 12s to be paid weekly.

To my servant David Richards an annuity of £15, and to his present wife after his decease.
To my servant Richard Mason an annuity of £15, and to his present wife after his decease.
To my servant John Pugh an annuity of £15.
To my servant Henry Grossard an annuity of £15.
All to be paid half-yearly.  If any of them voluntarily leaves the service of my family or is discharged for misconduct, the annuity shall cease.

To the Treasurer of the Charity School of the parish of St Giles in the Fields £50.

To my dear wife all my household goods and household furniture, books, pictures, plate, linen, china and liquors in my dwelling house.

The business and manufactory carried on by me and my son William in Drury Lane shall be carried on by my wife, my eldest son William and my son Edward in copartnership, my wife taking 1/3 of the profits to support and bring up my infant children.  William and Edward to take the other 2/3 equally between them.

The manufactory and business carried on by me and my son Samuel in Shoe Lane shall be carried on by my wife and my sons Samuel and Charles in copartnership, my wife taking 1/3 of the profits and Samuel and Charles the other 2/3.
The trustees are to hold the buildings, works and premises, and my freehold estate in St Andrew Holborn.

My house in Gate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields with coachhouse and stables to my wife for her life, then to be sold by the trustees.

All property at Aylesbury, Whitchurch or elsewhere in Bucks and stocks in public funds to become part of the general residue of my estate: the trustees are to sell if they think fit, invest it and pay the interest and dividends to my wife for her life.  On her decease, they are to pay each of my children who shall be living £600.  If she remains my widow, she can distribute the residue among them by her will.  Otherwise it is to be divided among them (or the issue of any who shall then be dead) in equal proportions.
I appoint my wife sole guardian of any children under 21 at the time of my decease, if she continues unmarried.

My executors can advance money from the general residue for the placing out any of my infant sons clerks or apprentice.

Executors: my wife, my sons William and Samuel, and the three trustees.
27 Sep 1805
Witnesses: John Bye, High Holborn
John Bye jun., same place
Gilbert Jones, Salisbury Square

Codicil, 28 Sep 1805
I give unto my Niece Mary Clarke daughter of my late sister Mary Eden £100.
I give to Penelope Mayne of Winslow widow £100.
I give unto Oliver Mayne of Winslow an annuity of £10 payable half yearly for his life, and to his present wife for her life if she happen to survive him.
Witnesses as above.

Proved at London 31 Jan 1806 by the oaths of Ann Cleaver the relict, William Cleaver the son, Peter Ludgate and Benjamin Colchester, four of the surviving executors.  Power reserved of making the like grant to Samuel Cleaver the other surviving executor.


Samuel Cleaver was born c.1750 and seems to have been the son of Thomas Cleaver, from whom he inherited 20 Horn Street in 1769. His sister Mary (1737-1807) married Robert Eden of Winslow in 1757. Another sister, Elizabeth (d.1804) married Richard Pearson of Aylesbury before 1772; they were the parents of the nieces mentioned in the will.

Samuel Cleaver married Ann Mayne, daughter of John Mayne of Winslow, butcher (d.1803), in 1773 when she was 20. There is a marriage bond dated 7 Feb 1773 where he is described as gentleman and bachelor of St George Bloomsbury, and she is spinster of St Mary-le-Bone. His guarantor was John Clark of Winslow, carrier, who also witnessed a document dated 16 Feb 1773 giving her father's consent. The marriage licence is dated 27 Feb 1773. Samuel was already in business as a soap manufacturer by this time.

Samuel and Ann's eldest son William Cleaver was baptised at St George Bloomsbury in 1774. Their other children were baptised at St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, between 1775 and 1796, and Samuel was buried there on 30 Dec 1805. His widow Ann moved to Camberwell. See below for her will, made in 1831 and proved in 1834. The family clearly had financial problems and Samuel's bequests were not paid in full.

In 1786, Samuel Cleaver of White Hart Yard, Drury Lane, soap boiler, insured his premises for £1,000 (1786 SUN 1 337 31\8\79 ML).  In 1787 he was in High Holborn with insurance for £2,700 (1787 SUN 1 342 08\10\79 ML).  In 1797 he prosecuted two men for the theft of his soap, and his sons gave evidence: https://www.londonlives.org/browse.jsp?div=t17970920-61

William Cleaver married Hermina (or Herminer) Yardley on 24 Nov 1801 at St George Hanover Square. Their children included a son Frederick Samuel Cleaver (1807-72). William died intestate in 1825 leaving a personal estate of £20, and administration was granted to his widow Hermina in 1834. She died in 1845 aged 64.

Various directories show the continuation of the soap businesses:

1790 London Directory
Cleaver, Samuel, Soap Maker, White Hart Yard, Drury-lane

1799 London Directory
Cleaver, Samuel, Soap-maker, White Hart yard, Drury-lane, and Tottenham-court Road

1808 Post Office Directory
Cleaver, Samuel & Charles, Soap-manufacturers, Shoe-lane
Cleaver, Wm. & Edw. Soap-manufact., White-hart-yd. Drury-la.

Hugh [sic], Samuel, Charles and Edward Cleaver were in partnership in Battersea in 1811 according to this trial record: https://www.londonlives.org/browse.jsp?div=t18111030-91

1819 Post Office Directory
S. & C. Cleaver, Soap-manufact., Surry Side of Waterloo-bridge
Wm. Cleaver, Soap-maker, 174, High Holborn

1825-6 Pigot’s Directory
Soap Makers: Cleaver Wm. & Co. (fancy) 175 Holborn

1839 Pigot’s Directory
Soap Makers: Cleaver Fredk. Saml. 7 Vine St., Bloomsbury

According to Yardley London's Historical Timeline, William Cleaver borrowed £20,000 from Coutts Bank for which his father-in-law William Yardley was guarantor. William Cleaver couldn't repay the loan (hence his lack of funds when he died), and the business came into Yardley's hands. In his will of 1824, William Yardley called himself a soap manufacturer and perfumer of Holborn, and left the business to his son Charles, writing off William Cleaver's debts to him (National Archives, PROB 11/1696/25, proved 1825). Frederick Cleaver ran it until 1841 after which it became Yardley & Statham, and later Yardley & Co. Yardley now trace their continuous history back to the business which Samuel Cleaver started in 1770. The business of F.S. Cleaver & Sons continued separately, and you can see an advert from 1883 on the British Library website. In 1914 it was in Red Lion Street, Holborn, and claimed that it "originated as far back as 1770, and has been carried on without a break for 140 years" (see Grace's Guide). It was sold to Lever Brothers in 1921 but the name remained in use until 1934.

Will of Ann Cleaver of Camberwell, widow, 1831 (proved 1834)

National Archives, PROB 11/1832/241

Summary of the main provisions

Ann Cleaver, late of Gate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields but now of Kennington Street, Camberwell, widow

Executors: my sons Henry and John Cleaver

My wearing apparel and linen to my three daughters Mary Ann Fell, Sarah Mist and Charlotte Harris.

To my niece Sarah Harris: all my china, household goods and furniture (except plate, watches, rings and trinkets) and all wine, liquors, coals, wood and provisions in my dwelling house.

To Henry Cleaver: my mahogany bookcase, books, prints and three china bowls.

The executors to convert the rest of my estate into money, and to pay:
£50 to my niece Sarah Harris
£200 to Henry Cleaver, being the amount of the loan made by him to enable me to repair my house and premises in Gate Street

To John Cleaver any sum of money or damages that he may sustain by having entered into certain engagements on my account, and a further £150.
£100 to my son Thomas Cleaver, which two sums are left to my sons in consideration of the loss they have sustained in not having been paid the whole of the legacies left to them by their father’s will.

£5 to my daughter Charlotte Harris and I limit this legacy to that sum because she has a claim for the reversion of £600 left to her by her father’s will whereas the remainder of the family have resigned their claims.

The executors shall make over the residue of such trust monies for the benefit of themselves and my son Thomas and my daughters Mary Ann Toll [sic] and Sarah Mist.

22 July 1831
Witnesses: Thos Coxhead, 13 Kennington St. Walworth
Richd Ogle, Inner Temple

Codicil, 6 Aug 1831
To my granddaughter Mary Ann Mist my best china tea service.
My executors to divide what plate I may be possessed of between my three daughters and my sons Henry, Thomas and John, and to divide my jewellery between my three daughters.
Witness: Benjm John Bray

William Harris of Cornhill in the City of London optician made oath that he knew Ann Cleaver for many years and believes that the signature to the codicil is her handwriting.  7 June 1834.

Probate at London 17 June 1834 by the oath of John Cleaver, power reserved of making the like grant to Henry Cleaver.

Copyright 7 December, 2023