DEVON NAMES IN THE CALENDARS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY ADMINISTRATIONS 1559-1660
When a person owning any kind of property dies without having made a will during his/her lifetime, then that person is said to have died intestate. The law then provides for such an event by the granting Letters of Administration to the next-of-kin or some other person who has to apply for these in order to administer the estate of the deceased. The law also provides for exactly how this estate is to be distributed amongst the next-of-kin or others and the Administrator has to do all of this in accordance with the current Administration of Estates Act.
If there is no next-of-kin or even if there is one, that person may not be willing to administer the estate. In that event then some other person, perhaps another relative or a creditor, has to apply for Letters of Administration in exactly the same way in order to settle the affairs of the deceased person. The Letters of Administration (Admons) granted by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), held in the PROB 6 Act Books at The National Archives, are very useful given the loss of all of the old Devon probates when Exeter was bombed in 1942. These identify not only the deceased but also their administrators with their relationship to the deceased, be it widow (relict), child, friend or others.
There is no overall index of PROB 6 (PCC admons), though certain spans of years have been indexed by various different indexers. The volumes that include PCC administrations granted between 1559 and 1660 are listed in the next section. PCC administrations granted during the years 1661 to 1699 are at present not indexed in any way. Items in our source FTNAA , which covers the period 1701-49, are extracted from an index prepared by The Friends of The National Archives, and our ACA items are a reformatted version of the Index of PCC Administrations 1750-1800 that was compiled by Anthony Camp. The years 1801 to 1857 are not yet indexed.
The Source (JHA) and DWP's editing process
Our set of JHA items has been created from the listings of Devon-related Prerogative Court of Canterbury Administrations, prepared by Jean Harris for GENUKI/Devon (see http:www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DEV/Probate/DevonAdministrations/), from the following volumes:
Admins in PCC Vol 1 - Ed. R.M. Glencross 1559-1571 (LDS Film 0407935)
Admins in PCC Vol 2 - Ed. R.M. Glencross 1572-1580 (LDS Film 0407935)
PCC Administrations Vol 3 1581-1595 (Index Library 76)
PCC Administrations Vol 4 1596-1608 (Index Library 81)
PCC Administrations Vol 5 1609-1619 (Index Library 83)
PCC Letters of Administration, 1620-1630 (J.H. Morrison, London, 1935)
PCC Administrations Vol 6 1631-1648 (Index Library 100)
PCC Administrations Vol 1 1649-1654 (Index Library 68)
PCC Administrations Vol 2 1655-1660: A-F (Index Library 72), G-Q (Index Library 74), R-Z (Index Library 75)
N.B. In many cases these volumes provide virtually all the information that can be gleaned from the original PROB 6 ledgers. Jean Harris's listings of the Devon entries in these volumes, as they appear in GENUKI in the Devon Administrations pages, contain most of this detail, and certainly contain more detail than it is possible to provide in our set of 'JHA' items. Thus it is definitely worth consulting these listings to obtain further details of a particular administration, especially if the original Index Society volumes from which they are derived are not accessible.
Locating the source and acquiring copies
Copies of most if not all of the volumes listed above should in fact be available in the reference section of any large library of a major city. However, if you wish to obtain a copy of the original administration, please contact TNA. It would almost certainly reduce the time the staff there have to spend locating a specific admon if you quoted both the PROB 6/xx reference, and the folio number shown in the GENUKI/Devon Adminstration pages mentioned above. The PROB 6/xx reference can be found from the TNA catalogue PROB 6 listing.