A Pair of Casters with chased Decoration (Stock Number 4422)

This pair of casters by Samuel Wood has unusual chasing on both the bodies and the lids — and bases that carry an inscription which relates to their presentation. One reads ‘The Gift of Will[ia]m Hartiput to Susannah Sclater born ye 23d Feb[ruary] 1741’. The inscription on the second caster is very similar to the first but the engraver has used the more modern ‘the’ in place of ‘ye’ in the date. Genealogical records show that a Susannah Sclater was baptised in Exeter 10 days after her birth (Ref. 1) .

The last will and testament of William Hartiput, made in 1748 and proved in 1750, records him as ‘Gentleman of Exeter’ (Ref. 2) . Wills for the Sclater family appear in the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in a number of parts of the country but a cache of documents left to the University of Nottingham by the Dukes of Newcastle, reveals a branch of the Sclater family in Exeter with very close links to the Hartiputs (Ref. 3).

The earliest relevant document in the group is the will of Sir Thomas Travell of Milborne Weeke (Wick), Somerset dated 1721 (Ref. 4). He left the majority of his estate to ‘William Moore and his heirs’. Travell (d.1724) was a Member of Parliament but was also known for his interest in the occult and his success in finding treasure. This included a haul worth £9,500 from a ship sunk off Southampton in 1689 apparently found due to Travell’s ability to see ‘little pillars of fire over the wreck’ (Ref. 5) . William Moore’s heir was William Sclater of Exeter whose will was made in 1730, and proved in 1734 (Ref. 6).

Sclater’s will divided his estate into three parts: one for John Wyatt, one for William Hartiput (described as his brother-in-law in the will) and the third to Sclater’s wife Grace.

This will therefore shows the first link between the Sclater and Hartiput families. Sadly, the available genealogical sources do not reveal the marriage by which William Hartiput became William Sclater's brother-in-law.

William Sclater married Grace Wyatt on 9 th July 1696 at St. Mary Arches, Exeter (Ref. 7) — thus making John Wyatt a close relative by marriage.

The next will in the sequence is that of William Hartiput himself, made in 1748 and proved in 1749 (Ref. 8).

Hartiput left £40 in trust for his daughter Susannah Neville, with an additional £60 annuity after the death of her husband. The majority of his estate went to his other daughter Elizabeth. She had been baptised Elizabeth Crabb Hartiput in 1707 (Ref. 9) but by 1748 she was referred to in the will by her married name Elizabeth Crabb Sclater. The only other major bequest was to his granddaughters Elizabeth and Susannah Sclater (named after their mother and their aunt). He left them equal shares in a sum of £3000 (to be paid when either one or both reached twenty six years).

This will therefore shows that the marriage of Elizabeth Crabb Hartiput provided a further dynastic link between the Sclater and Hartiput families. A document dated 1765 in the sequence relating to the law suit surrounding the estates once owned by Sir Thomas Travell shows that Elizabeth Crabb Sclater’s husband was another William Sclater (Ref. 10). This William Sclater was a ‘gentleman formerly of Exeter, and afterwards of St. Clement Danes, Middlesex, who died intestate’ and is described as ‘J[u]n[io]r’.

This document also suggests that the younger Elizabeth Sclater, William Hartiput’s granddaughter and the sister of the recipient of this pair of casters, had died sometime before 1765 but after 1753 (when she is recorded as a party to a lease).

An Elizabeth Sclater, the daughter of William Sclater Junior and Elizabeth was christened at All Hallows Church, Almondbury (Yorkshire) on 26 th January 1744 (Ref. 11). It is noteworthy that the designation ‘Junior’ was used for the William Sclater in the legal correspondence mentioned above. If this baptism is for the correct Elizabeth Sclater she is Susannah’s younger sister and her apparent death occurred before her 26 th birthday. This would have meant that she would not have received her share of the £3000 mentioned in William Hartiput’s will and it would have reverted to her sister — making Susannah a significant heiress.

These documents can therefore be seen to provide the evidence that these casters were an unusual gift from a grandfather to his granddaughter and give a wider historical context to the family.


Luke Schrager

Ref. 1: Ancestry (online)

Ref. 2: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3150-3151.

Ref. 3: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3143-3162.

Ref. 4: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3146.

Ref. 5: https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1690-1715/member/travell-sir-thomas-1657-1724

Ref. 6: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3147 and notes to 3150-3151

Ref. 7: Ancestry (online)

Ref. 8: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3150-3151.

Ref. 9: Ancestry (online)

Ref. 10: University of Nottingham: Newcastle Manuscripts: Ne D 3159-3160

Ref. 11: Ancestry (online)


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