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Basingstoke Probate Material 1631-40

Extract of Basingstoke will

Forty wills and twenty eight inventories survive for this decade from Basingstoke. Of the 40 wills, seven were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PPC) and are held at The National Archives (TNA). Four of the inventories valued the estates of intestates and the remaining twenty-four follow wills. All the inventories and 33 of the wills are in Hampshire Record Office. Twenty eight of the wills have been transcribed (including all of those in TNA) and 16 of the inventories. These probate documents reflect the continuing importance of Basingstoke as a centre of the cloth industry with nine of the testators being involved in that industry including four clothiers, three weavers and one dyer. Clothiers frequently had out workers who spun and weaved in their own homes and were paid for yarn and cloth produced which would then be dyed. At the end of this decade there are a few indications that clothiers were moving to the increasingly popular Basingstoke industry of malting and brewing.

Other occupations reflect urban services such as apothecary, mercer, innholder, baker, glazier, shoemaker and cook. The parish of Basingstoke, which extended to the south and west of the urban centre, was still predominantly rural in this period and the 3,000 acres of farming land and commons supported gentlemen, yeomen and a shepherd. Many of the testators left bequests to the church and to the poor of Basingstoke. This is the decade before the outbreak of civil war and some of the wills reflect Puritan belief in predestination with a wish to be part of the elect.

These transcriptions have been made from copies of original probate documents supplied by HRO and TNA.  Words have been modernized and punctuation added to make reading easier but names have been transcribed as written. Words in italics indicate omissions in the original document which have been added to make sense of the text. Words in square brackets indicate that they have been transcribed as seen but where the meaning is unclear. Basingstoke is described as being in the county of Southampton, the old name for Hampshire.

glossary is attached of unusual words.

Links to the wills are below:


Content derived during research for the new VCH Hampshire volume, Basingstoke and its surroundings.