The Will of Thomas Tilbury
Lawyer of London

18thC 'Merry' Islington
My thanks to AlanT who first sent me a copy of Thomas' Will, and to DeirdreT who transcribed it and sent me this resume.


The will is written in Thomas' hand.

Thomas TILBURY of Falcon Street and Clougesley Square, Islington, Attorney and Solicitor.

My dear wife Catherine sole executrix in token of my great affection and regard and for the great kindness and attention shown to me during my severe illnesses, all my personal estate and effects:

- to my stepson William Harries TILBURY whom I have maintained and educated many years and who is under articles of clerkship to me, my gold watch, chain and seals; And if it can be spared, twenty pounds for mourning;
- my brother and sister and their families to be put into mourning at the expense of my estate:
- my dear friend John WOOD, now my partner, a gold ring of the value of five guineas in testimony of my friendship and regard for him and for his assiduity and great attention to my business during the many years that he was my clerk, particularly when I was ill:
- I hope my good friends SEWELL and BLAKE of Norwich will do all they can for my wife especially as regards the bond for 160 which I entered into with them as security for my brother and what annuity was payable to him during his life and for which they hold an insurance in the Equitable Office for twelve hundred pounds.

20 June 1827
Proved 25 November 1833


The Implications of the Will

Comments by Caroline (December 2006)

Thomas mentions "my brother and sister and their families". His sister was Mary m. BARKER; his known brother (mentioned in other legal documents) was William. However, since Thomas married William's widow Catherine, another brother was living at the date of the Will (at least), and had a family, in June 1827. The list of baptisms from the IGI mentions a Robert, of whom no trace is apparent so far. Unless Thomas senior's wife Mary died (e.g. in childbirth) before the age of 40, or was an older bride, other children could have been born to the couple.

In a legal document concerning Thomas' sometime partner Philip LANGDALE (d. 1812-15), a James TILBURY appears. Whose son was he? Thomas the lawyer mentions his illnesses and seems to have had no children of his own.

A work of fiction, which used real people as secondary characters, included mention of "Mr. Tilbury" sometime innkeeper of the White Conduit House in London. Was this "Mr. Tilbury" a real character? Was innkeeping a family activity?

Thomas the lawyer d. June 1827; his Will mentioned John WOOD, his sometime clerk; this document is available from Norfolk Record Office:

PRESTON of Beeston: Manorial, Estate, Personal (Norfolk Record Office)
Letter from Messrs. TILBURY & WOOD
(ref.MC36/ 166, 481x1)

No month is given, so that the letter may have been written in 1827 and catalogued by the PRESTON family in 1828... however, it is also possible that it was written in 1828: then either the name of the law firm was carried forward (sight of the letter would be useful, did it just concern Thomas' death?) - or was there another TILBURY lawyer? William Harries TILBURY, Thomas' stepson, was acting on the London stage at least by 1830, and must have begun his career earlier still. Did he at first combine law and the theatre? It seems improbable.


Others Mentioned in Thomas' Will

From documents at A2A - Norfolk Record Office:

SEWELL & BLAKE, Norwich (1767-1769)
(Lord HOME's estate and other documents)

Joseph SEWELL and John BLAKE of Norwich, gents. (1811-1832)
(indentures with the TRAFFORD family of Wroxham Hall, Wroxham, Norfolk)

SEWELL & BLAKE (1815-21); SEWELL, BLAKE & KEITH (& BLAKE) (1826-31)
(estate accounts of the FELLOWES family of Shotesham, Norfolk)

John BLAKE and SEWELL, BLAKE & Co., Solicitors, Norwich (1830-37)
(in correspondence with the PRESTON family of Beeston St. Lawrence, Norfolk)


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