Ancient, Curious And Famous Wills

Oct 7, 2012 by

Fascinating find for you: Ancient, Curious And Famous Wills by Virgil Harris originally published in 1911.  Some of the people you may know, such as William Shakespeare, Virgil, Aristotle, Earl William Pembroke, John Parker, Mary Queen of Scot, and Duchess of Northumberland.  But it is the odd and curious wills that make this book such a treasure to read.  The rhyming will, the will that bequeaths “peas for the poor,” the widow convicted of forgery on her husband’s will, the pauper’s will, and many other downright bizarre and crazy wills.

Here’s a wee odd one to give you an idea:

Henry, Earl of Stafford, who followed the fortunes of his royal master James II., and attended him in his exile to France, married there the daughter of the Due de Grammont, at the end of the seventeenth century. The marriage was a most unhappy one, and, after fourteen years’ endurance of the disgraceful conduct of his wife, he wrote as follows in his will : “To the worst of women, Claude Charlotte de Grammont, unfortunately my wife, guilty as she is of all crimes, I leave five- and-forty brass halfpence, which will buy a pullet for her supper. A better gift than her father can make her ; for I have known when, having not the money, neither had he the credit for such a purchase ; he being the worst of men, and his wife the worst of women, in all debaucheries. Had \ known their characters I had never married their daughter, and made myself unhappy.”

Will of Noah

It is claimed that Noah left a will, but of course this is an apocrypha. It is said that he divided his landed possessions, the globe, into three shares, one for each son. America was not included in this division for obvious reasons.

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