Slaidburn & Bowland


Wills, Administrations and Inventories

Most 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 writing).

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 main menu.

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.

Will of William Hyde 1605

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)

[Click on the image to enlarge]