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Peter Kingsman of Lewisham. Chancery case. 1753

Chancery Proceedings: Kingsman vs. Kingsman, 29 Oct 1753 

Orator: Peter Kingsman of Lewisham, Gentleman

Jasper Kingsman, late father of Peter, of Horndon being possessed of considerable wealth of £20,000 and having various lands in Essex around "the Hill" to the yearly value of £2,000. 

The said Jasper Kingsman being displeased with the Orator (Peter) for "having been drawn to marry without the consent of his said father the said Jasper Kingsman by the artful insinuation and contrivances of Josiah Kingsman the elder, then of Burnham, Essex, since deceased". 

Jasper was then prevailed on to make his will in favour of Josiah and his family. 

The original will dated 1 Jan 1700 left some small bequests "one being a bond of £100 to Richard Bacon, gentleman to act as overseer " but the major part of his estate was to go to Josiah "notwithstanding the orator being his only son and heir". 

The estate was left in order to Josiah the elder, or when he died; to his son Josiah the younger and then to any male issue of Josiah the younger, or when he died; to Josiah’s son Benjamin and then to any of Benjamin’s male issue, or when he died; to Josiah’s son Jasper and then to any of Jasper’s male issue. 

Joisah the elder was executor, and Richard Bacon overseer.

If Josiah, or any of his sons Josiah, Benjamin or Jasper, should seek to circumvent the wishes of the will (one of which was to hold the estate whole - not sell it off in pieces) then everything would go instead to "the heirs male of his name in Northamptonshire or thereabouts".  [Note 1]

This will was then given to Josiah for safekeeping.

"And afterwards became sensible of the hardships he had put the Orator [Peter] to and relenting of the same declared several times and to diverse persons his intention of revoking the same and making a new will in your Orators favour"

He is alleged to have asked Josiah to return the old will, but before he did and before he had made a new one "on or about the 6th September 1704 the Testator (being between 84 and 85 years old) was overtaken with sickness". Jasper died 15th September 1704.

After the 1700 will was made, Jasper had directed Josiah to pay Peter £40 per quarter or £160 per year for his support and maintenance.

Peter took his case to Court immediately after his father’s death and was given a twelve month stay while they deliberated.

The final decision of that Court was that Peter could not inherit the entire estate as per his claim of reconciliation but that he was entitled: "some very small part of the estate of the Testator due to an Intail as Grandson and heir of Benjamin Kingsman his grandfather" in law an intail can only be inherited in the direct male line another small part having been purchased after the date of the will a small copyhold estate previously surrendered to the Orator by the Testator the £40 quarterly payment for life 

This order, and one requiring Peter to relinquish everything else, was made by Sir John Franklyn on 28th May 1707.

Between 1707 and 1753 (date of this current case): Josiah the elder had died (no date given); Josiah the younger had died (no date given) a bachelor and with no issue; Benjamin had died during the lifetime of his brother Josiah, a bachelor without issue. Jasper junior had then inherited all the estates, but (according to Peter) recognises Peter’s claim on the estates, but does have a son (Jasper) who is upwards of 30 years of age at the time of the trial.

BUT: Jasper the elder has now run up significant debts and is seeking to chop up the estate and sell it off a piece at a time contrary to the original restrictions of the will. Jasper the younger is not married and shows no sign of any impending issue.

Richard Bacon, the original overseer, does not have any issue to continue with his duties under the will, but is legally represented. "heirs male of Northamptonshire" is contested not to be an actual person and therefore cannot really inherit. Peter seeks an injunction to stop Jasper senior selling pieces of the estate. Presumably, this is in the hope that Jasper junior dies without issue in which case Peter becomes the natural heir, even though his father Jasper put every impediment he could think of in the way of his estate going to his son.

The decision of the Court is not included, but the estate remained in the hands of Jasper.


1. Jasper was aware of the Kinsman family in Northamptonshire and presumably had reason to suppose himself related to it in some way

Last updated 2 September 2014