Will of Thomas Copland of Meopham, tobacconist (1739)
Reference: TNA PROB PROB PROB 11/697/339
Thomas Copland acquired Middle Farm as part of a marriage settlement in 1698 to Elizabeth Burrows. The will is a very long one, so just the section which relates to Middle Farm is copied here.
"Also I do give and devise unto John Best of the parish of Hartley, husbandman, the sum of £150 of lawful money of Great Britain, to be paid unto him within 6 months next after my death by my loving friend, the said George Masters out of the said messuage, lands and hereditaments by me hereinafter devised to the said George Masters and his heirs and made chargeable with the payment thereof." Also £100 devised from same estate to Thomas Vincent, son of William Vinchent of Rowledge Farm, near Halesworth in Suffolk, his kinsman.
"I do give, devise and bequeath unto the said George Masters, his heirs and assigns. All that my messuage or tenement, farm, lands, hereditaments and premises with their appurtenances, situate,lying and being in the parish of Hartley aforesaid and now in the occupation of the said John Best and all other my lands in Hartley aforesaid. To have and hold unto the said George Masters, his heirs and assigns forever. Subject nevertheless to and charged and chargeable with the payment of the aforesaid two several sums of £100 and £150 so given to the said Thomas Vincent and John Best as aforesaid." If George Masters predeceases him, then lands at Hartley to go to John Tasker and Richard Masters upon trust to pay bequests to John Best etc and to convey the land to George's son William, when he is 21.
Dated 13 October 1738. Witnesses: John Phillips, Robert Gunning and William Tasker
Proved at London, 15 August 1739 by George Mastersthe executor.