Included in a list of interments (1687-1857) at the Friends’ Burial Ground at Hingham is ‘Ann Smith 1765, widow’.
Some 13 years earlier, the remains of Ann Smith’s daughter Elizabeth had been interred in the same burial ground. On her death in 1752, Elizabeth had bequeathed her house and land in Great Ellingham to her mother, Ann Smith.
Ann Smith, a widow of Ellingham Magna signed her last Will and Testament on the 13th September, 1764. Although Ann mentions that she was unwell at the time of drawing up her Will, she stated that she was in ‘sound mind and memory‘.
With Ann being a widow and no mention of any children (or grandchildren) in her Will, I assume that Ann had no living children (or grandchildren) at the time she signed her Will. Ann died within a year of making her Will.
Ann Smith appointed her sister Elizabeth Rack as her sole executrix, and bequeathed to her ‘all my movables both without doors and within‘. Basically, Elizabeth inherited all those items of Ann’s belongings which were capable of being moved and were not fixed. However, Ann directed her sister Elizabeth to pay all the charges in connection with her burial.
Joshua Adcock of Stukey (Stiffkey) Norfolk (referred to by Ann as ‘my kinsman‘) received all Ann Smith’s property and lands in Great Ellingham, which Ann was occupying at the time of her death.
This gift was on the condition that Joshua allowed Elizabeth Rack (Ann’s sister) to live in the Parlour of the property for so long as she wished. Further, Joshua was also to pay any debts resulting from any contracts which Ann may have entered into in relation to repairs to the house. It sounds like that Ann was in the process of having (or was planning) some restoration work to her house.
In addition to also paying the charges for attending to the probate of Ann’s Will, Joshua was to pay his cousin, Prudence Ransome, a widow, the sum of five pounds one year after Ann’s death.
Ann referred to Joshua as her kinsman. However, given that Ann specifically refers to her sister as ‘my sister‘, I assume that Joshua was not Ann’s brother but some other relation.
We know from the Will of Ann’s daughter Elizabeth, that Ann Smith was a Quaker. It is very likely that the three witnesses present at the time that Ann Smith signed her will (Ann Norton, Frances Lidalow and Simon Bale), were also members of the Society of Friends.
Ann’s sister, Elizabeth Rack, was also a Quaker. Probate was granted to Elizabeth Rack who described herself in an affirmation and declaration as “a Dissenter from the Church of England commonly called a Quaker“.
1765 Smith, Ann widow of Great Ellingham. Will. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: NCC will register Rolfe 139
1927 ‘All interments at Hingham Burial Ground as copied from the Register Book for 1687 to 1837 at Friends House, London’. Viewed on microfilm at the Norfolk Heritage Centre January 2020