Location: Westfield, Sussex, England
In the name of God Amen I John Catt of the parish of Westfield in the county of Sussex being sick and weak in body but of a good sound and perfect mind and memory thanks be to God for the same do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament revoking all former wills and testaments by me made do this fourteenth day of February in the thirteenth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the second by the grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland king defender of the faith and so forth and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred thirty and nine (that is to say) first I give my soul unto the hands of Almighty God and my body to be decently buried by my executors hereafter named in hopes of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ my beloved Lord and saviour and as for my personal estate it hath pleased God to bestow upon me I give and dispose as followeth in the first place I give and bequeath unto my loving son Stephen Catt the sum of twenty pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be paid him within twelve months next after my decease by my executrix and executor herein after named and also I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Mary Catt three silver spoons and our silver cup and two or three pair of sheets and also I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Mary Catt all that messuage house and lands and all thereinto belonging situate lying and being on Westfield Down in the parish of Westfield aforesaid during her natural life or day of marriage and to clear of the Lords rents and to leave all the buildings houses in good repair and after my wife's decease or day of marriage I give unto my loving son John Catt all that messuage house and lands thereunto belonging to him and his heirs forever and I give unto my loving son John one black four yearling colt with a star in the forehead and further I bind my executrix and my executor hereafter mentioned to find my loving John Catt in all his wearing apparel both linen and woollen and to bring him up till he attain the age of one and twenty years of age at their costs and charges and not to charge him anything for his board nor his schooling all the rest and residue of my goods household goods stock husbandry farkling bills bonds and all my personal estate whatsoever I give unto my loving wife Mary Catt and my loving son Samuel Catt whom I make whole and sole executrix and executor of this my last will and testament to be equally divided between them share and share alike and I do bind my loving wife to pay my son Solomon Catt to pay my son Stephen Catt the sum of ten pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be paid him at her death or day of marriage and I do bind my executor and executrix to pay my funeral expenses and all my debts in witness whereof I the said John Catt hereto this my last will and testament put my hand and seal this day and year first above written but if my loving wife Mary Catt should die before my loved son John Catt comes of age then I desire my Brother John Cleve to let my house and land upon Westfield Down for my loving son John Catt and to receive the rents and pay the Lord rent and to keep the buildings in good repair and to pay John Catt the residue when he comes of age witnesses George Cotton, the mark of John Landust, the mark of Sarah Cotton.
The will of John Catt late of Westfield within the Archdeaconry of Lewes deceased was proved the seventh of February in the year of our Lord one thousand (seven) hundred and forty before Mr. Edward Lund Clerk-Surrogate and so forth upon the oaths of Mary and Solomon Catt – joint executors in the said will named to whom was committed administration of the goods and so forth being first sworn well and faithfully to administer the same.
Dates Date of will 17 February 1739 Grant of probate 7 February 1740 The East Sussex Record Office records the date of the will as 17 Feb 1740 and grant of probate as 7 Feb 1741, obviously applying the conversion from Old Style to New Style dates.
People mentioned in the will and administration
- John Catt of Westfield
- Mary Catt, wife and executrix
- Stephen Catt, son
- John Catt, son aged less than 21 in 1739
- Samuel Catt, son and executor as appointed in will
- Solomon Catt, son and administrator as named in grant of probate
- John Cleve, referred to as Brother John Cleve
- George Cotton, witness
- John Landust, witness
- Sarah Cotton, witness
- Edward Lund, clerk - surrogate
No mention of his daughters, Elizabeth and Mary who we know had already died.
No mention of alleged son, Thomas Catt, who we now believe was a son of William and Mary Catt of Westfield.
Westfield Down is a site on the north eastern outskirts of the village of Westfield.
John Catt, aged about 11, has many provision made for him, including being looked after till he is 21 and then inheriting his father's property (messuage, house and lands) after his mother dies or marries.
Samuel Catt, aged 15, was named in the will as an executor, with his mother Mary, but Solomon is named in the grant of probate. This appears to be an error, possibly by the person writing the will. Why would John appoint his 15 year old son an executor when he has adult son's available. Suspect he intended to appoint Solomon as executor and he actually takes on the job of administrator in the grant of probate. Samuel's existence is very doubtful.
Stephen Catt, the eldest, aged 25, gets 20 pounds within 12 months and 10 pounds when his mother dies or marries.
Solomon Catt, aged 24, appears to get 10 pounds when his mother dies or marries but it is not clear if this has to be paid to Stephen or were there two separate payments of 10 pounds each? Solomon is named in the grant of probate as an administrator, taking over from his brother Samuel who was named in the will.
Brother John Cleve? Is he a half brother (surname Cleve, if correctly transcribed, is unknown to me) or a brother of the parish. Suspect the latter unless different evidence comes forth.
- ↑ John Catt of Westfield; registered will with grant of probate; Probate Records 1518-1858, East Sussex Record Office PBT/1/1/56/161A  Accessed 14 Jan 2019