Wills and Probates

Introduction

From the probate calendars at Lichfield Joint Record Office, Audrey Lee, assisted by Rowena Clarke and Shirley McKenna, compiled a list of probate documents relating to the parish of Glossop. Their index was later published by the Derbyshire Family History Society. This index enabled me to identify the 108 sets of documents relating to New Mills for the period 1540—1650 and to obtain photocopies of these from Lichfield JRO on behalf of New Mills Local History Society.

Members of a WEA evening class transcribed these documents and produced summary sheets showing the place-names and personal names occurring on each document. From this information an index to the New Mills documents was compiled by the late Dr Peter Andrew and myself in 1991. Now, nearly 20 years later, present-day technology makes it possible to share the index with all those who might find it useful.

The 108 sets of New Mills probate documents are listed in the List of Documents below, arranged by date with the name of the deceased person as given in the calendars at Lichfield. (Note that a date like 11 Feb 1579/80 means 11 Feb 1580 according to the modern calendar, but this would have been called 11 Feb 1579 in the 16th century because the calendar then ran from March 25th to March 24th.) We have given each set of documents a reference number such as 1580.2 for the second set in the year 1580: this is not a reference number that will be recognised at the Lichfield Joint Record Office. The List of Documents will enable the reader to get the relevant details of the documents from the reference number so that the documents may be consulted at Lichfield if desired.

Photocopies, transcripts and summary sheets of all 108 sets of documents are held by New Mills Local History Society and transcripts of 50 of these have been published by the Society in its New Mills Probate Transcription Series. These are now available on this website, there are links in the varous indices. An introduction to the books is available on the second tab.

After the List of Documents there is an Index of Place Names and then an Index of Personal Names. In the place names index we have excluded the parish churches and chapels of Glossop, Taxal, Disley, Mellor and Hayfield because these are mentioned so frequently. Names have been put into modern spellings wherever possible. In the index of personal names we have listed all people named in the documents but spelling has again been modernised. Where there are different people with the same name mentioned in the same document these people have been numbered 1, 2, etc. (In cases of doubt this has not been done.) The following abbreviations indicate the type of probate document.

W = will
N = inventory
T = other type of document

The accuracy of the index rests on the work of a large number of people. Although a considerable amount of checking has taken place, there will probably be a few errors. I hope that these will not detract too much from the usefulness of the index.

Roger Bryant, February 2010


Introduction to the books
Wills

The ancient parish of Glossop, once one of the largest in the country, was formerly divided into three parts. The Manor of Glossop comprised the northernmost portion, the Chapelry of Mellor formed a second subdivision, while the remainder of the parish, consisting of ten hamlets known collectively as Bowden Middlecale, constituted the remainder.

In 1713, as part of the arrangements to organise the Poor Law, the ten hamlets of Bowden Middlecale were put into three groups, one of which, in the early nineteenth century, comprising the hamlets of Beard, Ollersett, Thornsett and Whitle, became known as New Mills. The name of the town is derived from the "New Mylne ", a fourteenth century corn mill.

Thus, the earliest wills of "New Mills people" usually refer to the inhabitants of one or other of the four hamlets. The original probate records in manuscript form are to be found in Lichfield Joint Record Office. The earliest wills and inventories, dating from 1540, have been transcribed and appear in three volumes entitled "Wills and Inventories of New Mills People." Book One contains thirteen probate records from 1540 to 1571; Book Two has twelve probate records from 1571 to 1582; Book Three has twenty-five probate records from 1586 to 1607. These may be purchased online (see the list of publications on this website for details).

All the wills and inventories from these three volumes have now been put online, together with those of a projected "Book Four", which in view of the Society's decision to put the probate records on this website is now unlikely to appear in print.

Over the years, the Society has acquired a number of copies of wills and inventories from Lichfield Joint Record Office, usually as part of research projects by individual members. It is hoped that some of these may also be put online in the future.

Two of our publications which rely principally on studies of probate documents are, The Living Past: New Mills People in Late Tudor and Early Stuart Times (New Mills History Notes No. 24) and "The Downes Family, Husbandmen of the New Mylne, 1571 -1679" by Rowena Clarke (New Mills History Notes No. 25).

Newtown, another district of New Mills, became part of the town in 1936. Newtown lies on the Cheshire side of the River Goyt and was formerly part of Disley. Early probate records of the Newtown district may be found at Cheshire Record Office. 'The People of Disley Chapelry 1570 -1790", edited by J.H. Smith for Disley Branch WEA in 2002, contains a detailed analysis of wills and inventories, including the Newtown area.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the staff of Lichfield Joint Record Office for access to the records, photo-copying and permission to publish the transcripts.

Many people have contributed to the production of these transcriptions over the years. In particular, Audrey Lee, Rowena Clarke and Shirley McKenna compiled the index of Glossop probate references from which the records of New Mills people were first identified. Dr. J. Smith of Manchester University, a W.E.A. tutor, taught us to read early wills and members of his class prepared the first drafts of the transcriptions. Professor Roger Bryant, initiated the transcription project for publication. Audrey Lee, the late Eileen Miller and Roger Bryant prepared the final versions of the transcriptions for the original publications.

almerye
cupboard for keeping food.
appertenances
appendages, minor rights or privileges
appurtenances
belonging to a property.
apyre
a pair.
arke, a narke
a large wooden bin, oftenwith an arched or gabled lid,for storing meal, bread etc.
arrerages
arrears.
avoyd
leave or quit.
barke howse
building for storing bark and/or steeping hides.
barshel
bushel - dry measure of 4 pecks (1 peck = 2 gallons).
base begotton
born out of wedlock.
beastes
beef cattle, mainly fatting cattle for meat.
bedhilling
a bedcovering.
bedstocks, beddstokes
bed frame.
beed
bed.
blade
grass or corn, hay or straw, depending on the time of the year the inventory was taken.
bourdes, boordes
boards - complete tables or table tops: planks.
brandiyerne
brand-iron - gridiron, or stand for pot or pan, placed over or in front of the fire.
bread Iyerne
circular iron plate on the end of a rod for cooking bread over a fire.
brouche, broche
broach - a pointed rod of wood or iron.
bullockes
castrated bulls; sometimes young bulls or bull calves.
byll
bill - a promissory note.
capulles
caples - horses.
carshne
cushion or kersey.
catelles
cattle, but sometimes means chattels.
cau
cow.
cayke
cows?
chaffingdish
vessel to hold burning fuel to heat
chaffingdyshe
food or drink placed upon it.
chamber room
usually on an upper floor.
chattels
any kind of property.
chauncell yeate
gate from the nave to the chancel of a church.
chyldes parte
legally defined division of an estate intended for the children of the deceased (usually an equal share in a third of the residual estate).
closse
close - enclosed piece of land.
coadiutor
helper.
cobertes, cobburnes
irons for supporting the spit in front of the fire.
commicion/coicion
meeting: gathering.
comoditeis, comodytye,
...
comodytees
benefit.
contentacion
satisfaction.
costyd
priced.
coultte
colt.
counter
table for counting money.
court of common pleas
for hearing civil cases: one of three superior courts in England, seated at Westminster; it was merged to become a division of the High Court of Justice in 1875.
covenantes
agreements.
decedent
a deceased person
devyse
devise - to bequeath estate, usually real estate.
doble gylte
twice gilded.
dole (owte of)
free from the division of the estate.
doled
shared, divided.
dome
doom - decision, judgement.
dower
widow's life entitlement to a share of husband's estate.
easementes
the right of using something not owned; eg. a right of way.
esquyer
esquire - title of dignity ranking immediately below a knight.
eues
ewes - female sheep.
exhibicion
maintenance or support.
fatt cowe
a cow fattened for meat.
feoffees, feoffeis,
...
feoffies
trustees of a freehold estate.
ferme, farme
a lease, or land held by lease, usually for cultivation.
fowle
foal.
gage
to give as pledge or security.
garner
large container for grain storage, usually sited in a barn: sometimes the store-house itself.
gobardes
see cobertes.
grates pan
a pan for cooking groats?
grediron
gridiron - see brandyerne.
grypes
grips or handles.
harreotte, harriotte
heriot - tax due to the lord (of the manor) upon the death of a tenant, traditionally the best beast or chattel, but later commuted to money.
heffur, heyffere
heifer - young cow which has not
heifore, heaffer
calved.
hereditaments
any property that may pass to an heir.
hoggsheppe, hogshepe
young sheep until the first shearing.
holdyngeswyne
swine kept for breeding.
hoope, hopys
measure of grain, of varying capacity, sometimes = 4 pecks.
howsse
1. domestic dwelling;
2. living room;
3. hose, stockings.
husbanddrye ware
tools for cultivation, can mean crops.
husbandman
one who works the land; a farmer.
hustyllmente,
...
hulselmente,
...
houstlement
hustlement - miscellaneous goods belonging to the house.
indente
a deed with mutual agreement where the edge is irregularly indented, for future identification.
joyntour, joynture
property settled on a woman at marriage to be enjoyed by her after her husband's death.
keare
kier - a bleaching vat.
knoppe
large wooden tub.
knyghtes servyce
tenure of land by feudal duty to supply military aid.
kyen, kye
kine - cows.
kynges comyn
common land under crown control.
lames
lambs.
leade
large brewing vessel not always made of lead.
leasowes
pasture.
levyed
a fine conveyed land by means of a collusive court case.
lomes
woodden wooden looms, tools or machinery (not always for weaving).
markes
archaic money: 1 mark = 13s. 4d.
meane
possessed jointly.
meassuage, messuage
dwelling house with outbuildings and associated land.
miscarie
misbehave.
mortuarie, mortuarye
customary gift claimed by the
mortuare
incumbent from the estate of a deceased parishioner.
moytie
moiety - half share.
mysomer
midsummer.
nagge
a small riding horse or pony.
naperye ware, naprye, naperie
linen ware especially for the table.
narke (a narke)
an arke.
nawgers
augers - handturned drills for making holes.
noble
archaic currency - worth 6s. 8d.
owes
ewes - female sheep.
owtes, outes
oats
parcell
part or portion.
parcell gylte
part gilt.
phuter, pewter, putar
a metal alloy of lead and tin.
pottehwkes
pothooks - for hanging pots over the fire.
prased, prysed,
...
pryssed, preased,
...
presed
appraised.
preferment in mariage
arrangement for marriage or provision for marriage made by families or other third parties.
presenttes
the present document(s)
procteres
deputies, eg. the vicar deputising for the rector.
pulleyne, pullen, pulline
poultry.
queere
choir.
quishens
cushions.
quitance
document releasing from obligation.
qwyddes
legacy or bequest?
rackentayle, rackn
a chain or vertical iron bar with holes or ratchets for hanging cooking vessels over the fire
rehersyd
described.
revercyon of my terme
remainder of my term of lease.
salte
salt dish.
scellett
skillet - metal pan with long handle and three feet.
schore
score = 20.
shapon clothyng
shaped clothes - made-up clothes such as coats.
shawtes shoats
young weaned pigs.
sheyttes, shittes,shydes
sheets.
shipp
sheep.
showne
shoes.
siffes
sieves.
socage tenure
the tenure of land held by fixed services other than knight's service.
specyallytye
deed under seal.
stagge
1. male animal in its prime.
2. male animal castrated when full- grown.
standardes
permanent or necessary household apparatus.
steppeffatte
steeping vat.
stew (in)
cooking vessels.
stoned colt
entire young male horse, i.e. not castrated.
sture, steere
a young ox, especially one that has been castrated.
styrke, stricke, sterke
a young bullock or heifer between 1 and 2 years old.
sustentacion
maintenance.
synne
swine
tabliebords
table tops.
tenemente, tenamente
a land holding.
thrave
2 stooks, each stook consisting possibly of 12 sheaves.
tryneware, tryen,
...
treen-ware, treen
vessels and dishes made from wood.
turbaries
rights to dig peat.
turnall, turnell
shallow oval tub.
twinter, twyntere,
...
twyntare
cattle 2 winters old.
tythe corne
corn reserved for tax to the owner of the great tithes.
wane, wayne, wynne
a large open wagon or cart for carrying agricultual produce.
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