Will of Thomas Morecraft, gentleman, 1860 (proved 1861)

Principal Probate Registry

ON the 2nd day of November 1861, the Will of Thomas Morecraft late of Winslow in the County of Buckingham Gentleman deceased, who died on the 21st day of May 1861, at Winslow aforesaid was proved in the Principal Registry of Her Majesty’s Court of Probate, by the Oaths of Frederick Dancer of Grandborough in the said County and Emma Morecraft of Winslow aforesaid Widow, the Relict two of the Executors therein named they having been first sworn duly to administer
Power reserved of making the like Grant to Grant King the other Executor therein named.

Effects Under £1500

This is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Morecraft of Winslow in the County of Bucks Gentleman I appoint Grant King of Winslow aforesaid Draper and Frederick Dancer of Grandborough in the said County of Bucks Farmer to be Trustees of this my Will I give and bequeath unto my dear Wife Emma absolutely All  my household furniture plate linen china glass books prints pictures and other household effects of which I may die possessed I give and bequeath unto my grandson Ernest Morecraft the legacy or sum of one thousand pounds and direct that the same shall be paid to him out of my personal estate within twelve calendar months next after the decease of my said wife provided he shall then have attained the age of twenty one years but if not then upon his attaining that age I give devise and bequeath unto the said Grant King and Frederick Dancer their executors administrators and assigns All those my copyhold messuages or tenements land hereditaments and premises situate lying and being in Winslow aforesaid with their appurtenances and all other my real and personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever Upon the trusts following that is to say Upon trust in the first place to allow my said wife and her assigns to receive the annual income thereof for her own use and benefit for and during the term of her natural life she and they keeping the buildings hereby devised in good and tenantable repair and also insured against loss or damage by fire But subject nevertheless to the payment of my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses And immediately after her decease Then Upon trust to allow my Son Alfred Morecraft and his assigns [ . . . identical clause covering building maintenance and payment of deceased’s debts is repeated . . . ]    and likewise to the payment of the legacy or sum of one thousand pounds hereinbefore bequeathed to my grandson Ernest Morecraft And from and immediately after the decease of the survivor of them my said wife and son age I give devise and bequeath all the said real and personal estate not hereinbefore specifically bequeathed unto the said Grant King and Frederick Dancer their executors . . . Upon trust to sell my said real estate and convert and get in my residuary personal estate and divide the clear residue of the monies arising therefrom unto and amongst my nieces Sarah King and Charlotte King of Barnhill in the Parish of Whaddon and my said wife’s nephews Frederick Anthony Woodroffe William Woodroffe and Thomas Woodroffe of Paddington Middlesex (sons of my said Wifes late Brother Anthony Woodroffe) equally share and share alike as tenants in common and not as joint tenants And I declare that the receipts of my said nieces shall notwithstanding coverture be sufficient discharges to my said trustees for their respective shares I empower the trustees and trustee for the time being of my Will to give receipts to purchasers and others paying monies to them or him under or by virtue of my Will and that such receipts shall exonerate the person or persons paying any monies therein expressed or acknowledged to have been received from all liability in respect thereof I also empower my said trustees to retain and allow all expenses incidental to the trusteeship and declare that they shall be responsible each for his own acts and defaults only and irresponsible for involuntary losses I devise all estates if any  which at the time of my decease may be vested in me as trustee or mortgagee unto the said Grant King and Frederick Dancer upon the trusts and subject to the equities affecting the same respectively I appoint  said Grant King and Frederick Dancer to be my Executors and my said wife to be my Executrix of this my last Will I revoke all former Wills In witness whereof I the said Thomas Morecraft the Testator have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty

Thomas Morecraft [signature]

Signed by the said Thomas Morecraft the Testator in the joint presence of us who at his request in his presence and the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses (the word “person” in the second page having been first erased Thos. R. Brown, [signature] Winslow, Gentleman Susanna Pursell [signature] Winslow

Proved at London 2nd Novr, 1861 by the oaths of Frederick Dancer and Emma Morecraft Widow the Relict two of the Executors to whom Adm(inistrati)on was granted Power reserved of making the like Grant to Grant King the third Executor.


Thomas was the son of Thomas Morecraft (1748-1807) and Ann Gibbs (1760-1827) (q.v. for more about the family), and the brother of John Morecraft, butcher (1785-1859) and James Morecraft, butcher (1800-1844).

Thomas Morecraft died in 1861 aged 71. His widow Emma died in 1874 aged 89. They lived at 5 Station Road. In the 1861 Census he was described as retired butcher, but at the 1808 manor court he was said to be "now of Aldermanbury London Haberdasher", and in 1831 he was a linen draper of Newbury where he married Emma Woodroffe in 1822. They were still living in Newbury in 1838 but must have returned to Winslow by 1845 when Thomas was churchwarden (unless this was his nephew). Thomas called himself a landed proprietor in the 1851 Census when he was living at the north end of the High Street. His son evidently emigrated as Thomas and Emma had living with them their grandson Montague aged 5, born in New York.

Thomas' father bequeathed him "my copyhold close of pasture ground (lately divided into two several closes and called or known by the names of Jenning’s Close (which I bought and purchased of Richard Gibbs) and Dudley’s Close (and which I bought of John Dudley) and also all those my two copyhold cottages or tenements now occupied by Richard Cox and Francis Warner and being in the said close called Jenning’s Close". In 1831 he acquired from his brother George Morecraft of Piccadilly, silk mercer, for £400 "Two closes called Roses Meadows in Demoram Field containing 6a 1r 29p formerly in the occupation of Thomas Morecraft his late father, now of John Morecraft" (George was admitted to them in 1828). The 1863 manor court recorded his copyhold holdings as:

Below is what was put up for sale in 1874 after Emma's death, with the addition of two cottages. Jennings Close was later known as the Flower Show Field. It appears that Lot 1 was bought by D.T. Willis and Lot 2 by Silvanus Jones:

1874: Bucks Herald, 8 Aug

At Four o’Clock in the Afternoon, in Two Lots, by direction of the Executor of the late Mr. Thomas Morecraft.

A VALUABLE CLOSE of PASTURE LAND, in the occupation of Mr. Silvanus Jones, at the apportioned rent of £20 per annum; also FOUR substantial BRICK-BUILT and SLATED COTTAGES, with Gardens back and front, and Brick and Tiled Wood Barns, let at rents amounting to £23:8 per annum, and containing altogether 4a. 0r. 0p.  This Lot is very valuable for Building Ground.
A CLOSE OF RICH GRASS LAND, containing 6a. 1r. 29p., known as “Rose’s Close” near the town, adjoining Claydon Road, well supplied with water from a never-failing spring, valuable as Accommodation Land.  In the occupation of Mr. Silvanus Jones, at the apportioned rent of £25:15:0 per annum.
  For a View apply to the respective Tenants, and for further particulars to Mr. Frederick Dancer, Grandborough; Messrs Dudley and Son, Auctioneers and Land Agents, Winslow.

1874: Bucks Herald, 10 Oct

NEAT AND MODERN HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Feather Beds, Linen, Plated Goods, China, Glass, Earthenware, and Effects,
On the Premises, Station-road, Winslow, by direction of the Executor of the late Mr. Thos. Morecraft.
On view the Morning of Sale, which will commence at Eleven o’Clock.
  Catalogues may be had at the Inns in the Neighbourhood, and of Messrs. Dudley and Son, Auctioneers and Land Agents, Winslow.

24 Feb 1875: administration of the effects of Emma Morecraft was granted to Ernest Morecraft of 54 Cornwall Road, Westbourne Park, gentleman, grandson and only next of kin.


Copyright 27 August, 2023