When Death Do Us Part

Tom Arkell, Nesta Evans and Nigel Goose (eds) When Death Us Do Part: Understanding and Interpreting the Probate Records of Early Modern England (Oxford, 2000). £10 including postage and packing

Probate records are a key source for historians of the early modern period and can be used to shed light on a wide range of economic, social and demographic issues. They survive in considerable quantity for most regions of the country. This volume discusses probate evidence in its various forms. The 17 essays it contains provide a unique insight into these records, emphasising method, approach and interpretation, demonstrated through general discussions and case studies.

Tom Arkell, ‘The probate process’, pp. 3-13.

Jeff Cox and Nancy Cox, ‘Probate 1500-1800: a system in transition’, pp. 14-37.

Nigel Goose and Nesta Evans, ‘Wills as a historical source’, pp. 38-71.

Tom Arkell, ‘Interpreting probate inventories’, pp. 72-102.

Amy Erickson, ‘Using probate accounts’, pp. 103-19.

Mark Overton, ‘Prices from probate inventories’, pp. 120-41.

Margaret Spufford, ‘Religious preambles and the scribes of villagers’ wills in Cambridgeshire, 1570-1700′, pp. 144-57.

Christopher Marsh, ‘Attitudes to will-making in early modern England’, pp. 158-75.

Nesta Evans, ‘Occupations and status of male testators in Cambridgeshire, 1551-1750’, pp. 176-88.

Nigel Goose, ‘Fertility and mortality in pre-industrial English towns from probate and parish register evidence’, pp. 189-212.

Peter Spufford, ‘Long-term rural credit in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: the evidence from probate accounts’, pp. 213-28.

Ann Tarver, ‘Understanding probate accounts and their generation in the post-Restoration Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry to 1700’, pp. 229-52.

Edmund Weiner, ‘The language of probate inventories’, pp. 255-67.

Barrie Trinder, ‘The wooden horse in the cellar: words and context in Shropshire probate inventories’, pp. 268-84.

Christine North, ‘Merchants and retailers in seventeenth-century Cornwall’, pp. 285-205.

Mary Hodges, ‘Widows of the “middling sort” and their assets in two seventeenth-century towns’, pp. 306-24.

Bernard Jennings, ‘Beyond the probate line: probate evidence and related sources in early modern Yorkshire’, pp. 325-36

Appendix 1: Edited selections from ecclesiastical canons concerning probate.

Appendix 2: The main acts of parliament concerning probate before 1760.

Appendix 3: List of courts covered by the British Record Society index library series used in Chapter 3.

Appendix 4: Transcripts of sample probate documents.