We the undersigned being present when the late Captain Alexander Hood of His Majesty’s Ship Mars was brought down into the cockpit and are ready to testify whenever required that he was perfectly collected and conceive he intended the following expressions to be his last will and testament, viz:
That he gave all his fortune to his wife during her life and afterwards to be divided up equally between his children and few minutes after the above expressions he said he gave all his fortune to his wife during her life or continued in the name of Hood and in case of marrying was then afterwards to be divided between his children. He also requested he should be buried on shore and sent to his wife on which Mr Morgan asked him if he wished to be buried at Butleigh to which he replied yes.
Given under our hands on board His Majesty’s Ship Mars in Cawsand Bay the ninth day of June 1798. Tho Morgan, Chaplain; Robert Melville, Surgeon; James Wallis, Carpenter; Tho L. Yates, Purser.
In the Goods of Captain Alexander Hood, decd.
The twenty seventh day of August 1798.
On which day appeared personally Thomas Morgan, Clerk Chaplain; Robert Melville, Surgeon; James Wallis, Carpenter; Thomas Loyall Yates, Purser, all of His Majesty’s Ship Mars of 74 guns whereof Alexander Hood Esquire deceased was late Captain and made oath that on Saturday the twenty first day of April last whilst the said ship was in his present Majesty’s service and under the command of the said Alexander Hood and cruising off Ushant, she fell in with and engaged a French line of battle ship called Hercule, commanded by Monsieur L’Herefier, and during such engagement the said Alexander Hood received a mortal wound and upon receiving such wound he was immediately taken down to the cockpit of the said ship where he soon afterwards died, but previous to his death these deponents say that the said Alexander Hood was perfectly sensible and collected and in the presence of these deponents made a declaration of his will and intention as to the disposition of his estate and effects and where he wished to be taken and buried in words or the following effect (that is to say)
“I give all my fortune to my wife during her life and afterwards to be divided up equally between my children”
And these deponents further made oath and say that the said Alexander Hood in a few minutes after making the above declaration further said
“I give all my fortune to my wife during her life if she continues in the name of Hood and in case she marries to be divided between my children. I desire to be buried on shore and sent to my wife”. And on the said Thomas Morgan asking the said Alexander Hood if he wished to be buried at Butleigh, he said “Yes”.
And these deponents say that the said Alexander Hood made the above declaration in their presence in the cockpit of the said ship as aforesaid and during all the time he was making the same he was perfectly sensible and collected and understood what he said and was about. And these deponents say that the said declaration was so made by the said Alexander Hood for the express purpose as these deponents verily believe that they might witness the same as his last will and testament. And the said Alexander Hood in about ten minutes after the making thereof at about a half an hour after ten o’clock at night of the said twenty first day of April died on board the said ship, the Mars, in consequence of the wound he so received as aforesaid.
And the said Thomas Morgan for himself said that he reduced the above declaration of the said Alexander Hood or the substance of it into writing on the twenty second day of the said month of April.
Tho Morgan – Jams Wallis – Robert Melville – Tho L. Yates.
The same day the said Thomas Morgan, Robert Melville, James Wallis and Thomas Loyall Yates were duly sworn to the truth of this affidavit (the above interlineation beginning with the word “say” and ending with the word “deponents” being first made) before me, George Jope, Commissioner, and in the presence of William Foot, Notary Public.
On the twelfth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight, administration (with the will unxxxupative annexed) of all and singular the goods, chattels and credits of Alexander Hood Esquire, late Captain of His Majesty’s Ship the Mars, and of Butleigh Wootton in the county of Somerset, deceased, was granted to Elizabeth Hood, widow the relict of the deceased and universal legatee for life or during widowhood named in the said will, having been first sworn by commission duly to administer, no executor being named therein.
Proven on12 September 1798
Transcribed by Cliff Thornton from a copy of the will held by The National Archives, Kew, U.K.
Reference PROB. 11 / 1316
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 46, volume 36, number 4 (2013).