The 1896 Deed of
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
Bixby Garnham Luard
Jacob Luard Pattisson
James Jollie Pattisson
| 3rd Part
|| Beneficial owners
Charles A. V. Conybeare
Suffragette; wife of CAVC
| 4th Part
(owners of legal estate)
| Henry Grant Madan Conybeare
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.
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
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.
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
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.