Transcribed by Lindsey Withers

Historical background

Inventories were compiled to enable a grant of probate to be made or to stand alongside a request for a grant of administration. In general such inventories listed the movable goods of a deceased person, and not real property (land and houses). Inventories were often disputed, and a large proportion of the 600+ inventories held at the Devon Heritage Centre are copies made for use as evidence in a legal case.


The Source (DHC-I)

The principal index of inventories at DHC is a card index kept in a drawer in the search room. However there is also a separate list of those inventories that are to be found among Exeter Consistory Court papers. The latter are catalogued in no distinctly apparent order (but do show a CC 217 reference number), and can be found on the open shelves within a Black File with an enormously long title - Diocesan Records: Principal Registry, Moger List, Consistory Court, Moger Supplement 3, Testamentary Causes, Consistory Court, Chanter 11042. However, in all cases we have given the document reference of each individual inventory, so you should not need to consult either index. The inventory itself will need to be ordered up from the strong-rooms.


DWP's editing process

We have used both the card index and catalogue to compile what we hope is a full list of the surviving inventories at DHC. There are more inventory documents at DHC, appearing in the card index drawers under "Inventories", rather than "Inventory". Few if any of these seemed to be an inventory of the movable goods of a deceased person, and were not connected to a will or administration.


Locating the source and acquiring copies

To obtain information about the possibility of viewing the documents listed, photographing them or acquiring photocopies of them by post, you should contact the Devon Heritage Centre directly.