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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

27. Margaret and Anthony's children William Sarah and Frances - she inherited her father's estates - and had a controversial will

Frances Isaacson inherited Fenton at the time of her father, Anthony Isaacson's death.

She made a will in March 1750, nominating her cousins, Mary (who was 17 at her death and Arabella who was 14)  as devisees.  It would seem that these girls were the daughters of John Isaacson  and his wife Jane Lambert, the brother of Anthony Isaacson (her father).

A question to research would be WHY?

She did however,  provide annuities for her brothers and sister namely:

Anthony     b    1713  m Hannah Arthur and he became the principal heir of her will in his lifetime
Sarah          b     1722
William      b     1725

William Isaacson her brother was born in 1725 and died 14 December 1770.  

He married Jane Isaacson, his cousin daughter of John Isaacson, the recorder of Newcastle. 

Sarah married Henry Isaacson, her cousin, and they had the  following children:

Henry Creagh Isaacson   b  1748   d  1779     Unmarried - Maybe had  children with Mary Cornforth
Frances Isaacson             b   1750   d  1753     Died young
Sarah Isaacson                b   1752   d   1799     Did not marry

Sarah died in October 1788 and Henry was the son of John Isaacson and Jane Lambert he was a Surgeon and had a business near White-cross in Newcastle 1778


Henry Creagh Isaacson  was born  1748  and died in 1779    
                             Henry matriculated from Oxford as a Clerk in Orders.

He was ordained at Park Street Chapel, Grosvenor Square on 27/2/1774 as a deacon.

Scandal in the family between John Isaacson, his wife Mary Cornforth and her affair with Henry Creagh Isaacson!

DDR/EJ/CCD/3/1776/4   1776-1777
plaintiff: Mary Isaacson (or Cornforth) of Durham St Giles, County Durham

defendant: John Isaacson of The Pudding Chair, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, gent
matrimonial cause - restitution of conjugal rights (appealed to York court)
proctor: George Wood - prosecuting

Documents - citation, proxy, libel (with copy parish register entry), inhibition (on appeal) and monition (to transmit documents to York)Participant:John  Isaac [Isaacson]
Role:appellant
Details:male; Gentleman
Location:Northumberland
Place(s): Newcastle Upon Tyne : town
Pudding Chare (The Pudding Chair) : street name
Participant:Mary  Cornford [Cornforth]
Alternate name:Mary  Isaac [Isaacson]
Role:appellate
Details:female; Spinster; 'pretended' wife of John Isaac
Location:St Giles (Durham)
Place(s):St Giles (Saint Gyles) : ecclesiastical parish
According to the thesis

 etheses.dur.ac.uk/1470/1/1470.pdf?EThOS%20(BL)
... to the memory of my grandfather, Stanley McDermott, and my father, Giovanni Begiato. ...... familiarity with his young relation, Henry Creagh Isaacson, a curate.

  Mary Cornforth was married to John Isaacson, and they had three children, but he wouldn't admit to the marriage.  She was after monies, he objected to her close relationship with Henry Craigh Isaacson the local cleric.  Time went on, and John Isaacson, inherited around 5000 pounds from a relative, but seemed to wish to prove a point.  He took the youngest children and shortly after died at Bath, Mary and Henry lived together and had a couple of children!
A Plain state of the case of Henry Creagh Isaacson, clerk, M.A. (late of the University of Oxford) [electronic resource]
The book has been written and is available at many libraries

So who was John Isaacson? he lived at The Pudding Chair, in Newcastle, he was the son of John Isaacson, son of John Isaacson and Jane Lambert, and his wife Henrietta Ellison

Henrietta was the daughter of Nathaniel Ellison and Elizabeth Isaacson the sister of John Isaacson's father  This family certainly had no shortage of marrying cousins.

So how did this particular John Isaacson get left a legacy?

Kirkwhelpington Parish from the records


 Nathaniel Ellison was the son of the Rev Nathaniel Ellison, vicar of Newcastle, who was the sixth son of Robert Ellison Esq of Hebburn, and the brother of Rev John Ellison vicar of Bedlington.  He lived beloved and died 27th February 1775, lamented by all ranks of his parishioners.  He was, by building and other improvements a great benefactor to the vicarage.  He planted the trees around the vicarage house and the church-yard, now so ornamental to the village.

 Had he lived a few months longer, he was have shared with his sister Elizabeth 140000 pounds of personal property, left by his cousin Sir Benjamin Rawlins, knt the son of Alice his father's sister.  The whole of this immense property came to his sister Elizabeth as the only surviving child of the vicar of Newcastle, who dying shortly afterwards (12 Febr 1776) divided it equally among fourteen nephews and nieces, who received at the time of the name of Benjamites.  His widow survived him 36 years and died at a very advanced age at Hexham, in 1811.



Frances therefore left the estate belonging to her father Anthony to the children of both her father and her uncle.

Her uncle John had the following children

John   married Henrietta Ellison (from a very wealthy coal mining family) in 1743
Mary  who married Roger Altham       In her will
Henry who married her sister Sarah     In her will
Arabella who married William Denison     In her will
Jane who married William Isaacson  m 13 Apr 1748                 Frances's brother     In her will
William Isaacson    d   8 June 1744
Anthony Isaacson   b  Nov 1727      
Henrietta Isaacson   b  1729  d   1778  her brother Anthony was executor of her will  did not marry
Catherine Isaacson  b   1731perhaps she died prior to the will

The estate was finally sold in 1829




Nesbit township in Doddington parish, Northumberland, England was once the site of a medieval village. In maps published during the 17th to 19th centuries, the name of the settlement was variously spelled Nesbet, Nesbitt or Nesbit.

A detail from Greenwood's 1828 map of Northumberland showing Nesbit and Doddington

Nesbit is near the confluence of the Glen and Till rivers and the hypothesized location of one of King Arthur's battles against invading Anglo-Saxons. Latin documentation dating to 1242 lists "Dodington cum Nesebit membro suo" (Doddington with its member Nesbit) as among the holdings of Baron William de Vesci.

In 1346, Edward III granted land at Nesbit to Thomas Grey (or Gray) of Heaton after the rebellion of the previous holder, John de Trollope. Documents note the existence in 1415 of a defensive tower at Nesbit belonging to his grandson, Thomas Grey. However, in a 1541 survey it was observed that:

At Nesebytte (Nesebitt) there was a towre of thinheritaunce of Sir Roger Gray but yt is longe synce for laske of reparacons decayed & fallen and no fortresse there now remayneth.

During the 19th century, the township was productive farmland supporting a small community of workers. An 1855 survey of Northumberland[4] reports as follows.

Nesbit township is situated four miles north by west of Wooler. It contains 776 acres, and the landowners are the Messrs. Clarke of Newcastle. The number of inhabitants in 1801, was 63; in 1811, 65; in 1821, 52; in 1831, 47; in 1841, 59 and in 1851, 63 souls.

Today, Nesbit is the site of a sheep farm with no visible trace of the medieval tower or village.

The lands were finally sold to Frederick Lambton, 4th Earl of Durham

Frederick William Lambton, 4th Earl of Durham (19 June 1855 – 31 January 1929) was a British peer, a Liberal (and later Liberal Unionist) politician, and the son of George Lambton, 2nd Earl of Durham. He inherited the Earldom from his twin brother, John Lambton, 3rd Earl of Durham, when the latter died with no legitimate children.


However 62 years after her death, the context of her will was being challenged in the High Court and the House of Lords.

The following is transcribed from the first hearing in the High Court.  It makes interesting reading, even though it is very lengthy, but gives a good indication as to what happened to our ancestors wealth!

Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's ..., Volume 16

Smith on the Demises of Arabella Dennison and Others, against King and Durnford

This was an action of objectment brought to recover certain premises described in the will hereinafter mentioned.  The defendants were admitted to defend as landlords on the usual rule.. The action was tried at the assizes for the county of Northumberland, 1811 before Chambre J. when a verdict was found for the plaintiffs, subject to the opinion of this court on the following case.

Frances Isaacson being seized in fee of the premises in question, by her will dated the 29th March 1750 devised as follows:"I do hereby order and dispose of my estates in the following manner: I give, devise and bequeath all that my manor, or reputed manor of Fenton, and all that my mill called Fenton-Mill and all my demise lands of Fenton, and all my village or township of Nesbytt, all of them situate, and being in the county of Northumberland, with all and every the messuages, cottages, lands, tenements, hereditments, right, members, and appurtenants whatsoever, to the same respectively belonging, or in any wise appertaing or there held, used, or enjoyed, and all other my real estate whatsoever, and wheresoever, unto my cousin Mary Altham, wife of R. Altham, esquire, and to my cousin Arabella Isaacson and their heirs and *assigns forever, subject, nevertheless to, and chargeable with, the payment of the following annuities hereinafter mentioned; (that is to say) the testatrix then gave several annuities, (interalia), on of 150l to her brother W. Isaacson, during his life; another of 150l to her sister, Sarah Isaacson during her life, for her sole, separate and personal use, exclusive of her husband, and not be the subject to his debts or control; and for which her receipts should be a good discharge; remainder to her son, Henry Creagh Isaacson, for life; remainder to any other, her child or children, that should be living at the time of the testatrix's death, and to the survivors and survivor of such children during their respective lives, in equal proportions if more than one, and if but one, then to such one for his or her life, and lastly, from and after the decease of her aunt Margaret, (to whom she gave an annuity of 100l) to her brother Anthony Isaacson, for life, an annuity of 150l; remainder unto, and amongst all and every the children of her said brother, in the same manner as before limited to the children of her sister.

 "All which annuities I will and direct shall be paid quarterly, without any deduction form the day of my death; and I do hereby charge my real estate with the payment thereof.  And as concerning all and every my leasehold estates in the county of Northumberland, &c., I do give devise, and bequeath the same, together with all the rest and residue of my personal estate, except my wearing apparel, &c., to R. Altham, E. Byron and G. Alcock, their executors and administrators, subject to, and chargeable with the payment of my just debts, and of the legacies hereinafter mentioned; (that is to day) amongst other legacies) to my cousin M Altham, 100l; to my cousin Arabella Isaacson 300l; and* I also give her (several pieces of plate and trinkets)  I give the aforesaid R Altham, E Byron and G Alcock the sum of 200l a piece."

 The testatrix then directed that the annuity before devised to her brother William, should upon his death, go to such of his children as should be living at the time of her decease, and after their deaths she gave one moiety thereof to her sister Sarah, for her life, and after her death, to such of her children, &c., in the same manner, and to the survivors or survivor of them.

 The will then proceeded thus: And the other moiety of the said annuity, together with the surplus profits of my said real estate to be compated from the time of my decease, I give to my brother Anthony Isaacson, for his life, and after his death, to such of his children that shall be living at the time of my death, and to the survivors and survivor of them, during their respective natural lives; and my further will is, that after the several decreases of my said sister and her children, then the said annuities of 150l and the 7.5l as aforesaid, given to her and them shall go to my said brother, Anthony for life, if he shall be then living, and if he be dead, then to such of his children and the survivors or survivor of them that shall be living at my death; and in case of his and their deaths first happening, then my will is,  that the whole rents and profits of my said real estate shall go and be paid to my said sister, Sarah Isaacson, during her life, if she should be then living, and if she should be dead then to be paid to such of the surviving child or children of my said brothers and sister, that shall be living at the time of my decease, for his, her or their natural life or lieves, and lastly, I do constitute and appoint the said R Altham, E Byron and G Alcock executors of this my will"

The testatrix died without issue in May 1752, and without revoking this will.  Arabella Dennison, late Isaacson, one of the devisees in the fee in the will mentioned, is one of the lessors of the plaintiff, and the other lessors of the plaintiff derive title by descent, on conveyance from M. Altham, the other devisee in fee in the will mentioned; and the lessors of the plaintiff, (if entitled to recover at all) are entitled to recover, as tenants in common, in the proportion stated in the declaration.

 Upon the death of the testatrix, Anthony Isaacson, her elder brother, by the consent of R Altham,  became the receiver of the rent and profits for the purposes of the will; and from that time down to the year 1810, the several persons successively entitled under the will to the surplus rents and profits, have been in the receipt of the rents and profits of the estate.  Previously to the year 1798, J.M. Durnford, the mother of one of the defendants, H. King, the mother of the other defendant, and S. Isaacson, (which J.M. Durnford, H. King and S. Isaacson, were the three surviving children of Ant. Isaacson, all of whom were living at the death of the testatrix,) were in the receipt of the rents and profits.

 After the death of J.M. Durnford, in 1798, H. King, S. Isaacons was in the receipt of the rents and profits during the remainder of her life. S. Isaacson having survived all the persons to whom annuities or life interests were given under the will, died July 1810.  The question was, whether the plaintiff was entitled to recover?  If the court should be of that opinion the verdict to stand, if otherwise, to be entered for the defendants.

-Coltman, for the lessor of the plaintiff, stated the question to be, Whether the devise to M Altham and Arabella Isaacson, and their heirs, and assigns for ever, was a devise to their own use, after the payments and other devises contained in the will were satisfied; or a devise to them only in trust, with a resulting use to the heirs of the testatrix, executed by the statue of dues?

He contended for the former, and read the will as being in substance a devise of the real estate to Anthony Isaacson, for life, and after several intermediate contingent remainders for life, with an ultimate remainder in fee to M. Altham and Arabella Isaacson.  The singularity of the devise consists in this, that the testatrix has reversed the usual order of disposition, by devising away the fee in the first instance, and afterwards arving out the life estates; but, such a disposition must be understood according to the substance, and not the form of the devise.

It is submitted, therefore, in the first place, that M. Altham and Arabella Isaacson, cannot be considered as trustees at all and secondly, supposing they are to be considered as taking the legal estate at first as trustee, still they ultimately take for this own benefit, without any resulting use for the heir.

1st.  They are not named as trustees; and in Hill v The Bishop of London (a) Lord Hardwicke, relied upon the word trust not being used, and said if it were a trust, it must be by construction, and then the intents of the testator must be chiefly considered as a guide to that construction.  ow here, there is not any intent shown to create a trust; on the contrary, there are several reasons against it; as, 1s, the estate being  subject to and chargeable with the annuities, which are afterwards expressly charged on the land, they are, therefore, more * property rents than annuities.

Thus a devise upon condition that he pay yearly so much to A., will be a rent to him, and not a sum in gross. (b).  Then, there is nothing in the will which refers to the personal interference of trustees; the annuities are to be paid, but not by the trustees.  Again, both the devisees were women, and one of them unmarried; which render her still more objectionable as a trustee, than the other, from the uncertainty with whom she might marry.

If it should be said, that the Court must construe this a trust of the devisees, in order to protect the interests of Sarah Isaacson, who was a married woman; it may be answered, that there is no such necessity, because according to the case of Bennett v Davis (c) a court of equity would make the husband a trustee for the wife.

But 2ndly supposing that they are to be considered as trustees for specific purposes, still they will take the remainder for their own benefit and not as trustees for the heir at law.  In Walton v Walton (a) the Master of the Rolls, said, "It is not universally rue, that the expression of a purpose, for which a devise of land is made, confines and limits the devise to the purpose so expressed.  It is decided in several cases, noticed in Hill v The Bishop of London, and Rogers v Rogers (b) that where there is a devise of land for payment of debts, it does not necessarily follow, that there is a trust for the heir after he debts are paid.

Lord Hardwicke, says that no general rule can be laid down; but every case must depend on the circumstances."

Now this devise shows an intent that there should be no trust for the her; for there could be no reason for making women trustees, except giving *them a beneficial interest in the remainder.  The circumstance also of their being the testatrix's cousins is confirmatory of the same intent, and it was relied upon in Coningham v Mellish (c) Hobart v The Countess of Suffolk (d) Rogers v Rogers)

e. Again Anthony Isaacson, the heir at law, for whose benefit, it is said, that there is an implied trust, already takes under an express devise to him for life; North v Crompton and Rogers v Rogers.

If it should be said, that here particular legacies being given to the devisees out of the personal estate, it shall exclude them from this remainder; as a particular legacy does exclude an executor from the surplus; it may be answered that the reason of such construction in the one case, (viz. that it is inconsistent with an intention of giving the whole to give a part), shows, that it does not apply to the other; because there is no such inconsistency where the devise is of the real estate.

Besides, here the legacies given to the devisees are unequal; and that has been relied on even in the case of executors, as not rebutting the presumption that they were intended to take the surplus.

As little can it be contended, that there has been and adverse possession of 20 years against the devisees; for it they are trustees, the possession of the cestui que trusts with the consent of the trustees can never be said to be adverse' Earl Pomfret v Lord Windsor (g) and Keen v Deardon (h) and if they take simply as devisees in remainder, their title did not accrue until 1810.

Holroyd, contra, insisted, that this was not a beneficial remainder to the devisees, but that they took only as trustees.  It is not necessary, that the words use or trust should be mentioned in a will, in order to raise that kind of estate; but where it appears, to be the intention of give an estate to one, for the benefit of another, that will be sufficient to raise a use or trust.

Now, here the real estates being devised to them and their heirs, subject to the payment of annuities, it may be admitted, that they would take a beneficial remainder, if this devise stood alone; but the testatrix disposes also of her personal estate in the same way, viz to her executors subject to legacies; and yet it is clear, that she did not intend them to take a beneficial interest in the residue; because she afterwards gives them 200l each; and it is not disputed that if equal legacies are given to executors, it rebuts the presumption that they are to take the surplus.

Then coupling these two devises together, and expounding the one by the other, it seems to have been the intention, that the surplus, if real, should result to the heir at law, and to the next of kin, if personal.

The whole beneficial interest, is expressly given away from the trustees for two generations.  What is that but separating the legal from the beneficial interest?  The estate is also given to them as joint tenants, which is the usual mode of devising a trust estate, but not such as is intended for the benefit of the devisees themselves.

Before the statue of uses, they would have been seized of the legal estate in trust for the lives of the several devisees for life; and there being no devise of the residue, there would have been a resulting trust for the heir at law.  But since the statue, the legal estate was executed in the tenant for life; for the lands are not given in trust to receive and pay over the annuities, but only subject to the annuities; and the annuitants either had rent-charges, or, as one of them was a married woman*, the trustees were interposed to protect her interest.

But supposing the trust to have been executed by the statue in the trustees and their heirs; still according to Doe v Simpson (a) Lord Say and Sele v Lady Jones (b) and Bagshaw v Spencer (c) it would only be executed for the lives of the annuitants, or at the utmost of the tenants for life, and upon the death of the survivor of them, there would be a resulting trust to the heir at law; or, more properly speaking, the heir would take the undisposed of residue to his own use.  And, although the estate is given to the trustees and their heirs, and trust only created as to part, yet the remainder shall not got o the trustees in exclusion of the heir, because the heir shall take whatever is not expressly devised away from him; and therefore, in Challenger v Sheppard (a) which was a devise to trustees and their heirs in trust or A. the only question made was, whether A or the heir at law, took the fee; but not whether the trustees did.

And so in Cruise (b) the rule is laid down, that where the legal estate is given to a trustee, and part only disposed of fro particular trusts, the trust results to the real owner.

Again,i n Lloyd v Spillet, (c) Lord Hardwicke, said "Where a trust is declared only as to part, and nothing said as to the rest, what remains undisposed of results to the heir."  The same doctrine will be found in Randal v Bookey,(d) Emblyn v Freeman (e) and Arnold v Chapman (f).  As to the inference arising from the testatrix naming them her cousins, it is too vague without other circumstances to indicate an intention; and the cases cited did not rest upon that alone; and beside, here she also names other relations in her will, and among them her heir at law.  Then, as to there being an express devise to Anthony Isaacson, the heir at law, she could not have done otherwise, if she meant that he should only take for life in the first instance;  and though a man devises lands to his heir for life, yet that shall not hinder but that he shall have the reversion too.

With respect to what is said of the unfitness of women to become trustees, it may be answered, that they were her relations; and it was more natural to appoint them her trustees, than the husband of one, or strangers; but surely it cannot raise such a necessary implication as to disinherit the heir at law.

Lord Ellenborough, Ch J.  That is but a small matter in the argument, only they were certainly better objects of bounty than of trust.  But if they are trustees, for what are they trustees?  I own, I have no doubt that it is a clear devise of the remainder, subject to these specific charges, and that no trusts are created.

Bayley J.  It is not suggested that they are trustees for any purposes which they are to execute; and there are not words of trust in the will.

Per Curiam.     Judgement for the Plaintiff

Holroyd, declined insisting on the adverse possession.



In the Journals of the House of Lords volume 51 the matter is taken to the House by Thomas King and Andrew Montague Isaacson Durnford.

and is reported in Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of .., Volume 1
 By Great Britain. Court of Chancery, Francis Vesey, John Beames, John Scott Eldon (1st earl of.)
The case afterwards went to the House of Lords and in February 5th 1813 the Motion was refused ; and the Demurrer allowed.

So now we know what happened to all of Anthony Isaacson's lands and wealth! 



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