"In the name of God Amen, I Charles Clerke, Captain of his Majesties Sloop Discovery, do make this my last will and testament. I give to my honoured father Joseph Clerke of Weathersfield in Essex, Esquire, ten Guineas and my Gold Watch, to my dear Brother Sir John Clerke, Captain in his Majesties Navy ten Guineas, to my Brother Joseph Clerke of Ipswich, Attorney at Law, one Guinea, and to my good friend Sir Robert Ainslie, at present his Majesties Ambassador at Constantinople, one hundred pounds, to my good friend Doctor Maty of the British Museum fifty pounds, to my good friend Gawler Rickman Attorney at Law in Tooks Court, Castle Yard, Holborn, twenty pounds, and the rest and residue of my Effects whatsoever or wheresoever, whether real or personal that at this time or at any time heresoafter shall belong to me I do hereby give and bequeath the same to my loving Sister Sarah Clerke of Weathersfield aforesaid, and I do hereby appoint Edward Thompson of Kew, Captain in his Majesty's Navy and James Sykes of Crutched Friars, London, Merchant, my Executors, to each of whom I bequeath a Legacy of thirty pounds.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 29 day of July 1776, Charles Clerke. Sealed and Delivered by the Testator Captn. Charles Clerke as his Art and Deed and published as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us John Cantiloe - Robt. Berney.
This Will was proved at London before the Worshipful Andrew Colter Durant, Doctor of Laws, Surrogate of the High and Worshipful Peter Calvert, also Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, lawfully constituted on the twenty sixth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty by the oath of James Sykes one of the executors named in the said will to whom Administration was granted of all and singular the Goods, Chattels and Credits of the Deceased having been first sworn duly to administer power reserved of making the life grant to Edward Thompson Esquire, the other Executor named in the said will, when he shall apply for the same."
(Transcribed from the copy at the Family Records Centre, London. Microfilm Reference Prob 11-1067-352.)
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 13, volume 26, number 1 (2003).
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