INDEX TO THE LOST PROBATE RECORDS OF THE DIOCESE OF EXETER
By Sir Mervyn Medlycott and David T. Hawkings
Transcribed by Ann Roberts
The Source (MED) and DWP's editing process
A book entitled Index to the lost probate records of the Diocese of Exeter in the Library of the Society of Genealogists, London, and other sources outside Devon up to 1812 was privately published by its authors, Sir Mervyn Medlycott and David T. Hawkings, in 1976. Copies were deposited at the Society of Genealogists (SOG) and the Devon Heritage Centre (and possibly elsewhere). Between 1976 and 1986 the authors created a list of addenda. By kind permission of the two authors the Devon Wills Project has been allowed to digitise their index (and addenda) and add the contents to the Devon Wills Project Index. The MED source items that have been transcribed from the List of Addenda are identified as such by the addition of "(A)" to the 'Reference' column. (A small number of entries in the List of Addenda exactly matched ones in the main body of the book, and so have not been included.)
As described in the title the authors looked in a number of different locations for copies and abstracts of wills proved in Devon, the originals of which had been destroyed in 1942. They focussed primarily on the family history collections held at SOG, and found rich pickings.
SOG was located in a different building back in 1976, so the references originally given by the authors - to rooms, shelves and stores - are no longer relevant. Hence the references that we provide with our MED source items have been abbreviated, but the current librarian at SOG is sure that these shorter references will be sufficient to find the item in the library at their present address.
Locating the source and acquiring copies
Most of the will copies listed in the MED source may be viewed at the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London, EC1M 7BA, (contact details) and photocopies may be obtained for a fee.
Items found in collections other than SOG's may be viewed in the relevant repository, which is indicated in the 'Reference' column. References starting with 'SRO - ' refer to items now held at the Somerset Heritage Centre, formerly called the Somerset Record Office.
Among our MED items the source of several will abstracts is shown as the Revd. Frederick Brown Collection at the Somerset Record Office. The numbers given refer specifically and only to that collection. However, the Revd. Brown's abstracts were edited and printed in six volumes by F.A. Crisp. There are copies of these volumes at SRO itself and SOG, and no doubt sundry other major libraries. Devon wills to be found in this Crisp edition of Brown's abstracts are shown in our index, the source being given as MISC/Crisp.