52 residents in 52 weeks #13 John Hart

Week 13, a quarter of the way through the year, brings us to John Hart

John Hart bought the Springhill estate from Mrs Turner’s Trust on her death in 1923. He lived in Polefield Cottage and soon began to break up the estate, selling portions to other residents.

John Hart died in 1947, naming his wife Sarah Louisa (nee Murgatroyd) as sole Executrix, sole Trustee and main beneficiary. He
willed that the properties be sold with the proceeds (apart from three personal bequests to various family members and friends) to be invested at Sarah Louisa’s absolute discretion with the income to be used for her own use absolutely.

She did not do this and continued to live in Polefield until her death in 1951. She also made a small number of personal bequests and willed that the remainder of her ‘property real and personal’ be treated as the residuary estate of her husband. Most of the Springhill houses had been sold off by that time so there may have been only Polefield and The Cottage left.

Her 3 executors were given £50 each for sorting this out.

As she made this
will less that six months after her husband’s death, she obviously had no intention of carrying out his wishes.

John Hart willed that after the death of Sarah Louisa that there be a number of small bequests then the residue be divided equally between nineteen relatives and friends whom he helpfully listed together with (for the most part) addresses and relationships. One of the fixed bequests (of £50) was to the Peace Pledge Union, raising the possibility that he may have been a conscientious objector in WW1 - another avenue for study sometime.

After her death, Polefield was sold to the Trustees of Sion Baptist Church for use as a manse.

Sarah Louisa Hart left a bequest to her sister-in-law Sarah Evelyn Murgatroyd. Or rather, she willed that Sarah Murgatroyd’s oak table be returned to her….

Evelyn Murgatroyd lived next door to Polefield at The Cottage with her husband Harry, Sarah Hat’s brother. I remember Mrs Murgatroyd clearly (and Harry vaguely) from my childhood and teenage years. She always referred to her husband as ‘Mr Murgatroyd’ I also remember that she had a beautiful life-size Victorian porcelain baby doll in a wooden cot - an absolute delight which she was kind enough to allow me to play with. I do hope it is still in the family.

[As ever, the issues not directly related to the topic often catch the eye and the article in the Lancashire Evening Post 20 Feb 1934 in which a case at Preston Crown Court seemed to hang on the nationality of a cow is just begging for further attention]