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At a Meeting of the SURTEES SOCIETY, held in Durham Castle on Tuesday, December 3rd, 1901, the DEAN OF DURHAM in the chair,

It was resolved,

That a volume of North Country Wills from the Registers at Somerset House be edited for the Society by Mr. J. W. CLAY, F.S.A.

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THE SURTEES SOCIETY has printed a good many volumes of abstracts of Wills, more or less full, from the registries at York, Durham, and Richmond, which its members seem to have appreciated.

There are, however, many wills of Northern persons proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, which are now at Somerset House, and a few in the Library at Lambeth Palace.

These till lately have not been thoroughly examined, probably on account of the great labour in looking through so many manuscript calendars. Some few were printed by Canon Raine in "Testamenta Eboracensia,"* and some short abstracts are in Nicolas' "Testamenta Vetusta," a book which came out as long since as 1826, but which is now




Fortunately, about fifteen years ago the British Record Society undertook the task of bringing out a regular index to the Somerset House Wills.


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Mr. J. Challenor Smith, F.S.A., the then Superintendent of the Literary Department, edited the first volume, from 1383 to 1558. Two more have since been issued, continuing the work to 1604. Since then it has got on very slowly, but is still progressing.

This volume contains full abstracts of nearly all the wills of persons living in the counties of York, Nottingham, Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmorland, comprised in the first volume of the index, viz. to 1558.

There are at Somerset House many wills of persons living in London and the South, who had some connection with the North. These were often clerics who had changed their livings, and younger sons who had left their paternal homes, probably to try and make their fortunes in London. They often mentioned the places where they were born, the churches where their relatives were were buried, the friends they left behind, and their properties in the North.

As it has been impossible to print these in full, brief abstracts have been inserted in an Appendix, containing the references to the Northern Counties, which no doubt will be of interest to the topographer and genealogist.

It only remains to say that the early Latin wills were copied by Miss Stokes; for the rest the Editor is responsible. The underground literary room at Somerset House is not an ideal place for copying closely-written MSS., particularly in the winter months, when the electric light is much used, so an occasional slip in a proper name may perhaps be excused.


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[Marche, 9.]

Ego, Robertus de Faryngton, presbiter indignus Lichfeldensis diocesis, canonicus ecclesie Beati Petri Eboracensis, et rector, licet indignus, ecclesie parochialis de Crofton, ejusdem Lichfeldensis diocesis, expectans omni tempore secundum voluntatem Creatoris diem in quo veniet municio mea, sanus mente, die Sabati, in crastino Annunciacionis Beate Marie virginis (March 26), A.D. 1401, condo testamentum meum. Lego...... corpus meum sepeliendum ubi videbitur melius executoribus meis, et ubi melior memoria de me poterit haberi. Volo quod debita mea creditoribus meis singulis quibus teneor persolvantur, et residuum omnium bonorum meorum, expendendum secundum intencionem meam quam declaro eis vive vocis oraculo, lego ordinacioni executorum meorum secundum voluntatem meam antedictam, et omnia bona que remanent ultra expendantur fideliter in operibus caritatis pro anima mea.* Ad istud autem testamentum meum fideliter exequendum meos facio executores, videlicet, magistrum Willelmum de Faryngton, fratrem meum carissimum, et magistrum Robertum de Hodirsale, doctores theologie, dominum Henricum Malepas, canonicum Lichfeldensem, conjunctim et divisim, orans eos pro Deo ut faciant fideliter cum expedicione pro anima mea. Datum in hospicio meo in parochia Sancti Dunstani West, London., die et anno supradictis.

Consequenter A.D. 1404-5, mensis Februarii die decimo, in quadam camera infra rectoriam de Crofton, dominus Robertus de Faryngton, licet eger, sanus tamen mente, magistro Willelmo de Faryngton, fratri suo uterino, dedit disposicionem omnium bonorum suorum ad faciendum sicut predictus magister Willelmus noverit ejus voluntatem, sic asserens, Frater, tu novisti voluntatem meam et scripturam meam scriptam manu mea propria, do tibi disposicionem omnium bonorum meorum, ut ammodo ordines de illis prout

*Here a clause is omitted to the effect they are to dispose as they would answer before God, etc.

melius nosti voluntatem meam, quia nunc relinquo mundum, et nunquam intermittam me cum temporalibus. Scribi feci aliqua in absencia tua que volo quod respicias, que volueris addere addas, et que volueris subtrahere subtrahas, in nomine Dei, etc.

[Proved 23 March, 1404-5, by the executors named, together
with the codicil.]


19 Jan., 1407–8. Willelmus filius Johannis de Escryk de Selby, in gradu sacerdotali constitutus. Lego corpus meum ecclesiastice sepulture de Selby juxta sepulcrum parentum meorum. Lego pro mortuario meo prout moris est. Lego ad quindecim libras cere emendas pro quinque cereis inde faciendis et circa corpus meum comburendis, prout moris est circa corpora defunctorum, summam pecunie competentem. Lego ad distribuendum pauperibus ville de Selby magis indigentibus secundum discrecionem executorum testamenti mei cs. Lego capellano parochiali de Selby xx d.; domino Johanni de Shirburn, capellano, vj s. viij d.; cuilibet capellano alteri venienti ad exequias meas et oranti pro anima mea, xvjd. Davido, abbati de Selby, xiij s. iiij d., et domino priori ejusdem, vj s. viijd. Dompno de Cresseby, monacho, lvj s. viij d.; cuilibet alteri monacho monasterii de Selby, iij s. iiij d. Item predicto domino abbati et conventui de Selby unam cupam cum cooperculo deauratam ponderatam cum foliis vinearum. Monasterio de Selby unam cappam de panno aureo de Lukes. Clerico parochiali de Selby, vijd. Clerico ecclesie majoris de Selby, ijs. Magistro Willelmo Cay, xvjd. Ad pitanciam canonicorum de Drax, xiij s. iiij d. Ad pitanciam monialium de Apleton, xiijs. viijd. Magistro Ade de Ordine Fratrum Carmelensium Ebor., xiij s. iiijd. Fratri Ricardo, consocio, vj s. viij d. Fratribus de Ordine predicto in Ebor. xxs., et Fratribus de Ordine Predicatorum ibidem, xXS., et Fratribus de Ordine Minorum ibidem xx s., et Fratribus de Ordine Sancti Augustini ibidem, xxs. Lego ad fabricam cathedralis ecclesie Ebor., xx s. Item, pauperibus hospitalis Sancti Leonardi Ebor., xiij s. iiij d.; ad fabricam ecclesie minoris de Selby, xxvj s. viij d.; ad reparacionem viarum in Selby, xiij s. iiijd. Beatrici, sorori mee, lvj s. viij d., duodecim ulnas panni linei novi, et unam togam de skarleto, furratam cum bys. Agneti, que fuit uxor patris mei, xls. et unam togam de Mustrevilers, furratam cum bys. Johanne, ancille mee, xv s. et unam togam simplicem. Ricardo, servienti meo, lvjs. viijd. et unum equum gray cum cella et freno. Thome Bryan illas

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