This example of a sequence of settlements and related deeds comes from the Portland (London) collection and concerns a small estate in Mansfield. It illustrates how marriage settlements, in combination with other documents, played a part in the transfer of land. Click on the hyperlinks to see fuller descriptions of each document on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.
Pl E12/6/19/165/2/1-2 - Settlement before the marriage of Francis Brodhurst and Anne Wright, both of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; 25-26 December 1738
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This settlement is in the form of a lease and release, and is described in the catalogue as follows:
First Party: Francis Brodhurst the younger of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, tanner.
Second Party: Anne Wright of Mansfield, spinster (daughter of the late William Wright of Blidworth, Nottinghamshire).
Third Party: William Wilson of Mansfield, hosier; and Joseph Senior of Mansfield, dyer.
As a settlement before the marriage of (1) and (2): lease and release from (1) to (3) of three closes of meadow or pasture in Mansfield called the Sheepscoate Bridge Closes. Upon trust:
To the use of (1) for his life, and then to the use of (2) for her life (should she survive him), for her jointure, and then to the use of the heirs of the marriage with remainder to (1)'s right heirs.
This means that William Wilson and Joseph Senior are trustees, and technically the legal owners of the land, holding it on behalf of the family. Francis Brodhurst is entitled to the profits of the estate for his life. If he dies before his wife Anne, she will then take the profits for the rest of her life. After they have both died, the trustees are to hold the land on behalf of any children they might have.
Pl E12/6/19/165/3/1-2 - Settlement before the marriage of John Blagg and Elizabeth Brodhurst, both of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; 16-17 May 1768
Thirty years later, the settlement was renewed. This was also in the form of a lease and release:
First Party: Francis Brodhurst of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, tanner; and Elizabeth Brodhurst, spinster (only daughter of Francis Brodhurst by his late wife Ann, née Wright, sister of the late Thomas Wright of Blidworth, Nottinghamshire).
Second Party: John Blagg of Mansfield, tanner.
Third Party: William Clarke of Sutton Hardwick alias Old Hardwick, Nottinghamshire, yeoman; and William Downing of Mansfield, gent.
As a settlement before the marriage of (2) and Elizabeth Brodhurst: lease and release from (1) to (3) of a close of meadow or pasture in Blidworth called the Wheat Close alias Wett Close, and three closes of meadow or pasture in Mansfield near Sheepscote Bridge and called the Sheepscote Bridge Closes. Upon trust:
The close of land in Blidworth to be held (subject to the life interest of Elizabeth Lanford, widow of Joseph Langford of Blidworth) to the use of (2) and his heirs and assigns for ever.
The closes of land in Mansfield to be held to the use of Francis Brodhurst for his life, and then to the use of (2) and his heirs and assigns for ever.
These deeds tell us that Francis and Anne Brodhurst only had one child, Elizabeth, who, under the terms of the 1738 settlement, would be entitled to the whole of the Sheepscote Bridge Closes after the death of her parents. Because she is getting married, all her property will become the property of her husband. By this settlement it is agreed that the Sheepscote Bridge Closes will be held by trustees. Francis Brodhurst will receive the profits during his lifetime, and when he dies, Elizabeth's husband John Blagg will receive the estate. It is specified that the closes are to be held to the use of John Blagg's heirs and assigns for ever. Because the word 'assigns' is mentioned, this appears to mean that he is able to sell the estate. If he doesn't sell it, it will pass to his legal heirs. The wording of this deed seems to suggest that John Blagg will hold the land in fee simple.
Pl E12/6/19/165/13 - Feoffment of a close of land near Sheepcote Bridge in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, to Joshua Senior; 28 Feb. 1800
Part of the land was sold by John Blagg of Mansfield to Joshua Senior of Mansfield in 1800. The land was described as 'a close of meadow or pasture land in the parish of Mansfield near Sheepcote Bridge, called Sheepcote Bridge Close, with liberty to divert the watercourse running along the southern and western sides of the close into [John Blagg's] land'.
Pl E12/6/19/165/27 - Deed to declare the uses of a fine concerning a cotton mill near Sheepcote Bridge Lane in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; 14 Feb. 1820
In 1820, the Sheepscote Bridge Close, together with the cotton mill that had been built on it, was sold by Joshua Senior's trustees and heirs to Emmanuel Howitt. There was a question mark over the legality of John Blagg's conveyance to Joshua Senior twenty years earlier - was he in fact allowed to sell it, or should his heirs have given permission? In order to make Mr Howitt's purchase watertight, the heirs gave retrospective agreement for the 1800 sale by means of a final concord of the land (Pl E12/6/19/165/24), from John's widow Elizabeth and his son John Michael Blagg of Cheadle, to Joshua Turner's trustees. This deed to declare the uses of the fine, made on 14 February 1820, explained that:
...a final concord levied in the last Trinity term, which includes a close of land in Mansfield formerly called Sheepcote Bridge Close and situated near Sheepcote Bridge Lane, together with the cotton mill erected thereon by the late Joshua Senior (purchased by the late Joshua Senior from the late John Blagg of Mansfield, who believed he had good title to the land), is to enure to the use of [the trustees] and their heirs and assigns upon the trusts in the will of Joshua Senior.
Pl E12/6/19/165/40 - Release from Emanuel Howitt to the 4th Duke of Portland of a cotton mill, houses and land near Sheepcote Bridge Lane in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; 25 Mar. 1843
In 1843, Emmanuel Howitt sold the cotton mill and land to the 4th Duke of Portland for £3,000. All the title deeds to the estate, including the Brodhurst family settlements, were passed to the Duke of Portland's solicitors, and have ended up in the Portland (London) collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections.
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