The Zimapanners







Nineteenth Century 
Marriage Settlements


"In those days, a marriage settlement was settled upon the marriage".1 Such settlements can be compared to prenuptials and should not be confused with financial settlements made on the dissolution of a marriage. In those days, marriage settlements were a convenient way for a husband-to-be to make adequate financial provision for his wife-to-be, should he decide to desert his wife during the marriage. The arrangement prevented a wife from otherwise becoming destitute or from having to turn to prostitution, for example, to support herself.

Marriage settlement of Charlotte Garnham Luard

In 1815, a marriage settlement was drawn up before Charlotte Garnham Luard (1789-1875) married William Wright Luard (1786-1857), for which "a sum of £22,000 was settled upon Charlotte and her offspring". Jacob Howell Pattisson, Charlotte's son-in-law, became the trustee of Charlotte's settlement fund. However, Pattisson's relatives demanded he step down from his trusteeship of the fund, accusing him of malpractice, abuse of trust and appropriating money from the marriage settlement.

For further details, see Jacob Howell Pattisson's biography.

Married Women's Property Act (1883)
The passing of the Married Women's Property Act in 1883 gave women the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property for the very first time.

Charles Conybeare, who had co-authored a treatise on the Act with a colleague barrister called Andrews, was a supporter of women's rights and a member of the Men's League for Women's Franchise, and so would have entirely approved of the idea of his wife being able to own property.

Marriage settlement of Lily Florence Gage Hodge
In 1891, shortly before he married, John Williams 5th (1861-1942), the owner of Scorrier House in Cornwall, created a marriage settlement for the benefit of his wife-to-be, Lily Florence Gage Hodge. The marriage settlement was in the form of a trust and was subject to the union taking place between John Williams and Lily Florence Gage Hodge - which it did in 1892.

The purpose of the trust was to secure a rental income of £500 a year for the benefit of John Williams's wife after his death, for as long as she remained his widow. The rental would be levied on "certain lands and hereditaments" which were placed on trust with Percy Dacres Williams (John's brother) and William Harding Gage Hodge (John's brother-in-law).

For further details, see the 1948 Conveyance.

Marriage settlement of Florence Annie Strauss
The marriage settlement made Florence co-beneficiary with her husband of the Tregullow Office(s), a count house in Scorrier, Cornwall, a property that later became Zimapan or Zimapan Villa. Other details of the marriage settlement made by her husband Charles Augustus Vansittart Conybeare are not known, but the settlement would have included:
  • a provision for Florence to inherit property which he had secured for her on trust, should he pre-decease or desert his wife following their union
  • a legal entitlement to an equal proportion of any proceeds from the sale of property of which she had been made co-beneficiary, while both were living.
For further details, see:
1896 Deed of Trust
1902 Conveyance

1. Ian K. Nelson.