Catalogue description Settlements on the marriages of Sarah Joanna Murray with Charles Ashburnham in 1832 and Godfrey Webster in 1851 with other papers

This record is held by East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO)

Details of AMS6066
Reference: AMS6066
Title: Settlements on the marriages of Sarah Joanna Murray with Charles Ashburnham in 1832 and Godfrey Webster in 1851 with other papers

By a settlement of 4 Feb 1832, Sarah Joanna's share of her grandfather's estate, and her entitlement under the settlement of her parents, was conveyed to Bertram Ashburnham Earl of Ashburnham, Robert Vyner of Gortley, Lincs, esq, Robert Cooper Lee Bevan of Lombard Street London esq and Duncan Davidson 'Alves of Lime Street Square London esq, in trust for her marriage with Charles Ashburnham, a younger son of George Ashburnham, late earl of Ashburnham; he vested £6000 of the £9000 legacy which he had received from his father, in the same settlement trustees. By an endorsement of 11 Mar 1842 the income produced by that sum was assigned to Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner kt of Argyle Street Mx, a general in the army, for £2000, to maintain a policy of insurance on the life of Charles Ashburnham and to pay interest at 5% (1)


By a further settlement on the marriage, the income on £21,000 and an annuity of £1000 was charged on William Murray's Jamaica estate (Latium Plantation 646a, Garland Grove 68a and Purling Stream, all in the parish of St James), which had been settled on Mary Murray's marriage on 29 Aug 1821. The deeds contain detailed schedules naming the slaves and stating their colour, age, parentage and whether African or Creole, all taken from returns made in 1817, 1820, 1823, 1826 and 1829. An affidavit under the 1732 Act for recovery of debts in the American Plantations (5 Geo 2 c7) was made before the Lord mayor of London by Isaac Clementson Sanderson, clerk to LeBlanc, Oliver and Cook of New Bridge Street, on 27 Feb 1832 (2)


Charles Ashburnham married Sarah Joanna Murray on 6 Feb 1832 but there was no issue of the marriage. He died on 22 Dec 1848 and his will of 28 May 1847, leaving his entire residuary estate to his wife absolutely, was proved in PCC on 4 July 1849; the probate describes him as 'late of Eaton Place Mx and of the city of Constantinople' (3). By virtue of his death, his widow became entitled to the moiety, in reversion after the death of her mother Elizabeth Murray, of the entire estate settled in 1832 as well as to a sum of £3491 6s 8d compensation money for the value of slaves, awarded by order of 4 Nov 1835


On 27 Sep 1849 Sarah Joanna mortgaged her reversionary interest to the Eagle Insurance Company for £1500, increased to £2000 by endorsement on 30 July 1850 (4)


A settlement in contemplation of Sarah Joanna's marriage with Godfrey Webster of Battle Abbey bt was executed on 9 July 1851. Her fortune, of which £33,473 8s 4d stood to the credit of Timperon v Virgin and which included her leasehold house at 54 Eaton Place, was conveyed to Robert Cooper Lee Bevan, George Hall Lawrence of Liverpool esq, James Alfred Hallett and Hartwell John Maude of Great George Street Westminster esqs in trust. Elizabeth Murray of Brunswick Terrace Brighton widow, Sarah Joanna's mother, covenanted to pay annuities of £2600 to the trustees for her daughter's benefit, £800 of which she had been advancing for several years to provide her with an income (5,6)


By a deed of the same date, Sir Godfrey charged his Sussex estates with a jointure rent charge of £500 in favour of his wife, and appointed Lawrence & Bevan trustees. The estates were those settled on the marriage of his father Sir Godfrey Webster with Charlotte daughter of Robert Adamson of Hill Street, Berkeley Square on 19 & 20 Aug 1814. On 15 July 1885 the deed was referred to in the affidavit of Augustus Frederick George Douglas Webster bt (7)


By a deed of 23 Aug 1843, Sir Godfrey Webster had raised £2000 by a mortgage of parts of his estate in Battle, Catsfield, Sedlescombe, Westfield, Whatlington, Bexhill, Hooe and Ewhurst (detailed schedule naming tenants and acreages), and an insurance policy on his own life, to William Offley of Tunbridge Wells esq; half the loan went to pay off a previous mortgagee. Thomas Gamlen of Furnivals Inn Mx gent was appointed receiver of the whole estate, with authority to apply the profits to discharge the several liabilities to which the estate was subject, listed in a schedule, totalling £48,700 (8,9)


After Sir Godfrey's marriage with Sarah Joanna Ashburnham, her mother began to pay off many of his debts, using Simon Adams Beck of Ironmongers Hall London esq as agent. On 6 Dec 1852 he paid £1017 8s 7d to Edward Digby, earl Digby and John Poulett, earl Poulett to discharge the interest on a mortgage of 28 Jan 1825; on 23 Nov 1852 he paid £2000 to the executors of William Offley and a reconveyance was endorsed on the mortgage deed of 1843 (8); and at several dates, by private sale and public auction, he purchased large amounts of furniture at Battle Abbey from Sir Godfrey's mother Lady Charlotte Webster for £827 2s. By a deed of 9 Feb 1853, which lists the furniture in detail, room by room, Beck declared that he held the furniture to the use of, and had discharged the mortgages for the sole benefit of Lady Sarah Joanna Webster (10)


Sir Godfrey died 4 May 1853 and on 21 Oct Lady Webster obtained a 21-year lease of Court Lodge and New House Mountfield, with 2½a land, 'all occupied by Rothwell Pounsett esq, Church Cottage and 7a occupied by George Cooper, 12a land part of Mountfield glebe, The Garden Meadow and The Park (115a) occupied by Tilden Smith and shooting rights over the manor of Mountfield (2100a in Mountfield and Battle) leased with Court Lodge and the keeper's cottage, from Samuel John Luke Nicoll of Mountfield esq; the lease, which was to run from 25 Mar 1854 at £390 a year, was subject to the right of Tilden Smith to use the roads in the Park, and to a penalty of £20 per acre for ploughing land. The landlord reserved the right to enter and destroy hares and rabbits if Lady Webster failed to perform her own covenant to do so. Lady Webster covenanted to put plans for substantial repairs to Court Lodge into immediate effect, and to build a lodge at the Johns Cross entrance to the park, all according to the specifications already prepared by George Taylor Cloutt of Hawkhurst surveyor. The lease contains separate schedule of fixtures at New House and Church Cottage. By an endorsement of 3 Dec 1853, which does not seem to have been executed, Lady Webster covenanted to rebuild the long room projecting from the east end of court Lodge, which had been found so dilapidated in the course of repairs as to require demolition; Nicoll allowed £150 for the work (11)

Date: 1832-1853
Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Immediate source of acquisition:

Documents deposited by Darley, Cumberland & Co, solicitors, per BRA 1374, 4 August 1964 (A 627)

Administrative / biographical background:

Sarah Joanna Murray was the younger daughter of William Murray of Latium Plantation in Jamaica, late of Bryanstone Square and in 1832 of Albemarie Street Mx esq and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Virgin of Weymouth Street esq; the settlement on their marriage had been executed on 30 July 1800


By his will of 10 May 1809, Sarah Joanna's grandfather Samuel Virgin bequeathed the Hope Plantation in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, with its negroes and slaves, to James Chisholme of Portland Place esq, Robert Hibbert the younger of Mincing Lane London esq, Joseph Timperon of Upper Harley Street and John West of Lower Gower Street Mx esq in trust for his wife Sarah for life, remainder to his daughter Elizabeth Murray for life, with ultimate remainder in trust for sale, with the residuary estate, for the benefit of his heirs; the bequest to Sarah was revoked by a codicil of 20 Feb 1815. Samuel Virgin died in Mar 1815, the will was proved in PCC and the cause Timperon v Virgin commenced in chancery as a means of administering the estate; an account was called for by an order of 21 July 1821. On 29 Aug 1821 a settlement was executed on the marriage of Samuel Virgin's co-heir, Sarah Joanna's elder sister Mary Murray, with Henry Floyd bt, and on 25 Jan 1822 the trustees of that settlement (Walter Murray, Richard Lee, Robert Peel and Joseph Fuller) covenanted with William and Elizabeth Murray that the Virgin estate would be held in trust for the two sisters equally according to the will, despite doubts that the bequest for their benefit was void. On 25 May 1825 Master Harvey reported that Virgin's personal estate amounting to £26,884 16s 9d has passed into Timperon's hands, of which £251 4s 8d remained after the costs of administering the estate, together with a considerable sum in stocks and £1300, the purchase price of the leasehold house in Weymouth Street, which had been sold to Andrew King. The trustees were permitted to retain the plantation, the sale of which was deemed disadvantageous. A further order of 12 July 1824 settled the sums which should be paid as an annuity to Elizabeth Murray for life

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