Journal Volume 3 2000

The Hodson/Adair Family of Hollybrook (continued/1)

Marrying an Heiress

But it was his eldest son Robert who carried off the matrimonial prize, when he married his first cousin Ann (born 1757). She inherited Hollybrook on her father's death in 1786.

A copy of his will, which is a curious document, has survived among the Hodson papers. After a conventional start with "in the name of God, Amen", Forster decided to be buried very quietly, the cost not to exceed twenty guineas. Should he die in either Wicklow or Dublin, he would like to be buried in Bray graveyard "and brought there by the poor inhabitants of the neighbourhood about Hollybrook - without either hearse or mourning coach and that what remains of the twenty guineas be distributed amongst said poor for their trouble."

While Forster repeatedly expresses affection and respect for his wife, confirming her marriage settlement and adding to it, he appears downright suspicious of his son-in-law. He leaves some of the decisions to his wife, probably to strengthen her hand: she may leave the income of a Longford estate either to nephew Robert Holmes or to Robert Hodson, but only "for the life of his present wife Ann Hodson and no longer". Mrs Adair also inherits "the furniture of the Great Room, Drawing Room, Dining Parlour, and Bed Chamber at Hollybrook together with my books, china, linen, her wearing apparel, ornaments, watches, jewels, trinkets etc. and all my plate..."

While there are no expressions of love for his only child, Forster seems to have intended to leave as much as possible of his property away from his son-in-law. His friends John Roberts of Old Connaught and Rev. Verschoyle are appointed executors together with Mrs Adair. The formers receive a large silver cup and a silver pitcher respectively and are instructed to act as trustees for a Longford property worth £140 per annum. This is to be paid to "my daughter Ann Hodson for her sole and separate use during her life". Only Ann's own signature on the receipt will be valid. This estate is to go to her children someday, and failing that, to the poor "for ever".

Her father left further annual income from county Longford to the poor of Delgany, Bray and Powerscourt parishes, which was still distributed forty years later. These parishes were to elect a committee of parishioners to select and assist "the sick and industrious poor...I do not mean to support the idle". Forster Adair also instructs that accounts should be kept regularly and inspected by the vestry.

Forster leaves handsome sums to his niece Mrs Jane Heppenstall and to John Roberts "hoping and not doubting he will see this my last will faithfully executed as I desire and be a true friend to my wife and daughter."

Captain Adair has not forgotten that his son-in-law signed a bond to obtain £500 from him and wants his executors to call it in, £100 to go to his wife and daughter each, another £100 to the parish and the remaining £100 with interest to Rev. Verschoyle.

Finally, he leaves overdue rents in Wicklow to his servant Mrs Rose Fagan "for her great care and attention to me during my last long illness".

Robert became a baronet in 1789, but we don't know for what achievements or services.


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