Author Topic: Henry Slade of Hilperton c 1707 - 1783  (Read 302 times)

Michael Caswell

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Henry Slade of Hilperton c 1707 - 1783
« on: December 20, 2019, 08:29:26 am »
Henry married Ann Cogshill in Hilperton on 28 Oct 1730 in North Bradley.  Ann was buried in Hilperton 3 Mar 1780
Henry then married Susanna Gunstone 4 May 1780 in Hilperton. Susanna's children then flipped their names
Henry Slade Gunstone became Henry Gunstone Slade and Susanna Slade Gunstone became Susanna Gunstone Slade. It must then be obvious that Susanna Gunstone was Henry Snr's mistress.

Henry Slade was a wise man who cleverly manipulated the system to protect those he loved and to get what he wanted, without causing disgrace and upset to his family.

As you can see from his will, he had several children by his legal wife Ann, but he also named two other people (Henry Slade Gunstone & Lucretia Gunstone) in his will, giving them virtually all of his estate, whilst he gave all his other children 20 pounds, except Grace, who only received 10 pounds. Obviously she must have irritated Henry somehow.

Only 2 months after the death of his wife Ann, Henry marries Susannah Gunstone, a spinster. This seems a little fast for the period and Henry was 75 years old, which also seems to be unusual, but he had his reasons.

I checked everywhere to find the baptismal records of Lucretia Gunstone and/or Lucretia Gunstone Slade, to no avail. I also did the same for Henry Gunstone Slade and Henry Slade Gunstone. There are no records for these people because they were never baptised. This was Henry's clever move, because there was then no obvious written record that they were the illegitimate children of him and Susannah Gunstone.

As soon as Henry married Susannah Gunstone, albeit in his twilight years, he legitamatized his two children. They were able to 'flip'their names around, Henry Slade Gunstone became Henry Gunstone Slade and Lucretia Gunstone became Lucretia Gunstone Slade.

This name switching caused me months of grief trying to track down all these Gunstone Slades. Henry led me a merry dance!

What was particularly confusing for me initially was the marriage certificate of Henry Gunstone Slade. He was entered as Henry Slade, but signed himself Henry Slade Gunstone. He was also named this way in his father's will . I found it incredibaly hard to think that there was another person in the area named Henry Gunstone Slade, and of course there was not. Henry was 'legitimately' able to 'flip' his name around once his father married Susannah Gunstone. When he was left the entire estate, at the expense of his half brothers and sisters, I can only imagine him feeling that there was some poetic justice in the world, perhaps compensation for all the 'father's bastard son' comments.

Our new 'respectable' Henry Gunstone Slade, man of property and money , went off in search of a wife. He found Mary Casswell, daughter of the wealthy gentleman of Trowbridge, Richard Casswell. The perfect match for a young man with every thing to look forward to.

Old Henry did a marvellous thing, he recognised his mistress by marrying her as soon as he was able, he honored his wife, staying with her 'til she died, and he legitiatized' his baseborn children. Its no wonder he was titled - gentleman!

The Gunstone Slade name carries forward for several generations, and so old Henry was honored by his decendants long after his decease,a most fitting tribute!

The will of Henry Slade of Hilperton.

By this my last will and Testament made this twenty fifth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty one I Henry Slade of Hilperton Marsh within the parish of Hilperton in the county of Wilts Gentleman do give and dispose of my worldly goods estate and effects in manner following that is to say
In the first place I give unto my sons James Stephen and William Slade the sum of twenty pounds each.

Also I give unto my daughters Eleanor, Ann, Lydia and Jane the sum of twenty pounds each and to my daughter Grace the sum of ten pounds which several legacys before mentioned I direct shall be paid them by my executrix herinafter named in twelve months after my decease but in any case any or either of my said sons or daughters shall happen to dye before his her legacy or legacys shall become due or payable then I direct and it is my will that the legacy or  legacys of him her or them dying shall go and be paid unto and equally amongst the survivors of them.

Also I give devise and bequeath unto my loving wife Susannah all my freehold and Leasehold Estate of what nature or kind soever and wheresoever situate and being and whereof I shall dye seized or possessed either in possession or Reversion for and during her natural life and from and after her decease I give and devise and bequeath the same an d every part thereof unto Henry Slade Gunstone his heirs and assigns for ever in case he shall be then living, but in case he shall happen to dyein the lifetime of my said wife I then give devise and bequeath the same from the death of my said wife unto Lucretia Gunstone  her Heirs and assigns forever.

Also I give unto Lucretia Gunstone the sum of five hundred pounds in case the said Henry Slade Gunstone her brother shall happen to survive my said wife and be possessed of my aforesaid freehold and leasehold estates which sum  I direct shall be by him paid unto her in one year next after his so coming into the possession thereof and I do hereby charge and make subject my said freeholdand leasehold estates with the payment thereof and lastly all the rest residue and remainder of my goods chattles estate and effects whereof I shall dye seized or possessed and not hereinbefore given or disposed of I give devise and bequeath the same and every part therof after payment of my debts legacys and funeral expenses unto my loving wife Susannah and to her heirs **** **** and assigns respectively.
And I do hereby constitute and appoint my said wife Susannah sole Executrix of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made, And I do hereby devise my wife do bury my at Hilperton in the same Grave where my late father is interred.

In witness whereof I have to this my last will and testament containing two sheets of paper to the first whereof I have set my hand and to the last set my hand and seal the day and year within written

Henry Slade

Signed sealed published and declared
Testator Henry Slade as and for his last will and
Testament in the presence of    John Rudman  Christopher James, S May

At Sarum on the first day of october 1783 Susannah Slade Widow relict the sole executrix above named was duly sworn before me James Evans Surrogate.

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