01/07/2010

Seward Will

In his History of the English Baptists Joseph Ivimey writes (1830) of the Baptist cause in Bengeworth where the pastor from 1728 was Jacob Mower. He says that about the year 1739 Benjamin Seward, Esq attended the ministry of Mr Mower, and on July 9, 1742, was baptised and became a church member. He and his wife, says Ivimey "were both of them singular ornaments to their profession. Mr Seward was a man of good natural abilities - he studied to do good, abounding in works of charity, and was eminent for his devotion. Some hymns composed by him are found in the Bristol Collection, having the initials B. S." He died in 1753, and on April 8 John Gill preached his funeral sermon (published in his Collection of Sermons and Tracts, vol. i. p 498). "The worthy widow of Mr Seward being desirous to leave a perpetual proof of the charitable disposition of her husband, in her last will, dated June 2, 1753, settled the interest of £4,550 for charitable purposes, naming seven Baptist ministers as trustees (of whom Mr. Mower was first mentioned), providing for the perpetual renewal of trustees as often as any of them shall die."
In a footnote Ivimey gives the details of Mrs Seward's will. Much of it is tangential to our interest but I have underlined the bits that are of particular interest to us.
The will of Mrs Elizabeth Seward, of Bengeworth, Worcestershire, widow, was executed June 2, 1753, in the presence of Isaac Woodman [Sutton in Elms from 1749, previously Warwick, 1715-1777], W Gibbons and W Gibbons Jn and proved at Doctors' Commons February 6, 1754.
She appointed the seven following Particular Baptist ministers her trustees: Jacob More (Mower), Bengeworth; Nathaniel Overbury Sn, Tetbury [d 1795]; John Overbury, Alcester [d 1764]; Philip Jones, Upton-upon-Severn [d 1771]; Benjamin Beddome, Bourton on the Water; Dr John Gill, Horsleydown, Southwark [1607-1771]; and William Anderson, Grafton street, St. Anne's, Westminster an associate of Gill's, d 1767. To them were left in trust, £2000 South Sea Stock, £2000 New South Sea Annuities and £550 Bank of England Stock. The way the yearly interest, dividends or produce of the said £4,550 were to be applied is set out by Ivimey with some footnotes.

1. The South Sea Stock towards the support and maintenance of the minister or teacher of the Particular Baptist congregations at the following places
Bengeworth, Worcestershire £350
Chadford Bottom, Gloucestershire 300
Henley-upon-Thames, Berkshire 300
Worcester 100
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire 100
King's Stanley, Gloucestershire 300
Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire 100
Leominster, Herefordshire 200
Sheepshead, Leicestershire 200
Coat, Oxfordshire 50
Total £2000
A dreadful fire broke out at Bengeworth a few years afterwards, which consumed a number of houses, and the meeting-house with them. In 1760 it was rebuilt on the same foundation.

2. The New South Sea Annuities.
Towards the maintenance of the Particular Baptist minister at
Coat, Oxfordshire £50
To the relief of the poor of the Particular Baptist congregation in Grafton-street, St. Anne's, Westminster, to be distributed by the minister 100
To the relief of the poor of the Particular Baptist congregation at Horsleydown, to be distributed by the minister 100
Note In case either of the two last mentioned congregations shall not have a settled minister, the said interest is to be paid to the deacons till there shall be one.
To the Particular Baptist minister at Bengeworth, to pay for teaching poor children to read, whose parents are unable to pay for the same; at the school at Badsey, near Evesham, six shillings a month; and at two schools at Evesham, and one at Bengeworth, four shillings a month each 400
To the Particular Baptist minister at Bengeworth, to pay for the support of monthly lectures in Divinity to be preached there; viz Eight shillings to the minister who shall preach such lecture for every such lecture; and twelve shillings for the expense of entertaining the ministers who shall attend every such lecture at such friends' houses as they shall agree to meet in 400
To the elder of Evesham during his life. After his death, the interest or yearly produce to be paid to the ministers, pastors, or deacons, of the Particular Baptist congregations at Bourton-on-the-Water, Alcester, Leicester, and Kettering, for the relief of the poor of the said congregations 400
To William Tinkley, of Bengeworth, during life 150
Mary Hughes, of Evesham, ditto 100
Eliz Shaning, of ditto, ditto 100
Nancy, a poor woman of ditto ditto 60
Note After the death of these four persons, this interest to be equally divided between the trustees, in or near London, for their trouble.
To widow Hewitt, during life. After her death, to the minister of the Particular Baptist congregation at Beccles, Suffolk 100
To Mary Squires during life 60
Total £2000
Mr. Jacob Mower died July, 1764. During bis connexion with the church twenty-four persons were added to it . In the month of November following, the majority of the church and congregation invited Mr. Lawrence Butterworth [1741-1828] to settle with them. The meeting-house in Bengeworth becoming too small for the congregation, and the greater part residing in Evesham, they judged it prudent to erect a new meeting-house in that place: this was accomplished in 1788. Since Mr. Butterworth became the pastor there have been added, by baptism (1821), one hundred and eleven members; the present number of members is fifty-one. Mr Davis, a student from Stepney, was subsequently associated with him in the pastoral office. Mr. Butterworth died lately, at the advanced age of nearly ninety.

3. The Bank Of England Stock.
To Mary Squires during life £50
To Eliz Peake during life 150
Note After the death of Mary Squires and Eliz Peake, for the relief of such poor dissenting ministers in the country as my trustees shall think fit.
To Eliz Tandey during life. After her death to the minister of the Particular Baptist congregation at Crosby, Leicestershire, towards his support 50
Interest to lie unreceived till one of the trustees shall die. Then the new trustee to be paid £20 for his trouble. And so to every new trustee £20. In case of refusal or death, the surviving trustees to appoint new ones by a writing signed by them. Instead of trustees residing in the country, trustees residing in the country shall be appointed; and instead of trustees residing in London or Westminster, or their suburbs or liberties, trustees residing in London or Westminster, or their suburbs or liberties, shall be appointed. All new trustees to be ministers or teachers of Particular Baptist congregations. 300
Total £550
William Snooke and Richard Hall, her sons-in-law, were executors and residuary legatees.

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