The Zimapanners







The 1896 Deed of Trust

Conybeare—Seligman et al.

Conybeare puts Zimapan in trust
On 14 October 1896, Charles Augustus Vansittart Conybeare placed Zimapan in trust, subject to the mortgage, to Henry Grant Madan Conybeare (Charles's brother) and Isaac Seligman.1 As a result, Henry G. M. Conybeare and Isaac Seligman became the legal owners and trustees of Zimapan. The 1896 Deed recognised four interested parties (parts), namely:



  1st Part 
 (mortgagor in 1891 
 Charles A. V. Conybeare
Barrister & MP
  2ndPart  Mortgagees (investors)
 Bixby Garnham Luard
 Jacob Luard Pattisson
 James Jollie Pattisson
Civil servant
 3rd Part  Beneficial owners  Charles A. V. Conybeare
 Florence Annie Conybeare

Barrister, MP
Suffragette;     wife of CAVC

 4th Part  Trustees
 (owners of legal estate)
 Henry Grant Madan Conybeare
 Isaac Seligman

Merchant banker

Although no 1896 Deed of Trust was found among the deeds and documents being held by Ian K. Nelson, the structure of that deed of trust can be inferred from the contents of the 1902 Indenture. William Henry Luard Pattisson, the fourth mortgagee in the 1891 Indenture, died before the 1896 Deed was drawn up, and so was no longer a party to the (1896) deed.

Marriage settlement
This 1896 Deed of Trust was "part of a marriage settlement" which Charles Conybeare arranged for his wife-to-be, Florence Annie Strauss. "In those days, a marriage settlement was settled upon the marriage".2 Such settlements can be compared to prenuptials and should not be confused with financial settlements made on the dissolution of a marriage.

A marriage settlement in those days was 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. The precise details of this settlement are not known, but it most probably contained:

  • a provision for his wife-to-be to inherit property which he had secured for her on trust, should he pre-decease 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

Beneficial owners
As a result of this deed, Charles Augustus Vansittart Conybeare and Florence Annie Strauss automatically became the beneficial owners of Zimapan on marriage the following day.

The trustees
Although, as trustees, Henry G. M. Conybeare and Isaac Seligman, became the owners of the legal estate of Zimapan once it was conveyed to them in 1896, they never actually owned the property itself. They simply held on to the property in trust, "as part of a marriage settlement"3, and were only entitled to act on the couple's instructions, not independently of them.4

Deed signed day before wedding
As Florence Annie Strauss married Charles Conybeare in London the day after Conybeare et al. signed the 1896 conveyance5, it was almost certainly signed on the preceding day in London rather than at Tregullow House, Cornwall. Signing in Cornwall would have involved a long train journey back to London the same day to be in time for the wedding the following day. In any case, Conybeare's address on marriage is given as 47 Halsey Street, Chelsea, London.6 It would most probably have been a temporary address, possibly his London 'barrister pad', as the married couple took up residence in 3 Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, shortly afterwards.7

Procedure for selling Zimapan
The consequence of the Married Women's Property Act of 1883, which gave women the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property for the first time, was that Zimapan, or any other land or property FAC owned, could not be disposed of without her consent. As she and Charles had both become beneficial owners of Zimapan in 1896 on marriage, it follows that they would both have had to agree any future sale of the property. Both signatures should therefore be on any resulting conveyance.8

1. Ian K. Nelson.
2. Same as f/n 1.
3. Same as f/n 1.
4. Same as f/n 1.
5. Conybeare & Strauss's marriage certificate dated 15 October 1896, GRO.
6. Same as f/n 5.
7. Kelly's Directory for 1897.
8. This earlier assumption by the author was confirmed after inspecting the original document in September 2009, which indeed shows two signatures agreeing the sale in 1902.