Other events, far less extreme, are well documented in the newspapers of the day.
For the farm to have had a “Swansong” it must too have had its “Heyday”. This undoubtedly was the era of the Adams family
Heyday and The Adams Family
"2/ William Smith farmed Cartfordlaw
Esther Sibbit was daughter to Adam Sibbet of the Greenses (Ancroft) and Esther Adams his wife (of Acton) sister to the old Tommy Adams the attorney Morpeth & New Castle, he left his money 300,000 pounds (sterling) to his brother also Bachelor on the understanding that a this death it was to go to his sister Esther, and her descendants which would be the Sibbits & Smiths but this brother left his money to his natural son of the name Natres who took his mother’s name of Natres thro: whom the money came Mathers of Longridge -------Mrs Mathers was Miss Natres"
Given the fact that Tommy and his siblings didn't marry, with only one illegitimate nephew, the son of his elder brother Alexander, and a host of cousins, descendants of his uncle Thomas Adams at Longhoughton it is quite possible that he would have made provision in his will for his Sibbit relatives.
A Stroke of Luck or was it Fate?
Firstly the legacy in question to Adam Sibbit related to the Eshott Estate only (purchased in 1792 from his client Thomas Carr for £34,000), with no mention made of a monetary alternative.
Secondly this was only to pass to Adam Sibbit on the death of Tommy's brother Alexander Adams, who was always the primary beneficiary. Given the fact that Adam actually predeceased Tommy by a matter of days in 1813 and Alexander outlived Adam by four years it would seem only fair and reasonable that this provision became void by the passage of time.
Thirdly, in all the four pages of bequests concerning the Eshott Estate, monetary gifts and annuities to family, friends, servants and charitable institutions there is absolutely, categorically no mention of a Smith anywhere within the text. In fact the family that benefited the most from the estate of Thomas Adams was as would be expected, his own brother and nephews at Longhoughton and their respective families.
From the information presented I can only conclude that Thomas Adams had made the assumption that Adam Sibbit would outlive his brother Alexander as he was eleven years his junior . Our author has failed to recognise the fact that Adam Sibbit predeceased both Tommy Adams and his brother regardless of the thick black line on the list of bequests!
From the will of Adam Sibbit (a lengthy document indeed) proved in 1813 it is also clear that whilst William and his brother Grieve Smith were to act as trustees and executors to his estate they were not beneficiaries.
My advise to anyone seriously researching their family history is to meticulously follow the facts you know are such, and not to try to make pieces of a jigsaw fit just because it may involve wealth or position. You will most probably find the pieces came from a different box all together and you will be missing out on the story your ancestors are actually trying to tell you.
I have only dealt with the first part of the ‘curious statement’ in this post, but what of the second? Well you will just have to wait until the next instalment and the story of hundreds and thousands of pounds that traversed the globe before returning whence it came, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumberland!
“Copyhold of Inheritance: with one main tenant landholder who paid rent and undertook duties to the Lord. When they died, the holding normally passed to their next heir(s) – who might be the eldest son or, if no son existed, the eldest daughter (primogeniture); the youngest son or, if no son existed, the youngest daughter ("Borough English" or ultimogeniture); or all sons or all children in equal or otherwise prescribed shares (partible inheritance or "gavelkind"), depending upon the custom of that particular manor. In practice, local rules of inheritance were often applied with considerable flexibility. During their life the tenant could usually 'sell' the holding to another person by formally surrendering it to the lord of the manor on the condition that the lord regrant it to the 'buyer'. This three-party transaction was recorded in the manorial roll and formed the new 'copyhold' for the purchaser.
Copyhold for Lives: three named persons were nominated, the first-named was the holder tenant and held for the duration of their life. The other two were said to be "in reversion and remainder" and effectively formed a queue. When the first life died, the second-named inherited the property and nominated a new third life for the end of the new queue. These were recorded in the court rolls as the "copyhold" for this type of tenant. It was not usually possible for these holdings to be sold, as there were three lives with an entitlement. Copyhold for Lives is therefore regarded as a less secure tenancy than Copyhold for Inheritance.
Copyhold land often did not appear in a will. This is because its inheritance was already pre-determined, as just described. It could not therefore be given or devised in a will to any other person. In many instances, the executor of the estate held the copyhold for the term of one year after the decease of the testator, which was called the "executor's year", in parallel with the same concept in common law. Language regarding the disposal of the profits of the executor's year or of a heriot often indicates a copyhold”