George S. V. Wills – English Chemist

I came across a little book recently called The Works of George S. V. Wills and The Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy. I knew prior to this discovery that we have a George Wills in our family tree who was an accomplished builder and sculptor in Northamptonshire, England, in the early 1800s.  His dates as I have them listed are 22 Feb 1793 to 24 July 1856. This is a family line that has been on my “to-do” list for quite some time, and I must admit that this curious little book spurred me to place the Wills higher up in my research priorities. The first few chapters give sufficient detail about G.S.V. Wills to know that he was a grandson of our George Wills who was a son of Sampson Wills, also a well known builder in his day. So I have plenty of information to work with to piece some more family details together, and I will begin to share them in subsequent posts.

George Wills, 1793-856, Image from private family archives. George Wills' original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

George Wills, 1793-856, Image from private family archives. George Wills’ original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to the will

Meanwhile, I am including an image of George Wills that has traveled down through the generations and landed with me and my family. George was married to Mary Capon, whose mother, Mary Pitt Capon, was supposedly a cousin of William Pitt, prime minister of England from 1783-1801.

I have done searches on the Wills name on the LDS site and have come up with dozens of Wills ancestors but have yet to find those on our direct line. The areas in Northamptonshire I am focusing my research on are Stony Stratford, Blisworth, and Roade. I believe George Wills is buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Wolverton, Buckingham, England. If anyone reading this has any details to share, please get in touch. Thanks.

Update (12/11): Since writing this entry, I have made many posts about the Wills family. Click on “Wills” in the left-hand column under “Surnames”. It’s best to read them in chronological order. For G.S.V. Wills family exclusively, click here.

England map

Locations of Roade and Blisworth

Categories: Blisworth, Northamptonshire, Pitt, Pime Minister William, Roade, Northants, Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, Wills, Wolverton, Buckinghamshire | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “George S. V. Wills – English Chemist

  1. David Gio

    Hello – I did some research on my great great grandfather some time ago as my mother’s maiden name was Wills. I knew from an early age that he had founded the Westminster College of Pharmaceutics and had published various books, some of which were still available via the second-hand market.
    My mother, Constance Gertrude Gilbert married Cecil George Gilbert, and practiced as a dispensing chemist for Boots in the pre-war years.

    After a break of several years, I am now trying to research the family history in more depth and would be grateful for any information that you might be able to supply.

    Kind Regards,

    David Gilbert


    • This is part of my line too. GSV Wills was my grandmothers grandfather!
      Colin Newton… I have quite a lot of detail on the tree. How can I access –
      The Works of George S. V. Wills and The Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy.


    • To David Gilbert—my cousin in England..My name is Bruce Reginald Wills,My father was Auntie Connie”s younger Brother…Reginald Arthur Wills 1908-1986 I am his eldest son, and I remember going to 55 aungast road in the 1940’s-1950’s and did you have a sister Shirley ? Diid you live over a Barber shop? Long time ago..we lived in Wallington at 13 West Avenue..which house is still there email address is I am in Long Beach California, my sister Daphne is visiting England right now..You have a relative grandson of Auntie Dorothy..Colin Newton of


  2. David Gilbert

    I believe G.S.V.Wills to be my great great grandfather. I have known for many years about the founding of the Westminster Pharmaceutical college and the various books that he published. My mother, nee Constance Gertrude Wills, married Cecil George Gilbert, and worked as a dispensing chemist for Boots prior to WW2.
    I am interested in pursuing any links to further my research into the family as various nieces and nephews are showing an interest in their lineage!

    I would be very grateful for any information that you might be able to supply.

    Kind Regards

    David Gilbert


    • David – my grandmother was Dorothy Warren nee Wills her sister was Constance. We called her Great Aunty Conny – did she live many years in New Zealand? I have some video of her…

      I thought her husband was John Gilbert?
      I have record of Jonathon,Olive SHirley and Irene – but not yourself??

      I would love to see your tree?

      Are you on Genes reunited??
      Colin Newton

      please email me ASAP


  3. David Gilbert

    Hello Colin

    I new Aunty Dorrie (as we called her) well. We visited a few times when she was living in Ipswich with her daughters and, as I remember, a son. My father’s real name was Cecil George, but he was always called John.
    My sisters are Olive, Irene, Phyllis, and Shirley. There was a baby boy called John who died at 3 months of age. I was the final, successful, attempt to have a boy!

    Unfortunatley the original family tree that I constructed was accidentally spolled by an elderly relative and I haven’t managed to recreate it.

    We still own a writing desk, and other bit and pieces, presented to G.S.V.Wills by his students.

    As for Mum, she lived happily in N.Z. for 30 years, returning twice to visit when in her 80’s. Her final year was spent in an old folks home, and the night before she died, was playing the piano to entertain the other residents.

    You can contact me via and I’ll see what other documents we can pass on.

    Dave Gilbert


    • Colin Newton

      Wow – this is amazing!

      Where do you live now?

      The blog is excellent and is helping my Family Tree work no end! There was lots of tree info you had put there on there based on your grandmothers work…

      I have a lovely piece of video of Dorothy and Constance talkiing in Ipswich – I will find a way to put on line for you to look at…

      I would love a picture of G.S.V.Wills writing desk! DO you have any photos of him? I have one only.

      Could I trouble you for birth places/and dates of birth for you and your brothers and sisters and any info on offspring?

      Do you want to see the tree I have created… I have Jabez’s wife’s name for instance…

      Not sure how best to do this…

      COlin (second cousin?)


  4. You don’t give your name anywhere so I am not sure to whom I am writing? Georgina Wills, daughter of George S V Wills, was my grandmother. The botanical pictures for the students were painted by Georgina and I would love to have some of those! Also I have been wondering where on earth I could find the little book you speak of written by Rev Phillip Barns. Any idea where I could find a copy?
    Susie Cazenove


    • Hello, Susie; Thank you for visiting my blog! My name is on the ‘About’ page. I’m glad you came across some useful information. Could you tell me which botanical pictures you are referring to? As for the book itself, all I can suggest is regularly checking online sources like eBay, Amazon, Alibris, etc. You may get lucky. Otherwise, my blog has all the pages but you probably noticed that!

      Some other GSV Wills descendants have been in touch with me via the blog. If you’d like to send me an email at chipsoff at gmail dot com, I will forward your email address to them. (I am a descendant of GSV Wills’ Aunt Mary Capon Wills.) Also, if you have any additional info you want to share on the Wills line, please feel free to do so!


    • Hi Susie – where do you fit into family tree – I cannot find your name in the records I have collected so far…
      Thanks Colin Newton


      • Susie Cazenove

        My grandmother was Georgina Wills, daughter of George S V Wills – of Westminster College. Georgie married Arthur Pratt and they lived in South Africa which is probably why I know nothing about her family. What is your connection?



      • my grandmother was Dorothy Warren nee Wills her sister was Constance. We called her Great Aunty Conny – did she live many years in New Zealand? I have some video of her… My mother is Dorothy’s daughter.

        SO you were Susan Pratt – was David Pratt – one of the heroes of the family it seems to me – your brother? Was Peggy your sister?

        I would love to see your family tree? Do you have one?

        I have recently been in touch with Bruce Wills who lives in California – son of Reginald and Leila Wills

        Are you on Genes reunited??
        Colin Newton

        please email me ASAP


      • Susie Cazenove

        David Pratt was my father, Peggy my aunt. Her son is Jeremy Ricketts and none of us knows very much. I was curios about the William Pitt link but now gather it’s very distant! My grandmother’s sisters were Edith and Lillian Maude so where does Dorothy come in? Susie

        Sent from my iPhone



      • Mum remembers that Aunty Georgy sent a hamper
        every christmas to Nanny Warren


      • Wow – David is one of my heroes in the family in his attempt to end apartheid so dramatically but with such a tragic end to his life… Do you have family photos you might share and dates of birth etc on the family as I am trying to build the family tree – I could send you what I have already if you share email address? Georgina had a brother Harry married to Lillian Mary King and one of their daughters was Dorothy my grandmother. I have a picture of you but no other details about you or your siblings.


      • Check out this video of Dorothy and Connie Wills in later life – both daughters of Harry….


      • Susie Cazenove

        That was nice of her. I wonder if your Mum knows if my grandmother had a sister called Mabel?

        Sent from my iPhone



      • Yes – Mabel Wills who was described by my Great Aunty Connie (wills) as the brightest fun loving one who married an Anglo Indian… I have a group photo and more from Aunty Connie of you could share your email address? Did you like the video?


      • Mum does not remember her but suggests Olive might…


      • Susie Cazenove

        I can’t see a video to open.



      • Just click on web site link to connect to you tube video


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