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Will of Francis Kervell 1767-1844


Francis Kervell was a great grandson of our oldest known ancestor, Francis Kervil. He was born and lived his early years in Bosham and was a Wheelwright. Towards the end of the 18th century a Family Bible records that Francis and his brother, Richard, set out from Bosham to walk to London. From their subsequent marriages and childrens' birth records we know that the brothers reached London. Richard eventually settled in Warfield, Berkshire and Francis at Linchmere on the Sussex/Surrey border. They became the first known family members to live away from Bosham and West Sussex.


The Will of Francis Kervell is the oldest known family will and I have obtained a probate copy from the Public Record Office in Kew London. This Will came under the jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) which was the probate court for the Southern Province, the busiest and most prestigious court of the Church of England. The PCC sat in London at a place called Doctors' Common. At the beginning of 1858 the Government assumed responsibility for wills and probate in place of the Church and the Principal Probate Registry was formed.


The most interesting points from his Will are that Francis had accumulated some wealth - he mentions a dwelling-house, shop (presumably his wheelwright's business), garden, land and "ready" monies. Also he sets down what happens to his assets - not only on his death (everything is left to his widow Elizabeth) but also after his widow's passing when his only child, daughter Mary, will inherit. Incidentally I have discovered Mary's marriage. She wed William Oliver at Linchmere on 4 June 1827.


For the text of the Will please "click" on the photograph above


Update (5th May 2004):-


From the Estate and Family (Leases) Section of the Cowdray Park Archives at West Sussex Record Office -


Counterpart grants or leases for lives dated 29 September 1834 - Messuage with the workshop and outbuildings, garden and orchard at or near Shotter Common within the manor of Shulbrede in Linchmere. Francis Kervell of Linchmere, wheelwright

Will of Francis Kervell of Linchmere Sussex.doc
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