Letter from Goytrey House January 11th 1864.
Dear Sir, in reply to your letter of the 31st inst., I gladly avail myself of the opportunity of detailing the circumstances connected with the title to the Goytrey property.
By will of my Grandfather dated 10th March 1799 his property was bequeathed to his children, to be converted into money on the youngest coming of age and an equal division made.
In the year 1822 the division of my Grandfathers property took place- when all the parties interested executed a conveyance to my father and he became the purchaser; and to receive part of the purchase money he mortgaged the property to his mother and sisters, Lucy, Fanny, Maria and Charlotte.
The account numbered 1 Details the above arrangement as referring to one sister, Dorothy Charlotte, a copy or similar account having been placed in the hands of each mortgagee (my aunt Mrs Marriott having had her own copy). – My father having paid off my uncle George in full and some of the other legatees in part.
My father died in Ceylon on the 3rd April 1829, leaving his property to his wife in trust for his children. A copy of his will is enclosed numbered 2.
An agreement was negotiated, by which it was intended that some of the mortgagees, viz; my grandmother, aunts Lucy and Dorothy Charlotte should become the purchasers for £3000 – the document setting this forth in full (number 3)
The mortgagees however refused to notify the proposed agreement preferring to put the mortgage in suit and accordingly filed a Bill in Chancery. Mr Waddington, as agent, or trustee for the mortgagees being the party who in law took proceedings.
The document (no 4) is a copy of the minutes of the decree of the Court of Chancery followed by other orders &c.
No 5 is the account of Mr Waddington the mortgagee in possession by trust and on behalf of the family – in account current with my father’s estate showing a balance due to the mortgagees of £2385-7-6. This account formed the foundation on which the proceedings were taken.
I also send for your information the advertisement of the sale of the property by auction (no. 6.) The sale was made and the purchase affected by Alexander Waddington as trustee for the mortgagees. There being no other bid an order was made to confirm the sale to Mr A Waddington by the Vice Chancellor – a further order was made to convey the property to the individual mortgagees as Lucy Bird, Elizabeth Bird, Walter Marriott, Dorothy C Bird and Mathew Towgood.
There are two deeds bearing even date. Viz: 26th Jan.y 1835 conveying the property to Dorothy Charlotte Bird and in one of them the following clause recites:-
“That in consideration of the sum of one thousand four hundred and forty six pounds to the said Thomas Davies and Lucy his wife, Elizabeth Bird, Walter Marriott and Mathew Towgood, in hand, well and truly paid by the said Dorothy Charlotte Bird at or immediately before the sealing and delivery &c”. The receipt of which said sum, they, the said Thomas Davies and Lucy his wife,
Elizabeth Bird, Walter Marriott and Mathew Towgood do hereby severally and respectively acknowledge of and from the same and every part thereof, doth release, exonerate and forever discharge the said Dorothy Charlotte Bird her heirs &c.
The usual receipt is applauded to this deed and the signatures of the Rev’d Walter Marriott was affixed to the deeds and receipt at Trowbridge, in presence of Frances Fulford & Wm Nightingale.
The document I enclose, marked no. 7 is Jones & Waddington’s bill of costs for the conveyance as above and mortgage to Miss Jenkins in further proof of these transactions.
In order to pay expenses of transfer, liquidate debts and complete the payment to the mortgagees as above, upwards of £300 worth of timber was cut down and sold by my aunt Dorothy Charlotte and £14 was borrowed on mortgage from Miss Jenkins and £100 from Mr Jones. Next several amounts and Miss D C Bird’s own interest in the property enabling her to effect the purchase early in the year 1835 son after my departure for Ceylon.
My aunt subsequently wrote to me in Ceylon to declare her inability to pay Mr Jones’s debt which was demanded and the interest on the mortgage and maintain herself and her mother and brothers on the farm and that it must be sold unless I could make an arrangement to pay the interest on the mortgage, which was then in arrears and the £100 owed to Mr Jones: and was disposed to do so with the view of securing the property to myself, no mention being their made of any further claim upon it beyond those above mentioned.
Upon receipt of this communication I made arrangement after some difficulty through y agents in London, Messrs Price and Bousted, to pay the interest on the mortgage and Mr Jones’s claim and the payments were thereafter regularly made to Mr Waddington my aunts solicitor on the understanding that it was to be a charge upon the property and in the year 1850 when I had returned to England my aunt D C Bird executed a deed, conveying to me the equity of redemption of the mortgage in consideration of the sum of £751-5-9 so advanced by me and which was then forwarded by my agents.
My payments subsequently amounted to £1089-12-8 in payment of interest up to the year 1857.
A further sum of £300 was remitted at various periods for the service of the farm and a debt incurred of £150 afterwards paid by me, making a total advance of £3041-1-8 including the mortgage. The actual payments in money up to Feb 2nd 1857, when I took over the farm, having been £1539-12-8 and mortgage and interest due that date £1501-9-0 making a total of £3041-1-8.
Mr Davies is a professional land agent and valuer residing at Usk then valued the property on my behalf at £2400 and Mr Mathews a railway engineer having been asked by my aunt and uncle to value it made his estimate between £2500 and £2600. A transfer or conveyance was then executed in my favour for the higher sum of £2600 accordingly by my aunt Dorothy Charlotte Bird and forms my title to the property free from any liability.
Having thus disposed, as I believe, in a satisfactory manner of the legal part of the question that has arisen between my aunt and myself, I am bound to add a few observations on the facts connected with it.
In the first instance I cannot but feel that the forced sale of the property by an order in Chancery was a very harsh recourse to have been adopted by the mortgagees; though the remembrance of it and the feelings it engineered have been lost in oblivion and would not be referred to now but for the purpose of explanation. That measure was rendered the more severe from the fact that my father had purchased the property from his mother and sisters and brothers at a full value and had paid a
considerable portion of the purchased money. One chief object in the purchase having been to secure to his mother the family residence for the remainder of her life at the request and solicitation of his mother and sisters. Secondly, the rejection of the mortgagees of the proposed agreement for the purchase of the property at a fair value was certainly a rejection with it of all the former considerations connected with the sale to my father.
A second proposal that the mortgagees should retain possession as an equivalent to the interest on the mortgage until I came of age and could join in a conveyance without reference to Chancery was also rejected. The mortgages acting with reference to their own interests under professional advice.
My aunt Fanny though probably not consistent of their proceedings and leaving them in the hands of others was nevertheless a party to the suit in Chancery. The rejection of a conciliatory settlement as well as the purchase of the property by the mortgagee at public sale and re-conveyance to my aunt Dorothy Charlotte.
You will thus see that as far as my father’s estate was concerned, my aunt Fanny as one of the mortgagees received the full amount of her share by the sale of my father’s property and by any arrangement subsequently made with my aunt Dorothy charlotte she could not by any possible process fall back on my father’s estate or that of my grandfather.
My aunt will no doubt find it difficult invest her mind of the idea after so long a prepossession that she has not received her share of my father’s property. The same may be said of my aunt Dorothy Charlotte who has also no longer an interest in the estate of her father or any remains of it but the satisfactory reflection that so long as she had the property she sheltered her mother & her brothers in it, though in so doing she sacrificed her own living.
I think you will not fail in arriving at the conclusion, after perusing the foregoing statement, that my aunt Fanny has no claim on me or my father’s estate, had there been any – and that in contributing to aid my aunt D Charlotte to purchase the property she contributed a legitimate quote to a mothers comfort in her old age.
You will also see that in addition to paying the full value of the property I have advanced upwards of £400 beyond it. And finally I feel sure that could my aunt Fanny see the matter in its fair and proper light she would be the last person in the world to advance the claim.
Should you desire to have any further documentary evidence I shall be most happy to furnish you with it.
I remain, my dear Sir,
(Signed) Henry C Byrde
To: Harry Nisbet Esqre
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