Letter of Administration to Ethelred the wife of William CHANNELL of Fordington
for the Estate of Tristram STYLE of Puddletown

Dated 9th day February 1691

©Transcribed by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington January 2012

NOTE:- Letters of Administration: When a person died intestate [i.e. leaving no will] the next of kin or a close friend would often have to apply to the probate court for Letters of Administration to enable them to take possession of and distribute the estate. The term 'estate' refers to the chattels, cash, debts and leases of the deceased. The ecclesiastical courts had no jurisdiction over bequests of freehold property. The applicant had to swear that there was no will, that the applicant would pay all funeral expenses and debts, administer truly, and submit a true inventory and account of his/her stewardship. The inventory itemised the estate held by the deceased, including leases, chattels, debts owed and owing, cash, crops, stocks and slaves. No account of real estate (land) was normally taken in estimates and totals. The Court then granted Letters of Administration and might require the administrator to enter into a bond to administer the estate faithfully, in which case a copy of the act was endorsed on the document.

A Bond is a binding agreement with a penalty for non performance. A bond deed is in two parts, the Obligation and the Condition. Before 1733 the Obligation, which records the penalty, was written in Latin. The Condition describes what the bonded person has undertaken to do, or otherwise committed himself or herself to (e.g. administer an estate), and was always in English.

My Latin is not good enough to do a proper translation of the first paragraph so I have confined myself to a summary of key facts to help make sense of the document.

The Obligation:

In Latin - Rough summary of Key facts:

Let all take notice that by these presents Gulielium [William] CHANNELL of Fordington in the County of Dorset Yeoman, of Gulielium HUDDY of the same place Yeoman

--- the Honourable Henry JONES Doctor at Law

----on the 9th day in the month of February in the year of Our Lord 1691 and in the third year of the reign of William & Mary King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland , and defender of the Faith.

The Condition:

The Condition of this obligation is such that if the above bound Ethelred CHANNELL Wife of William CHANNELL Administratrix of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of Tristrain [Tristram] STYLE late of Puddletown intestate deceased do make or cause to be made a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased which have or shall come into the hands possession or knowledge of her, the said Ethelred CHANNELL, or into the hands and possession of any person or persons for her

    And the same so made do exhibit, or cause to be exhibited, into the Registry of the Archdeacons Court of Dorset at or before the first day of June next ensuing
    And the same goods chattels and credits and all other the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased at the time of his death which at any time after shall come to the hands or possession of the said Ethelred CHANNELL, or into the hands and possession of any other person or persons for her, do well and truly administer according to law and further do make or cause to be made a true and just accompt of her said Administration at or before ye first day of February next ensuing
    And all the rest and residue of the said goods chattels and credits which shall be found remaining upon the said Administrators accompt, the same being first examined and allowed by the Judge or Judges for the time being of the said Court shall deliver and pay unto such person or persons respectively as the said Judge or Judges by his or their decree or sentence pursuant to the true intent and meaning of a late Act of Parliament made in the two and twentieth and three and twentieth years of the reign of our late Sovereign Lord King Charles the second (Instituted An Act for the better settling of Intestate's (estates) shall limit and appoint

    And if it shall hereafter appear that any last will and Testament was made by the said deceased and the Executor or Executors therein named do exhibit the same into the said Court making request to have it allowed and approved accordingly if the said Ethelred CHANNELL above bound being thereunto required do render and deliver the said letters of Administration (approbation of such Testament being first had and made) in the said Court Then this obligation to be void and of none effect or else to remain in full force and virtue

    Signed Gulielium [William] CHANNELL

    Signed Gulielium [William] HUDDY

    Sealed and delivered in the presence of
    Geo: Clarke

Genealogical Note:-

(1). William CHANNEL married Ethel BONGER at St Georges Church Fordington on 19th November 1685

(2). A daughter Mary CHANNEL was baptised at Fordington on Christmas day 1686.

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