His life and books
|Francis Eld 1650-1722|
|Mary Eld 1679-|
|Elizabeth Eld 1680-|
|Margaret Eld 1681-|
|Anne-Ellen Eld 1682-|
|Barbara Eld 1684-|
Francis Eld was born in 1691, the son of Francis Eld 1650-1722 and his wife nee Elizabeth Palmer. He was baptised on 3 May 1691 at Seighford church in Staffordshire.
Francis Eld was a lawyer, and became Master in Chancery in 1723 and Treasurer of the Middle Temple.
On 31 August 1743 he married Anne Arblaster at St. Benet's church, Paul's Wharf in London (1). She was the daughter of Edward Arblaster (2) of Lywys Hall at Longdon in Staffordshire (3) and his wife nee Anne Wolverston.
Francis Eld died childless on 5 March 1760, and was buried on 16 March 1760 in the chancel of Seighford church in a stone coffin under the communion table (4).
His Will is dated 1759 and was proved in 1760. It is a strange one for a lawyer to have left (5). He seems to have been preoccupied with possible children he did not have, and ensuring that his very substantial property remained within his family. Should his nephew Francis Waldron and his heirs inherit, they were to adopt his surname and coat of arms.
Nevertheless there are several legacies which give information about his relatives and friends based (like himself) in Staffordshire ancestry.
He stipulates that none of his legatees are to stand for Parliament as Member for Stafford (6), and his pictures were to be preserved as heirlooms with his house (7).
His widow Anne Eld nee Arblaster died in 1772, and was buried at Longdon in Staffordshire (8). Her Will dated 1769 was proved in 1772 (9).
(1) The following documents relating to the marriage of Francis Eld and the Arblaster family are held at the Staffordshire Record Office D798/1/11/8 and D260/M/T/5/133. They include documents relating to the Arblaster partition of Longdon 1736; a copy of the Will of Susannah Arblaster dated 1741; the probate copy of the Will of Edmund Arblaster, husband of Mary Littleton, dated 1732 and proved in 1734; the probate copy of the Will of Susanna Arblaster dated 1738 and proved in 1740; a bundle of five deeds concerning the partition of the goods of Ann Arblaster who died in 1734 (sister of the above Edmund) among the children of Edmund and Mary Arblaster; a copy of the Will of Francis Eld dated 1759 and proved in 1760; and a copy of the Will of Ann Eld dated 1769 and proved in 1772.
(2) The surname Arblaster may be derived from the arbalest or arblast, which was a late and larger form of the medieval crossbow. Its steel bow gave it great force. The strongest, drawn by windlass, were accurate up to a thousand yards, and a skilled marksman could shoot two bolts per minute.
(3) Lyswys or Lysways Hall was situated at Longdon in Staffordshire. It was demolished in 1936.
(4) Staffordshire Record Office D798/1/11/8.
(5) He added three codicils, but the first and third are legally informal, as his signature was not witnessed. It required the oaths of two old friends (made before a Notary Public) to attest that the handwriting was indeed his before the Will could be proved. Furthermore Francis Eld had been investing money in (unspecified) land just before he died. There is an air of last-minute anxiety about his bequests.
(6) He makes it very clear in his Will that "no Person to whom my said Estate shall come shall stand a Candidate or ask Votes for himself to represent the Borough of Stafford in Parliament And in Case any Person who shall take by Virtue of this my Will shall stand a Candidate or ask Votes as aforesaid such Person shall forfeit all Benefit and Advantage under this devise and the Person next in Remainder shall take in the same manner as he would be entitled to do if the Person so standing Candidate or asking Votes as aforesaid were actually dead". Francis Eld had himself been elected a Member of Parliament, but was disqualified when he was found to have bribed voters.
(7) "I will that my Pictures there shall be preserved and go along with the House as Heir Looms so far as by Law they can And I recommend that the Picture of my late worthy Friend Sir John Salter Knight formerly Lord Mayor of London may be particularly preserved and taken care of". When the Seighford estate was sold, it was discovered that one of them (that of Sir Thomas Crompton, Judge in the Admiralty) had been painted by Robert Peake the elder 1590.
(8) There is a monument at Longdon to her memory, reading as follows: "Ann Eld died 1772 wife of Francis Eld of Seighford, also Theophilus Arblaster, her brother died 1721, Grace Arblaster, her aunt died 1731/2, Edmund Arblaster of Lysways Hall died 1732 (her father), Frances Arblaster, her aunt died 1732, Mary Arblaster, her mother died 1738/9, Ann Arblaster, her aunt died 1734, Susanna Arblaster, her sister, died 1741, and Edmund Arblaster, her brother, died 1735."
(9) In her Will she expresses concern about her health towards the end of her life, perhaps with good reason. The four attached Codicils are rather rambling. One has an attached note and another a Memorandum, and all but the first are informal in the sense that they were not properly drawn up and witnessed. Hence the need for the Affidavit by two old servants. Even that makes a mistake in that the Fourth Codicil specifies Mrs Ashby whereas the Affidavit calls her Elizabeth Ashby. Nevertheless the documents are highly informative about her valuable possessions and relatives. The four attached codicils are rather rambling. One has an attached note and another a memorandum, and all but the first are informal in the sense that they were not properly drawn up and witnessed. Hence the need for the accompanying affidavit by two old servants. Even that makes a mistake in that the Fourth Codicil specifies Mrs Ashby whereas the Affidavit calls her Elizabeth Ashby. Nevertheless the documents are informative about her valuable possessions and relatives.