Find your ancestors in Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Vol. VIII 1657-1660

Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Vol. VIII 1657-1660

British Record Society volume 61

Published 1936

Introduction to Original Volume

The present volume contains in one Index the Wills proved in the last four years of the period 1653-1660, the importance of which was emphasized in the opening paragraph of the Introduction to the previous volume.

The Registers for these four years are known by the following names:—

1657 "Ruthen"

1658 "Wootton"

1659 "Pell"

1660 "Nabbs"

Very full abstracts of the Wills in Register "Wootton" were printed by the late Mr. William Brigg and issued in seven volumes between 1894 and 1914, comprising a total of 1,000 pages.

As before, this Index has been compiled from the Registered Copies of the Wills in the above Registers, now preserved at Somerset House, and has been checked by the entries in the Probate Act Books and by collation with the MS. Calendars.

Square brackets denote that all names or words enclosed by them are additional information or alternative readings taken from the Probate Act Books. In some cases whole entries are so enclosed, indicating that the Will is not to be found in the Registers. In such cases the reference number is to the page in the Probate Act Book, instead of the folio in the Register. Round brackets (parentheses) indicate glosses added by the Editor, or further information derived from the body of the Will, or from the MS. Calendars, or any sources other than the Probate Act Books.

References marked by an asterisk * denote Wills which are given in the Registers but are omitted from the present MS. Calendars at Somerset House, or which through clerical errors have been calendared under names so different as to be useless for purposes of reference. Thus to a large extent the references distinguished by square brackets or asterisks indicate information which this printed Calendar has for the first time made readily findable.

Welch names have been calendared as before, under their prefix "Ap" or "Verch" with cross-references under their patronymics.

All that it was necessary to say about the jurisdiction and practice of the Probate Court at this period has been said in the Introduction I wrote for the previous volume, that for the years 1653-1656, to which the reader is referred.

With the Happy Restoration of 1660 the Ecclesiastical jurisdictions were restored and the old Diocesan, Archidiaconal, and Manorial Peculiar Courts resumed their ancient functions in probate matters.

The volume for the preceding four years, 1653-1656, was issued by the Society in 1925, and early in 1926 the printing of the present volume was begun. The work of compiling it, i.e. writing out the index slips from the Registers, etc., was performed, as before, by Mrs. J. S. Moir.

The largest and most elaborate and useful index of all, that of Places, invaluable to the topographer and county and parish historian, as well as to the genealogist, is the work of Mr. H.E. Pike. It occupies nearly 200 pages and has taken seven months to sort and pass through the press. Arranged county by county, no pains have been spared to identify the various places, so many of which have the same name, and to place hamlets, townships, and chapelries, and even isolated farms, under their proper parishes. This is important, in order that genealogists unacquainted with the locality may know in what parish registers further information should be sought. It is not generally realized what pitfalls there are in arranging such an index. Not only are there said to be some eighty Stokes in England, and some sixty Suttons, but even when differentiated by secondary names, many English parishes or places are duplicated. Thus we have Stoke Golding in Leicestershire and Stoke Goldington in Bucks; Stoke Bishop in Gloucestershire and Bishopstoke in Hants; North Stokes in Lincolnshire, Oxford, Somerset, and Sussex; Stoke Prior in Hereford and Stoke Prior in Worcester. Long Sutton in Hants, Long Sutton in Somerset, and Long Sutton in Lincolnshire; Sutton St. Nicholas in Lincolnshire and Sutton St. Nicholas in Hereford. Barton-in-the-Beans in Leicestershire and Barton-in-the-Beans (mostly known as "in Fabis") in Nottinghamshire. Bottesford in Leicestershire and Bottesford in Lincolnshire. Seven Doddingtons, two in Lincolnshire— "Dry" and "Dirty", miles asunder; others in Cambridge, Chester, Kent, Northumberland and Northamptonshire. Two Thrumptons in Nottinghamshire, thirty miles apart. And so on, shire without end. Instances are familiar to all.

"Moretenhenmarshy" had to be identified as Moreton-in-the-Marsh and "Inskiepcu Sawerby" as Inskip-cum-Sowerby. "Ham-next-Sandwich" falls into happy juxtaposition. Ham-inter-Sandwich only could be better. "Gingerland " in Bradninch, Devon, reminds one of the "Land of Green-ginger" in Kingston-upon-Hull. Greenginger of condiment herbs was an English spice when foreign spices were costly.

Of minor matters of interest in the present volume it may be remarked that Marion Eston, widow, in 1659 iS described as a "Citizen of London"; but whether she was a female member of one of the Livery Companies, as would usually be implied by such a description, or a "free-woman" by some other means — though how one of her sex got on to the Burgess Roll is a puzzle — does not appear. Rebecca Oliver of Lamsworthy was a "yeoman" in 1658. I have come across "aldress" as an alderman's wife, both in documents and on monumental inscriptions, but a feminine for yeoman is inconceivable; so, like our modern lady "chairmen", Rebecca Oliver had to let the masculine term serve to describe her status. Sarah Tipler describes herself as a "spinster", but mentions her husband and children. A joint will of husband and wife is that of Robert and Elizabeth Wood in 1657. There are several wills of wives, dealing with their jointures, despite the lack of a Married Woman's Property Act. Reasons for this seeming anomaly are given in my Introduction to the previous volume.

Early examples of double names occur in John George Gamage (1660) and John White Osgood {1658).

Among curious or unusual Christian names which occur are Ulalia Cocker of Virginstowe, Noadiah Rawlins, Etheldred Darracott, Esto Fidelis Garnett, Pharaoh Larimore, Barsheba Salmon, Jehosophat Lucas, Athenatius Burrow, Grissagon Smith, Shadracke Grenowe, Baptista Tavener, Gerance Hayne of Tintagel, and Thankful! Frewen, esquire; while no one will claim that Jane Rottengoose of Norwich was a "bird" of romance, unless her alias of Vertegans was her more usual soubriquet in polite society.

In Mr. Le Hardy's Index of Trades and Conditions it needs no antiquary to discern much of interest. That there were two "Longbowstring makers" as late as 1658 and 1659 looks rather late in date for the medieval yeoman's weapon; but presumably, like modern cabinet ministers' cordwainerships, they were merely members of a Livery Company and drew the weapon instead of making it. The two pike-makers were probably actual craftsmen, for the train-bands still carried the pike. The "load-saddle maker" made saddles for pack-horses.

A "foote-thicker" is described in 1591 as "one who makes new footings for bootes"; a "boiler" was probably a sifter or meal-dresser, but what was a "whorrell-man" I cannot tell you; nor am I sure of "bookster" or "buger" ; nor of "prober nor "sowceman".

Bridget Fadlutt, "sewster" of Bedfordshire, was possibly a seamstress; a "fallen-miller" was rather a fulling miller than a corn miller who had come down in the world; while a "knacker" kept a "knacker's yard" and boiled down dead animals to make soap and glue, passing their hides into the hands of the "fell-puller" and grinding their bones to get (not make) his bread.

Of the many kinds of weaver, a dornix weaver worked in damask named after Dornik or Tournay in Hainault; a poldavis weaver made sailcloth; a "say-weaver" wove serge.

Our only mole-catcher came from Warwickshire, and our "swobber" was employed on the good frigate Jersey—humble occupations both, to make Wills for us to read.

Thos. M. Blagg.
October, 1936.