wills prior to 1688 at York are contemporary copies, registered and
written up into large volumes, with the original documents now lost.
Hence most wills have a volume and folio number. Exceptions are the
period 1636-1660 when the originals do survive and there are no
registered copies, and a short period in the early 1630s and the 1680s.
The volumes of wills have been microfilmed by the Borthwick and are
available there for inspection; copies however have to be photographed
which makes them very expensive. After 1688 the original documents
usually have survived, and photocopies of these can be obtained by
writing to the Borthwick (usually £4 per probate item at the time of
Wills provide a comprehensive research tool
for both local and family historians interested in the Slaidburn and
Bowland areas. The range of information contained therein is vast; the
inventories are very interesting and shed light on the way of life of
past generations; complex family relationships are sometimes revealed;
and legacies of a philanthropic nature are quite common.
There are about 800 wills and administrations
for the Slaidburn and Bowland area proved at York prior to 1688
(indexed by myself and this index is available for purchase).
Thereafter, there are many more hundreds, up to 1858 when the national
probate registry was set up. A partial index of wills for the period up
to 1575 is provided for viewing on the 'Online material' page of the
I have published abstracts of over 400 wills and administrations, in four volumes. Copies are available for purchase. For more details, see the 'Publications' on the menu. I also have manuscript copies of hundreds of other wills from York awaiting publication at some future date.
Original contemporary copy will of William Hyde of Slaidburn dated 1605 with probate in Latin attached. This will also lists the testator's debtors. A very rare item. (document from the private collection of C J Spencer)
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