A daughter’s inheritance

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Richard Collins, who had inherited his uncle Thomas Ford’s land just before Enclosure, lived on into the 19th century and wrote his will in 1808. He left his son John his real estate (unspecified), but he itemised the household goods he was leaving to his daughter Ann.

The list makes interesting reading, revealing a picture of old fashioned furnishings along with newly fashionable consumer goods. The bedstead in the parlour was a fashion that was on the way out by the middle of the 18th century yet Richard seems to have stuck with it into the 19th. But the equipment for tea and coffee drinking was quite ‘on trend’ for a country village of this time.

Here is what he left her:

6 brown chairs and an elbow chair,

the bedstead, hangings and furniture in the parlour, with three blankets and four sheets, which she shall choose,

a chest of drawers, swing glass, brown folding table in the house [‘house’ is an old fashioned term for the hall, or living room]

a tea table, late her mother’s, the silver tea tongs and silver spoons, the china,teaspooons glasses and earthenware in the parlour cupboard and the clock, grate and iron stool with a set of fire irons in the parlour,

brass kettle

also the bed hilling or coverlet, late her mother’s,

two tubs and a barrel and half the pewter and a dressing table and a brass coffee boiler.


Her mother Ann, nee Dunkley, had died in 1795. Perhaps the tea table had originally been a wedding present from her family and the coverlet possibly a lavishly embroidered piece which she had made, as a showcase for her skills as a needlewoman, for her ‘bottom drawer’ to bring with her to her new home as a bride in January 1765. Tea