The Wills of Sarah Swindells and Daniel Clowes📜

Wills Clowes Swindells (1)

We went to the Giant Fleamarket at the Bath and West Showground on the 13th October, and I had some wonderful finds, many old photos and these two Wills from 1834 and 1846 that I chose out of a huge pile that one seller, Joyce had, hard to choose but decided to go for a couple of earlier ones, one woman and one man.

Wills Clowes Swindells (2)Wills Clowes Swindells (3)

This first one above and below dated 12 April 1834, was the Last Will and Testament of Sarah Swindells, she was born on 25 June 1792 in Prestbury, Cheshire to Hannah (Smith) age 26, and James Swindells, age 27. James Swindells was a Cotton Spinner at the time of their Marriage on 2nd October 1786.

Sarah was Baptised on 29 Jul 1792 at Prestbury, Cheshire. Her brother James was born in 1796. Her sister Martha was born in 1798 when Sarah was 6 years old. Another sister Hannah was born in 1807, when Sarah was 15 years old. Then a brother Samuel was born in 1811 in Cheshire when Sarah was 19 years old. Their Mother Hannah was about 45 at the time of Samuel’s birth.

Sarah died on 27 March 1854 in Hurdsfield, Cheshire. She was 61 and never married.

Wills Clowes Swindells (6)

These are the main contents of Sarah’s Will after any debts or funeral expenses were paid: 1) To Sister Hannah Swindells £100 and my Mahogany chest of drawers and all my wearing apparel (clothes) 2) Five pounds to each of my nephews and nieces and I give 3) Five pounds divided equally to the children of my late nephew James Swindells Leigh, all which said legacies. £100 in 1854 was the equivalent of about £10,994.33 today in 2019. £5 back in 1854 is equivalent to about £549.72 today.

Note: Her deceased nephew (mentioned in the Will) James Swindells Leigh was born in 1819 in Cheshire, his father, Joseph Leigh, was 23 and his mother, Martha, Sarah’s sister, was 21. James had married Agnes Helen Lamb, born in Scotland, in July 1846 in Macclesfield, Cheshire. They had three children during their marriage, Ellen b1847, Joseph b1849 and James b1851. I have found a notice under the Bankruptcy heading from the London Gazette on 6 June 1851 naming James Swindells Leigh, a Builder under the subheading Assignments.  I’m not up on the legal wording but this is what I have found to explain it a little: ‘An assignment of claims is a legal and financial process that allows one party to transfer or “assign” a claim to someone else, provided that the other party is in full knowledge of the assignment and agrees to it’. In the 1851 census, he was described as a Builder, James died in the last quarter of 1852 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, at the age of 33. After his death, his wife Agnes in the 1861 census was described as a Dress Maker and had all three children living with her.

New Zealand. Following up on this branch of the family, I wanted to know what had happened to them all and was surprised to see that on 5 Mar 1868 daughter Ellen Aitken Leigh had married John Mason in Auckland, New Zealand, the couple had nine children that I have found, Ellen died in New Zealand on 21 Mar 1926. Son Joseph William Leigh also died in Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 71 in 1920, I haven’t found a marriage for him yet. Then last of the children, Son James Lamb Leigh arrived in Sydney, Australia from Liverpool (he was 22) in 1873, on the unassisted passenger list, he went on to marry in Auckland, New Zealand in 1894 at the age of 43 to Elizabeth Jane North, a Widow, her first husband George Henry Wright had died in Auckland in 1887. They had both been born in England. James died in 1902 in Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 51. They had no children that I can find, but Elizabeth had had a daughter Edith Alice Wright from her first marriage who had been born, married and died in New Zealand. I was pleased to see that Mum of the three children, Agnes, also went to New Zealand, she never married again but sometime after 1861 she must have left England with her little family in the hope of a better life, she died in Auckland, New Zealand at the great age of 87. The question is: Did the legacy of £5 in 1854 from Sarah Swindells pay for the family to emigrate and start a new life, I do hope so?

4) And all the residue and remainder of my personal estate and effects that I shall die possessed of or entitled to I give and bequeath unto my Brother Samuel Swindells and my Sister Martha Leigh and Hannah Swindells to be divided among them equally share and share alike. And she had nominated her Brother Samuel Swindells and a Samuel Hill of Macclesfield, Cheshire, a Silk Manager, as Executors of her Will.

The estate was worth less than £300 and signed by Sarah with a cross, meaning she was illiterate at the time of making this Will in 1834. I think she definitely helped her siblings and their families to live a better life after her death don’t you.

Daniel Clowes Will. This second one below dated 24 September 1844, was the Last Will and Testament of Daniel Clowes, he died 13 Mar 1846.

Wills Clowes Swindells (7)Wills Clowes Swindells (8)

I have simplified the writing in this Will to try and make it a bit clearer to read.

Wills Clowes Swindells (9)

Daniel Clowes Will. He died 24 Sept 1844.
After all debts and expenses paid.
Son John Clowes my two messuages or dwelling houses situated in Arbour Hay Street in Hurdsfield. Now in occupation of said Son and Edward Turner, to hold to him my said Son John Clowes his heirs.
My two messuages or dwelling houses situated in Arbour Hay Street in Hurdsfield. Now in occupation of Jane Bennett and George Harrison unto my daughter Hannah Walkley to hold to her executors.
I give and bequeath my house in the yard behind the house, I live in now in the occupation of James Gee unto my daughter Rebecca Henshall, to hold to her my said daughter her executors.
I give and bequeath unto my executors hereinafter named my live messuages or dwelling houses in Waterloo Street, Hurdsfield, aforesaid being the next to the houses belonging to the children of my late Son Daniel Clowes with the appurtenances thereto belonging to hold the same unto my said executors upon trust to let the same and pay the rents to and equally among the Children and Grandchildren of my said late Son Daniel Clowes until a sale shall be made of his property pursuant to his will and then to sell the said two messuages or dwelling houses and divide the money among the Children and Grandchildren of my said son Daniel Clowes in such shares and proportions as the money arising from the sale of his houses is directed to be divided among them.
Also said Daughter Rebecca must have the rent from afor mentioned two messuages or dwelling houses in Waterloo Street until they are sold, then out of the proceeds of the said sale my Son in Law John Henshaw shall be paid 60 pounds (about £7,560.00 now) if he be living, if not be paid to Daughter Rebecca Henshaw, with the residue, if any to the Children and Grandchildren of late Son Daniel Clowes. If she is not living then all to be divided between them.
I bequeath my two messuages or dwelling houses situate in Commercial Road, Hurdsfield aforesaid now in the occupation of myself and John Bithell with the appurtenances thereto belonging and all my household goods and furniture except such part thereof as was my wife Mary Clowes at the time of our marriage and also except such of my furniture as is not mentioned in a certain inventory signed by me, I give to my wife Mary Clowes to dispose of as she thinks proper.
To hold the same unto my executors upon trust to permit my wife Mary Clowes to occupy the house I now live in and to set the other house and receive the rent thereof and also to have the use of my furniture during her widowhood and on her death or second marriage then I divied my executors to sell my two last mentioned houses and my furniture, except as aforesaid, and divide the money among my Children and Grandchildren, such Grandchildren only taking their deceased parents share.
Anything else left to be divided equally between wife Mary and living Children equally.
Also the rent from every house except the one occupied by Son John Clowes for the term of six months after my death is to be paid to wife Mary Clowes to do with as she wishes.
Also to take up Mortgage on the two houses occupied by myself and John Birchell for the support of my wife in case of need.
And I appoint Thomas Roylance of Macclesfield Builder and Samuel Swindells of Hurdsfield Bookkeeper executors of this my Will.

Fancy there being a connection with these two Wills and the Swindell family, lovely surprise!

Wills Clowes Swindells (10)

Wills Clowes Swindells (11)

Wills Clowes Swindells (12)

Here are some closeup photos of the folded corners that were quite illegible, but I put a cloth over the joins and used a warm iron to flatten it out a little to be able to read it. Worked brilliantly.Wills Clowes Swindells (13)Wills Clowes Swindells (14)Wills Clowes Swindells (15)Wills Clowes Swindells (16)

Daniel Clowes was born in 1767 in Cheshire. He married Sarah Gosling 1771-1832 and they had four children together, firstly Daniel Jnr 1794-1838, who married Sarah Walker in 1812 and they had six children together that I have found so far. Secondly Hannah 1794-1864, she married George Stonely in 1818, they had two children that I have found, then George died in 1828 he was just 33. In 1834 Hannah remarried to Josiah Walkley, they had no more children.

Then they had another Son John 1800-1857, John married Henrietta Fox and I have found six children of the couple so far. Then lastly another daughter Rebecca 1805-1949, Rebecca married John Henshaw and they had four children.

After Sarah died in 1832, Daniel Snr then married Mary Howell on 19 September 1832 in Prestbury, Cheshire. He died on 13 March 1846 in Hurdsfield, Cheshire, aged 79 years.

This is the direct link to the public family tree I have compiled of Sarah Swindells to be found on Ancestry:

Sarah Swindells Tree.

This is the direct link to the public family tree I have compiled of Daniel Clowes to be found on Ancestry:

Daniel Clowes Tree.

I would love to hear from you if you are related to either of these families or maybe you’re a descendant? Please comment or send me an email to

Footnote: I went again to the same Fleamarket this last Sunday 24 November, where I came across Joyce, the same seller and bought another Will from her collection, another from the Swindells family, so that will be another Blog for the future.

Till next time then………


8 Comments Add yours

  1. ritaroberts says:

    O.M.G Lynn this was a tough one. I can’t believe how the money values had risen so much. Fascinating family history Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rita, was so interesting tracing a Will & was thrilled to find another from family too! Xx


  2. Beautiful documents and really interesting research. It’s a shame we don’t still document like this – electronic documents have no charm!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Caroline. They are just wonderful to handle, I have picked up a few this year and at the moment trying NOT to start collecting them as well as my old photos! ha ha


      1. Lol! It’s so easy to get sidetracked! I spotted an interesting memorial in a church a few weeks ago & am now looking at the family. I don’t have enough time to research my own!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I know that feeling very well & I am seriously lacking of spending time with my Ancestors too! New Year resolution to change that I think!


  4. John Keith Turner says:

    Edward Turner living in Arbourhay Street Macclesfield was my great great grandfather,born Newtown Montgomeryshire in 1803 died Macclesfield 1872.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John. Thanks so much for getting in touch! How brilliant, what a great connection, thank you 😊


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