Wills & Administrations at Leicester 1660-1750

Introduction to Original Volume

British Record Society volume 51
Published 1920

The earlier printed Index to Leicestershire Wills and Administrations, issued in 1902 as the twenty-seventh volume of this series, included references to all testamentary records of the Archdeaconry or principal Court of Leicester from the earliest dated Will, 1495, down to the end of the year 1649 and included those also of the several "Peculiar Courts" of the County, the unproved Wills, etc. in each of the latter cases from the earlier dated record to the end of the year 1800.

The present volume deals with the testamentary records of the Archdeaconry Court of Leicester for the period 1660 to 1750 inclusive, no records existing for the Commonwealth period 1650-59, and is estimated to contain references to upwards of twenty-three thousand Wills and Administrations.

Unlike the earlier volume, the present one has with some little difficulty been arranged in lexicographical order throughout, to facilitate searches and to dispense with "the usual Index Nominum, which otherwise would have appeared at the end; but whilst the plan is adopted of placing under a key-name with a number of cross references all entries relating to a particular agnomen, it is felt that a few inadvertent deviations and slight errors may be detected, it having been found that members of a family often made their wills indifferently by occasionally and interchangeably using a different initial letter, e.g, Fips for Phipps, Raske for Wraske, etc. The Compiler begs the indulgence of any reader who may detect any such imperfections.

Wills and Administrations

For the most part the records here indexed are the originals, being well kept and preserved. From 1660 to 1711 Wills and Administrations are in separate yearly bundles and numbered; from 1712 onwards they are mixed in yearly bundles, but so arranged in the alphabetical order of surnames as to be quite easily found.

The series of Wills, with very few exceptions, is complete, but, as will be seen, a very large number of Administration Bonds, for reasons which cannot be explained, have long since been missing. These unfortunate omissions are chiefly for the years 1665, 1666, 1669, 1673, 1679, 1680,1682,1685 to 1689, 1695, 1697, and 1698. The full reference to the missing Bonds will be found in the present volume, such entries being marked with an asterisk.

Some 800 Administration Bonds and a few Wills of the regular series, chiefly for the period 1660 to 1663 inclusive, not officially indexed at the Registry, have been specially indexed and incorporated in this volume.

Registered copies of Wills in large folio volumes exist for part of the year 1749, the whole of 1750 and onwards. The official Calendars are complete throughout, excepting the Administrations 1660 to 1663 inclusive, which records, as already stated, are not indexed. The records are classified from 1660 to 1711, but afterwards Wills and Administrations are mixed, the system of marking the Administrations in the Calendars not commencing again till 1821. Act Books.

In addition to the earlier Act Books prior to 1649, a Probate Act Book is extant covering the period March 27, 1678 to March 23, 1688, and a similar book containing Administration Acts is preserved from April 4, 1678 to April 6, 1689, the latter supplying particulars of Grants in many cases where the Bonds are missing.


These records are tolerably complete and well kept at Leicester before 1712, being generally found in separate yearly bundles and indexed, in addition to the earlier records, from 1665 to 1711. After this date it was not customary for them, to be exhibited for filing unless specially demanded, but a few Inventories will be found attached to the Wills and Bonds after 1712, and there are also preserved a few separate bundles of unindexed Inventories of the eighteenth century.

Miscellaneous Records

At the end of this volume, as an Appendix, will be found printed a lexicographical list of the contents of eight bundles of records, chiefly Administration Bonds which, for reasons un­explained, have never been embodied or included in the regular series. These are chiefly for the period 1619 to 1742, and are in addition to the unproved Wills, etc., indexed in Vol, XXVII of this series. The Rutland Wills, etc., of the several " Peculiars " of Caldecott, Ketton and Tixover, and Liddington, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the close of the second decade of the nineteenth century, preserved at Leicester, are also included in this volume.