Richard Rose wrote:
However if Achwr is referring to English rather than Scots law, one
cannot be 'less legitimate' than another; like virginity, there are are no
degrees of legitimacy; one is either a bastard or not. A bastard is a child
both begotten and born out of lawful matrimony. A child begotten out of
lawful matrimony but born within it is legitimate.
After 1958, an illegitimate child was automatically legitimised by its
parents' subsequent marriage. Prior to that the child wasn't.
The ex was a bastard because he was conceived and born prior to his
parents' marriage. His parents never took any steps to legitimise
him, ie by re-registering him. However, his younger twin siblings
were legitimate because they were born after the marriage, although
I have two birth certs for a cousin, one where both parents registered
him and the other where it states the mother is "now the wife of ...."
To go back to the OP's original query: I can't recollect seeing the
term "natural child" in a will but I have seen it and many variations
of it in parish registers.
I've always found it a strange term to use since all children are
"natural" (ie by "natural procreation").
In wills, a step or adopted (ie the equivalent of fostered before
1927) child is often referred to as a "cousin" or "in law" which can
cause confusion to modern researchers. The laws of inheritance (AIUI)
exclude illegitimate children from inheriting *as a general rule*.
Obviously the testator can make provision and use any terms they chose
to describe the child esp where the will is drawn up on the death bed
and without the benefit(?) of a legal advisor. Providing the will is
properly witnessed and a beneficiary wasn't a witness*, it would still
* I think that's correct
OPC for Walton, Greinton and Clutton, SOM
Asst OPC for Ashcott and Shapwick, SOM