DEVON NAMES IN THE CALENDARS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY WILLS (1383-1700)
The Source (JHW) and DWP's editing process
This index is created from the listings in GENUKI of Devon-related Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills (containing over eleven thousand entries in total), prepared by Jean Harris, mainly from British Record Society and Index Library volumes based on PCC Wills calendars, and from Probate Act Books (referred to using P.A.B.). These listings cover wills by testators who were Devon residents at the time of making the will, or who would seem through the information given about them or their wills to have some link to Devon. Our set of JHW items incorporates virtually all the information provided in these listings, and makes no attempt to correct 'evident' errors (other than in place names added by Jean Harris) since these errors may in fact derive from the Record Society volumes or from the calendars from which they were prepared.
The 'Place' column of these items is used for the place of residence of the testator, where this seems evident, from the listing. This information is given as quoted in Jean Harris' listings, so sometimes provides more detail than just a parish name. When several places of residence are listed, just the first such place name is given in the 'Place' column; the rest are recorded in the 'Notes' column, along with any other additional information given in the listing (such as details of further probate events).
When a non-Devon residence is given in the 'Place' column the 'Note' column should contain any available information given in the listing indicating how the testator would seem to have a relationship to Devon, e.g. a further presumed place of residence that is actually in Devon, the address of an executor or a relative, or the location of property or charities, etc., in Devon.
When no indication is given in the listing of the testator's place of residence, then the 'Place' column will indicate (enclosed in square brackets) the first Devon location mentioned in the listing entry. (Such square brackets are the general means of distinguishing information, such as standard Devon parish names, that has been added into her listing by Jean Harris, or into entries in this index by its preparer - in contrast parentheses found here come from the original British Record Society and Index Library volumes.) The 'Type' column is usually set to 'W' unless it seems clear that the referenced document is, say, just an Admon.
Jean Harris's Explanatory Note lists the abbreviations used in the British Record Society and Index Library volumes and transcribed here, typically in the Notes column. It also identifies six parishes (Chardstock, Churchstanton, Dalwood, Hawkchurch, Stockland, Thorncombe) that were transferred into or out of Devon during the nineteenth century, all of whose entries are included by Jean Harris in her listings, regardless of the county identification given in the entries in the original volumes. (All these entries are also included in our set of JHW entries.)
Locating the source and acquiring copies
Quoting from Jean Harris's Explanatory Note: "The British Record Society and Index Library volumes should be available in the reference section of any large library of a major city; they can also be seen on microfilms from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, who have also filmed all of the PCC registers for the years that this court existed. Thus, with the year plus the folio number, the relevant microfilm can be ordered into a local Family History Centre. In addition, The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), Kew, London, is now making images of these PCC wills available online and for a nominal sum a will can be downloaded from their wills web-site." (In fact this wills web-site shows that all PCC wills are now online. Fortunately locating a particular will no longer requires knowing either the old reference - a number and a register name - or the PROB 11 reference which succeeded such references. However, flexibility about the way people's names were spelt is often necessary when using the search boxes provided by TNA.)