The Wimple Life, 1908

From the Preston Herald, 22 August 1908:

Unless the widow of Mr Michael J Hanmore, a solicitor, late of 3, Prince of Wales Terrace, Bray, Co Wicklow, consents to enter a convent and devote the remainder of her life to prayer. His executors are instructed that she is to receive her jewellery and wearing apparel only.

This is one of the conditions governing the disposal of the testator’s fortune of which the net personalty has been sworn for probate at £7,801.  It was, Mr Hanmore explained in his will, his desire that, after his death his wife should go into a convent, where she was to spend all her life in prayer, and he left £1000 to the superioress of any convent she might select as her future.”

Solicitors often left unusual bequests. The Belfast News-Letter of 15 January 1935 reports a bequest by Patrick Gallagher, solicitor, Donegal, of monies to be expended in the erection in the town of Donegal of a monument to the Four Masters, constructed in Mountcharles sandstone. The memorial remains in place at the Diamond, Donegal to this day.

Nor was Mr Hanmore the only Edwardian solicitor to distrust his wife. Only the previous year, a will of Mr JH Russell, solicitor, of Newry, excluding his wife, had been held invalid for insanity. Russell had employed private detectives to watch his wife during the period of their engagement and that, later, on his deathbed, had replied to her professions of love by saying that, if he did not know her, he might almost believe her. Mrs Russell, a former musical governess. must have made a good impression in court!

In contrast, there is no evidence of any legal challenge to Mr Hanmore’s will. His obituary in the Roscommon Messenger, 20 June 1908, describes him as a native of the town of Castlerea and extends sympathy to his sister, niece and other relatives.

Was Mrs Hanmore estranged or predeceased or was the will composed on the basis of an expected marriage, which never occurred? Possibly because the anticipated candidate was informed of his plan for her in the event of his death?

Image Credit

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

Leave a Reply