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James Colnett


In the Name of God Amen, I James Colnett, late of His Majesty's Ship Glatton, being of sound and disposing Mind, Memory and understanding do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following, that is to say,

I desire to be buried at Mile End by the side of the late Mr Binmar.

I give and bequeath unto my Nephew James Poet of His Majesty's Ship Minerva all my wearing Apparel, nautical and warlike Instruments, Books, Charts, Linen, Household Linen and Furniture, he paying to his Sister Elizabeth Sinderby the Sum of Ten Pounds.

Also, I give and bequeath unto John Binmar of Mile End Green, Merchant and James Hobbs of Bond Street, London, Banker, all my Estates and the rest of my Effects both real and personal of every kind whatsoever to hold them, their heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns upon Trust, to sell and dispose of, collect, and get in the same, and to invest the whole of the Monies arising therefrom in their joint Names in some or one of the Public Funds or on such real Security or Securities as my said Trustees shall think proper to and for the Uses, Intents and Purposes hereinafter declared, that is to say -

I direct my funeral Expences and just Debts to be fully paid and satisfied.

I then give to my worthy Friend Mary Gay of Gosport a Mourning Ring which I beg she will accept as a remembrance or token of Gratitude for the many Kindnesses I received from her in the early part of my Life, and the Friendship I shall ever retain for her.

I also give to Mr. Jeremiah Sinderby and Elizabeth his Wife, Mr. John Binmar and (space) Binmar his Mother, James Hobbs, Mrs. Simpson Mr (space) Mr. Mackhering (?) and Miss Sarah Davis each a Mourning Ring.

Also, I give to my Sister Martha Colnett, Twenty Pounds per annum to be paid her half yearly during her natural Life, the said Annuity to be Paid to her by my said Trustees out of the Interest or Dividends of my said Trust Monies.

Also, I will and direct that my said Trustees and the Survivor of them and the Executors and Admors of such Survivor shall and do apply such part of the Interest or Dividends of the said Trust Monies as they shall think proper in the Education, Clothing and Maintenance of my natural Daughter Elizabeth Caroline Colnett, Daughter of Catherine Aulce in the habit of working for Mr Monk, Leadenhall Street, Hatter, until she shall attain the age of twenty one years or day of Marriage, provided such Marriage be with the Consent of my said Trustees, or that Survivor of them, his Executors or Administrator, and when she attains the age of twenty one years or day of Marriage with such Consent as aforesaid, I direct my said Trustees and the Survivor or them to pay and apply the Residue or the Interest or Dividend of my said Trust Monies and Premises to her my said Daughter and to her only, during her natural Life for her sole use and benefit independent of any Husband with whom she may hereafter intermarry, nor shall the same be sold or assigned over or in any manner changed or incumbered, and in case she should sell, assign over, or in any manner incumber the same, or marry without such consent as aforesaid, then I direct the same to go into the residue and be disposed of as hereafter mentioned, but should she marry with such Consent and have any Child or Children born in Wedlock, I direct that such Child or Children shall after the decease of my said daughter and Sister have and be entitled to all my said Trust Monies equally, share and share alike, when and as they shall attain the age of twenty one years with Maintenance in the mean time, but in case the said Elizabeth Caroline Colnett should die without leaving such Issue or leaving such Issue and he, she, or they should all die under the age of twenty one years without leaving Issue, Then In Trust for my said Nephew James Poet.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint the said John Binmar and James Hobbs Executors of this my last Will and Testament and Guardian to my said Daughter Elizabeth Caroline Colnett during her Minority, and my Will is that my Trustees and Executors and the Survivor of them and the said Executors and Administrators of such Survivor, shall and may at all times in the first place reimburse and indemnify themselves and himself respectively out of the said Trust Monies, and deduct and retain to themselves and himself respectively all such Costs, Charges, Damages and Expences as they or either of them shall or may at any time expend or be put unto for or by reason or means of all, any or either of the Trust hereby in them reposed and neither of them shall be answerable for any Loss that may Happen to any of the said Trust Premises unless by wilful neglect, nor one for the other nor for more Monies than shall actually come to each of their Hands respectively, but each for his own Acts, Deeds, Receipts, Neglects or Defaults only and I do hereby revoke and make void all former Wills by me made and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament as Witness my Hand and Seal this thirtieth day of August One thousand eight hundred and six     J Colnett.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Testator James Colnett as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other subscribe our Names as Witness hereof several interlineations being first made in the first Part (?) thereof - William Street of the Stork Ex: Cont.     W.Glasier Union Street, Palace Yard.

This Will was proved at London the third day of November in the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and six before the Worshipful Charles Coote, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir William Wynne, Knight, Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the Oath of John Clemens Binmar Esquire (in the Will written John Binmar) 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 said deceased, having been first sworn duly to administer. Power reserved of making the like Grant to James Palmer Hobbs Esquire 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 / 1451.)

Cliff Thornton, July 2003



  1. Colnett commanded HMS Glatton on a voyage to Australia in 1802 carrying 400 convicts as well as emigrants to New South Wales. By ensuring good ventilation, food and cleanliness there were no cases of fever or scurvy on the voyage. HMS Glatton is recorded as being out of service in 1805.
  2. Colnett made his will in August 1806 at an age of about 53. His will was proved 3 months later. This suggests that Colnett was probably ill at the time that he made his will.
  3. The will contains many references to his various friends, although the reason for their acquaintance has not yet been determined. Can any member help?
  4. Colnett does not refer to a wife in his will, although he leaves money in trust for his natural daughter Elizabeth Caroline Colnett.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 28, volume 28, number 1 (2005).

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