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Thomas Edgar, of Lydd - Master in Discovery


In the name of God, amen

I, Joseph Hamar, late of Hampstead in the County of Middlesex, but now of Manchester in the County Palatine of Lancaster, Esquire, being of sound mind and understanding and mindful of my mortality do this tenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy three make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following:

First a desire to be decently and privately buried in the church or church yard belonging to the parish in which I die and that no other inscription shall be made on the grave stone placed over me than such as denote my name, my title of Esquire, the day of my birth, the day of my death, and my age at my decease.

I order that all my just debts(?) the probate of this my will and the expenses of my funeral be paid out of the first moneys that shall be received by my executors.

I give and bequeath unto my wife, Ann(e), all the furniture in the dining room and her own bed chamber in my house at Hampstead aforesaid except as is hereinafter reserved and a large mahogany chest, two plain silver candlesticks, two plain silver salvers, half of my own table linen not including the late Mrs Limeburner’s which she bequeathed to my daughter Margaret Elizabeth. I also bequeath to my said wife Ann(e) all my own china except as is hereinafter reserved and except that which was bequeathed by the late Mrs Limeburner to my said daughter.

I also bequeath unto my said wife, Ann(e), half of my body linen and the sum of fifty pounds in case my death shall happen two months before the dividends of the four thousand pounds, three per cent consolidated, settled upon her by **** and her late husband William Berry, Esquire, shall become due and payable.

I bequeath unto my daughter Margaret Elizabeth Hamar all the furniture in the two parlours including the harpsichord and also in her own bed chamber in my house at Hampstead aforesaid and also in the closet adjoining the said chamber and I further will and bequeath all the rest and remainder of my household goods and furniture except as before bequeathed and to be hereafter reserved equally to be divided betwixt my said wife and daughter share and share alike.

I bequeath to my said daughter half of my body linen, my table service and red and white china, the ornamental china over the chimney piece in my dining room at Hampstead above mentioned.

I also bequeath to my said daughter my large silver cup and cover presented to me by the merchants in Carolina and all my other plate except as before mentioned nor including the plate bequeathed to my said daughter Margaret Elizabeth Hamar by her grandmother the aforesaid Mrs Limeburner, deceased.

I also bequeath to my said daughter all my pictures, prints, drawings, books, pamphlets and manuscripts in any wise to me appertaining or belonging. I also bequeath to my said daughter Margaret Elizabeth Hamar a certain bond for one hundred and forty eight pounds due to me for upwards of twenty eight years from Samuel Gambier, Esquire, of Providence in the Bahamas Islands together with the rest, residue and remainder of all my efforts and properties whatsoever after the debts(?), expenses and legacies in and by this my last will ~~~~~~~~~~ left and bequeathed shall be discharged and paid.

I bequeath to my son William Berry, Esquire, my best sword, gold headed cane, a pair of pistols and a fowling piece and any other arms he may choose to accept.

I bequeath to my servant, James Bromfield, the sum of twenty pounds over and above his wages and also all my wearing apparel except my linen abovementioned. I bequeath to both of my maid servants the sum of two pounds above their wages.

And I do hereby constitute and appoint Thomas Rumsey, Esquire, of the Excise Office in London and Thomas Butterworth Bayley, Esquire, of Hope in the County Palatine of Lancaster to be executors of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have set my own hand to the first two sheets hereof and my hand and seal to the last sheet hereof, the day and year first above written Joseph Hamar + his mark.

Signed, declared, sealed and published by the within named Joseph Hamar, Esquire, at Manchester in the County Palatine of Lancaster as his last will and testament in the presence of us the day and year above written. Thomas Edge, John Saxton, Thomas B. Bayley.

The will was proved on the twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy four before the Worshipful George Harris, Doctor of Laws and surrogate of the Right Worshipful Sir George Hay, Knight, Doctor of Laws, Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, lawfully constituted by the oath of Thomas Rumsey, Esquire, one of the executors named in the said will to whom administration of all and singular, the goods, chattels and credits of the deceased was granted, he having been first sworn only to administer; power reserved of making the like grant to Thomas Butterworth Bayley, Esquire, the other executor named in the said will, when he shall apply for the said.


Transcribed by John Robson


  1. Elizabeth Limeburner (died 4 September, 1769) was the widow of Captain Thomas Limeburner (1696-1750), a Royal Navy captain. Limeburner had command of the Seahorse in American waters during the War of Austrian Succession (1739-1748) so was a colleague of Joseph Hamar. Their daughter, Elizabeth, married Hamar at St. Dunstan’s in East London on 5 July 1753. The Limeburners are buried at Lee in Kent.
  2. Samuel Gambier was a member of a family of Huguenot descent who were prominent in naval affairs in the second half of the eighteenth century. Samuel was the Admiralty Court Judge in the Bahamas. He died in 1789. A nephew, James Gambier, was in the Royal Navy and captained the Flamborough in American waters after Hamar.
  3. Thomas Rumsey was also a resident of Hampstead so was probably a neighbour and friend. He died in 1798.
  4. Thomas Butterworth Bayley (1744-1802) lived at Hope Hall in Salford, just west of Manchester. He was a lawyer who fought for penal reform. He has a biography in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 19, volume 29, number 3 (2006).     

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