William Phillips (1759-1827) and Catherine Morris (1773-1834)

Our Great Great Great Great Grandparents

William Phillips was 67 years of age at the time of his death in October 1827, which means he was most likely born in 1759 or 1760. Baptism records for London provide two possible matches:

Of the two, I consider the first to be more likely to be our ancestor. The age at death matches best, and the location of the baptism at Westminster and William’s subsequent marriage at Marylebone (about three kilometers apart) is a better fit than Hackney to Marylebone (almost 8 kilometers apart).

Catherine Morris was born in the City of London on 23 April 1773, the daughter of Robert and Esther Morris. She was baptised on 9 May 1773 at St. Bride’s Fleet Street.

William and Catherine married at St. Marylebone in Marylebone Road, London on 2 February 1796 – he was 34 years of age, she was 22. William was noted as being a widower, but the identity of his first wife, and whether they had any children together, is unknown. It may be that the daughter Sarah referred to in William’s will was a child he had with his first wife. William and Catherine are believed to have had only one child, James (1797-1845).

William’s will, written in 1816, says he was then a resident of Upper Holloway “but late of Highgate”, and that he was a shopkeeper. The directory Pigot's Middlesex and the Towns and Villages within 12 miles of London (1826) lists William Phillips under the “Grocers, &c.” section for Holloway. Pigot’s describes Holloway as follows:

…a small hamlet, situated on the northern road, just through Islington, to which parish it belongs. It is considered a healthy situation, upon which account there are many very respectable residences, principally inhabited by the merchants and traders of London. Here is a handsome chapel of ease and a chapel for dissenters. There are several genteel school establishments. The population returns are made up with those of Islington.1

William died aged 67 in late September or early October 1827 and was buried at St. Mary Islington on 2 October - see burial registration (PDF - 516k). He left this will, some words of which are indecipherable:

This is the Last Will and Testament of me William Phillips late of Hornsey same in the Parish of  Hornsey in the County of Middlesex but now of Upper Holloway in the Parish of Islington in the said County of Middlesex Shopkeeper made when of sound and disposing mind [?] and understanding in [?] following (that is to say). I order and direct all my just debts funeral and testamentary expenses to be fully paid and satisfied by my Executrix hereinafter named. I give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah the sum of twenty pounds of lawful money to be paid to her as soon as convenient after my decease. I give and devise unto my son James all that piece or parcel of ground allotted to me in the Hornsey [?] situate on Highgate Common in the said County of Middlesex to hold the same with all [?] and buildings that may be thereon [sited?] together with all appurtenances thereto belonging unto my said son his heirs and assignees for ever. And I give and devise to my beloved wife Catherine all other pieces or parcels of grounds together with all [?] buildings and appurtenances thereon [?] and thereto belonging not hereinbefore derived by me to my said son of which I may be in any way possessed of interested in or entitled to at the time of my decease by virtue of any [?] or [?] contract or contracts or otherwise howsoever to hold the same unto my said wife Catherine and her assignees for and during the term of her natural life. And from and after her decease I give and devise all the [?] pieces or parcels of grounds and tenements together with all appurtenances thereto belonging wholly and entirely unto me, said son James his heirs and assignees for ever. And as to all my household furniture and all the post residue and remainder of my personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and of what nature or kind soever I give and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my said wife to [?] for her own use and benefit trusting that she will be attentive to the interest and render her utmost assistance to promote the welfare and comfort of my said son. And I do hereby nominate [?] and appoint my said wife the sole Executrix of this my last will hereby revoking and making void all former and other  wills, codices and testamentary writings whatsoever at any time heretofore made by me. And I do hereby declare this only to be my last Will and Testament in [?] whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirtieth day of January in the year of Our Lord  one thousand eight hundred and sixteen.   Wm  Phillips (Signed  sealed published and declared by the said William Phillips the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence at his request and in the presence of oath other leave [?] [?] our [?] as [?] [?].

Humphrey Hicks Swan Upper Clapton & George Kendall Upper Clapton & George Ashley Stoke Newington

Proved at London the 26th November 1827 before the Worshipful Charles Coote Doctor of Laws @ Surrogate by the Oath of Catherine Phillips widow the [?] the sole Executrix to whom administration was granted having her first sworn duly to Administer

Catherine died aged 63 in April 1834 and was buried at St. Pancras Camden on 27 April.


1Page 452.

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