The Will of Wilkie Collins



This transcript has been made from an official copy of the last will and testament of William Wilkie Collins which is deposited in the Public Record Office in London. It retains the line breaks of the original but full stops (periods) have been added to aid the sense. The line numbers have been added.

Note on the text


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[001] This is the last Will and Testament
[002] of me William Wilkie Collins of No.90 Gloucester Place Portman
[003] Square in the County of Middlesex and I hereby revoke all wills
[004] and testamentary dispositions heretofore made by me. I nominate and appoint
[005] my friends Charles James Ward of No.11 John Street Adelphi Frederick
[006] Lehmann of No.15 Berkeley Square and Henry Powell Bartley of No.
[007] 30 Somerset Street Portman Square all in the county of Middlesex
[008] to be the Executors and trustees of this my will. I direct that
[009] all my just debts and funeral and testamentary expenses shall be paid
[010] with all convenient speed after my decease. I desire to be buried in the
[011] Cemetery at Kensal Green and that over my grave there may be placed
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[012] a plain stone cross and no other monument and that there shall be placed on such
[013] stone cross the inscription which my executors will find written and placed
[014] in the same envelope occupied by this my will and I desire that nothing
[015] shall be inscribed upon the said cross except the inscription which I have
[016] herein before directed. And it is my will that exclusive of the expense of
[017] purchasing the customary grave and of setting up the plain stone
[018] cross and putting the inscription thereon my funeral expenses shall not
[019] exceed twenty five pounds and I direct that no scarves hat bands or
[020] feathers shall be worn or used at my funeral. I request my executors in
[021] selling my books to ascertain what sum may be offered for them by
[022] respectable purchasers of libraries (such as Sotheran and Company of
[023] Piccadilly) before they offer them for sale by auction. And I desire that
[024] if they can get what in the exercise of their discretion they shall consider
[025] a fair offer by private contract to accept the same and not to run
[026] the risk of a sale by auction. Also I desire that none of my pictures
[027] and prints shall be offered for sale without reserve and that if the time
[028] shall be unfavourable for selling pictures and prints by auction my executors
[029] may in their absolute discretion postpone the sale of my said pictures and
[030] prints and may either without offering them for sale by auction or after having
[031] done so and bought them in sell my said pictures and prints or any of
[032] them by private contract for such price or prices as my executors shall
[033] deem fair. But if my executors shall be in urgent want of money for the
[034] purposes of this my will they shall forthwith sell my pictures and
[035] prints or such of them as shall be sufficient to raise such money. I
[036] bequeath to my cousin Jane wife of my executor Charles James Ward
[037] the sum of fifty pounds free of legacy duty. I bequeath to each of my
[038] servants Sarah Massey and George Wells who shall be in my service
[039] at the time of my death the sum of nineteen pounds nineteen shillings.
[040] I also desire that the annuity of twenty one pounds now paid by me to
[041] Mrs Eliza Collins Jones of No.4 Upper Mount Pleasant Avenue
[042] Rathmines Dublin shall in conformity with the terms on which (by
[043] my letter to her I have consented to pay it) cease on my death. But I
[044] direct that a proportionate part of the payment of the said annuity
[045] for the current quarter at the time of my death dating from the period
[046] between the last quarterly day of payment of such annuity and the time
[047] of my death shall be paid to the said Eliza Collins Jones. I bequeath to
[048] my late mother's sister Mrs Gray of 36 Richmond Road Bayswater
[049] London for her life an annuity of twenty pounds and if Mrs Gray's
[050] daughter Marion shall survive her I direct that from and after her
[051] death the said annuity shall be continued and paid to her said daughter
[052] Marion for Marion's life. I also bequeath to my late mother's sister Mrs.
[053] Dyke of No.14 Archibald Street Bow London for her life an annuity of
[054] twenty pounds and I direct that the said annuities shall be considered
[055] as accruing from day to day and shall be payable by equal quarterly
[056] payments and that the first payment of each of the said annuities shall be
[057] paid at the end of three calendar months after my decease if the annuitant
[058] to whom I have given the same shall be living. I direct my
[059] executor immediately on my decease to return to my friend Holman Hunt
[060] (or if he should not survive me) to his son Cyril the portrait in Chalks
[061] taken by him of my late brother Charles Allston Collins. I bequeath to
[062] Caroline Elizabeth Graves of No.90 Gloucester Place Portman Square
[063] aforesaid for her absolute use my gold studs and gold sleeve links and the
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[064] furniture in her bedroom and the furniture and effects in the back room on the
[065] ground floor next to the dining room (excepting only the iron safe now standing
[066] in the said back room and securities for money cash pictures prints and books)
[067] in my dwelling-house 90 Gloucester Place aforesaid. I bequeath to the said
[068] Caroline Elizabeth Graves or if she shall die in my lifetime to her daughter
[069] Elizabeth Harriet wife of my executor Henry Powell Bartley the sum of
[070] two hundred pounds. I bequeath to Martha Rudd now residing at No.10 Taunton
[071] Place Park Road Regents Park London my watch and chain and the sum
[072] of two hundred pounds and it is my will that the said two legacies of two
[073] hundred pounds shall be free of legacy duty and be paid immediately
[074] after my decease. I give and bequeath unto my said executors and trustees
[075] all my copyrights in my books plays essays short stories and all other my
[076] personal estate not herein before disposed of and all my real estate (if any) to
[077] which I may be entitled at the time of my death upon trust as soon after
[078] my death as they may deem fit to make sale call in and convert into money
[079] in such manner as they may in their own absolute discretion deem proper my
[080] said copyrights and such other parts of my said personal estate as shall not
[081] consist of money and also to sell my said real estate (if any) and my said
[082] trustees or other trustees for the time being of this my will shall
[083] out of the moneys to arise from the sale calling in and conversion of such
[084] parts of my personal estate as shall not consist of money and such parts of
[085] my personal estate as shall consist of money and the money to arise from
[086] the sale of my real estate (if any) pay my just debts funeral and testamentary
[087] expenses and the legacies other than the specific legacies bequeathed by this my
[088] will or by any codicil hereto and shall invest the residue of the same
[089] moneys in or upon any of the stocks or funds or government securities of
[090] the United Kingdom or upon freehold copyhold or leasehold securities in
[091] England or Wales but not in Ireland or upon debentures or debenture
[092] stock of any railway company in Great Britain with power from time to
[093] time to vary and transpose such stocks funds and securities into or for any
[094] others authorised as investments and shall stand possessed of this said
[095] residuary trust moneys and the stocks funds and securities in or upon
[096] or into which the same may be invested or transposed (and which same
[097] moneys stocks funds and securities are hereinafter called my said residuary
[098] trust estate) upon trust out of the same dividends interest and income to pay
[099] the said annuities bequeathed by me as when the same shall become
[100] payable and subject thereto to pay one moiety of such dividends interest and
[101] income to the said Caroline Elizabeth Graves during her life and from
[102] and after her decease to the said Elizabeth Harriet Bartley during her life and
[103] to pay the other moiety of the said dividends interest and income to the said
[104] Martha Rudd during her life and the said trustees or trustees for the time
[105] being of this my will shall stand possessed of one moiety of my said residuary
[106] trust estate from and after the decease of the survivor of the said Caroline
[107] Elizabeth Graves and Elizabeth Harriet Bartley and of the other moiety
[108] thereof from and after the death of the said Martha Rudd upon trust for
[109] such of the three children of the said Martha Rudd who are now living
[110] with her at No.10 Taunton Place aforesaid and passing under the name
[111] of Mrs Dawson and are respectively called Marian secondly Harriet
[112] Constance and thirdly William Charles as shall live to attain the age of
[113] twenty one years in equal shares as tenants in common. And I hereby acknowledge
[114] the said three children as my children by the said Martha Rudd and for the
[115] better identification of the said three children I state that the said Marian
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[116] was born at No.33 Bolsover Street Portland Place London on the fourth day of July
[117] one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine the said Harriet Constance was
[118] born at the same place on the fourteenth day of May one thousand eight
[119] hundred and seventy one and the said William Charles was born at No.10 Taunton
[120] Place aforesaid on the twenty fifth day of December thousand eight
[121] hundred and seventy four. And I direct that the said trustees or trustees for the
[122] time being of this my will shall stand possessed of the share in my said
[123] residuary estates of each of the said daughters of the said Martha Rudd upon
[124] trust to pay the dividends interest and income thereof to such daughter during
[125] her life and from and after her decease shall stand possessed of such share upon
[126] trust for each of the children of such daughter as being sons or a son shall
[127] attain the age of twenty one or being daughters or a daughter shall attain
[128] that age or marry and if more than one in equal shares as tenants in common.
[129] And I hereby declare that if any of the said daughters of the said Martha
[130] Rudd shall not have any child or children who shall attain a vested interest
[131] or vested interests in her share then after the death of each such daughter and
[132] the default or failure of the children of such daughter which ever shall last
[133] happen the trustees or trustee for the time being of this my will shall stand
[134] possessed of each daughter in my said residuary trust estate
[135] and of the interest dividends and income thereof or for so much thereof respect-
[136] ively as shall not have been applied under any trust of power herein contained
[137] in trust for such person or person and for such purposes as such daughter shall by
[138] deed with or without power of revocation or by will or codicil appoint and in
[139] default of such appointment and so far as any such appointment shall not extend
[140] in trust for the said Martha Rudd her executors administrators and assigns
[141] absolutely provided always and I hereby declare that any interest dividends or
[142] income or moneys stocks funds or securities to which any female shall become
[143] entitled under the terms of this my will shall be in trust for her sole and sep-
[144] arate use free and independent of any husband to whom she may be married
[145] at the time of my death or shall thereafter marry and so that her receipt
[146] alone shall be a sufficient discharge for the same and so that as to any
[147] interest dividends or income she shall not have power to deprive herself of the
[148] benefit thereof by anticipation. And I further declare that the trustees or
[149] trustees for the time being of this my will shall pay and apply the whole
[150] or such part as the said trustees or trustee shall think fit of the interest
[151] dividends and income of the share to which any of the said children of the
[152] said Martha Rudd or any child of either of the said daughter shall for the
[153] time being be entitled presumptively or in expectancy under any of the trusts
[154] herein before declared by not until after the determination of prior life interests
[155] or subject thereto for as towards his or her education or for or towards his or her
[156] maintenance until such his or her expectant share shall become vested and that
[157] the said trustees or trustee may either themselves or himself so pay or apply
[158] the same or may pay the same to the guardian or guardians of any such
[159] child for the purposes aforesaid without going to the application thereof.
[160] And I declare that it shall be lawful for the trustees or trustee for the time
[161] being of this my will at any time or times (but so that in regard to any
[162] moneys or funds in which any person or persons may have any interest or
[163] interests for her or their life or lives the exercise of this present power be with
[164] their or her consent in writing) to raise all or any part or parts of the then
[165] expectant or presumptive share of any of the children of the said Martha
[166] Rudd or of the then expectant or presumptive or vested share of any child
[167] of either of the said daughters of the said Martha Rudd not exceeding
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[168] one half of such share and to pay and apply the same for the advancement or
[169] benefit of such child in such manner as the said trustees or trustee shall think fit
[170] Provided always and I hereby declare that the said Henry Powell Bartley and
[171] every future trustee of this my will who shall be a relative or attorney may act
[172] as solicitor and attorney in relation to the trusts of this my will and shall
[173] be entitled to charge and shall be paid for all business done by him as a
[174] solicitor or attorney in relation to the trusts of this my will in the same manner
[175] as if he had been an executor or trustee. In witness whereof I have here-
[176] unto set my hand this twenty second day of March one thousand eight hundred
[177] and eighty two - W Wilkie Collins - Signed by the said William Wilkie
[178] Collins the testator as and for his last will and testament in the presence of
[179] us both present at the same time who in his presence at his request and in
[180] the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our name as witnesses -
[181] Frederick Newenham - Thomas Cornforth clerks to Messrs Bartley &
[182] James Solicitors 30 Somerset Street Portman Square London W.
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[183] This is a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of
[184] me William Wilkie Collins now residing at No.82 Wimpole Street
[185] Cavendish Square in the county of Middlesex which shall bear date the
[186] twenty second day of March one thousand eight hundred and eighty two.
[187] Whereas Charles James Ward one of the executors and trustees nominated
[188] and appointed by my said will has since died and whereas I am desirous
[189] of appointing two additional executors and trustees in the place of the said
[190] Charles James Ward now I do hereby nominate and appoint my friends
[191] Sebastian Bertholdt Schlesinger of No.8 Wilton Place Belgrave Square and
[192] Francis Carr Beard of 44 Welbeck Street Cavendish Square both in the
[193] county of Middlesex to be Executors and trustees in conjunction with
[194] the other trustees and executors named in my said will. And I declare that
[195] my said will shall be construed and take effect as if the names Sebastian
[196] Bertholdt Schlesinger and Francis Carr Beard were inserted in my said
[197] will as two of the executors and trustees. And in all other respects I confirm
[198] my said will. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth
[199] day of July one thousand eight hundred and eighty nine - Wilkie
[200] Collins - signed by the said testator William Wilkie Collins as and for
[201] a Codicil to his last will and testament in the presence of us both present
[202] at the same time who in his presence at his request and in the presence
[203] of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as attesting witnesses -
[204] Olive Jones 68 Drayton Gardens S W - Fred Down 28 Archway
[205] Road Highgate N.
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[206] On the 11th Novr 1889 probate of this will and codicil was
[207] granted to Henry Powell Bartley and Sebastian Benzon Schlezinger
[208] (in the codicil called Sebastian Bertholdt Schlesinger) and Francis
[209] Carr Beard three of the executors.
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All material on these pages is Paul Lewis 1997