Cliddesden Probate Material, 1541-1560
The first tranche of this probate material from the years 1544-1560 is posted here and includes 10 wills and 7 inventories. The agricultural nature of the parish is amply illustrated. One testator had 360 sheep, many left sheep to the church, to their family and friends, and one widow left a bushel of wheat for the poor. Another striking feature is the religious changes indicated by the opening invocations in the wills, from a Protestant declaration in 1546 (33rd year of the reign of Henry VIII, ‘supreme head of the Church in England and defender of the faith’), to the Catholic prayers to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Company of Heaven to guide the soul through purgatory found in several wills, including 1559, the year after Mary’s reign ended. Rural communities often took time to adjust to national events. Some entries were carefully non-committal. The one clerical will, that of the rector Thomas Lodge (d. 1552), is an example of the last approach - a brief statement, ‘I commend my soul to Almighty God’. Material wealth is evident with goods valued at over £200 in one instance and around £100 in two others.
The wills of Cliddesden rectors are published in a separate section of Explore.
A glossary is attached of unusual words.
- William Prince, 1544 (Will)
- John Belchamber 1546 (Will)
- John Woodison/Wodeson 1547 (Will)
- Thomas Walker 1549 (Will and Inventory)
- Thomas Lodge, clerk, 1552 (Will and Inventory)
- Francis Prince, yeoman, 1557 (Will and Inventory)
- John Willis/Wyllys 1559 (Will and Inventory)
- Richard Austen 1559 (Will and Inventory)
- Amy Woodison/Wodeson, widow, 1559 (Will and Inventory)
- Robert Boxe 1560 (Will and Inventory)