James Lesten married Agnes Hingston in about 1760. They appear not to have had any children - none are mentioned in the will or in Allen & Dymond. The survival of the copy will amongst the papers which came down to Treeby Hingston is probably because of the bequest to James Lesten's 'friend' William Hingston of Newton Ferrers, his wife's brother. There is also a bequest to his wife's niece Mary Wyatt. The principal beneficiaries apart from his own wife Agnes are William Lurks and Mary his wife. Presumably Mary was a sister or niece of his own.
The town of Dock where he lived was subsequently renamed Devonport, having grown up around HM Dockyard Plymouth during the 18th century.
In the Name of God Amen I James Lesten of the parish of Stoke Damerel in the County of Devon, Quarterman in His Majestys Dock Yard being of sound disposing mind memory and understanding but considering the uncertainty of this transitory life and for avoiding controversies after my death do make publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament in manner following (that is to say) First and principally I recommend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God and my body to the Earth to be reverently interred at the discretion of my Executrix hereinafter named and as to such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me I give and dispose thereof as follows Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Agnes Lesten all that my Leasehold Messuage or Dwellinghouse situate in George Street in the town of Dock wherein I now live and also all that my Leasehold Messuage or Dwellinghouse No 9 in Catherine Street in the said town of Dock during all my Terms Estate and Interest therein I also give and bequeath unto William Lurks the elder of the Parish of Stoke Damerel aforesaid pavior and to Mary his wife all those my Leaseholds Messuages or Dwellinghouses No 9 and 10 in Braggs Alley in the said Town of Dock during so much of my Term and Interest therein as shall run out and expire during their lives and the life of the Survivor of them and from and after the death of the Survivor of them it is my will and I do hereby give and bequeath the reminder of my Term Estate and interest therein to my Executrix hereinafter named I also give and bequeath unto the said William Lurks and Mary his wife during their lives and the life of the Survivor of them an annuity or yearly Sum of twenty pounds payable by quarterly payments out of my Freehold estates hereinafter devised and in case default shall be made in any one of the said quarterly payments it shall be lawful for the said William Lurks and Mary his wife and the Survivor of them to enter and distrain on the said Estates and the distress so taken to sell and dispose of according to Law until the said annuity so in arrear and the Costs and Charges of taking selling and keeping such a distress be fully paid and satisfied I also give and bequeath unto William Lurks the younger, Son of the said William Lurks the older all that my Leasehold Messuage or Dwellinghouse No 9 in Francis Alley in the said Town of Dock during all my Estate Term and Interest therein I also give and bequeath unto the said William Lurks the younger after the death of my dear Wife a silver Tankard with the letters IL and a silver pint with the letters IC I also give devise and bequeath unto my Friends William Tuson in the parish of Stoke Damerel aforesaid foreman in His Majesty's Dockyard there and William Hingston of the parish of Newton Ferrers in the said County of Devon Yeoman and to the Survivor of them and to the Heirs Executors and Administrators of such Survivor all that my Messuage Tenement and Estate called or known by the name of Don otherwise Bythedon situate and lying in the parish of Sampford Spiney in the said County of Devon and also all that my Messuage Tenement and Estate called Moorgeat otherwise Newhouse situate and lying within the parish of Whitchurch in the said County of Devon Upon this special Trust and Confidence in them reposed and to the intent and purpose that they my said Trustees do and shall permit and suffer my dear Wife Agnes Lesten peaceably and quietly to have hold and enjoy the said estate without Impeachment of Waste and to receive and take the Rents Issues and Profits thereof to her own use and benefit for and during the term of her natural life in case she shall continue my Widow but not otherwise and from and immediately after her death or her Marriage with any future Husband which shall first happen Then in trust to permit and suffer the said William Lurks the younger peaceably and quietly to have hold and enjoy the said Estates and to receive and take the Rents Issues and Profits thereof to his own use and benefit for and during the Term of his natural life without Impeachment of Waste and from and immediately after his death I give and devise the said Estates to the use of such Child or Children lawfully begotten of the said William Lurks the younger and in such parts and proportions as he shall by Deed or Will executed in the presence of Two or more credible witnesses think fit to give or appoint the same and to his or their Heirs or Assigns and for want of such Gift or Appointment Then to the use of all and every the Child or Children of the said William Lurks the younger his her and their Heirs and Assigns as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants and in case the said William Lurks the younger shall leave no such issue Then to the use of my wifes niece Mary Wyatt Daughter of James Wyatt late of Modbury deceased her Heirs and Assigns for ever I also give and bequeath unto the said William Tuson and William Hingston and the survivor of them and the Executors and assigns of such Survivor all those my Leasehold Messuages and Tenements (not hereinbefore bequeathed) situate in the said parish of Stoke Damerel and also a Seat or Pew in Stoke Church and a Pew or Seat in Saint Aubyn Chapel upon Trust nevertheless to permit and suffer my said dear wife Agnes Lesten to have hold and enjoy the same premises and to receive and take the the Rents Issues and Profits thereof to her own use and benefit during so many years of the Term which I shall have in the said premises at the time of my death as shall run out and expire in her lifetime and she continues my Widow and not otherwise and from and immediately after the death of my wife or her marriage with any future husband which shall first happen Then I give and bequeath all and singular the said Leasehold premises (except a Messuage or Dwellinghouse No 15 at Dock Wall and the said Pews or Seats in Stoke Church and St Aubyns Chapel) unto the said William Lurks the younger during the Remainder of my Terms Estate and Interest therein, and with respect to the said Messuage or Dwellinghouse No 15 at Dock Wall and the said Pews or Seats in Stoke Church and Saint Aubyns Chapel I give and bequeath the same unto my Wifes Niece Mary Wyatt during the remainder of my Terms Estate and Interest therein All the Rest Residue and Remainder of Estate Real and personal of what nature and kind soever not hereinbefore disposed of I give and bequeath the same unto my said dear wife Agnes Lesten her Heirs Executors and Administrators Subject nevertheless to the payment thereout of all my just Debts and Funeral Expenses and my will and meaning is that the said William Tuson and William Hingston and the Survivor of them and the Heirs Administrators and Executors of such Survivor shall be reimbursed and paid out of my Estate all their Costs Charges and Expenses and for their trouble in and about the Execution of the Trusts of this my will and that neither of them shall be answerable or accountable for the Acts Deeds Receipts or Payments of the other but each for his own Acts deeds Receipts and Payments only And lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said dear wife Agnes Lesten sole Executrix of this my will and hereby revoking all former Will or Wills by me at any time heretofore made I declare this to be my last In Witness whereof I have to this my Will contained in four sheets of paper set my hand and seal to each sheet the twenty sixth day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety - James Lesten - (LS) Signed sealed published and Declared by James Lesten the within named Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto, Ann [J?]ope W Dansey J B Fletcher
Extracted by Bogg & Abbot
Proctors Doctors Commons
[Certificate attached recording that it was proved and registered 28 Feby 1799 at London before the Court of Canterbury. Sworn value under £2,000]
Rough copy made by T W Hingston 7/1/1945 and checked against the original by AJH 23/4/1998