1921 The Will of J.R. Cochrane

1921 J.R Cochrane Will 1

1921 J.R Cochrane Will 1

On 5th September 1921, a will was lodged for John Richard Cochrane, Justice of the Peace and owner of Calderglen House, Low Blantyre. A considerably wealthy man was many business interests, the will proved to be complex at 36 pages and certainly gave an insight into how comfortable this family was. Too extensive to type out, I’ve read through and mentioned some of the highlights below.

The assets were to be disposed in favour of John Kinloch Esquire (his business partner and merchant in Glasgow), and his unmarried daughters Miss Laura Maitland Cochrane and Miss Mary Ann Charlotte Maitland Cochrane as well as surviving son James Richmond Inglis Cochrane.

Leaving Assets to his Business Partner, Colleagues & Family:
1. To John Kinloch Esquire the sums of £1,000 for a long and pleasant partnership. (About £40k in 2015 money!)
2. James Kater foreman mechanic and Thomas Stewart Calendar foreman of J.R Cochrane & Company, the sums of £100 each but only if they were still employed at the time of his J.R Cochrane’s death. (about £4k in 2015 money)
3. To each servant at Calderglen, £1 (£40 in todays money) for every year they have been employed in service by the time of J.R.Cochrane’s death. This is quite telling i think in that servants likely came and went quite often.
4. Isabella Gibb, housekeeper at Calderglen, the sum of £100. (about £4k in 2015 money). The will also recognises that this is in recognition for the personal attention she gave J.R Cochrane when his eyesight started to fail.
5. To nieces, Rita and Ethel Hill, the sum of £100 each.
6. Maud Hill, another niece, as she is married already , the sum of £20 to buy a personal moment of her uncle.
7. Each of his grandchildren and his great granddaughter Diana Grazebrook, £10 sterling (about £400 in 2015 money). This was purposely to buy a gold watch and to have it engraved with “From your living grandfather“.
8. James Richard Inglis Cochrane, his son was to get the silver fish slice which had been a wedding present passed down.
9. To each of his daughters it was recognised he had already given them sums through investment of £10,000 each (about £400,000 each in todays money). This was presumably done early to avoid death duties which at this time in the 1920’s were considerable at up to 80% of a family estate! The will recognised that at the time of J.R Cochranes death if any of those investments had failed, then sums should be paid to make up the value back to £10,000 again.
10. In addition to this, the life assurance policies taken out when he married his wife Mary Ann Howden in 1856 and subsequent policies taken out with his business partner, should be invoked.
11. Calderglen Mansion House, the estate grounds, offices and buildings were to be given to his eldest daughter Laura Maitland Cochrane and her little sister Mary Anne Charlotte Maitland Cochrane if unmarried. I.e J.R Cochrane would look after his daughters if they had not married into new families by the time of his death. This also included the possessions of the house including furniture, pictures, books, china, silver, horses, carriages , motor cars, livestock , greenhouses and plants. The estate itself must surely have been worth the best part of £1,000,000 of todays money.
12. To his other daughter Victoria Maitland Cochrane (already married to Rev Humphrey Peare Lindsay) the sum of £5,000 (about £200k in todays money) towards the running of the English Parish vicarage she married into)
13. Then there were all the company assets amounting to £50,000 (about £900k in todays money) to think about, as well as all the considerable stocks and shares, which his daughters were to inherit.

A pre-nuptial agreement was also referred to dating from 1861, but largely irrelevant as J.R Cochrane had outlived his wife. However, the update will revisited the prenuptial agreement to make sure everything it contained had been updated to account for what was to happen subsequently. Thank you to Alex Rochead for taking time to scan these documents to electronic format.


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  1. Since writing I found found out more. Richmond Cochrane (never used the James) died in Scotland on 6 Apr 1936.

  2. Item 8 says James Richard Inglis Cochrane, but his second name was Richmond, as is correctly stated earlier in the article. The scans are really too small to read. Did he get just the one fish slice and nothing else in the will? James Richmond Inglis Cochrane was born on 25 Mar 1857 and I am trying to find out what happened to him as apart from this will the last record I can find is in the 1891 Scottish census. He was an East India merchant so maybe he died in India.

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