An 1841 will and a case of disinheritance

I’ve just been studying the will of William Cavers gunsmith in London. It’s hard to read, at least compared to Scottish wills I’m more used to. Even Scottish wills from the 16th century are easier to read than this English document!


Snippet of will of William Cavers

As a result I’ve given up trying to decipher the whole thing. Instead I’ve been glancing through it, looking for clues.

William left his household effects, after his wife Sarah died, to his four daughters, unnamed, but presumably Caroline, Jane, Sarah Maria, and Ann. His tools and implements were left to his son William, along with the management of the family business, with the advice that William was “to be diligent to rise early” and to look after the business “as much as lies in his power”. By contrast the eldest son Charles was disinherited, who due to his

immoral and dissipated habits alienated himself from his family thereby forfeiting that claim he would have had naturally had he been a dutifull son. I reluctantly exclude him Charles Cavers from the benefits he would otherwise participate in at the same time should he choose to assist in the business I recommend that he be well remunerated

How sad, given that the last blog post recounted a happier time for the family, an outing to the fair in 1828 to see the animals, albeit one where father William, with his young son Charles and probably little William too, was pickpocketed.

I’ve just spotted another useful clue in the will though. As well as young William and son-in-law Charles Darling, the will also appointed as executor “my nephew Mr James Rivett of Stratford and West Ham in the County of Essex Builder”. That name Rivett has popped up before, with a marriage in 1812 in London between John Rivett and Ann Cavers. So this will suggests that Ann was William’s sister. A valuable clue. I need to look into the Rivett family more next.