Mr. Collinson has made this document available as an example of the wealth of a framework knitter of means two hundred years ago. The beneficiaries were Joseph's cousins and the list of property reflects the occupation of framework knitting. My thanks to Mr. Collinson for his help and co-operation in providing the document on its two hundredth anniversary.
This is the last will and testament of me Joseph Hurst of Hinckley in the county of Leicester framework knitter...
I give all... my messuage or tenement situate standing and being in Hinckley aforesaid now in the tenure or occupation of John Shipman with the garden outbuildings, privileges and appurtenances... unto my cousin John Hurst of Ullesthorpe...
1 give all... my messuage or tenement... now in the tenure or occupation of William Gorde And also that little piece of ground lying near to the same messuage or tenement now in the tenure of Mary King... to my cousin William Hurst of Hinckley...
I give my messuage or tenement... where I inhabit now... unto Joseph Hurst.
I give my other messuage or tenement... in the tenure or occupation of Richard Harrison... unto my cousin David Hurst of Hinckley.
I do give and bequeath my sitting place in the pew No... in the Parish Church of Hinckley to my said cousin Joseph Hurst... And my other sitting place in the pew No.94 ... to my cousin John Hurst.
The cousins also received the frames which Joseph owned.
That in the occupation of Widow Sharpless - called a twenty-two gage... to William Hurst.
My stocking frame in the tenure of Chandler of Hinckley... called a twenty gage... unto my cousin Mary Jackson.
My stocking frame... now in my occupation... called a twenty three gage to my cousin Alice Simons.
My stocking frame now standing in my own shop called a twenty four gage... to my cousin Jane Sourbridge.
My stocking frame now in possession of myself called a twenty three gage formerly used by my late father to Joseph Hurst.
My other stocking frame now in the tenure of Samuel Craven called a twenty three gage unto my said cousins Alice Simons and Jane Sourbridge equally to be divided between them.
Various small sums of money were to be given to friends and other cousins ranging from £5 to £3.
Finally the dresser, hanging press and bedstead were for Joseph whilst wearing apparel was to be bequeathed to William except 3 of my best shirts which I give to cousin Joseph, who was to receive the residue of household goods.
Surely Joseph was a man of property in his day and a figure of significance in the town, property which compares curiously with that of 1984.
Author: Hugh Beavin
Written for: Hinckley Historian Magazine