Protocol: MLD Data Entry for Wills and Testaments
See the Wills page for information on where we find wills and testaments. Cataloguers usually create only a record for the testator when entering a will or testament into MLD. We aim eventually to create records for all Londoners named in each will, but to do so now would be so time-consuming that it would detract from other data entry priorities.
Some of the MLD records contain only basic information on the testator’s name, citizenship status, and occupation in addition to giving the documentary reference to the original will or will register, especially for the PCC wills. Other wills are summarized in the Activity field, with an attempt to name the major bequests, kin, and executors; these include all the Husting court wills transcribed by Sharpe and the abstracts provided by Cliff Webb for the Southwark wills in the Archdeaconry Court of Surrey and PCC PROB 11.
For some sources, cataloguers have created MLD records for others named in the wills, although we do so only for residents of London, Southwark or Westminster, which includes the following: the testator’s spouses and minor children, apprentices, and servants. We also include heirs, witnesses, executors, and administrators when there is evidence that they resided in London, such as being named a citizen or given a residential location in London or a nearby suburb. On occasion the attribution of a craft of occupation for individuals will also encourage us to make a separate record for them. Users interested in tracking others named in a will need to consult the record for the original testator to get a full picture of the will.
We also alert users to when the MLD Actvity field records all information as printed or as transcribed from the original will register by placing a C (for Complete) in the Record_Type field. When the information in the will is only summarized or highly abbreviated in the Activity field, there is no C in the Record_Type field.
The protocols we follow for each source is noted below and on the Sources and Abbreviations page under specific sources for wills.
|Husting Wills: vol. no.||[e.g., Husting Wills: v2, 206]. Calendar of Wills Proved and Enrolled in the Court of Husting, London, ed. R. R. Sharpe, 2 vols. (London, 1889-90): Part 1, 1258-1358, Part 2, 1358-1688 (wills dated past 1540 were not entered in MLD). Sharpe’s text is a translated summary of the Latin wills enrolled in the Court of Husting; he included all names and bequests but may have summarized, for example, full descriptions of property bequests in the later wills, which tend to be far longer than the earlier wills. The text of all wills and their footnotes have been reproduced exactly as in the print text, though we added text on pp. 589-94 and some scattered footnotes, which had been inadvertently left out of the BHO online version. Note that testators who used this court were generally well-off Londoners who owned property in the city. Records were only made for the testators; users should search the Activity field for other names that appeared as heirs, kin, executors, or administrators.|
|Logge Reg||The Logge Register of Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills 1479-1486, ed. L. Boatwright, M. Habberjam, and P. Hammond (Knaphill: Richard III Society, 2008). This edited collection provides transcriptions of the Middle English wills and translations of Latin wills found in the PCC Logge Register of wills. MLD currently includes the wills of seven people: 3 Merchant Taylors, 3 widows of Merchant Taylors, and a draper who was the son of a Merchant Taylor.. The names of all those noted in these seven wills as heirs, executors, and others who resided in London are also recorded in MLD.|
|Pinners, ed. Megson||The Pinners’ and Wiresellers’ Book, 1462-1511, ed. Barbara Megson, London Record Society 44 (London, 2009). MLD includes records for the 32 testators in Appendix I, as well as records for each Londoner named in their wills.|
|PROB 11||Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers, at TNA. References to all wills of residents of London, Southwark, and Westminster up to 1540 are being were entered into MLD. Most records contain only basic references to the testator’s name, citizenship status, and occupation, but about one-third of the entries contain additional information on bequests, kin, and the executors. MLD also contains summary translations of 72 Middle English Southwark wills for 1499-1541 provided by Cliff Webb, which yielded 217 records because we also created records for those explicitly identified as of London or Southwark, a goup that also includes spouses, children, servants, and apprentices of the testator. Other PROB 11 wills in MLD were done through translations found in the Logge Register and Pinners, ed. Megson (see above)|
|Surrey archdeaconry wills||Wills from the Archdeaconry Court of Surrey in the Diocese of Winchester. Will Register Mathews (1490 Oct – 1524 Oct): LMA DW/PA/07/002 (folio numbers given at the end of the Activity field). MLD contains abstracts of 76 Southwark wills in these registers made by Cliff Webb. There are a total of 204 records after adding records for those mentioned in the will who were explicitly identified as of London or Southwark, a goup that also includes spouses, children, servants, and apprentices of the testator.|