Catalogue description Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Bundles of Original Wills and Sentences

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Details of PROB 10
Reference: PROB 10
Title: Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Other Probate Jurisdictions: Bundles of Original Wills and Sentences

The majority of the documents in this series are original wills signed and sealed by testators and attested by witnesses. Some original wills are written on printed forms which testators filled in with simple instructions as to the disposal of their estates. Also included are original promulgated sentences which were bundled with original wills until the mid seventeenth century. A few items now in this series may once have been kept in the bundles in PROB 31 and PROB 33.

The rate of survival of original wills is uncertain before the early seventeenth century and particularly poor before the mid sixteenth century. Up to about 1600 many of the documents are copies, the original wills having been returned to the executors by the court.

The vast majority of the wills and sentences in PROB 10 were registered in the will registers in PROB 11. The text is of the two normally identical, but in a very few cases, wills within PROB 10 were written in other documents such as diaries and account books. Original wills may also include signatures and sometimes seals that are not reproduced in the registers. However, for most research purpose the registers are easier to use.

Dates given in the catalogue entries are the dates of probate, not the date of the will of the date of death. Late eighteenth and nineteenth century wills are often endorsed with the date of the testator's death.

Selected records within this series (PROB 10/639-642) are available to download as digital microfilm.

Date: 1484-1858

The majority of this series forms a sequence of bundles arranged by year, then by month, and then by first letter of surname. These are not catalogued by the names of individuals; use the catalogue entries for the will registers in PROB 11 to identify the relevant year and month.

There are three smaller sequences of wills proved at the Royalist Prerogative Court of Canterbury in Oxford during the 1640s, wills in unusual format, and extracted sentence and wills. These wills are catalogued by the names of individual testators.

Related material:

Will registers are in PROB 11

Original sentences of a later date are in PROB 27

For indexes to exhibits see PROB 33

Separated material:

Wills of some famous persons have been removed from their places in the series and now comprise PROB 1

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 7499 boxes and files
Access conditions: Open

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