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The overriding purpose behind William Baldock’s Will of 1812 is to reward loyalty and make sure that as much of his estate as possible remains in Baldock hands.

The major problem for William was that he had no children through his marriage to Elizabeth. His wealth had to be distributed among a wider family.

Trust was vital to William’s plans – trusting the right people to preserve his wealth – and we see how William uses some of the nephews that had proved their worth in the past to ensure his legacy in the future. (See: Baldock’s smuggling legacy Part 1.)

But William also recognised the loyalty of others; servants, a solicitor, trustees, soldiers – those who at some time or another had provided William with faithful service.

A gesture of gratitude.

He leaves a £200 gift to Reverend Gansley, a fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge who tutored William Henry Baldock and William Delmar. (They probably followed a classical and theological education based on the college’s history and reputation.)

William Horsley, a clerk to William, receives a similar bequest amounting to £300.

18th century maid 2All the maid servants in service at the time of Baldock’s death were to receive £10 each and those that had been with the household for three years or more were to receive double the amount. Other female servants are mentioned by name and receive £30 each.

Nicholas Cloke the bailiff and William Sansell the woodreeve are left £50 a piece. In a special mention, William Bax a victualler has repayments of his debts deferred for six years and if he repays within the time, £50 ‘shall be deducted and abated’.

£50 bequests are made to two daughters and one son of a yeoman, James Parker (was William repaying an old debt of loyalty here?) and another yeoman, John Callaway receives the same.

Two sons of William Taylor receive similar amounts and again, William may have been acknowledging a long-standing confidence with their father who came from Flushing, Holland. We know that the Seasalter Smuggling Company moved prisoners-of-war out of the country and Flushing would have been a useful connection.

A_Bailiff_and_an_attorney--a_match_for_the_DevilA solicitor in the precincts of Christ Church, Canterbury, named as Thomas Starr receives £500. William hopes that this gift will be some compensation for ‘the trouble he has so often given him in his concerns’. (The Baldock family knew the value of a good solicitor.)

In order to secure the future of his family, William appoints some powerful men to act as trustees. These include Sir Edward Knatchbull and Nicholas Roundell Toke who both receive £200 a piece as an acknowledgement for their care and trouble. Deane John Parker receives £500 for similar services and Thomas Foorde is gifted with £200.

Acts of Charity

William makes various grants to charities and local organisations, including Kent and Canterbury hospital, the brothers and sisters of the hospital of Harbledown and various other hospitals at Canterbury.

In an act of charity and faith, William also sets up a special Good Friday gift for the poor of the parish at Elham church. For a period of four years, 15 poor people will receive two guineas each.

William and his extended family

Various people are mentioned in the Will who were in some way connected with the Baldock family.

Again, we see the philanthropy of William at work when he leaves £500 in trust to Hester Harris until she reaches the age of 21 or until she marries. Hester’s parents’ marriage is described as an ‘intermarriage’ and the money is given to the mother to manage.

Widow Agar, wife of William’s uncle, is given £10 and provided with an annuity of £20. Other annuities are made to his sister-in-law and three brother-in-laws and trusts are set up for two god-children with two godsons receiving £100 each.

Reading through the will, we seem to come face-to-face with a man who never forgot his own humble beginnings as an apprentice hod carrier. A man who valued family above all else and extended that to others.

Thanks to Steve Baldock for generously sharing his work on the Baldock will.