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Monthly Archives: June 2012
Two of the most interesting wills published in detail in A Fascination of Dines are those of Leigh Dines Halstead (also known as Joseph Dines) (1802-1872) and Richard Dines (1812-1872). They each reveal very wealthy testators who not only had a lot of property and cash to dispose of but also had very firm ideas on how that money was to be managed after they were gone.
Joseph, who we will call LDH for short, had a major problem. When he received his conditional pardon in 1841 Joseph kept the name he had been sentenced under but changed the Domville to Dines. He ensured that all his children had the name Dines as a forename but his wife was known as Anne Halstead. When he made his will he had the name Dines added whenever she was mentioned. This shows someone with a familiarity with the law. Maybe he studied the law when he was working to get his pardon, or maybe he worked for a law firm before he took to dealing with horses, either way it was obvious that he wanted to make sure that his widow could not be cheated out of her dues because there might be queries about her identity. It could be that he was afraid that the real Leigh Domville Halstead was going to reappear and make some claim on his estate but whatever the reason he tried to make the will watertight.
He showed the same attention to detail when it came to sharing out his money. Two of his sons in law had borrowed money from him and he said that, if it was not paid back, this was to be deducted together with interest charged at eight per cent, from their wives’ share of the estate. This seems a bit harsh until you realise that he wanted to treat all his children equally and in his eyes his daughters had already received part of their share.
He wanted to protect his daughters’ interests even more by stipulating that the bequests should not be subject to the debts control or disposition of any husbands that his daughters might marry or may have married. In other words the money belonged to his daughters and not to their husbands.
Richard was equally caring of his daughters but he also left money for his widowed or single sisters. Richard, however, was very controlling and although he left a lot of things to the discretion of his trustees this is immediately followedby very detailed instructions on the procedures to be followed if any of them wished to retire or became incapacitated in any way.
Richard added three codicils over the years but it is the second one which gives a very strong clue to his controlling nature. This was that all his children under the age of 21 were to be brought up and educated under the tenets of the Church of England, and that his trustees were to ensure that this was done. He added that any member of his family of full age who exerted any influence towards converting any of his children to the Roman Catholic religion or induced any of his children into attending a Roman Catholic church was to forfeit half of any property or money due to them under the terms of his will. One wonders what had happened to put Richard in this frame of mind as he had been married in an RC church.
Comments on these wills are welcome or you may have stories to share from your own research. All comments are welcome, particularly if they lift the lid on the way these fascinating Dines thought.
A lot of the leads followed in A Fascination of Dines came from the wills left by the more prepared Dines. They give an interesting insight to the way the Dines men behaved. Single and widowed sisters were usually looked after, the children of the testator were beneficiaries and the Dines men also tried to keep husbands’ sticky fingers away from the legacy by leaving the money to daughters, for their own benefit and disposal, irrespective of who they might marry. This was long before the Married Women’s Property Act of 1873.
The first will I came across was that of Joseph Dines, brother to John Dines, (c1726-1810). Joseph died in 1800 and he left £60.00 to his sister Jane. There were also bequests to his nephews and nieces and £60.00 to his housekeeper, Catherine Matthews, who was probably related to his dead wife, Ann Matthews. Catherine was also the lucky recipient of a bed, furniture, a copper and washtub, and all the wood that was in the barn at the time of his death. The residue of Joseph’s fortune, however, was left to Edward, John’s second son, who was also an executor.
John’s own will left property, of which that at Bendish was to be sold and the income from the sale to be paid to his widow in her lifetime, and the property at Stotfold was to be shared between five of his children. All his children apart from Edward were to share the rest of his money with Edward, Joseph’s beneficiary, receiving only five shillings. Perhaps this is why Edward didn’t leave anything to his nephews and nieces instead leaving everything to his wife Harriot who was also sole executrix. Harriot, however did leave numerous bequests to Edward’s family as well as to her own family. Harriot received also the ‘seller and brewhouse utensils,’ all the farming utensils, and the money from his ‘clout’ (his clothes).
Joseph (1771-1842) left his personal money, real estate and his share of the estate at Stotfold to his wife, Ann, to be held in trust. On her death his sons George and William were empowered to sell everything and divide the money in equal shares among his surviving children.
George (1780-1854) married three times and was survived by four daughters and his widow, Kitty Eldred who he had married in 1846. Kitty received £200.00, his horse, carriage and poultry, and the right to live in the marital home at Stotfold and to use the furniture, plate, linen and china. Kitty also received three freehold houses in Luton, which were let to tenants. The surviving daughters were to receive the rents from the rest of his property, which was considerable, and the proceeds of the sale of the house at Stotfold on Kitty’s death. The money was to be given to his daughters “irrespective of any hushands they may have.
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