Wacky Wednesday: Wills That Make You Go “Hmmm…” – Sir Walter Raleigh

walter raleigh NB: This post is part of a series highlighting wills that contain some interesting, and sometimes bizarre, bequests and stipulations. You can see all these posts here.

We now know the harmful effects of tobacco, but Sir Walter Raleigh, who helped introduce tobacco to Europe, was completely devoted to it.

So much so that after making bequests to relatives and charities, he included the following paragraph in his will:

I wish every smoker in the kingdom to be invited to my funeral in every way possible, by letter, circular and advertisement. Every smoker who takes advantage of the invitation shall receive as a present ten pounds of tobacco, and two pipes on which shall be engraved my name, my crest, and the date of my death. The poor of the neighborhood who accompany by bier shall receive every year on the anniversary of my death a large package of tobacco. I make the condition that all those who assist at my funeral, if they wish to partake of the benefits of my will, must smoke without interruption during the entire ceremony.

He asked that his coffin be lined with wood from his old Havana cigar boxes, and that a box of French tobacco and a package of Dutch tobacco be placed at the foot of the coffin.

Because “one never knows what may happen” he also asked that his favorite pipe and a box of matches be placed at his side.

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