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(PROB 11)

DEVON NAMES IN WILL REGISTERS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF CANTERBURY AND RELATED PROBATE JURISDICTIONS

Edited by Brian Randell

Historical background

"The Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the metropolitan probate court for the Southern Province and, as such, was by far the busiest and most prestigious court. It sat in London, in Doctors' Commons, and had overriding jurisdiction in all England and Wales. It had sole jurisdiction where the deceased possessed bona notabilia in two bishoprics or two peculiars in the southern province, and also over estates of people who died at sea or abroad leaving personal property here." (From The National Archives' Research Guide to Probate Records.)

 

The Source (PROB 11) and DWP's editing process

The PROB 11 source items represent the collection at The National Archives (TNA) of the court copies of proved PCC wills, and covers the period 1387-1858. The set of items for this source used in DWP has been produced by extensive editing of an electronic copy of the over 26,000 Devon items (the earliest of which dates from 1402) in The National Archives' catalogue to PROB 11, which was very kindly provided to the Devon Wills Project by Laura Withey, TNA Licensing Manager, and her colleague Chris Owens.

In addition to the wills in PROB 11 The National Archives hold wills in a number of different record classes. Most of these additional wills are already listed in DWP and may be found in our sources TNA and DDR1. Administrations held at The National Archives may be found in our sources JHA, ACA and DDR2.

 

Locating the source and acquiring copies

Digital images of all the PROB 11 wills are now available for downloading - see The National Archives' Wills Search Facility. They are also available on Ancestry (subscription required).

Abstracts and copies of a great many of these PCC wills have been made by various researchers. These appear in a number of different sources within our index, including MUR1 and VIV.

Incidentally, if, when you acquire a copy of a will, you find that it contains mentions of stock and shares, you may be able to find out more about what happened to those stocks and shares by consulting the Bank of England Will Extracts, 1717-1845, now viewable online at FindMyPast.