What became of Josiah of Breightmet?
The re-arrangement of the family of Josiah and Martha of Dunham leaves us back to the first section of this document where I suggested that the layout proposed by Florrie Phethean was based only on conjecture that Joseph, father of Sarah, Joseph, Josiah, John and Thomas was the son of Josiah and Martha of Dunham. It is evident that with the family group that we arrive at in Figure 6 that this is not so.
Joseph of Dunham’s will (see Appendix I) states that he appoints his cousin Josiah of Breightmet as an executor of his estates. This is a very difficult scenario to follow if we are to go along with Florrie’s hypothesis, as it is almost impossible to make Joseph of Dunham and Josiah of Breightmet true cousins. If we assume that the text in B.T. Barton’s book has been correctly transcribed then the Joseph that he mentioned could well be a brother (possibly a younger brother) to Josiah of Dunham. This would support that assumption made from Joseph of Dunham’s will that Josiah of Breightmet and Joseph of Dunham were cousins in the true sense.
Figure 7: The possible relationship between Joseph of Dunham and Josiah of Breightmet
The will of Josiah Phethean of Enville
The final document that has been acquired is copy of the will of Josiah of Enville proved on the 27th April 1772 at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). The PCC was one of the two highest courts of probate in the England, the other being at York (which covered the north-west and north of England). These courts had precedence over the regional church courts of probate. Normally only those who left a sizeable estate would have probate handled by such a court. I have researched the PCC indexes from 1500 to 1800 and Josiah of Enville is the only Phethean surname in the registers. Transcripts of all PCC wills are lodged with the Public Record Office at Kew.
The basic details of the will are summarised below (from the original copy which comprises two pages of A3 handwritten manuscript). Superscripted references refer to the Notes section after this document.
In the name of God Amen Josiah Phethean of Envil otherwise Enfield in the County of Staffordshire, Yeoman do hereby publish my full will and intentions as follows.
Firstly I desire that all my debts be fully paid and discharged with all my funeral expenses….I give to the Right Honourable Lady Dorothy Grey 1 the sum of twenty pounds to and for the use of the school that was started by the said Lady..
I give my Godson Josiah Cook the sum of five pounds. The sum of ten pounds I give to William Brindley nephew to my late wife 2. I give to Mr. Francis Corne 3 now Steward to the Earl of Stamford the sum of five guineas. My desire is that these above mentioned legacies may be paid in twelve months after my decease.
I give to Mr William Collis and to Dorothy his wife and to Mrs Sarah Lye and to Mrs Martha Burwood one guinea each for a Ring. I give my sister Martha Dunstar the sum of fifty shillings 4 a year for the term of her natural life to be paid to her half yearly the first payment to be made on the first twenty-fourth day of June or the twenty-fifth day of December after my decease.
I give to my wife Mary Phethean whose name was ????? 5 the sum of forty pounds a year for the term of her natural life to be paid quarterly ….
I likewise give to my said wife Mary Phethean the use of all my household goods of every sort and kind whatever during the term of her natural life provided that she keeps herself in my name and unmarried. If she marries I give my said wife Mary Phethean only fifteen pounds a year to be paid half-yearly, the first payment to be made on the first of the said days that shall happen after her marriage with any person after my decease and the whole of my household goods to my brother Joseph Phethean 6 at the time of my said wife’s marriage or at the time of her death as my said brother’s sole property to him and his heirs or his or their sole property.
I desire to have a decent burial which I leave to the discretion of my Executors.
I give to my brother Joseph Phethean my Estate at Whittington 7. I give to my brother Joseph Phethean my Estate at Timperly 8 and all my personality except before accepted to pay all my debts and funeral expenses and all my legacies and annuities before mentioned out of the income of my Estates before mentioned provided my lease or lease holds so long good for payment to be made by my said brother Joseph Phethean or his executors or heirs or assigns after his decease provided I have no child or children born or begotten by my now said wife Mary Phethean. If there is a child or children then every above mentioned legacy and annuity is to be void except the twenty pounds to Lady Dorothy Grey and five guineas to Mr Francis Corne which I desire may be given. If there is only one child I give the whole of my estates and personality to that child. If children I give the whole to them share and share alike after paying my last mentioned legacies to Lady Dorothy Grey and to Mr Francis Corne and serving to my said wife Mary Phethean the annuity and household furniture to her certain use as above mentioned in this my Will and all my debts and funeral expenses to be paid out of my property without any exposure of my said wife Mary Phethean and I herby constitute and appoint my said brother Joseph Phethean and my said wife Mary Phethean and Mr Francis Corne my executors of this my last Will and Testament and herby revoking all former and other wills by me made ….
signed Josiah Phethean and dated the twenty second day of November in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine in the presence of us who have subscribed our names as witnesses in his presence. signed by Elizabeth Barrow, William Brisco and Edward Newman.
Codicil to the above will:
The twenty second day of February, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy One…. I give and bequeath unto my wife Mary Phethean the sum of forty pounds over and above the annuity of forty pounds 9 per year left to my said wife Mary Phethean in my will and in a deed made before marriage….
Signed sealed and published by the above name Josiah Phethean as part of the Last Will and Testament in the presence of Ann Mullord (?), William Brisco and Edward Newman.