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The Will of Frances Cheeseman

The 1711 Will of Frances Cheeseman, Spinster and Benefactor


Frances Cheeseman, or Cheesman, was the spinster daughter of an affluent linman (a wholesale dealer in flax and hemp) of Yeovil during the latter half of the seventeenth century and the first quarter of the eighteenth. She was the daughter of Yeovil glover Clement Cheeseman and his wife, Mary. Frances had brothers Richard, Thomas and Clement, as well as sisters Mary and Elizabeth. There were also up to four more sisters whose names are unknown (referred to only as the wives of their respective husbands).

Very little is known of her life, but snippets of information may be gleaned from various sources; from her father's will she inherited properties in Addlewell and the combined cash legacies in her own will dated 1 May 1711 (see below) total £500 (in excess of £70,000 at today's value) including £100 left to her servant, Mary.

From her will, we know that she was a benefactor, giving in bank stock £150 (around £22,000 at today's value) to the Yeovil Charity School in today's Chantry in Church Path - on the condition that the schoolmaster "shall be learned enough to instruct learn Educate bring up and make young men fitt for Oxford or Cambridge". Frances Cheeseman’s gift produced £8 14s per annum.

Frances Cheeseman died in Yeovil during August 1719 and she was buried in St John's churchyard on 31 August 1719. Her will was proved in London on 6 November 1719.



In the Name of God Amen I Frances Cheeseman of Yeovill in the County of Somerset Spinster being sick of Body but of perfect and sound disposing mind and memory (thanks be given to Almighty God) Doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) First and Principally I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Maker hoping through the merits Death and Passission of my only Saviour Jesus Christ to receive pardon and forgiveness of all my sins and to Inherite Everlasting Life and my Body to the Earth to be decently buried according to the discretion of my Executor herein after named and for the Estates either Reall or Personall I have in the World I give Devise and bequeath as followeth (Imprimis) I give Devise and bequeath unto my brother Thomas Cheeseman all my Lands in Yeovill to hold to him and the Heires of his body lawfully to be begotten for ever And for want of Issue of the Body of my said brother Thomas my Will and pleasure is that after his Death all my said Lands shall be and remaine and I doe hereby give and devise the same unto my brother Clement Cheeseman of the City of Exon Glover to hold to him and his heires forever to the only proper use benefitt and behoofe of him the said Clement Cheeseman his Heires and Assigns for evermore Item my Will is that One hundred and fifty pounds shall be secured by my Executor herein named for my Sister Elizabeth Reekes soe that her husband may not have any power thereof But the Interest thereof yearly to be paid by my said Executor to my said Sister during her naturall Life And the principal to be paid to be paid to such person and persons and to such use and uses as my said Sister by her last Will and Testament of other Writing under her hand and seale attested by two or more credible Witnesses shall nominate direct and appoint Item my Will is that my Executor herein after named shall on good security lend One hundred pounds to such master Glover of Yeovill aforesaid as my uncle Giles Cheeseman of the same place Glover shall nominate and appoint during the natural life of my said uncle without any Interest to be paid for the same provided such master Glover doe and shall keep and imploy my said uncle in his full worke at putting of Gloves asmuch as he can doe during the aid terms at the usuall or accusomed prices for cutting of Gloves or Otherwise my said Executor shall yearly and every year pay my said uncle Giles Cheeseman the sume of five pounds during his naturall life at the choice and Election of my said uncle the same to be paid half yearly (that is to say) on the feasts of St michael the archangel and Th'annunciation of our blessed Lady St Mary the Virgin by even and equall portions [inserted = the first payment] thereof to be made and paid at which of the said Feasts shall first happen after my decease Item I give unto my Servant Mary [nokis ?] the sume of One hundred pounds to be paid her by my said Executor within twelve months after my decease Item my Will is that my Executor shall yearly pay unto [two words appear scratched out] Hibbards present schoolmaster of Yeovill the Interest of One Hundred and Fifty pounds soe long as he teaches [inserted = School] there and after him to his successors if such successors shall be learned enough to instruct learn Educate bring up and make young men fitt for Oxford or Cambridge and that the same shall also be encouraged and supported by some other well disposed Christian or Christians Otherwise my Will and pleasure is and I doe hereby give and bequeath the said One hundred [sic] pound to the use of the Charity Schools of Yeovil aforesaid Item I give unto my Father in Law Mr [space] Darley and my mother his wife a mourning Ring each of the value of one Guinea each Ring Item I give unto my friends Mr Edward Barwick and his wife a mourning Ring each of the value of one Guinea each Ring Item all the rest of my Gods wares Chattells Mortgages Bonds Bills and securities whatsoever Rings jewells plate Householdstuffe and Implements of Household and all other matters and things whatsoever not herein before given or bequeathed I doe herevby give devise and bequeath the same unto my Said Brother Clement Cheeseman whom I make constitute and appoint whole and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament and I doe hereby revoke all former Wills at any time before by me made In Witness whereof I the said Frances Cheeseman have hereunto sett my hand and seale the first day of May in the tenth yeare of the Reigne of our Sovereign Lady Anne by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland Defender of the Faith or Anno Domini 1711
Frances Cheeseman
Sealed published and declared in the presence of Edw. Barwick Margaret Game Jane Barwick the mark of Rachel Barwick Edward Barwick Junr.


Transcribed by Bob Osborn





Frances Cheeseman's will, dated 1 May 1711.


The record of Frances Cheeseman's burial in St John's churchyard of 31 August 1719.


One of four charity boards in the tower of St John's church. This board, dating to 1804, lists the donations made to the Yeovil Charity School including, at the head of the list of benefactors, Frances Cheeseman and, below, her brother Thomas.