Mary Love of Benacre – stepmother extraordinaire?
Contrary to the impression given to us by most fairy tales, not all stepmothers were wicked. In her will of 1704, Mary Love was very generous to her late husband’s grandchildren (well alright, she was a ‘stepgrandmother’!).
After making provision for the payment of her debts and funeral expenses and the charges for the probate of her will, any remaining funds were to be paid to Mary Hodgkins, Elizabeth Clarke, Mary Clarke and John Clarke the grandchildren of her late husband, John Love, to be equally divided between them and to be paid to them within one year of her decease or when they reach the age of 21 whichever was the latest. If any of them died before they reached 21 then their legacy was to be equally divided between the survivors.
It is interesting that she exhorts her executors to be careful to perform all things in accordance with her true intent and meaning. Clearly, a lady who meant what she said!