Conditions in Wills

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There is evidence in our collection of testators planning to exert their influence on the living from beyond the grave. Henry Gill who died in the 1770s commanded,

.. and should any one of these mentioned in this my will enter or comence any Law sute that person so doing to have by my desire but one shiling.

The will of Henry Gill, 1777
Will of Henry Gill, 1774, 1778 (Ref: P5/1777/25)
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Phillis Forder of Stratford-Sub-Castle made a bequest with the proviso that the recipient must never enter a dissenting meeting house or they would forfeit their inheritance

The will of Phyllis Foyder, 1829
Will of Phillis Forder, 1829 (Ref: P4/1829/2)
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In very immediate terms, wills were used to give instructions for the testator's funeral. The will of Mary Beake states

I doe order that there be forty shillings layed out in Cakes and bread and that there be a Kilderkin [16-18 gallons] of beer at my buriall.

In 1829, Frances Henrietta Elderton ordered her hearse to be drawn by four horses without plumes, as well as leaving details of who was to conduct her funeral service and the wording that should appear on her memorial tablet (ref: P4/1829/5).