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The last Will and Testament of
John Wheston
25th May 1743

Beginning of Will of John WhestonForasmuch as it is appointed for all men once to die, I John Wheston of Desborough in the County of Northampton, Gentleman, being in health in Body and of sound mind, memory and understanding, but considering the uncertainty of man's life and desirous to dispose of that Worldly Substance wherewith it hath pleased Almighty God to bless me whilst I enjoy a perfect mind and understanding — rendering me capable so to do, Do therefore make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, that is to say

In the first place I resign my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God my Creator and Redeemer

And as for my Body I commit to the Dust out of which it was formed expecting a happy Resurrection of the same through the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ my Savour

And as for my Worldly Estate both Real and Personal I give, devise and dispose of the same in manner following to wit

First my Will is and I give and devise unto Ann Dexter, Spinster, eldest Daughter of Robert Dexter of Desborough aforesaid, Gentleman, and her Heirs all and singular my Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments and Real Estate whatsoever and also I give and devise unto the said Ann Dexter and her Heirs the Reversion in [???] of all my Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments expectant upon the death of my Mother in law, Mary Wheston, and also all my Estate, Rights, Title, Interest, Property, claim and demand whatsoever whereby or wherein I have any Estate either in Possession, Reversion, or Remainder To have and to hold the same unto the said Ann Dexter her Heirs and Assigns for ever

And also I give and bequeath unto my Brother in law one Guinea to buy him a Ring

And also I give and bequeath to the said Ann Dexter, she paying all my just Debts and Funeral Expences, All my moveables and Personal Estate and Effects of what nature or kind soever

And lastly I do appoint the said Ann Dexter full and sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament

And in Testimony whereof that this is my last Will and Testament I, the said John Wheston, have set my Hand and Seal this twenty fifth Day of May one thousand seven hundred and forty three — John Wheston — Signed, Sealed, Published and Declared by the first above named John Wheston as and for his last Will and Testament and then subscribed by us a Witness thereto in his presence — William Dawkins Parratt or Price — John Vardon


On the fourth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight Admon, with the Will annexed, of all and singular the Goods, Chattels and Credits of John Wheston, late of Desborough in the County of Northampton, deceased, was granted to Jane Dexter, Spinster, the Sister and one of the Executors of the Will of Ann Dexter, Spinster, deceased, whilst living the sole Executrix and Residuary Legatee named in the said Will having been first sworn Duly to administer, The said Ann Dexter survived the said Testator but died without having taken upon her the Execution of the said Will.



Mary Wheston is described as John's mother-in-law but having the name surname as John it is more likely that she was his step-mother (it was a common way of referring to a step-mother). As all virtually all John's estate is left to Ann Dexter, a spinster, it may be that Mary Wheston was the mother of Ann and Jane by an earlier marriage. The legacy of one guinea, to buy a ring, to John's unnamed brother-in-law (possibly step-brother?) looks rather like a slight!

The original will has no punctuation or separate paragraphs. As this makes it hard to read I have inserted some punctuation and broken the text into separate clauses. The spelling follows that of the original.

"[?]" following a word means that the word on the original document is unclear and the transcription may be incorrect.

" [???] " means that a whole word was illegible and could not be guessed at.

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