Will of Francis Cox, glazier, 1782

National Archives, PROB 11/1088/396

The evidence of the witnesses gives a very vivid description of a Georgian deathbed, the sort of thing you normally find only in literature. Why was John Shepherd so important that he had to be fetched from Berkhamsted? And why did Francis' son William receive a weekly allowance instead of the usual annuity paid in quarterly instalments?

The dots indicate gaps in the text as recorded by the clerk at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, presumably intended to represent gaps in the original documents.

In the name of God amen I Francis Cox of Winslow in the County of Bucks Glazier being sick and weak in Body but of sound Mind Memory and understanding (praised be God for the same do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say  First I give and devise unto my Son John Cox his Heirs and Assigns all and every my Messuages Tenements Lands Closes Hereditaments and Premises whatsoever and wheresoever with their and every of their appurtenances be the same Freehold or Copyhold that I shall die possessed of or be any ways intitled to at or after my decease either in remainder reversion or expectancy or otherwise howsoever to hold the same unto and to the use of my said Son John Cox his Heirs and Assigns for ever  Also I do hereby give and bequeath unto my loving Wife Elizabeth Cox and her Assigns for and during the term of her natural Life one Annuity clear yearly Rent or Sum of Fifty pounds of lawful Money of Great Britain for the support of herself & bringing up of her Family free of Taxes and all other Deductions to be issuing and payable out of my personal Estate by my Executor herein after named and to be paid and payable at the four most usual Feasts or days of payment in the Year that is to say the Feasts of the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary Saint John Baptist Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Thomas the Apostle the first payment thereof to begin and be made on such of the said Feasts as shall first and next happen after my decease  Also I give unto my Son William Cox after the decease ……. of my said Wife Elizabeth Cox) the Sum of seven Shillings weekly and every Week during the term of his natural life to be paid and payable by my Executor herein after named  But my Will is that if my said son William Cox should any time during his life sell or make over his weekly allowance to any person or persons whatsoever that then the same shall not be paid or payable  Also I give unto my said Son William Cox after the decease of my said Wife Elizabeth Cox the sum of five pounds of like lawful Money to be paid to him by my Executor herein after named  Also I give and bequeath unto my two Daughters Martha Cox and Elizabeth Cox the Legacy or Sum of forty pounds each which were left them by their late Aunt Mary Hall deceased and also so much Money as will make up the said forty pounds and Interest three hundred pounds to each of like lawful Money \and/ to be paid and payable …………. [sic]

[p.2] within six Months next after the decease of my said Wife by my Executor hereinafter named and also in case my said Son William Cox shall happen to depart this life within seven Years after the decease of my said Wife then and in such case but not otherwise I give and bequeath unto my said two Daughters Martha and Elizabeth Cox the Sum of fifty pounds each \to make the said Legacies three hundred and fifty pounds to each/ of like Money and to be paid and payable by my Executor as aforesaid  Also I Give and bequeath all my Household Goods and Implements of Household whatsoever unto my said Wife Elizabeth Cox during her natural life and from and after her decease I give the same unto my said Son John Cox and as to for and concerning all my ready Money and Securities of Money Chattels Personal Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever the same may be not herein before given and bequeathed I do hereby give and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my said Son John Cox his Executors Administrators and Assigns and I do hereby expressly charge all my said Personal Estate so given to him as aforesaid with the true payment of all my just Debts Legacies Annuity to my said Wife also with the weekly allowance to my said Son William Cox and Funeral Expences and I do hereby nominate and appoint my said Son John Cox full and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other Wills by me made  In witness whereof I have to this my Will contained in two Sheets of paper to the first sheet thereof set my Hand only and to this my Hand and Seal this twenty ninth day of December the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one. [seal]
Signed Sealed Published and Declared by the said Testator [Francis] Cox as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses in the presence of the said Testator and also in the presence of each other the Interlineations being first made

18th March 1782
Appeared Personally Joseph Hunt of Winslow in the County of Bucks Scrivener and John Shepherd of Berkhamstead St. Peter in the County of Hertford Linen Draper and being sworn upon the Holy Evangelists to depose the truth made Oath as follows and first the Appearer Joseph Hunt having now with care and attention viewed and perused the Paper writing hereunto annexed bearing date the twenty ninth day of December one thousand seven hundred and eighty one beginning thus “In the Name of God Amen I Francis Cox of Winslow in the County of Bucks Glazier and ending thus and also in the

[p.3] presence of each other the interlineations being first made and being or purporting to be the last Will and Testament of Francis Cox late of Winslow aforesaid deceased for himself saith that on Saturday the twenty ninth day of December last about eight o'clock in the Morning he received a Messuage from the said Francis Cox to go to him the said Francis Cox at his dwelling House at Winslow aforesaid to make his Will that in pursuance of the said Messuage he went to the House of the said Francis Cox before nine o'clock in the forenoon and in a few minutes afterwards he this Deponent was introduced to the said Francis Cox who was then ill in Bed that after some conversation had passed between them relative to his affairs he the said Francis Cox gave him this Appearer Instructions by word of Mouth for preparing and making his Will and having received the same he this Appearer returned home to his this Appearers dwelling House and there immediately drew up the said deceaseds Will hereunto annexed from such Instructions which he this Appearer had received as aforesaid and having so done he this Appearer went to the Dwelling House of the deceased and was immediately taken into his Bed Chamber where he acquainted the said Deceased that he had brought his Will and then asked the Deceased if he should read it over to him upon which the Deceased answered yes when this Appearer …………………… immediately read the said Will hereunto annexed distinctly over to the said Deceased and whilst this Appearer was reading the same over and had come to the last Clause therein contained affecting the Disposition of his Estate or so much thereof as is therein contained he the said Deceased ….. stopped this ….. Appearer in reading thereof saying he did not rightly hear him whereupon this Appearer read over such part thereof again to the satisfaction of the said Deceased who said he did not rightly hear him before but upon his second reading he the said Deceased declared his approbation thereof by saying it was very right or words to that effect and after this Appearer had finished his reading over the said Will he this Appearer asked the deceased if such Will was made according to his Mind who answered yes and the Appearer John Shepherd \maketh oath/ that on the said twenty ninth day of November last he went from Berkhamstead aforesaid to Winslow aforesaid with John Cox one of the Sons of the said Deceased in order to pay his respects to the said Deceased with whom he was well acquainted he this Appearer being informed that the said Deceased was then dangerously ill and this Appearer saith \that/ he arrived at Winslow about half past ten o'clock in the Morning and was immediately afterwards introduced to the said Deceased in his Bed Chamber and there found him very ill in Bed and then this Appearer asked him how he did to which the Deceased answered he was very ill and calling this

[p.4] Appearer to him gave him his Hand and he took this Appearer by his Hand and mentioned his Name with great respect for making him such a visit and this Appearer further saith that he continued with the said Deceased in his Bed Chamber for about twenty Minutes during which time he assisted to lift the said Deceased up in his Bed to drink some Tea and immediately afterwards this Appearer left the said Deceased in his Bedchamber and instantly thereupon or soon afterwards the said Joseph Hunt being with the said Deceased to read over his Will as this Appearer was informed and verily believes he this Appearer was sent for to attend the Deceased in his Bed Chamber in order to attest the execution of his Will and on his this Appearers coming into the Bedchamber of the said Deceased he found the said Joseph Hunt with the aforesaid paper writing hereunto annexed as he this Appearer verily believes and these Appearers further severally say and make Oath that they were present together at the time when the said Joseph Hunt tendered the said Will to the said Deceased to be by him executed he the said Deceased being raised up in his Bed for that purpose but was instantly seized with convulsions that immediately ended his life without being able to execute the said Will which he was then about to do and they these Appearers severally say that during the whole of the time that they were respectively with the said Deceased on the Morning of the said twenty ninth day of December last in manner aforesaid he the said Deceased appeared to them these Appearers to be and as they verily believe the Deceased was of sound Mind Memory and understanding and capable of giving Instructions for or of making or exercising his Will or of doing any other serious or rational Act requiring thought judgement or reflection and these Appearers verily believe he the said Deceased would have executed the said Will had he not been prevented by the Hand of God
Joseph Hunt    J(oh)n Shepherd
Same Day the said Joseph Hunt and John Shepherd were duly sworn to the truth of the above Affidavit before me
And Collee Ducares Surrogate Pres. Rob(er)t Longdon N.P.

This Will was proved at London the thirtieth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty two before the Right Worshipful Peter Calvert Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the oath of John Cox the Son of the Deceased and the sole Executor named in the said Will to whom Administration was granted of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits

[p.5] of the said Deceased having been first sworn by Commission duly to Administer Elizabeth Cox Widow the Relict Martha Cox Spinster and William Cox the two other of the natural and lawful Children of the said Deceased and the said Elizabeth Cox as Curatrix or Guardian lawfully assigned to Elizabeth Cox Spinster a Minor the other natural and lawful child of the said Deceased first consenting.


Francis, son of John and Sarah Cox, was baptised on 5 Jan 1728/9.  There were several men called John Cox in Winslow at the time. Francis was apprenticed to William Verney, plumber, in 1747. He married Elizabeth Norman on 7 Nov 1755; the witnesses were George Hall and Rebecca Thompson.

In 1774, George Hall married Mary Norman, with Francis Cox as one of the witnesses; presumably she was the aunt Mary Hall mentioned in the will, but it has not been possible to trace her will.

John Cox the son (d.1842) carried on his father's trade of plumber and glazier. They seem to have lived on the site of 5 Horn Street. John's only relatives mentioned in his will were cousins, so it appears that Francis' children did not produce any offspring.

Copyright 28 February, 2016