George Biggin

George was the second  son of John Biggin, the owner of Cosgrove Priory. The family were evidently people of imagination and it is certain that the Ornamental Bridge, no 65, was designed and built on their land to allow the canal to cut through Cosgrove Village. The belief that this was of the landowner’s own design is not proven, though it seems likely. Neither is there any record of why the Bridge is sometimes called “Soloman’s” or “Solmans” Bridge. It is one of only two stone bridges on the canal.

George was sent away to school at Eton when he was fourteen, and he lodged with Mrs F Yonge, a dame, at Jourdelays house, which would have been brand new at the time.

George appears in the Eton Montem list of June 9th 1778 as Oppidan Salt Bearer. This means he was a highly regarded student, but not a King’s Scholar.


George matriculated from Eton College at Easter of 1780. He attended  Trinity College Cambridge where he obtained his B.A. in 1783 and his M.A. in 1787. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1802, a privilege only awarded to eminent scientists, shortly before his death on November 3rd 1803.

George Biggin
"George Biggin 1783"

by Julius Caesar Ibbetson

This portrait of George by his friend Ibbetson was described as "an accomplished full-length portrait in the Gainsborough tradition [which] should be considered as a milestone in the development of an artist who was entirely self-taught"


As a young student George was friendly with an Italian, Vincenzo Lunardi, who was an early aviation fanatic.

Lunardi was 22 and dashing and determined to gain Royal permission to ‘demonstrate’ a manned balloon flight with the help of his ‘partner’ George Biggin, which was to take place on the Artillery Ground near Moorfields in September 1784.  It is recorded that more than 200,000 people turned out to see this demonstration - an almost impossible number, but safe to say the open ground was packed, and included Royals, a healthy chunk of the nobility and apparently a quarter of London. 

The Daredevil Aeronaut and Miss Letitia Ann Sage In 1766 Henry Cavendish’s new work on hydrogen led to scientists and madcaps all over Europe experimenting with balloon flight.  The concept of little hydrogen balloons for amusement or communication purposes wasn’t new, but it took a series of adventurers to take man into their air.  The most famous of all of these are the Montgolfier brothers with their balloon which ascended in Paris in 1783 and flew over five miles (they weren’t the pilots) and in the autumn of the following year, the ballooning bug would hit London.Vincenzo, or Vincent Lunardi came to England as a diplomat, but was more interested in flying.  He was 22 and dashing and determined to gain Royal permission to ‘demonstrate’ a manned balloon flight with the help of his ‘partner’ George Biggin, which was to take place on the Artillery Ground near Moorfields in September 1784.  It is recorded that more than 200,000 people turned out to see this demonstration - an almost impossible number, but safe to say the open ground was packed, and included Royals, a healthy chunk of the nobility and apparently a quarter of London.  Lunardi, a great showman made everything very dramatic, and also packed his cat and dog into the basket with him for company before releasing the tethers, whereupon the balloon rose ‘with slow and gradual majesty into the air’ to the disappointment of ‘the splenetic’ suggesting Lunardi had his detractors.  ‘He appeared composed, and as the balloon went up, bowed most gracefully, and calmly waved his flag to the admiring and wonder-struck spectators’.  It is hard to imagine the impact this flight had upon those who saw it.  It was regarded as a ‘novelty’ to the ‘untutored mind’ and to ‘the man of letters it was an occasion of the most rational delight - thus to see a new element subdued by the talents of man’.  It wasn’t all glamour though: the cat got sick and was let out when the balloon touched down briefly in North London before Lunardi finally landed near Ware, to a very surprised reception.Lunardi bonnets, fans and garters became all the rage and the charming Italian had quite a fan club.  One of his admirers was Letitia Ann Sage, and it appears the feeling was mutual for he offered her a trip in his next balloon attempt, in June 1785.  This one left from St George’s Fields on the south side of the Thames, in a balloon painted with an enormous Union Jack.  George Biggin and a Colonel Hastings were supposed to joint the flight also, but the balloon was overweight and wouldn’t take off.  Lunardi and Hastings gallantly stepped down and the balloon went up, leaving Miss Sage and Biggin to a fine lunch as they sailed North-West.  The balloon dropped into a field near Harrow, where Miss Sage and the Colonel were abused ‘to a savage degree’ by the farmer whose crops they crushed and they had to be rescued by a gang of boys from Harrow school who had come to see the balloon.The balloon went on show in the Pantheon in Oxford Street, and aerostatic science became the wonder of the age. It is unlikely there will ever be another moment of human invention that will produce the sense of astonishment these first balloon ascents engendered in the watching population.  Even to those who would never grasp the new and constant scientific discoveries of the age these balloons were visible, exciting proof that the world was changing and almost anything was possible. 

Lunardi, a great showman made everything very dramatic, and also packed his cat and dog into the basket with him for company before releasing the tethers, whereupon the balloon rose ‘with slow and gradual majesty into the air’ to the disappointment of ‘the splenetic’ suggesting Lunardi had his detractors. 

‘He appeared composed, and as the balloon went up, bowed most gracefully, and calmly waved his flag to the admiring and wonder-struck spectators’.  It is hard to imagine the impact this flight had upon those who saw it.  It was regarded as a ‘novelty’ to the ‘untutored mind’ and to ‘the man of letters it was an occasion of the most rational delight - thus to see a new element subdued by the talents of man’.  It wasn’t all glamour though: the cat got sick and was let out when the balloon touched down briefly in North London before Lunardi finally landed near Ware, to a very surprised reception.


Lunardi bonnets, fans and garters became all
the rage and the charming Italian had quite a fan club. 
Ibbetson

One of Lunardi's admirers was Letitia Ann Sage, and it appears the feeling was mutual for he offered her a trip in his next balloon attempt, in June 1785.  This one left from St George’s Fields on the south side of the Thames, in a balloon painted with an enormous Union Jack.


St. George's Fields

George Biggin and a Colonel Hastings were supposed to joint the flight also, but the balloon was overweight and wouldn’t take off.  Lunardi and Hastings gallantly stepped down and the balloon went up, leaving Miss Sage and Biggin to a fine lunch as they sailed North-West.  The balloon dropped into a field near Harrow, where Miss Sage and the Colonel were abused ‘to a savage degree’ by the farmer whose crops they crushed and they had to be rescued by a gang of boys from Harrow school who had come to see the balloon.The balloon went on show in the Pantheon in Oxford Street, and aerostatic science became the wonder of the age. It is unlikely there will ever be another moment of human invention that will produce the sense of astonishment these first balloon ascents engendered in the watching population. 


"St George’s Fields" 1785

According to the New London Magazine I:4 (October 1785), p. 178:It is perhaps a true observation, that there is no enterprise, however dangerous or difficult it may be, but the female mind can summons courage enough to undertake it. An instance of this we have in Mrs. Sage, who unites to the tenderness peculiar to her sex, that manly fortitude which constitutes the heroine. Mr. Lunardi having engaged to ascend the atmosphere, accompanied by a lady and gentleman, on Wednesday, June 29th, 1785, about 150,000 people, of all ages and descriptions, were assembled in St. George’s-Fields. The day was clear, and the sun shone with uncommon splendor; but Lunardi did not ascend. That natural politeness which all foreigners possess, in acts of obliging their friends, induced him to give way to the pressing solicitations of Mrs. Sage and Mr. Biggin, when it was found that the balloon would not mount aloft with the three adventurers: the master of the ceremonies therefore mortified himself by staying behind, and permitting his friends to make their visit in a duet to the clouds. It was about a quarter past one when the firing of two guns, within the circuitous space, gave notice that the balloon was going to ascend; and, in about two minutes afterwards, it rose gradually, at about fifteen or twenty yards from the earth, making its direction towards Astley’s Amphitheatre, against which it would probably have struck, if Mr. Biggin had not thrown out a considerable quantity of ballast. Being lessened of its burthen, it mounted with velocity, and got to an amazing height in space of half an hour, making its way towards the west, as if proceeding towards Oxfordshire. After continuing about half an hour in this direction, it veered something to the northward. The appearance it made was really beautiful, and its easy ascent gave the public such an opportunity of viewing the whole distinctly, that every spectator seemed to be perfectly satisfied. Mrs. Sage at first seemed a little agitated when the cords were loosened; but collecting herself, she bid adieu to her earthly friends, and mounted on a pinnacle of height which no woman ever before visited. They descended safely at half past two, in a common field, a little beyond Harrow on the Hill, about thirteen miles from the place of their ascension.

Balloon Corner, Welham Green

Mr. Biggin is a young gentleman of good family, and takes a peculiar delight in scientific experiments. When Mr. Lunardi first ascended with his balloon from the Artillery Ground, it was the desire of Mr. Biggin to accompany him; but the balloon was found incapable of carrying them both. He was a second time disappointed on the 13th of May, 1785, by reason of some mis-management and confusion that took place in the operation of filling Mr. Lunardi’s balloon with inflammable air; the consequence of which was, that Mr. Lunardi ascended alone, but soon after made a rapid descent, occasioned by the bursting of the balloon. On Wednesday the 29th of June, 1785, Mr. Biggin, in company with Mrs. Sage, ascended from Mr. Arnold’s Rotunda in St. George’s-Fields. The sight was uncommonly grand, and afforded ample satisfaction to the numerous spectators. He had a pair of oars with him, but did not use them whilst he was visible to the people of the earth. As there was no valve to let out the rarified air, the only method of forcing a descent was by cutting the balloon. After a very agreeable journey they alighted a little beyond Harrow on the Hill, and were received by the young gentlemen and neighbours with the utmost politeness and friendly attention. It was the intention of Mr. Biggin, in the true spirit of enterprise, to have proceeded farther, after having parted with his companion; but he was prevented by the people about him.


https://nursemyra.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/letitia-sage.jpg?w=241&h=300
Letitia Sage

Mrs Sage was described as Junoesque, and apparently weighed in at over 200 pounds.
On the day she wore a very low cut silk dress, apparently to aid ‘wind resistance’. 

Mrs Sage’s personal account of the drama can be found here:


Daily Universal Register Saturday September 9th 1786

An Invention is recommended to the public, called COFFEE BIGGINS, on a new construction, by which, the making of coffee is rendered more convenient, and the fine flavour preserved, in a manner superior to any machine yet invented, is peculiarly adapted for the use of the parlour, being managed with the same ease as a common tea-pot. Manufactured by DEDERICK SMITH, Tinman &c No 17 Gerrard-street Soho. In addition to the superior quality of liquor, made by these means, it may be mentioned, the great saving, nearly in proportion of two to one of the Coffee, with the same strength. Printed directions will be given with the Coffee-Biggin.


When George was 28 his mother Eleanor died and George inherited the Cosgrove estate, several other of her properties and land and businesses in London.

His older brother Robert, already in trouble, got nothing.

George’s great friend when he was at Cosgrove was Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, who lived at Woburn.

The Duke established a model experimental farm at Woburn, which still exists, and George used tree barks and materials from the Woburn estate in his tanning experiments, developing processes for his tan-yard in Lambeth.

5th Duke of Bedford

George became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1802 for his work in chemistry. George developed processes for the tanning industry and his works were published for that purpose. He was accepted as a Freemason following this.


George was one of the first Englishmen to travel to Paris at the end of the French Revolution, despite obvious dangers

“Mr. Biggin, who was once called in London the handsome Biggin, and who ascended in a balloon from Sloane Street, with the pretty Mrs. Sage, was at that time in Paris : he was a literary man, and had a great taste for the fine arts. He was appointed, by Mr. Taylor, his trustee for the Opera House, during the period that Lord Kinnaird and Mr. Sheldon managed that concern. In conjunction with Mr. Biggin, I engaged the celebrated Winter, to compose three Italian operas, and three grand ballets, for our Opera. I agreed to pay half his salary for the exclusive right of publishing his music for my own emolument ; and had I not been pillaged, that engagement alone would have been a fortune to me, so popular were his works, and so very extensive the sale of them.”
Reminiscences of Michael Kelly



George Biggin was involved in the financing and management of the third Drury Lane Theatre. After his death his share of the company was was advertised in the press.

The Morning Chronicle November 17, 1803

THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY-LANE.

WE, the undersigned surviving TRUSTEES of this THEATRE, do hereby (in pursuance of the directions of the Trust Deed) request a Meeting of the Proprietors of Debentures or Rent Charges of Two Shillings and Six-pence per Night upon the said Theatre, on Thursday, the 22nd day of December next, at one o’clock precisely, at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, for the purpose of choosing a proper person to be a Trustee, in the room of George Biggin, Esq. deceased. Dated this 17th day of November, 1803.
RICHARD FORD
GEORGE SHUM.


Newspaper Articles about George Biggin

Gentleman’s magazine

He [George Biggin] went to bed the preceding night in good health: at four o’clock in the morning he arose and rang his bell; but when the servant came, he was unable to speak, and in little more than an hour, expired. The sudden death of this gentleman has excited the lively regret of several lovers of Science. Mr B was a single man in affluent circumstances, and possessed a good estate at Cosgrove in Northamptonshire, through part of which the Grand Junction Canal was cut some years ago.

A considerable portion of his time was spent on the Continent, in search of scientific and useful information. Before the conclusion of the last war he commenced a tour, which enabled him to reach the capital of France, as early or more so than the many, who on the peace so eagerly hurried to Paris, to contemplate the mental as well as the political revolution it has undergone. Mr Biggin strenuously exerted himself to turn his scientific acquirements to account in the arts, and particularly agriculture and tanning, which recommended him to the intimate acquaintance of that truly noble encourager of useful arts the late Duke of Bedford; and a considerable part of Mr B’s time was spent at Woburn Abbey, where experiments on the barks of different kinds of wood, gathered in the spring of 1798, were made, with a view to determining the proportions of the tanning principle they contained, and which, being afterward printed in the Philosophical Transactions, have, from their novelty and utility, been copied into nearly all the chemical and philosophical works since published. Some errors in the process being afterwards detected by Mr B, and which has caused some barks, particularly that of the poplar, to stand much higher in the scale of tanning than they ought to do, he commenced a new set of experiments on fresh quantities of barks, collected in the spring of 1800, under the care of Mr Farey, his Grace’s agent, who had collected the barks for the former experiments. These latter consisted of more than one quantity of each sort of bark, some collected as soon as the buds appeared, or the barks could be peeled off, and others in different periods of the foliation. Mr B’s interesting experiments at Woburn Abbey, on these latter quantities of barks, some of which extended to the natural process of tanning skins, have not been made public; but it is hoped that among his papers the particulars are preserved.

Several of the experiments made at his Grace’s farm were suggested by Mr Biggin; that in particular of having cisterns of water near the dung-heaps, into which the cabbage stalks and other refuse of the kitchen garden were thrown, to produce a liquor similar, in some of its properties, to the water in which hemp or flax has been soaked, for watering the manure to promote its fermentation. Mr B, in conjunction with men of practical experience, some years ago established a tan-yard on a large scale in Lambeth; where, by a more scientific mode of extracting the tanning principle form the bark, and applying it to hides, than is generally practised, leather of as good or better quality was produced in some months less time than usual. It was also a part of Mr B’s scheme to apply Spanish Chestnut, elm, ash, and other barks, in tanning, which he did with considerable success, and enabled his Grace of Bedford and other landowners to vend great quantities of those articles, which had before been lost to them and the publick.

Among other improvements of less note, Mr Biggin, some years ago, invented a new sort of coffee pot, which has been ever since extensively manufactured, and sold under the name of Coffee-Biggins.

Mr B experienced no symptoms of his approaching end, and was present at the performance of Edward the Black Prince, at the Drury Lane Theatre on the evening of October 31.

----------------------

Northampton Mercury 7th February 1789

During the late severe weather, the Distressed poor at Cosgrove, in this County have been seasonably relieved by the very charitable Donations of Mrs Mansell, George Biggin Esq, the Revd Mr Walker, Miss Lowndes, Mr Franklin &c. – May Charity, that great Characteristic of our Nation, ever flow Spontaneously from the Hands of the Affluent!

---------------------

Morning Post January 11, 1803

DURY-LANE THEATRE. At a Meeting of the DEBENTURE HOLDERS. This day, at the Crown and Anchor, pursuant to the Advertisement, for choosing a New Trustee in the room of the late Albany Wallis Esq. George Biggin, Esq. was (at the recommendation of His Grace the Duke of Bedford, communicated to the Chairman by a letter from William Adams, Esq.) unanimously chosen.
JOHN HELE, Chairman
Jan 10, 1803


George was in rooms at St. Jame's Square when he died.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal  7 November 1803

At his lodgings in Charles-street, St. James’s-square, George Biggins, Esq. who went to bed on Wednesday night in apparent good health, and at four o’clock yesterday morning rang his bell, but when is servant attended him he was unable to speak, and expired in about an hour; Mr. B. was a man of science and taste, and might be considered a public character; he had for years taken the lead in patronizing any remarkable novelty, afforded essential assistance to Lunardi at the first ascent of a balloon in England, and afterwards ascend with him, accompanied  by Mrs. Sage, at that time Mr. B’s chere amie: he was a trustee of the Opera-house and of Drury-lane Theatre.

------------------------------

Stamford Mercury 7 November 1803

Yesterday se’nnight died, at his house in London, of an apoplectic fit, George Biggin, Esq. of Cosgrove Priory, in Northamptonshire

------------------------------

The Scots Magazine 11 November 1803

At London, suddenly, George Biggin, Esq. a very great scholar, and possessed of distinguished talents. His mind was particularly directed towards scientific pursuits, and he was probably the best gentleman chemist in this country. By his various knowledge , gentlemanly manners, and high talents, he had raised himself into the first, connections. He was one of the earliest friends of the Duke of Bedford, and the intimate contumacy continued unimpaired till the death of that Nobleman. Mr. Biggin, many years ago ascended with Lunardi and Mrs. Sage. He was 43 years of age. He seemed to possess a constitution that promised his friends long enjoyment of his knowledge and virtues

---------------------------

The Northampton Mercury November 12th 1803

Mr. BIGGIN

The sudden death of this gentleman on Thursday morning last, has excited lively regret of several lovers of science. Mr. Biggin was a single man, in affluent circumstances, and possessed a good estate at Cosgrove, in Northamptonshire.
A considerable portion of Mr. Biggin’s time was spent on the Continent, in search of scientific and useful information: before the conclusion of the last war, he commenced a tour, which enabled him to reach the capital of France, as early or more so than the many who on the peace so eagerly hurried to Paris, to contemplate the mental as well as the political revolution it had undergone.
Mr. Biggin strenuously exerted himself to turn his scientific acquirements to account in the arts, and particularly in agriculture and tanning, which recommended him to intimate acquaintance of that truly noble encounter of useful arts, the late Duke of Bedford; and a considerable part of Mr. Biggin’s time was spent at Woburn Abbey, where experiment on the bark of different kinds of wood, gathered in the spring of 1798, were made, with a view to determine the proportions of the tanning principle they contained, and which being afterwards printed in the Philosophical Transactions, have from their novelty and utility, been copied into nearly all the chemical and philosophical works since published. Some errors in the process being afterwards detected by Mr. B. and which had caused some barks, particularly that of poplar, to stand much higher in the scale of tanning than it ought to do, Mr. B. commenced a new set of experiments on fresh quantities of bark, collected in the Spring of 1800, under the care of Mr. Farey, his Grace’s agent, who had collected the bark for the first experiment. These latter consisted of more than one quantity of each sort of bark, some collected as soon as the buds appeared, or the barks could be peeled off, the others in different periods of the foliation.
Mr. Biggin’s interesting experiments at Woburn Abbey, on these latter quantities of barks, some of which extended to the natural process of tanning skins, have not been made public; but it is hoped, that among Mr. B’s papers, the particulars are reserved.
Several of the experiments made at his Grace’s farm, were suggested by Mr. Biggin; that in particular, of having cisterns of water, near the dung-heaps, into which the cabbage-stalks and other refuse of the kitchen garden were thrown, to produce a liquor, similar in some of its properties, to the water in which hemp or flax has been soaked, for watering the manure, to promote its fermentation.
Mr. Biggin, in conjunction with men of practical experience, some years ago established a tan-yard on a large scale in Lambeth, where by a more scientific mode of extracting the tanning principle from the bark, and applying it to hides, than is generally practised, leather of as good or better quality was produced, in some months less time than usual. It was also a part of Mr. Biggin’s scheme to apply Spanish chestnut, elm, ash, and other barks in tanning, which he did with considerable success, and enabled his Grace of Bedford and other land-owners, to vend great quantities of those articles, which had before been lost to them and the public.
Among other improvements of less note, Mr. Biggin, some years ago, invented a new sort of coffee-pot, which has been ever since extensively manufactured, and sold under the name of Coffee-Biggins.
Mr. B. experienced no symptoms of his approaching end, but was in perfect health, and was on Monday evening, present at the performance of Edward the Black Prince, at Dury Lane Theatre.

George’s burial is recorded both in London records and in the Burials book of Cosgrove for November 1803.

It is possible that a London burial was arranged by his friends and then his family and heirs may have brought him instead to Cosgrove to be buried with his parents.


Will of George Biggin November 3rd 1803

Page 1

This is the Last Will and Testament of me George Biggin of Cosgrove in the County of Northampton Esquire I give and devise All my Messuages Lands Tenements Hereditaments and Real Estates whatsoever situate lying and being at Cosgrove aforesaid and elsewhere in the said County of Northampton unto and to the use of my Nephew John Mansel and Robert Halden Bradshawe of Grafton Street near Fitzroy Square in the County of Middlesex Esquire John Sudlow of Monument Yard London Gentleman And Thomas Ewsdin of Stony Stratford in the County of Bucks Gentlman their Heirs and Assigns upon the Trusts nevertheless and to and for the intents and purposes and under and subject to the powers provisoes and declarations hereinafter expressed declared and contained of and concerning the same that is to say Upon Trust that they my said Trustees and the Survivors and Survivor of the Heirs of such Survivor and shall by and out of my the Rents Issues and Profits of the said Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments so devised to them In Trust as aforesaid during the natural life of my Aunt Frances Hill pay unto her the said Frances Hill or her Assigns One Annuity or Yearly Sum of twenty five pounds of lawful money of Great Britain free and clear of and from all manner of deductions whatsoever by two equal half yearly payments that is to say on Midsummer Day and Christmas Day in every year the first payment thereof to begin and be made on such of the said days as shall happen next after my decease And upon further Trust they my said Trustees and the Survivors and Survivor of them and the Heirs of such Survivor do and shall by and out of the Rents Issues and Profits of the said Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments so devised to them as aforesaid pay unto Ann Birch the Wife of John Birch (who in pursuance of or under certain Articles of Separation made and entered into by and between her and her Husband lives apart from him) during the term of her natural Life in case shall to so long continue to live apart for her said Husband or unto such person or persons as she shall by any Note or Writing under her hand direct or appoint to and for her own sole separate and peculiar use and benefit One Annuity or Yearly Sum of four hundred pounds of like lawful money free and clear of and from all manner of deductions whatsoever at and by four equal Quarterly payments in the year (that is to say) Lady day Midsummer day Michaelmas day and Christmas day in every year during her Life And in case she shall so long continue to live Apart from her said Husband the first payment begin and be made on such of the said days as shall happen next after my decease provided always and I do hereby declare my Will to be that if the said Ann Birch shall at any time hereafter cohabit with her said Husband or if the said Annuity or Any part thereof shall by virtue of any of any present or future Law become the property of the said John Birch or if he the said John Birch shall by virtue of any agreement gift deed conveyance or appointment of her the said Ann Birch have or derive any Right Title Interest Benefit or advantage whatsoever in to or out of the same or any part thereof then in any of the said cases the said Annuity shall cease determine and be absolutely void to all intents and purposes whatsoever And Upon Trust that they my said Trustees and the Survivors and Survivor of them and the Heirs and such Survivor do and shall from and after the decease  of the said Frances Hill and Ann Birch respectively And also from and after the decease of the said Frances Hill and the forfeiture of the said Annuity of four hundred pounds by the said Ann Birch And in the mean time To the use of my Nephew George Mansel in case he shall live to attain the age of twenty one years   and to the Heirs and Assigns of the said George Mansel for ever But in case my said Nephew George Mansel shall die under the age of twenty one years without leaving any Issue of his Body lawfully begotten Then Upon Trust to convey and assure the said Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments unto and to the use of my Nephew Robert Mansel his Heirs and Assigns for ever provided always and I do hereby Declare my Will to be that my said Trustees and the Survivors or Survivor of them and the Heirs and Assigns of such Survivor shall and may during the Life time of the said Frances Hill and Ann Birch and the Minority of my said Nephew George Mansel apply all or any part of the Surplus Rents Issues and Profits of the said Hereditaments and premises so devised to them as aforesaid and from and after the decease of the said Frances Hill and Ann Birch or the decease of the said Frances Hill and the forfeiture of the said Annuity  of four hundred pounds by the said Ann Birch during the Minority of my said Nephew George apply the whole or any part of the Rents Issues and profits of the Hereditaments and premises for and in the maintenance and education of my said Nephew and also for the advancement in the Army in such manner as my said Trustees and the Survivors or Survivor of them and the Heirs and Assigns of such Survivor shall in his or their discretion think proper And I give and devise my freehold Messuages or Tenements and Hereditaments situate in and near Princes Street Rotherhithe in the County of Surrey with their and every of their appurtenances unto and to the use of my Nephew Robert Mansel his Heirs and Assigns for ever I give and bequeath unto my Cousins Mary Rice and Frances Johnson the sum of fifty pounds each to be paid to them respectively and for their own respective sole and separate use and benefit independent of their respective Husbands And I do hereby Direct that the Receipt alone of them the said Mary Rice and Frances Johnson respectively for the same shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my Executors for the said Legacy so given to them respectively I give and bequeath unto my Cousin Edward Hill the sum of fifty pounds Also I hereby declare my Will and mind to be that my Aunt the said Frances Hill shall during her Life have the use and enjoyment of my Leasehold Messuage or Tenement which she now inhabits situate in Paddington Street in the parish of Saint Mary le bone in the County of Middlesex without payment of any Rent or Satisfaction for the occupation thereof other than and except the Ground Rent which shall become due and payable for the same by   of the Lease under which I hold the said Messuage And I give and bequeath unto my said Trustees whom I have hereinafter appointed Executors of this my Will the Sum of one hundred pounds apiece in token of my esteem for them And as to and concerning All my said Leasehold or Messuages or Tenements Lands and Premises whatsoever and wheresoever (subject only as to the said Messuages Tenements now in the occupation of my said Aunt to her life Interest therein And as to and

Page 2

And concerning All the rest residue and remainder of all my personal Estate and E[ffect]s whatsoever and wheresoever I give devise and bequeath the same every part thereof with their and every of their appurtenances unto my said Nephew John Mansel the said Robert Holden Bradshawe John Sudlow and Thomas Ewsdin their Executors Administrators and Assigns for and during all such Esta… Term Right and Interest as I shall have therein and thereto respectively at the time of my decease subject to and charged and chargeable nevertheless with the payment of all my just debts and funeral and Testamentary Charges and Expences Upon Trust nevertheless and to and for my Nephews Robert Mansel Henry Longueville Mansel and my Niece Mary Ann Mansel equally between them share and share alike as tenants in common and not joint tenants and to be paid assigned and transferred to him her and them respectively at his her or their age or respective ages of twenty one years and his hers their respective Executors Administrators and Assigns and in case any or either of them shall happen to die under the age of twenty one years leaving any child or children of his her or their Body or respective Bodies lawfully begotten upon Trust to pay assign and transfer part or share parts or shares of such of them as shall so die leaving any such child or children as aforesaid unto and equally between or amongst such his her or their children if more than one share and share alike and if but one to such only child at such time or respective times and with such benefits of Survivorship and accuer? and with such person to apply the Rents Issues and Profits Interest and annual produce in and for his her or their maintenance and in such manner in all respects as is hereby directed  with respect to my said Nephews and Niece and in case my said Nephews Robert, Henry Longueville and my said niece Mary Ann shall all happen to die under the age of twenty one years and without leaving any child or children lawfully begotten Then Trust to pay and assign and transfer all and singular the said Trust Find and premises unto such person or persons as shall at the time of the death of the survivor of them my said Nephews and Niece be entitled thereto as my next of kin according to the Statute directing the distribution of the person Estate and Effects of persons dying Intestate provided always and I do declare my will to be that it shall and may be lawful to and for my said Trustees and Executors and the Survivors and Survivor of them and the Executors or Administrators of such a Survivor during the Minority of my said Nephews and Niece to pay and apply all or any part of the proportion of each of them of and in the Rents issues and Profits Interest and annual produce of the said Trust premises in and for his her or their maintenance and education and also the proportion of my said Nephews or either of them and in the said Rents Issues and Profits Interest or annual produce for and towards the advancement of such Nephews respectively in the Army and I do hereby further declare my mind and will to be that my said Trustees and Executors and the Survivors and the Survivor and the Heirs and Executors and Administrators of such Survivor shall be charged and chargeable only for so much and such of the said Trust Estates Monies and Premises as they and each of them shall respectively actually receive by virtue of this my will and that the one of them shall not be answerable or accountable for the other or other of them nor for the Acts Deeds Neglects or Defaults of the other or others of them but each of them for his own Acts Deeds Receipts Neglects or Defaults only And that they or any or either of them shall not be answerable or accountable for any Bank Banker or Broker with whom or in whose hands the said Trust Estates and Monies or any part thereof shall or may at any time or times be lodged or deposited for safe custody or otherwise in the execution of the aforesaid Trust not shall they or any of them be answerable or accountable for any misfortune loss or damage which may happen in the execution of the Trusts hereby in them reposed  unless the same shall happen by or through his or their own wilful neglects or defaults respectively And also that they my said Trustees and Executors and the Survivors and the Survivor of them and the Heirs Executors and Administrators of such Survivor and each and every of them shall and may by and out of the Trust Monies of them and the Heirs Executors and Administrators of such Survivor and each and every of them shall and may by and out of the Trust Monies which shall come to their or any of their hands by virtue or in pursuance of this my will deduct and retain to and reimburse themselves respectively All such Costs and Charges and Expences as they or any of them shall or may at any time or times pay sustain expend or be put unto in or about the execution of the several Trusts hereby reposed in them respectively or any of them or any wise in relation thereto And I do constitute and appoint my said Nephew John Mansell and the Said Robert Haldon Bradshawe and Robert Ewesdin Executors of this my will and revoking all other Will and Wills I publish and declare this only to be my last will and Testament in witness whereof I the said George Biggin have to this my last Will and Testament contained in six sheets of paper to each of the first five set my hand and to this sixth and last sheet set my hand and affixed my Seal this twenty fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and ninety four  ----- Geo Biggin  ---- signed sealed published and declared by the said George Biggin the Testator and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who his request in his presence and in the presence of each other subscribed our names as witnesses thereto ---- Jno Roberts Monument Yard Jno Jefferson W Watts Clerks to Sudlow and Roberts Monument Yard

Interesting sections of this will include the following:

pay unto Ann Birch the Wife of John Birch (who in pursuance of or under certain Articles of Separation made and entered into by and between her and her Husband lives apart from him) during the term of her natural Life ………

One Annuity or Yearly Sum of four hundred pounds of like lawful money…….

that if the said Ann Birch shall at any time hereafter cohabit with her said Husband or if the said Annuity or Any part thereof shall by virtue of any of any present or future Law become the property of the said John Birch…….  the said Annuity shall cease determine and be absolutely void.

John Biggin’s daughter, Mary Anne had married John Mansel, the army officer, in 1768.

George left the Cosgrove estate to his nephew, Mary Anne’s son John Christopher, so that the Mansells then owned both the Priory and Hall estates and the manor of Cosgrove.


The Northampton Mercury

FURNITURE AND EFFECTS, COSGROVE,
Northamptonshire.
To be SOLD by AUCTION, By JOHN DAY,
On Thursday the 9th Day of February, 1804, removed
for Convenience of Sale to a House near the Church-Yard, in COSGROVE aforesaid,

THE following EFFECTS of the late GEORGE Biggin, Esq; deceased ; comprising Four – post Bedsteads Dimity,  Morine,  and other Furnitures ; Goose and other Feather-Beds; Counterpanes, Quilts, and Blankets ; Mahogany Tables, Chairs, Bureau, Writing-Cases, Knife and Spoon Cases, dumb Waiter, and two large Mahogany Corner Cupboards; fine-toned Harpsichord, by Kirkman; Time-Piece; Sofa and Easy Chairs; Pier and Swing Glasses; Turkey and Persian Carpets; Wardrobe; Model of a Man of War; subdry Volumes of Books;  Number of sweet Iron-bound Beer Pipes and other Casks ; stout Kitchen Grate, and Kitchen – furniture.  Also two Hovels of Wheat, two complete Winnowing Machines, and a new Two-drill Plough: 60 Ewe Sheep, 49 Tegs, and one capital Tup; with various other Effects. The Sale will begin exactly at Ten o’Clock with the sheep, corn, &c. and the Furniture immediately after: the Whole to be sold in one day if possible.