Moonrakers Towns & Villages

General Category => Wiltshire Family Surnames => CaSSwell => Topic started by: Michael Caswell on December 20, 2019, 07:13:22 pm

Title: Follow the money 2
Post by: Michael Caswell on December 20, 2019, 07:13:22 pm

Our first continuous connection to money is with Robert Casswell  1568-1626 of Yatesbury. He was married to Marie Chilfester.
In his will, he leaves five pounds to the poor, (a sure sign that he wasn’t poor) and five pounds each to his five children. This may not seem like much money today, but at the time a gentleman could almost live for a year or on this. He also left a wheat field to his son Richard, so he was farming freehold, a yeoman. John (A captain, maybe of a ship traveling to the New World) was left a horse.

John’s son Richard  born abt 1660 was married to Mary Flower, another yeoman family in the area. His son Richard born 1683 in Cherhill - died 1730 Rowde, marries Hester Pope, and this is where the split off to the wealthy Trowbridge branch occurs.
Richard Caswell  1735-1809 is a wealthy merchant in the Town. He and his line amass several farms and properties around the town and in Westbury.
James Casswell and Susanna Gunstone Slade (Of the wealthy Slade family from Hilperton)  Have several children, Susannah Gunstone Caswell, (Utica NY), Albert (Brockport Canada) Edwin (Woodstock Canada) and Joshua Gibbs Caswell (Gloucester).

John (The Captain) has another son, John who marries  Elizabeth Flower of Cherhill, and they have several children. One, Edmund inherits an ‘estate’ in Bishops Cannings, but there is no evidence of any further activity from Edmund other than his marriage, and the will states the property will pass to Richard, which we can only assume  this occurs,  Some wealth seems to transfer to Richard of Rowde.

Another son of John The Captain is Thomas who marries Elizabeth.  He leaves a freehold estate  and ‘purtanences’ in Tytherton Kellaways to his wife, with the proviso everything  passes to - John Caswell Timothy Caswell Thomas Caswell and James Caswell ‘share and share alike’. We can only assume this occurs. Timothy marries Jane Wakefield and produces a prolific line of blacksmiths and bakers around Avebury and the Ogbournes, but there never is a large transfer of property or cash thereafter.

John The Captain’s other son Henry produces a son William, who marries Catherine Burchell

William is extremely wealthy owning numerous properties, as can be seen by the dispute  forthcoming on his demise.  THE DISPUTE OF WILLIAM CASSWELL'S ESTATE.

 William and Catherine have Robert Casswell who was born in June 1704 in Bremhill,

Robert was one of five siblings. He married Judith Hughes in April 1731 At Salisbury. There was never any account of any children so we can assume Judith was infertile for some reason.
Robert, being a wealthy man, a yeoman with real estate, needed an heir.  He waited ten years for a child, but none was forthcoming.

Elizabeth Spackman, from good local stock, her father also a yeoman with copyhold estates in Cherhill, had an obviously illegitimate son. Hidden from view, in the burial register for Cherhill 1741, we find the baptism of William Spackman, son of Elizabeth, born on May the 13th.

The previous record to William was the burial of a Robert Bradfield, buried on July 13th 1740. It looks like this was a deliberate attempt to hide the record and the registrar found this neat little space to carry out his official duty, without bringing this obviously illegitimate birth to everyone’s attention. I can imagine the baptism being a private affair, with just the parent’s present.
How do we know Robert Casswell was the father? We simply need to read his will.

In the name of God Amen I Robert Caswell of Yatesbury in the County of Wilts yeoman being weak in Body but of sound Mind Memory and Understanding
(thanks be unto God) Do make this my last will-and Testament in manner following That is to say First my Will is that my just debts and Funeral Expenses shall be paid by my Executors in Trust heron after named,

item 1 give unto my Brother in Law William Vivaish one Shilling,
item unto my Sister Christian Pope One Shilling,
item I give to my Sister Mary Pottow One Shilling
item I Give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Spackman Spinster Daughter of William Spackman of Cherhill in the said County One Hundred Pounds to be paid her in one year after my Decease, also one Feather Bead with all the Bedding whereunto belonging

item I Give unto my Loving Wife Judith Caswell one half part or Moiety of all my Household Goods for and during her natural life. and after her decease I give the said half part or Moiety of my Household Goods to William Spackman Son of the Said Elizabeth Spackman  above mentioned  Also I Give unto my said Wife Judith one annuity of Twenty Pounds a year to be paid her Quarterly (to begin and commence immediately after my Decease) by my Executors in Trust heron after named For the Term of Four Years if She should so long happen to live and from and after the term of the Said four years, my will is that in lieu therof She shall have  and accept of the one half part or Moiety of the lnterest of my whole Estate being placed at interest after the payment of my Debts Legacy's and Expenses that may accrue in the execution of this my last will by Executors in Trust hereinafter named

item I give unto the said William Spackman son of the said Elizabeth Spackman one Annuity of Twenty pounds a year to be paid out Quarterly (to begin and Commence immediately after my decease) by my executors in Trust heron after named for the term of Four Years, For the maintenance and Education of the said William Spackman, and from and after the said Term of four years My Will is that in lieu thereof my Executors shall take the other half part or moiety of the interest of my whole Estate being placed out at interest as above said and apply the same for the use and Benefitt of the said William Spackman at their discretion, and my will and meaning further is that after my Wifes Decease the whole of my Estate both Real and personal shall be and remain in the Hands of my said Executors in Trust or the Survivor or Survivors of them until the said William Spackman shall arrive to the age of one and twenty years And then my will is that my said executors in trust shall Deliver up (after deducting their necessary charges) all my Estate and Securities to the said William Spackman for his own proper use But if the said William Spackman should marry and Die & leave a child or Children before he shall attain to the age of one and twenty years my Will is that my Executors or the survivor of them shall equally divide my said whole Estate amongst such Children and lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my Friends Thomas Neate of Calne, Thomas Naider of Monckton, Thomas Brown of Nevertown and Stephen Neate of Upham all in the said County of Wilts my whole and whole and sole Executors in trust of this my last Will and Testament ( and further I give and bequeath unto each of them my said Executors in Trust of the sum of Five Pounds for Executing the Trust herein by me reposed in them and further my Will is that neither of my executors shall be answerable for each other nor accountable for any monies that shall be lost by being placed out at interest) 

And I do hereby revoke Disannul and make void all Former Wills and do declare this to be my last Will and Testament. in Witness whereof I have herunto set my hand and Seal the Fifteenth Day of June in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty One

Signed Sealed published and Declared by the said Robert Caswell to be his last Will & Testament signed Henry Palmer Isaac Paradise

The first part of the will holds fairly standard way of ensuring there is no contest to the will by gifting a small amount of money to certain relatives, hence the shilling offered to his brother in law, who married his sister Susanna, and sisters Christian and Mary.

Next, he does the right thing and provides a comfortable living for his wife Judith. Then, the feathers fly - literally!

Item I Give and bequeath unto Elizabeth Spackman Spinster Daughter of William Spackman of Cherhill in the said County One Hundred Pounds to be paid her in one year after my Decease, also one Feather Bead with all the Bedding whereunto belonging.

The feather bed? He leaves his mistress his feather bed? Surely, this cannot be where Elizabeth Spackman was bedded? Methinks ’tis so!

Obviously, there is a lot of family hate here, and so we wonder why. Robert was not about to let his considerable wealth get into the hands of his three sisters. He sired a son, and made very sure the boy got everything, while also looking after his wife. He obviously loved her, even though she wasn’t bearing his children.

We don’t have to look far into the past to see where Robert’s wealth came from, his father William of Cherhill, was a church warden and a yeoman.

Catherine (Burchell), Robert’s mother, died. 23 Feb 1704 perhaps in the birth of Robert,  because Robert was christened  25 Jun 1704.

The money came from William’s father, and it looks like his siblings contested the will, the inventory, and even old William’s new wife, Priscilla.

I have been unable to find the marriage of William senior to Priscilla, but she is called his widow in the Estate dispute (See link) and she raised his young family.  It is Susanna, Christian and Mary, who are involved in this incredible battle, and that is no doubt why they only got a shilling each from Robert, and his illegitimate son William Spackman received everything.

The proof that William Spackman, illegitimate son of Elizabeth Spackman is also supported by the inscription on the impressive tomb close to the entrance of the Yatesbury church.
The monumental inscriptions for this tomb of William states,
"Wm. Casswell died 25 9 1765 aged 24” That would have meant he was born in 1741, the same year Elizabeth Spackman gave birth to her William. I had another William incorrectly entered in my files, one born in 1735 to different parents. That has now been corrected with this new evidence of the recent discovery concealed in the burial records.

Let's now look at Williams very short life. He died when he was 24 years old. Here is a young man, a millionaire by todays standards, incredible wealth, and he’s cut short?  Was it an accident? Fell off a horse, got a virus?

Obviously there was a lot of animosity going on with his half siblings. They were fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on his estate. Deception, fraud, skullduggery? All this seemed to be going on according the The Dispute filed
15 May 1722.  To the Right Honourable Thomas Lord Parker Earl of
Macclesfield Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain

Did this war escalate? Could William (Spackman) Casswell have met his untimely end by foul play? Murder even?