Monday, March 22, 2010

Dead Hand over Little Neck

David Seipp, Boston University School of Law, figures in A Test of Will: Little Neck Trustees, Homeowners Seek Changes in 17th-century Bequest to Ipswich Schools, a story posted yesterday on the Boston Globe's website.
When William Paine died in 1660, he left his mill in Watertown and home in Boston to his wife. He gave shillings and pounds to three grandchildren, clergy members and the “Colledge at Cambridge,’’ better known as Harvard.

And to the schoolchildren of Ipswich, Paine bequeathed “the little neck of land,’’ which today is called Little Neck, 27 acres rising over the Ipswich River and the sea. Today 167 cottages dot the wind-swept land that is owned by a trust called the Feoffees of the Ipswich Grammar School. Residents own their cottages, but rent the land from the Feoffees, a medieval term for trustee.

In his handwritten will, Paine also stated Little Neck should not be sold. The land ". . . is to bee and remaine to the benefit of the said scoole of Ipswitch for ever . . . and therefore the sayd land not be sould nor wasted," he wrote.

Now, 350 years after Paine penned his will in Old English [sic], Little Neck could go condo.

Image credit.