Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Will of Dr George Fitzhenry of Brynmawr Wales

This is one of the wills that I ordered last month. As per the usual style, there is no punctuation.

This is the last Will and Testament of me George Fitzhenry MRCS and LSA of No. 24 King Street Brynmawr in the County of Brecon I direct that my body shall be buried in St. Mary's Churchyard Brynmawr After the payment of my just debts and the expenses of my burial I give and bequeath all my property real and personal including the policy of insurance upon my life to my wife Jane Fitzhenry absolutely I appoint Alexander Lowe Esq. MB Brynmawr and Alfred Maddox Jones Esq. Chemist King Street Brynmawr Executors of this my Will and I hereby revoke all former Wills and Codicils Signed this seventeenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety two.
G Fitzhenry Surgeon

George died on October 23rd 1893.
On the 11th day of January 1894 Administration with this Will of the effects of the Testator was granted at Hereford to Jane Fitzhenry Widow of the Residuary Legatee.

So a trip to Brymawr was called for which coincided nicely with a holiday to Wales. If George had specifed his final resting place so precisely, surely it was going to be easy to find his grave? Wrong!
After about a quarter hour working my way up and down the rows of Welsh granite headstone through the long grass in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin Brynmawr, the overseer of the council grass cutters came over to ask me who I was looking for. She said that she was sure that she had seen George's gravestone but couldn't remember where in the churchyard - she would take me down to ask the vicar. I'm sure he was in the middle of his lunch when we knocked at his door, but fair play to him he opened up the church so we could consult the burial registers together. George definitely hadn't been buried in St Mary's churchyard as he had requested.

So this throws up more questions. Why didn't Jane bury George as per his will? Why didn't George recognise Harriett, his daughter by his first marriage? And where is George buried?

My thanks to the Reverend Richard Grey of St Mary's Brynmawr for his assistance in this quest.

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