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1859 Irish Will 'Mark and Seal'

Posted: 16 Dec 2019 16:36
by rfj1001
Just been transposing a copy of an 1859 Irish Will. The original was dictated and written down by someone else and the version I had was also handwritten - probably by the Probate Court in Belfast in the same year.

The will writer in a subsequent court affidavit states "I wrote said will from the dictation of the said testator and afterwards read over the same audibly and truly to hin and that he perfectly understood the contents thereof and after having heard the same read put his mark and seal thereto and acknowledged same to be his last will and testament and who was of sound and disposing mind and understanding" (sic)

My question is : Is "mark and seal" standard wording or would there have been an actual seal. The reason I ask is the value of the estate was less than £50 and a lot of the family line were illiterate for another generation - so not well off.


Re: 1859 Irish Will 'Mark and Seal'

Posted: 16 Dec 2019 17:21
by AdrianBruce
Interesting! For obvious reasons (i.e. the 1922 Fire) I don't have many Irish wills.

The one (1867) will that I downloaded (which survived because it was proven at Limerick, so this is the Limerick copy) has "Wm Jackson (seal)" at the bottom where the signature would be. The word "seal" is actually in a full ellipse. I have always understood this to mean that a real seal was used. (Though whose seal....?)

The previous one in the download has "Patrick his X mark Nash" in a similar place - "his X mark" is stacked vertically. But the last words of the will read "Given under my hand and seal this 12th day of December 1849". The 1867 will has nothing similar, reading "signed, published and delivered by the Testator ... "

This rather suggests that
(a) My statistical sample is not large!
(b) Practice varied slightly,
(c) That if a real seal was used, it would be mentioned,
(d) Given (c), Patrick Nash's will was not sealed so the phrase "my hand and seal" is just a pro forma that is used because the solicitor always used those words.

Or I could be just guessing!! ;)

Re: 1859 Irish Will 'Mark and Seal'

Posted: 13 Mar 2020 16:12
by Gowermick
More recently, in legal documents, it was quite common to affix a seal and sign a legal document. These aren’t the usual seals made from red wax and stamped with a fancy seal, but a simple sticky label affixed to the document, and are round in shape an coloured red. I believe there was something printed on the label in black ink. I have signed such a document myself, but for the life of me cannot remember the circumstance