Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Vols. V 1605-1619

British Record Society volume 43

Published 1912

Introduction to Original Volume

The first and most important thing to be touched upon in this prefatory note is the list of Corrigenda on pp. 608-11. The compiler regrets exceedingly that there should be any Corrigenda, and begs each subscriber to be good enough to add to his copy, in the places indicated, at least the four omissions which have been made in the text. When these have been so added the calendar in the following pages supersedes the official calendar 'seven', which has lately been recopied in two clean but inaccurate volumes; and comprises the following registers: Hayes (1605), Stafford (1606), Hudleston (1607), Windebank (1608), Dorset (1609), Wingfield (1610), Wood (1611), Fenner (1612), Capell (1613), Lawe (1614), Rudd (1615), Cope (1616), Weldon (1617), Meade (1618), and Parker (1619).

Mr. Lothrop Withington had kindly undertaken to edit the MS. prepared by the Society for the purpose and to complete the same, and issued the first two sheets in due course in 1905. The time required for the completion of his design was so long that the Society decided to have a fresh MS. prepared on less elaborate lines. Such portions of Mr. Withington's third sheet as remained in type were retained; the gaps in that sheet and the remainder of the volume have been only 'compiled'. The greatest pains were taken to provide against errors arising out of this dove­tailing, but one serious one has occurred, viz. the omission of the de Backer Will (see Corrigenda).

The system employed in the later compilation has been to prepare the MS. from the registers, giving such information only as the testator gives in his description of himself. Corresponding digests were made from the Probate Act Rooks, and the materials thus obtained collated. Additions from the Probate Act Books are shown in the texts thus: [P.A.B. - ]. Names in () in the text are supplied by the compiler to indicate the parish in cases where this is not given in the description above referred to, or the Probate Act.1 The resulting MS. was printed and the proof examined with the old calendar 'seven'.

At this period it seems no longer useful to retain in the calendar the distinction between nuncupative and written wills, and it has been omitted accordingly in the later compilation. Mr. Withington's work uses the Old Style (year commencing 25th March). The later compilation follows the arrangement of register, calendar, and act book, viz. January to December.

For the identification of places Kelly's directories have been relied on mainly; many hundreds of wills have been read carefully for incidental mention of the parish when the testator does not include this in the description in the majority of cases localities, which, even then remained hypothetical, were able to be finally identified by further reference to Kelly, for in the majority of cases there still exist farm-houses representing the old manors and mansions, though these names are not indexed in Kelly or any gazetteer.

As before, the Society is much indebted to the late Mr. G. E. Cokayne, F.S.A., Clarenceux King of Arms, for very material assistance in printing this calendar; and, especially in regard to the present volume, in also making a substantial donation towards the cost of preparing the second MS. The compiler has to render grateful thanks to the authorities and attendants at Somerset House for much patience and help; to friends, viz. Mrs. Troup, Colonel Thomas, and Messrs. E. A. Ebblewhite, G. S. Fry, H. J. T. Wood, and T. M. Blagg, for very kind assistance by editing certain counties of the Index Locorum; and very specially to the Misses G. and E. G. Grogan for generous help in the laborious work of sorting the Index. It is hoped that the list of trades, etc., added to this volume will be a useful means of reference.

E. Stokes.

1. In some few cases more than one probate was made of a will; in this calendar only the original probate acts are included.