Family documents

Several family documents from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries shed light on the lives of Fairlambs living at that time.

Bishopside indenture of 1650

1650 deedThe most interesting example is the oldest; a deed of sale dating from 1650. When I first saw it in 1999 it was stored in a kitchen drawer at Bishopside, having been kept with the title deeds for over 300 years.

It has now been transferred from the old brown envelope to a place of safekeeping. See the deed page for more information.

Several other documents relate to the will of Nicholas Fairlamb (b.1673) and provide information about his family and livelihood in the Allendale of the early eighteenth century. The rest of this page explores these documents.

Will of Nicholas Fairlamb (1718)

High Bishopside, AllendaleNicholas Fairlamb was born at Bishopside in 1673. It had been twenty-three years since his grandfather had bought the farm, and eight years since the Great Plague and Fire of London.

Nicholas married a local woman, Elizabeth Maughan, in the January of 1703. At 23, she was a few years younger than him; perhaps she met him through her brother, Thomas, since Nicholas and he were of an age.

Nicholas was a conscientious farmer at Bishopside. He and Elizabeth had eight children; sons Nicholas and Samuell (whose twin John died in childhood) and Thomas, and four daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Jane and Frances. All married locally.

Link to info about Bishopside

Their youngest children were Thomas and Frances (who was only 2 years old in 1718). Nicholas was determined his young family would be provided for after his death.

Physically ailing after the winter of 1717/18, he commissioned a will and a set of directions for the upbringing of all his children. He ensured each received a legacy.

What does the will say?

Signature of 'Nicholas Farlam' on his 1718 willNicholas begins by offering his soul to God, in the traditional manner, before moving to the division of his estate.

Eldest son (also Nicholas) is bequeathed two thirds of the farm, to be turned over to him when he turns 22. The remaining third is given to his mother, ensuring her livelihood after her husband's death.

The remaining two sons, Samuell and Thomas, recieve £20 each when they are 21. Should they die before then each sees his portion go to his brother, or failing that his sisters.

The four daughters receive £10 each. As a final bequest there is special mention for the eldest son and oldest daughter. Mary gets a cupboard standing in the main bedroom and Nicholas is given the family bed.

Elizabeth Fairlamb is commanded to stand as executor and, at Nicholas' direction, James Hornsby transcribed the following will on 30 April 1718.

Transcription of the will (1718)

In the name of God amen. I Nicholas Fairlam of upper Bishopside in the parish of Allendale and County of Northumberland yet being weak in body but in good and perfect remembrance praised be to God for the same, doe make this my last will and testament in manner and form following,

first I give and bequeth my soul to Almighty God my maker and redeemer, hopeing to receive full remission of my sins through the mercy of Jesus Christ, and my body to be buried in such a Christian manner as my execut[or]s shall think fit.

Item. I give unto my eldest son Nicholas to enter of two parts of the tenement of the s[ai]d upper bishopside whenders soon as he comes to the age of twenty two yeares and on the and other third at his mothers decease.

Item I give unto my younger sons Samuell and Thomas either of them the sum of twenty pounds, the one Ten pounds to be paid to each of them but of the land by their brother Nicholas when and as soon as they come to the age of twenty one years and the other ten pounds to each of them to be paid out of the stork by the executor when they come to the age of twenty one yeares aforesaid and provided that either Samuell or Thomas shall decease before they come to the age of twenty one yeares that it shall descend upon the other.

And provided that my eldest son Nicholas dye before he come to full age that the Ten pounds which the second son Samuell is to have out of the Land shall desend upon Thomas, and if Thomas my third son dye before he come to full age that his Twenty pounds shall desend upon his sisters.

Item. I give unto my Daughter Mary the sume of Ten pounds and one Cupboard standing att the Close beden.

Item. I give unto my Daughter Elizabeth the sume of Ten pounds.

Item. I give unto my Daughter Jane the sume of Ten pounds.

Item. I give unto my Daughter Frances the sume of Ten pounds and provided that if any of my s[ai]d Daughters dye before they come to full yeares, that their portion shall be divided amongst the rest of my Daughters.

Item. I give unto my eldest son Nicholas all the husbandry gear and one close bed

Item. I make my dear wife Elizabeth Fairlam executor of this my last will and testament In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand this thirtieth day of April in the year of our Lord God 1718

Nicholas farlam

Witness John Teasdal James Hornsby

Tuition of the children (1718)

Farmhouse interiorNicholas died in 1719. His wife was 39 years old and all his children were minors.

Provision had been made for the children to be supported with sufficient Meat, Drink, Cloaths, and all other Necessaries agreeable to their Condition until they reached the age of 21.

A printed copy and a handwritten copy exist of an Obligation, although they say broadly similar things.

His widow Elizabeth was bound by the York authorities to uphold the terms of his will. She promises to provide a fair inventory of his possessions and pay any outstanding debts he may have had.

Only the six younger children are mentioned in the obligation, Nicholas was 15 and had likely assumed the running of the farm.

The documents were written by Thomas Andrewes and James Hornsby, who were probably officers of the Exchequer Court in York. James Hornsby had also written Nicholas' will the previous year.

They were witnessed by William Thomson of Hexham, a furrier (pellionem) and William Tod, a farmer (agricolem) from Haydon (Bridge) on 9 October 1719.

Transcription of printed obligation (1719)

Elizabeth Farlam makes her crossThe condition of the obligation is such, that is the above bounden Elizabeth Farelem widdow her, executors, or Administrators and every, or any of them, do well and honestly Educate and bring up Samuel Farelem Thomas Farelem Mary Farelem Eliz Farelem Jane Farelem Frances Farelem the natural and lauful Children of Nicholas Farelem late of Allendale in the Diocese of York deceased, with sufficient Meat, Drink, Cloaths, and all other Necessaries agreeable to their Condition and Estate during their minority

and make a true and perfect inventory, of all and singular the Goods and Chattels, and Credits, belonging to the said Children and exhibit the same to the Registry of the Exchequer Court at YORK, at or before the ninth day of April next ensuing, the date hereof,

and also make or cause to be made a true and just account, of the same, when she shall be thereunto lawfully called.

And do also well and truely content, satifie and pay, or cause to be well and truely contented satisfied and payed unto the said Samuel Farelem, Thomas Farelem, Mary Farelem, Eliz Farelem, Jane Farelem, Frances Farelem Executors, Administrators or Assigns, and all such Filial or Child's Part and portion, Gifts, Legacies, and other Personal Estate and all other Rights, Dues and Demands due or owing to them by the Death, last Will and Testament of the said Nicholas Farelem their father Deceased; or otherwise when they shall accomplish the Age of one and twenty Years, be Married, or otherwise lawfully Demand the same.

And, morever, if need require, enter into better Bond with more sufficient Sureties for performance of the Premisses, as the Judge of the said Court for the time being shall think requisite and needfull.

And lastly do save, defend and harmless keep the above named Commissary, and all his Officers and Ministers, against all Persons by reaosn of the Premisses. Then this present Obligation to be Void, and of none Effect, or else remain and be in full Force and Virtue.

the mark of Eliz + Farelem
the mark of Wm Tho[m]pson + Wm Tod
Sigallat & Delilerat in Praesentia
Tho Andrewes James Hornsby

Inventory - Elizabeth Fairlamb (1719)

FarmhandThe terms of the obligation meant Nicholas' widow had to make an inventory of what each child was to receive from Nicholas' will.

The ages of the children in 1719 were as follows: Nicholas (15) Mary (13) Elizabeth (12) Jane (10) Samuel (8) Thomas (unknown, between 3 and 8) Frances (3).

A true and p[er]fect shedule of the estate and legacys of Sam[uel] Farelam Tho[mas] Farelam Mary Farelam Eliz[abeth] Farelam Jane Farelam and Frances Farelam children of Nich[olas] Farelam dec[eas]ed

To Sam[uel] Farelam out of the land rent 10:0=0 
To Sam[uel] Farelam out of the stork 10:0=0
To Tho[mas] Farelam out of the land r[en]t 10:0=0
To Tho[mas] Farelam out of the stork 10:0=0
To Mary Farelam a cupb[oar]d and legacy of 10:0=0
To Eliz[abeth] Farelam a legacy of 10:0=0
To Frances Farelam a legacy of 10:0=0
To Jane Farelam a legacy of 10:0=0

This is a true and just shedule of the whole estate of the 6 younger children of Nich[olas] Farelam of Allendale dec[eas]ed Witness our hands in p[re]sence of Tho[mas] Andrews the mark of Eliz[abeth] Farelam the mark of W]illia]m Thomson

Notes of the spelling of Fairlamb

The spelling of the Fairlamb name varies in original documents, and on these webpages. It was only in the nineteenth century that the spelling of surnames became standardised. 

Prior to that it was at the discretion - or subject to the poor hearing - of the scribe, and most people could not write their own names. The name Pingy Fairlamb (b.1740) was also referred to as Peniyeg, Pinny and Pringle.  

Thus Nicholas Fairlamb is variously described as Farelam and Fairlam whilst he signed himself Farlam. Surnames have been entered here as they appeared on the original documents.


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