Find your ancestors in Wills in the York Registry 1666-1672

Wills in the York Registry 1666-1672

Yorkshire Archaelogical Society volume 60

Introduction to Original Volume

This index, covering the Registers of York Wills numbered 48 to 53, both inclusive, the corresponding Acts, and the extant documents of certain Peculiars, contains about 9,800 references.

The Act Books for the Ainsty, City and Craven deaneries, which are missing from 1641, recommence in 1668, during the period covered by this volume.

The Peculiars

The Peculiar of Aldborough, par. of St. John, Stanwick.

The late Mr. A. Gibbons, F.S.A., appears to have been the first to draw attention to the documents of this peculiar, which is not mentioned in the late Dr. Marshall's Handbook to the Ancient Courts of Probate. Mr. Gibbons printed a brief list of them in The Northern Genealogist (iv. 65), but he mistook this Aldborough for the place of the same name in the W.R. So far as one can judge the jurisdiction of the court was confined to Aldborough. The paper cover in which the wills are kept is marked "From Mr. Smales' Papers." In an account which is included with them, Mr. Smales describes himself as "Mathew Smales, register of the Peculiar of Aldborough." He was also steward of the manor, the lords of which during this period were the Whartons of Gillingwood, Humphrey Wharton having bought it from Sir Francis Barrington in 1619; and with the Whartons it remained until 1796. The Hospitallers, as successors to the Templars, had lands in Stanwick in 1347-9, continued to have some rights there until the Dissolution. So it is possible that the peculiar jurisdiction may have descended with their lands. No other documents of this court are known to exist.

The Peculiar of the Provost of St. John's, Beverley

The thin paper volume of wills in the York Registry is the only original record of this peculiar that is known. The jurisdiction of the provost extended over places in Beverley and in the parishes of Bilton in Holderness, Brandsburton, Burton Pidsea, Cherry or North Burton, Drypool, Foston (nr. Driffield), Gatehelmsley, Leckonfield, Leven, Lowthorpe, Middleton on the Wolds, Ottringham, Pattrington, Routh, Ruston, Scorborough, Sigglesthorne, South Dalton, Walkington, Welwick and Wetwang. At the commencement of this register Thomas Wynter, a natural son of Cardinal Wolsey, was provost, and as he held many other preferments, including the deanery of Wells, it was not unnatural that he should appoint George Palmes, LL.D., and John Rogers, LL.B., as commissaries to act in his stead to transact the business of the court. Wynter died about 1543.

The wills were proved in 1544 and 1546 before Master Robert Waid, who was then the official of the provostry. It is commonly said that the jurisdiction of the court ceased at the dissolution of the monasteries. On the evidence of this register alone the statement is not quite correct. Only a few probate acts are entered, but a will was proved on 28 March, 1552, before Sir Thomas Mytchell, clerk, "official of our lord King of the spiritual jurisdiction of the provost and chapter of the Blessed John of Beverley." So that after the provostry had been surrendered into the King's hands the peculiar jurisdiction was continued, and it may possibly have extended down to a considerably later date.

But this was not the only peculiar connected with Beverley. The Chapter of the Collegiate Church had a peculiar jurisdiction, although it may only have extended over some of the officials. A similar privilege was annexed to the prebend of St. Andrew in the same church,11 and the Knights of St. John would have the same rights in connection with their preceptory at Beverley.

The Archbishop's Peculiar of Hexham and Hexhamshire

This Act Book, written on paper, in a parchment cover, is in the York Probate Registry, and is the only early original document of the Court which is known to exist. It is marked "Hexham and Hexhamshire, Acta ib'm, 15(913." At the beginning of the book is a note that what was done in past times is uncertain unless the acts and wills are in the Consistory Court. As a matter of fact the wills are not now among the Consistory wills, and the early wills and act books were probably kept separate and have either perished, or were never returned into the Archbishop's registry. About 1667 the acts began to be entered in the Prerogative Act Books, and the wills registered and filed with those proved in the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts. During the period covered by this Act Book the wills were proved in the consistory in the collegiate or parish church of Hexham before Mr. Edward Hutton, custodian or commissary of the spiritual jurisdiction of Hexham and Hexhamshire, Gilbert Spence being the acting registrar. The jurisdiction of the Archbishop in this peculiar extended over the parishes of Hexham, Allendale, St. John Lee, St. Oswald, and St. Mary, Bingfield.

The Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York

In two of the Chapter Act Books marked H 1 (4), 1352-1426, and H 2 (1), 1410-29, but chiefly in the latter volume, are registered a number of wills presumably proved in the Dean and Chapter's Court. Nearly all the testators belonged to the parish of Bishophill, the younger, which included Copmanthorpe, but Aldborough (W.R.), Hessle, and All Saints, North Street, Badgergate, Holgate, and St. Crux, Pavement, in York, are also mentioned. These Act Books are kept in the Zouche Chapel.

In a register, also in the keeping of the Dean and Chapter, in the same chapel, marked on the parchment cover "K," and inside "Registrum antiquum de testamentis, actis Capitularibus, et vacacione sedis Archiepiscopalis" are a few wills of the latter part of the first half of the fourteenth century, also presumably proved in the Dean and Chapter's Court. The "Sede vacante" part of the register begins on fol. 47, and on fol, 48 it is stated that it was vacant on 5 April, 1340 by the death of William de Melton on that day.

The Peculiar of St. Leonard's Hospital, York

This is another Peculiar the existence of which is not noted in Dr. Marshall's Handbook to the Ancient Courts of Probate. Mr. Gibbons referred to it in The Northern Genealogist (iii, 42). The wills are contained in one of the registers of the Hospital, the parchment cover of which is marked "Wills, 1460," two older inscriptions being indecipherable. The wills were proved before the guardian (custos) of the spiritualities of the Hospital of St. Leonard, York. The jurisdiction apparently extended over places in the following parishes, Carnaby, North and South Cave, Hotham and Nunburnholme in the East Riding; Burniston, Kirkby, Newton on Ouse, Overhelmsley, Pickhill and Topcliffe in the North Riding; Gisburn, Rufforth and Saxton in the West Riding; and All Saints, North Street, St. Hellen's, Stonegate, St. Giles, Gillygate, and St. Lawrence in the city of York. But a very large proportion of the business of the peculiar emanated from the parish of Newton on Ouse.

The thanks of the Society are again due to the President of the Probate Division for permission to continue the Index to the York Wills, and to the Dean and Chapter for leave to index the testamentary documents enrolled in their MSS.

Oct. 1, 1920.