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Basingstoke Probate Material 1641-50

The English Civil War broke out in August 1642. Hampshire was divided between Royalists and Parliamentarians and was the setting for many battles and sieges. The bishop of Winchester stayed in his palace until October 1645 and the proving of wills continued in his courts. Bishops were abolished in 1646. After this date, if wills were proved it was at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) so they are preserved in the National Archives. The usual rule that only wills which reflected interests in more than one diocese were proved in the PCC did not apply.

These documents reflect the continued importance of the cloth industry in Basingstoke with four clothiers and one weaver included. The clothiers were all wealthy and substantial business men with two of them also owning a dyehouse. Malting and brewing was also increasingly important in the town by this period.

Other documents reveal urban occupations such as chandler, woollen draper, grocer and collar maker. It is interesting to compare the domestic contents of inventories in Basingstoke in this period with those compiled for the surrounding villages such as Mapledurwell and Newnham to see whether a wider range of goods was possessed by townspeople.

Four of these twenty people died intestate so only the inventories survive. Links to the transcriptions are below.

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.

A glossary is attached of unusual words.