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Will of Reverend John Cruwys, Clerk of Cruwys Morchard (1715-1791)

18 June 1791

© Crown Copyright

National Archives Catalogue Reference PROB 11/1205,

Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Bevor Quire Numbers: 233 - 280

Transcribed by Debbie Kennett

The Reverend John CRUWYS was born on 22nd October 1716, probably in London. He was the eldest son of Samuel CRUWYS, FRS, a barrister at the Inner Temple and Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard, and Susanna BRETTON of London. John CRUWYS was educated at Westminster School, London, and Christ Church College, Oxford University, where he obtained a BA in 1738 and an MA in 1740. He was a barrister-at-law and a clerk in holy orders. He became Lord of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard in 1747 after the death of his father and also served as Rector of Cruwys Morchard for fifty years from 1741 until his death on 1st February 1791. He was buried on 4th February 1791 at the Church of the Holy Cross, Cruwys Morchard. There is a memorial in the chancel floor of the church in his memory. His will, which is transcribed below, was proved on 18th June 1791. The Reverend John CRUWYS never married. He was succeeded as Lord of the Manor by his first cousin the Reverend Henry Shortrudge CRUWYS, LL.D., D.Litt. (1736-1804). Henry's father, Matthias CRUWYS (Samuel's younger brother), was a lawyer and Town Clerk of South Molton. His mother was Elizabeth SHORTRUDGE of Thelbridge. Henry's death in 1804 marked the end of the direct male CRUWYS line at Cruwys Morchard as, sadly, Henry's only surviving son and heir, John Henry CRUWYS, had died on 15th October 1791 at the age of 15 from the effects of an injury to his back, supposedly caused by being bullied at school. The estate passed to Henry's second eldest surviving daughter, Harriet, who in 1794 had married George SHARLAND, a money scrivener from South Molton. George and Harriet SHARLAND'S eldest surviving son, George SHARLAND, born on 30th April 1802, assumed the name and arms of CRUWYS by Royal Licence on 9th November 1831, just nine months after the death of his father, George SHARLAND senior, on 14th February 1831. Thus the terms of the Reverend John CRUWYS's will had been fulfilled and the CRUWYS surname was preserved at Cruwys Morchard for future generations. The estate remains to this day in the hands of the descendants of George Sharland CRUWYS, the son of Harriet CRUWYS.

I John Cruwys of the parish of Cruwys Morchard in the County of Devon Clerk do by this my last Will and Testament give devise and bequeath unto Beavis Wood1 of Tiverton in the said County of Devon Gentleman and Thomas Comins of Witheridge in the said County Gentleman their heirs Executors Administrators and assigns for ever all my freehold and Copyhold Lands and Quit Rents and Tithes and other my Tenements and Hereditaments in the Counties of Devon and Essex and elsewhere In Trust and for the following uses and purposes (that is to say) In Trust to collect receive and pay and apply the whole Rents and profits of the same half yearly cutting down the Coppices Annually as usual and Timber for Repairs to and for the Support and Maintenance of Henry Shortrudge Cruwys and John Henry Cruwys his Son and Elizabeth and Harriet his Daughters in such manner as they my said Trustees shall think fit for and during the natural Life of the said Henry Shortrudge Cruwys and from and after his decease Then In Trust to pay and apply the same to and for the benefit of the said John Henry Cruwys during his natural Life and from and after the Decease of the said John Henry Cruwys Then In Trust and to and for the Eldest Son of the said John Henry Cruwys and the Heirs Male of the Body of the said John Henry Cruwys lawfully issuing the Second Son to be deemed the Eldest if the first dies and so on and in default of issue male of the said John Henry Cruwys Then In Trust to and for the Eldest Son of the said Elizabeth Cruwys the second to be deemed the Eldest if the first dies and so on in like manner during his natural Life annexing the Surname of Cruwys after his own And if the said Elizabeth Cruwys hath no Son Then In Trust to and for the Eldest Son of the said Harriet Cruwys in like manner during his natural Life And if she hath no son Then to and for that person and his Heirs for ever that shall prove himself descended in a Direct Line from that Cruwys of Cheriton Fitzpaine in the County of Devon Shoemaker mentioned in the Settlement of Samuel Cruwys Esqr And I give the said Beavis Wood and Thomas Commins my Trustees for executing this my Will their heirs Executors Admors and Assigns full power to let at a Rack Rent never exceeding a Term of Twenty one years the said Freehold [and] copyhold Quit Rents Tithes and premises as occasion shall require strictly forbidding the Sale of any part of the said Lands and premises or raising any money upon either of the Livings or Leasing upon Lives after the present Leases are fallen into hand except a power of Leasing upon lives as herein after mentioned that is to say If at the time of my decease there is not money by me or out at Interest or on Government Security sufficient to pay any Debt or Debts I shall own I hereby give the said Beavis Wood and Thomas Comins full power to Lease any of my Lands in the parish of Cruwys Morchard or anywhere else in the County of Devon for ninety nine Years determinable on one two or three lives under such reasonable Leases Rents and Heriots as they shall think proper for the purpose of making an immediate or speedy payment of such Debt or Debts and if there is more than sufficient for that purpose my said Trustees are hereby impowered to collect and receive the same and to make one Sum thereof and lay it out on Government Security and once in a Year to receive the Dividends and Interest thereof and to make the same Principal till there shall be an Opportunity for my said Trustees to lay out the same in the purchase of Lands in the parish of Cruwys Morchard which Land when purchased shall be settled to the same lives and purposes as my Freehold and copyhold Lands Quit Rents Tithes and Premises as herein before given and devised also I give and devise all my advowsons and Right of Presentation to the Livings of Cruwys Morchard and Wemworthy to my said Trustees Beavis Wood and Thomas Comins their Heirs and Assigns for ever In Trust to present the said Henry Shortrudge Cruwys or such person as he shall direct in the first place and in the second the said John Henry Cruwys and if under age to get the living of Cruwys Morchard held for him in the third place to present such person as the said Elizabeth Cruwys shall desire and in the next place such person as the said Harriet Cruwys shall desire and afterwards such person and persons as shall be desired and directed by the person or persons for the time being who shall or may be intitled to my said freehold Lands under or by virtue of this my Will Also all my plate Furniture jewels Books and every other personal article except living Cattle and Things perishable which my next Heir may apply to his own use I give devise and bequeath to my said Trustees Beavis Wood and Thomas Comins and their Heirs In Trust to remain in Morchard House and to permit and suffer the same to continue and be Enjoyed as Heir Looms of which my said Trustees are to make a true and perfect Inventory and which is to be Signed by the person intitled to the use thereof for the time being And Lastly I Do hereby nominate and appoint the said Beavis Wood and Thomas Commins their Heirs Executors Admors and Assigns Executors In Trust of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all others and I do give and bequeath unto them their Heirs Executors Admors and Assigns the Annual Sum of Four pounds each for their care and trouble in Relation to the Trust in them reposed and I Do further impower my said Trustees to reimburse themselves all Costs and Damages occasioned thereby out of the Rents and Profits of my said Lands and Premises In Witness whereof I have to three parts of this my last Will and Testament each contained in two sheets of paper set my hand and Seal the sixth day of February one thousand seven hundred and eight two - John Cruwys Signed Sealed published and declared by the said John Cruwys the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other of us after the razure and alteration in the twelfth line of the first sheet and the interlineations of the words "whole" "benefit of the" Hugh Sweetland Junr Thos. Enchmarsh John Wood Junr

I John Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard in the County of Devon Clerk to make and ordain this as and for a codicil to my last Will and Testament and desire that the same may be added to and taken as part of my said last Will and Testament and performed and fulfilled accordingly I give and bequeath unto my housekeeper Joan Oliver commonly called Jenny Oliver the sum of one hundred pounds to be paid to her immediately after my decease if so much money may then be found in my house otherwise to be paid as soon as conveniently may be after my decease Also I give and bequeath to all my other servants living in my house the sum of ffive pounds each to be paid in like manner Also I give to my Executors In Trust named in my said Will the sum of one hundred pounds to be lain in Lands and the Rents and profits thereof to be for ever after paid annually to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the said parish of Cruwys Morchard Upon Trust to be by them paid and distributed yearly for ever at Christmas to the poor of the said parish as is usual at that season Also I give to all my Goddaughters except Miss Charlotte Blundell the sum of Five pounds each and I give to the said Charlotte Blundell the sum of Ten pounds and I do hereby remit and Release all and every Sum and Sums of money due to me from any and every one of the Family of the Blundells and also all or any of Security given or to be given to me for the same And I do hereby confirm my said Will and declare this as and for a Codicil thereto In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this second day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty six John Cruwys Signed Sealed published and declared by the said John Cruwys as and for a Codicil to his last Will and Testament as aforesaid in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other of us, Beavis Wood, John Wood Junr Jasper How

Also over and above the hundred pounds I have given to Joan Oliver for her own use for ever I likewise give to the said Joan Oliver during her natural Life the interest of my Toll deeds upon the Tiverton Turnpike Number seven as Witness my hand John Cruwys the 23d of February 1788.

I John Cruwys do make this further Codicil to my last Will and Testament Also I give to Joan Oliver all my wearing apparel, that is to say my Shoes, Buckles, Wigs, Hats, Shirts and Cloaths made or unmade a Bed and all things belonging to one and Furniture for one Room and Furniture for a Kitchen and hope my Trustees will do all they can for her and let everything be according to her liking and pleasure John Cruwys August the 4th 1789

11th June 1791
On which day appeared personally Thomas Enchmarsh of Tiverton in the County of Devon Gentleman and Richard Enchmarsh of the same place Gentleman and made oath that they knew and were well acquainted with the Reverend John Cruwys late of Cruwys Morchard in the County of Devon Clerk deceased for several years before and to the time of his death which happened within six months and during such their knowledge of and acquaintance with him the said deceased they have seen him write and subscribe his Name to writings and were and are well acquainted with his manner and character of handwriting and subscription and having carefully viewed and perused the paper writing hereunto annexed purporting to be and contain the last Will and Testament and three Codicils of the said deceased the second of the said Codicils beginning thus "Also over and above the hundred pounds I have given to Joan Oliver" ending thus "As Witness my hand" and thus subscribed "John Cruwys the 23rd of February 1788" the third of the said Codicils beginning thus "I John Cruwys do make this further Codicil to my last Will and Testament" ending thus "and let every thing be according to her liking and pleasure" and thus subscribed "John Cruwys August the 4th 1789" They these deponents do jointly and severally depose that they do verily and in their consciences believe the whole Body Series and Contents of the said two Codicils beginning endinge subscribed

Acknowledgement:
I would like to thank Elizabeth Glover Howard for her invaluable advice and assistance.


1 Beavis Wood (1733-1814) was Town Clerk of Tiverton from 1765 to 1806..

Last updated: 9 May 2006 - Brian Randell

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