Prerogative Court of Canterbury: Exhibits, Main Class
The main series of exhibits brought into the registry of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and produced in causes from 1722 to 1858. Includes a wide range of documents, for example king's warrants (which often supply the dates of the intestates' deaths), proxies, affidavits, depositions, wills and testamentary schedules, inventories, declarations in lieu of inventories, executors' and administrators' accounts, and also provides a rich source of information for the routine conduct of business by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
The documents can be divided into exhibits brought into the registry as routine requirements and exhibits produced in causes.
Although the number of inventories, declarations, and accounts in the series does not decline with the passage of time the proportion of such exhibits to other exhibits does decline. As the Prerogative Court of Canterbury's business grew over time, so the number of exhibits increased substantially. It is also the case that the types of exhibits produced in causes changed in accordance with wider changes in society. Thus whereas an eighteenth century bundle might include certificates of burial from parish registers, a nineteenth century bundle might also include a newspaper announcing a death. Will drafts were written in various places, and therefore an exhibit described in an entry in a PROB 33 volume as a script might be a will draft written in for instance a personal notebook, account book, or devotional text.
King's warrants were issued by the crown to HM Procurator General instructing him to appear before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and to assert the right of the crown to estates of intestates which escheated to the crown. The vast majority of such warrants relate to the estates of unmarried illegitimate men and women.
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