Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Will of Sebastian HODGE of Barnstape (1745-1814)

As I've mentioned, very few Devon wills exist from prior to about 1858. Only ONE relevant HODGE Will appears to have survived, that of Sebastian HODGE. Sebastian Hodge was baptised in Barnstaple, Devon, England to parents Sebastian HODGE and Grace nee REED. He marred Sarah BENDEL at Barnstape on 4 Dec 1774 and they had at least six children at Barnstaple:
John, bap 1775
Philip, bap 1778
Jenny, bap 1780
Sebastian, bap 1782 (my ancestor)
William, bap 1784 (died same year)
William, bap 1787

I have very few details on Sebastian's life. In 1791 his son Philip (aged abt 13) was indentured as an apprentice. The record states that Philip Hodge was "son of Sebastian Hodge, shipwright". A shipwright is a shipbuilder, and can broadly be applied to a range of occupations from design to carpentry. In 1800, Sebastian was listed as the keeper on an inn named the 'Shipwright’s Arms', an "ancient inn, on the Square" in Barnstaple.

Sebastian was buried at St Peter's, Barnstaple on 30 Oct 1814 (so he died a day or so prior to this). No headstone has been found, though apparently by the 1840's the church burial ground was in a state of disrepair.

Sebastian's will is dated 1810, and appears to be proven in 1815. Unfortunately it gives no clues as to which children were alive at that point in time, nor does it refer directly to any extended relations, or his belongings.

Transcript - Page1
For the Stamp Office
Copy of the Will of Sebastian Hodge
late of Barnstaple
Innholder - 29 June 1810
Executrix Sarrah Hodge of Barnstaple aforesaid Widow
Proved in the Archdeacon's Court of Barnstaple 18 March 1815

Transcript - Page 2
This is the last Will and Testament of one Sebastian Hodge of Barnstaple in the County of Devon Innholder. First I give and devise unto my dear wife Sarah all my freehold property whatsoever during the term of her natural life Also I give and bequeath to my said Wife Sarah the use of all my personal property during her life and after the death of my wife I give devise and bequeath all my freehold and personal property unto such of my children as shall be living at the time of my decease - their heirs executors and administrators equally between them share and share alike as tenants in common and not as joint tenants and do hereby appoint my said wife Executrix of this my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this twenty ninth day of June, one thousand eight hundred and ten.
The mark of
S Hodge (signed)
Sebastian Hodge
Signed sealed published and declared by the said Sebastian Hodge the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of who have subscribed our names as Witnesses hereto
Tho Tanner (signed)
John Himpland? (signed)
John Mallet (signed)
This Sheet of Paper contains a true Copy of the last Will and Testament of Sebastian Hodge late of Barnstaple, Devon Innholder deceased the same having been carefully comparied with the original this third day of April one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.

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