William Hamilton

The fortunate next inheritor of the estate was friend and travelling companion to Edmund Hammond and the remainder-man under his will, William Hamilton, a merchant at Naples, son of William Hamilton, sen. of Killyleagh, co. Down, Ireland. William’s sister Anne Hamilton, married on 26 December 1843, Charles Ross Fleming, MD of Dublin, eldest son of the Revd James Fleming of Kilkenny who, on the death of the 7th Earl in 1747, assumed the Scottish Earldom of Wigtoun and styled himself [8th] Earl of Wigtoun and voted without challenge at Holyrood in several elections of Scottish representative Peers. In 1761 he was ordered to appear before the House of Lords and show by what authority he took that title, whereupon he presented a petition, claiming descent from Alexander Fleming, a brother of the 2nd Earl, in the usual form, praying their Lordships to allow him to take up the honours, dignities, &c.; but in 1762 it was decided that he had not proved his claim. He died 18 October 1769, and seven years later his son, Hamilton Fleming who styled himself 9th Earl of Wigtoun, presented a petition to the House of Lords to the same effect, but was also unable to prove his descent to the satisfaction of the House. He died on 13 June 1809 with an only child, daughter Harriet, who married William Gyll, Esq. of Wyradisbury House, Buckinghamshire, when the title would have become extinct anyhow. William Hamilton married in 1752, Sophia Baillie, who is mentioned in his will, and outlived him, whether they had any issue is unclear, but he had sold Sparrowe’s Nest by the time of his death. On the death of Charles Ross Fleming in 1769, William Hamilton went to live with his widowed sister Anne at Queen Anne Street, London and placed Sparrowe’s Nest on the market and in 1772 the estate, together with other former Hammond manors, were sold to Lt. Col. Richard Burton-Phillipson for the sum of £7,200 with a sale of the contents of the house and gardens taking place by auction, the building to be demolished. William Hamilton died at his home at Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square, London on 7 February 1776.

I, William Hamilton of Lower Ann Street, in the parish of Saint Mary le Bone in the county of Middlesex, esquire, do make this my last Will and Testament as follows that is to say, I give and bequeath to my wife the sum of one hundred pounds for her immediate use, I also give to my wife my dwelling house in Lower Ann Street aforesaid, with the stables, coach house, offices and accoutrements thereunto belonging. During so many years…I also give to my wife the use and possession during her life of all my plate, china, linen, paintings and household effects and furniture which shall be in or about my said above house at the time of my death. And from and inevitably after the decease of my said wife I direct that the said house and premises in Queen Ann Street if any there is to remain any of the said plate, china, linen, pictures…as part of the residue of my personal estate and go to the person to whom I have given such residue. I give to my said wife an annuity of a yearly sum of two hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain clear of all deductions whatsoever to be paid to her by four quarterly payment during her natural life, the first payment thereof to be made on the first quarter which shall happen next after my decease and I direct that the said annuity and the other bequests hereby given to my wife are untouchable and paid in full satisfaction and barr of all debts or thirds which she may give or be intituled to in or out of manors, messuages, lands, entitlements and such amounts hereof…as my wife for some time past had laboured under a woeful of mind…so I therefore, to prevent as far as I can, her being imposed upon by the artifices of designing persons that she shall be under the care of my sister the Countess Dowager of Wigton during their joint lives and in the case of the decease of my said sister in her lifetime of my said wife she shall be under the care of such persons as my executors shall appoint…After her decease I give to my sister the Countess of Wigton the same annuity if she is then living. To my brother James Hamilton an annuity of the yearly sum of eighty pounds…for his natural life. I give to my said sister the Countess of Wigton an annuity of the yearly sum of sixty pounds…during her natural life. To my sister Margaret Johnston…of forty pounds…I give and devise all my lands, herediments and real estate whatsoever…at East Ham in the county of Essex or elsewhere…to the Earl of Wigton…To my said sister Johnston the sum of forty pounds to my sisters Jane Lang and Mary Lang the sum of one hundred pounds a piece and to Mrs Charlotte Smith wife of my late partner Francois Smith, the like sum and to my progeny William Hamilton the sum of five hundred pounds and to the four other children of my mother Jane Hamilton, the sum of one hundred pounds…to Ann Thrower one hundred pounds and to the said Ann Thrower the further sum of two hundred pounds for the use of her sister Margaret Blatheron…[other bequests to nephews & nieces James Lang, Sarah Lang & Margaret Lang, William Gibbons and Sloan Gibbons, Ann Gibbons, Ann Sarah Gibbons] I give to my daughter [in law?] Lady Jane Hart the sum of five hundred pounds for her separate use and disposal and in the case of my death in her lifetime I give the said sum of five hundred pounds unto and amongst her children in equal shares and I give and bequeath to all my servants who have lived with me for one year next before my decease one years wages as a legacy. I so hereby nominate and appoint my said…the Earl of Wigton, my brother in law, James Lang, Hugh Lang and Thomas Gibbons my executors of this my last will and testament and I give to them the sum of £200 for their trouble [various instructions on payment of legacies] and the residue of all my personal and real estate..to the Earl of Wigton or his heirs…

Signed and sealed the seventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy four

William Hamilton Witnesses James Garth

Jonathan Pugh

W. Hitch

[a codicil of 4th January 1776 increased the payment and annuity to his wife Sophia by £50 each] ‘and all estates either leasehold or otherwise which were part of the estate of her late father…with all other estates and effects which she was intituled.

This will was proved at London with a codicil this tenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy six before the Worshipful George Harris….the Right Honourable Hamilton Fleming, Earl of Wigton, the nephew of the deceased, and one of the executors named in the said will to whom administration…is granted.

NOTE: an amount of £200 in 1776 would equate to £257,000 in 2008 if increased at average earnings over the course of the period.