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Lollards and Protestants in the Diocese of York

A Companion to Jan Hus. Besides older experienced specialists in the Hussite studies, also younger researchers who enter the scientific discourse with new approaches participated in the volume. Experts and students alike will profit from this guide to Jan Hus, who was well known as follower of John Wyclif and forerunner of Martin Luther. Burning of Jan Hus at the stake at the Council of Constance gave rise in Bohemia to religious and social revolt that ushered the European reformations of the 16th century.

Editors: Greg Peters and C. Colt Anderson. Though priests were sometimes viewed through the lens of function, the medieval priesthood was also defined ontologically—those marked by God who performed the sacraments and confected the Eucharist. Only one of the Elizabethan testators whose wills are indexed in these volumes tried to use his will to restrict a child's marriage. An occasional father expressed a pious wish that his child would be governed by his wife in choosing a spouse, but parents generally showed very little interest in testamentary restriction of marriage, nor did they show much concern to do so in other ways.

At the same time, they are, above all else, statements of inheritance as testators intend it As such, they can provide valuable insights.

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Margaret Spufford has shown, for example, that wills can show a blurring in the distinction between primogeniture or unigeniture and partible inheritance. In the wills which she studied, children who would not inherit customarily were often provided for by charges on the main estate to be paid by the heir.

Since the burden of these bequests often required selling parts of the holding, the effect was virtually the same as if the local custom were partible inheritance. Instead, most references will be to two sources which have received little notice in other parts of this essay: the inventory and the account.

Figure 11 shows the distribution of surviving inventories of the consistory court for the whole period. It is evident that those from before the civil war have almost entirely perished. Inventories have been used by historians for half a century, and the list of works using them is now quite long. More than a decade ago, Mark Overton published a bibliography of almost five hundred items; an update published now might be almost twice as long. Accounts have not received as much attention, in large part because there are so few of them. Fortunately, Amy Louise Erickson has not only written an important essay introducing the source, but also used it extensively in her own research.

We have at our disposal a number of tax assessments, such as those for the lay subsidies and the hearth taxes. Historians have long been justifiably sceptical about these sources and have used inventories to test their reliability. They exist for a large enough sample of people assessed to demonstrate that, while not perfect guides, Tudor lay subsidies and late seventeenth-century hearth taxes can be used as general guides to the social and economic status of individuals. Inventories are intended to list the deceased's assets, and so they include not only things in his house and his barn for example but also debts owing to him, since those debts are assets against which the charges of such things as the funeral and execution of bequests can be drawn.

Not listed are debts owed by the deceased. Such debts are, however, recorded in probate accounts. When she deducted debts listed in accounts from inventories, Professor Spufford discovered that relying on inventories alone produced a very distorted view of the wealth of many individuals. Unfortunately, so few probate accounts survive only about 32, for all of England that it is not possible to check more than a fraction of the inventories.

Thayer's Note:

Rather than abandoning them, Professor Spufford concludes that inventories can still 'act as good guides to a man's scale of operations, his social pretensions, and Professor Spufford's study of chapmen is noteworthy in this regard. From inventories she was able to study the wealth of petty chapmen, as well as their stock-in-trade, suppliers and customers.

Smaller studies of other occupations have also been attempted. A study of Kendal shoemakers, for example, found that probate documents provided the expected information on stock and tools but also shed light on dealings with journeymen, about which little was known. Journeymen, unlike apprentices, were not tracked in guild records.

What was striking, however, was that the inventories showed almost nothing that was not shoe-related except the occasional animal. This raised questions of what the shoemakers' family members did and how they contributed to their families' income: 'The probate records According to him, inventories make quite clear the enormous variety of goods that would be sold by a provincial mercer.

The Oxford mercer William Clarke had everything from cloth and nails to books and soaps, in addition to groceries and spices.

Such a list shows, for example, that the absence of a book-seller in a provincial town might mean nothing about the local availability of books, and gives depth to flat and unrevealing occupational labels. The largest occupation group in pre-industrial England was, of course, the farmers and it was they who were the first group to be studied through inventories. Since Professor Hoskins wrote about Leicestershire farmers in , probate records have often been used by agricultural historians. Since inventories record crops on the ground and in barns, as well as livestock, a number of farming practices can be studied.

Two dimensions of agrarian history have particularly benefited from the use of inventories. Joan Thirsk's work with inventories has shown that they can greatly increase our understanding of regional agricultural systems. An individual inventory may only reveal individual eccentricities, but taking the average from a larger regional sample can show the regional precedence of different crops, regional livestock specializations, and so on.

On that basis, the boundaries of a number of different farming regions have been drawn. Michael Havinden, noticing the enormous increase in the size of sheep-flocks between and as recorded in inventories, argued for the improvement of Oxfordshire open fields through the spread of improved grasslands which could support these extra animals. Moreover, inventories allowed him to chart the diffusion of the crop.


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Based on some 4, inventories, he noted under 10 per cent of Norfolk and Suffolk farmers with turnips from the s to s, but over 50 per cent by the s. Dr Overton has been the most prolific user of inventories in this way, and in his most recent work with Bruce M. Campbell he has rewritten Norfolk agrarian historian, arguing that livestock, not cereal crops, was the dynamic sector in the early modern period.

Users of these volumes must face the fact that few inventories survive before , meaning that few data survive for key years of change. Moreover, common practices in making inventories can lead to even greater problems. Many types of crops were, because of contemporary legal opinions, excluded from inventories as not belonging to the executor but to the heir. Among these are grasses and root crops - both crucial to the so-called 'agricultural revolution'.

Michael Havinden was not able to find an inventory reference to a turnip in Oxfordshire until , by which time practice seems to have changed.

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It is, therefore, quite possible that Mark Overton's time-table is inaccurate and that widespread turnip planting was hidden from him. Nothing whatever can safely be inferred from the absence of turnips from seventeenth-century inventories, and the user is well advised to be informed of legal traditions before forming conclusions. As Michael Havinden observes, 'In the study of vernacular architecture the great value of inventories lies in their capacity to say how many rooms a house contained at a given date and in the best examples the uses to which these rooms were put' Rooms are increasingly described by function chamber, parlour, and so on and thus it becomes easier to construct a profile of what houses of a particular size were typically like, and for what uses people who could add or afford additional rooms wanted them.

Lorna Weatherill, for example, has used inventories to trace the introduction of a number of new goods, such as utensils for hot drinks, into the consumer market. She also noted differences in regional distribution of such goods, variances between town and country Londoners had window curtains, for example , and the impact of social status. She observes that the lower ranks were not consumers of household goods, and inventories also suggest that the time-honoured belief that consumption was driven by a desire to ape social superiors is not true.

The types of consumer goods available to rural consumers can also be studied through the chapmen's inventories, as Professor Spufford has done. The example of the clock will serve to illustrate this.

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About clocks, she says: 'These seem fully appraised; they were harder to overlook than many things because of their high value. It seems to have been the practice for people to remove goods that had been left to them before the inventory had been taken, perhaps either to guarantee that no one else would claim it or to prevent its being sold to pay debts. Those making inventories could be under a good deal of pressure to omit things on the excuse that they belonged to other people and ought not to be included.

Wives had their own personal effects, especially those which they had brought with them. If they had been married before, they might also have property of their previous spouse. This by rights was excluded from the most recently deceased spouse's estate because when the widow died it passed to the heirs of the earlier husband. A scenario like this latter one could be responsible for some misreadings of domestic situations. A house that may seem somewhat sparsely furnished from the inventory may in fact have been quite comfortably appointed if the furniture brought by the wife from an earlier marriage was included.

With such goods not inventoried, not even a probate account can. Many items, such as books, were omitted for less legal reasons than this. Inventories alone would never give one a reason to believe that chapbooks and ballads existed, let alone that anyone owned them. David Vaisey notes that for all of the hundreds of sheep he has seen in inventories, he has yet to see a sheepdog. Throughout this essay I have been pointing out what probate records leave out, what they cannot do.

Readers would be excused from thinking that the title of this piece should more correctly have been "The historical uselessness of the Ely consistory probate records'. I have not meant to sound churlish. Indeed, as I noted at the outset, I have spent many hours reading Ely wills and have used them very profitably in my own work. Rather, I have meant to suggest that these sources - as is the case with any sources - have their limitations. If those are recognized, if we ask the sources questions that they can responsibly be expected to answer, then they can be extremely useful.

This author's centuries are the sixteenth and seventeenth and, as a result, this essay has been slanted towards topics relevant to those centuries with scarce a mention of anything post I do not, of course, believe that probate records are the same throughout the period and that what applies to the s holds equally for the s. Indeed, I know that the religious preambles, the value of which has been so hotly contested, disappear in the s.

However, I do feel that, mutatis mutandis, the issues which I have raised and the cautions which I have advanced can be pertinent, regardless of one's era of interest Most of all, I hope that readers will feel welcomed into these sources and use them with pleasure and success, adding even more to our understanding of the historical value of the probate records, in this diocese and elsewhere.

The Centre can provide printouts of selected items, for which a charge will be made to cover overhead costs. The individuals to whom the records relate are listed in alphabetical order of surname, standardised where necessary, and then in alphabetical order of forename, also standardised where necessary. Groups of individuals with Identical forenames are listed chronologically. Note that occupations of relatives given under the heading of status are not preceded by a comma.

This is to avoid ambiguity: 'John, son of Thomas farmer', is a farmer's son; 'John, son of Thomas, farmer', is himself a farmer. The following symbols indicate the source of the information given when it is additional to, or varies from, that given in the main entry in the probate register: a administration; i inventory; p record of grant of probate.

With the exception of variant forms of surname, information from these other sources is normally given at the end of each entry. For other abbreviations, see below. Dates shewn in square brackets are the dates at which the documents in question were drawn up, as opposed to the dates of their presentation in court.

The privileged persons over whom this jurisdiction extended, apart from the members of the university were university or college employees, private servants of scholars, and tradesmen, notably stationers, whose usefulness merited the protection of the university. The jurisdiction also extended to the families of these privileged persons at the time of their deaths, and to all widows of scholars or privileged persons at the time of their respective deaths, and to all their children.

Claims of privilege were only exercisable by those resident within the jurisdiction of the University, which extended one mile on every side of the town and parishes of the town of Cambridge. An index to this court. Roberts, was published in This index which is not very reliable, has been superseded by a much more detailed card index compiled during recent years.

For one aspect of this court, of particular use to historians, see also Books in Cambridge Inventories. Leedham-Green, Cambridge, King's College was a peculiar within the University, and jurisdiction over probate there belonged to the ProvosL 2. Vetus Liber Archidiaconi Eliensis, ed. Feltoe and E. Minns, Cambridge Antiquarian Society, , pp. See the map on p. For a more detailed discussion of the jurisdictions of the bishop and archdeacon see Dorothy M. Owen, Ely Records. A handlist of the Records of the Bishop and Archdeacon of Ely, n.

See below pp. Peter Spufford, "A printed catalogue of the names of testators", in G. Martin and Peter Spufford eds. The records of the nation, Woodbridge, Suffolk, , , ; Margaret Spufford, Contrasting communities: English villagers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Cambridge, Since the printed literature on probate records is now quite extensive, in the notes which follow I have usually made no attempt to cite every relevant source, preferring to cite representative works only.

Readers who desire further reading will find the notes and bibliographies of those works instructive; 2. Eric Josef Carlson, Marriage and the English Reformation Oxford, , chaps ; 'The churchwardens of rural south-eastern Cambridgeshire' in Margaret Spufford ed, The world of rural dissenters, Cambridge, forthcoming. In what follows, I use the word 'will' in something less than its technical sense.

Strictly speaking, the will and testament were distinct instruments. The will is concerned with real property and the testament with money and moveables. As do most scholars, I use 'will' as a shorthand to describe the document containing both instruments. I am focusing on wills alone in this part of the essay because there are very few surviving inventories and administrations until the seventeenth century. All graphs were prepared by Dr Rosemary Rodd. Michael M. Baker, An introduction to English legal history, ed.


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On devise of copyhold, see Gcely Howell, Land, family and inheritance in transition: Kibworth Harcourt Cambridge, , esp. On gifts to the church in the middle ages, see Sandra Raban,Mortmain legislation and the English church Cambridge, Sheehan, 'English wills and the records of the ecclesiastical and civil jurisdictions', Journal of medieval history 14 ; Motoyasu Takahashi, 'The number of wills proved in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Graphs, with tables and commentary', in Martin and Spufford, Records of the nation, Cliff Webb in the introduction to his Union index of Surrey probate records which survive from before the year Index Library, 99, British Record Society, London, suggests that full retention or registration of wills in the archdeaconry of Surrey began in The diocese of Ely, like that of Worcester, with full retention or registration of wills from , therefore appears only a little later than the other courts so far counted.

The numbers did drop off: from in the last full year of episcopal authority to 84 in , 78 in , and 41 in In , there was a surprising and sustained recovery: 99 wills proved in , in , in , etc.

One factor which might have contributed to this rise was the weakness of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Christopher Kitching, Probate during the Civil War and Interregnum', Journal of the Society of Archivists 5 ] , believes that during the s, many ignored its jurisdiction, 'seeking probate from a surviving local court if they could find one, or else evading it altogether' p. Ely was apparently one of those dioceses in which a local court remained somewhat vital. Kitcbing, 'Probate during the Civil War', esp. Medieval restrictions are discussed in Sheehan, Will, esp. Ely wills are catalogued by the probate year, not by the date of will-making or death.

Wills were usually written within a few days of the testator's death, and the interval between burial and probate was commonly less tban two months: Stephen Coppel, 'Wills and the community: a case study of Tudor Grantham', in Philip Riden ed. Michael L. Zell, 'The social parameters of probate records in the sixteenth century', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 57 Nesta Evans, 'Inheritance, women, religion, and education in early modern society as revealed by wills', in Riden,Probate records, 55, In his study of the town of Banbury from to , Richard Vann calculated that only Vann, 'Wills and the family in an English town: Banbury, ', Journal of family history 4 The marked fall in the number of wills proved in the Consistory Court in the first half of the eighteenth century, at a time when the total number of deaths remained much the same, can also probably be accounted for by a further shift to the use of the Prerogative Court.

See, for example, the studies cited above by Coppel, 'Wills and the community', Evans, 'Inheritance, women, religion and education', and Vann, 'Wills and the family'. Takahashi, 'Number of wills', , suggested that a higher proportion left wills. He calculated that, both in the s and in the s, almost exactly a third of the adult men in England left wills that were proved in the ecclesiastical courts of the province of Canterbury, besides those proved in the province of York. Coppel, 'Grantham 79; Zell, 'Social parameters', Margaret Spufford, 'Peasant inheritance customs and land distribution in Cambridgeshire from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries', in Jack Goody, Joan Thirsk and E.

Thompson eds. Family and inheritance: rural society in western Europe Cambridge, , esp. Smith and Keith Wrightson eds. Bonfield, op. The study I am recommending must be made using a number of parishes, as done by Professor Spufford, to see if patterns of wilt-making vary and if any local differences might aeoount for variations.

This is worth noting simply because wills have traditionally been an important source for historians of these groups in the late middle ages. See, for example: Jeremy Catto, 'Religion and the English nobility in the later fourteenth century', in H. Trevor-Roper London, , ; Joel T. Rosenthal, The purchase of Paradise: gift giving and the aristocracy, London, ; idem, Patriarchy and families of privilege in fifteenth-century England Philadelphia, Dr Christopher Marsh used thirty-two such wills from the Prerogative Court in his study of the members of the Family of Love focused on Balsham in Cambridgeshire.

Christopher W. Takahashi, 'Numbers of wills', Dr Jacqueline Bower had found a similar non-agricultural use of 'yeoman' as a status rather than as an occupation in her work on Kent yeomen in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. She has even found 'yeomen' indicted for vagrancy. Amussen, An ordered society, 78; D. Vaisey, 'Probate inventories and provincial retailers in the'seventeenth century' in Riden, Probate records, 95, For the populations of these three parishes, see the relevant volumes in the Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire, i. Elrington, et al.

While the wording is not always exactly the same, this is a very typical example. CW ; CW Margaret Spufford, 'The scribes of villagers' wills in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and their influence', Local population studies 7 , ; idem, Contrasting communities , ; J. Alsop, 'Religious preambles in early modern English wills as formulae', Journal of ecclesiastical history 40 , ; Christopher Marsh, 'In the name of God? Will-making and faith in early modern England', in Martin and Spufford, Records of the nation, — Anyone wishing to work in this area is strongly advised to read these three pieces before proceeding, since a brief summary cannot do justice to them.

Fleming, 'Charity, faith, and the gentry of Kent ', in Tony Pollard ed. Marsh, 'In the name of God', Marjorie Mcintosh argues that Havering testators were less deferential to scribes, and often dictated tbeir own preambles or insertions into scribal formulae: A community transformed, Mcintosh gives reasons why this behaviour might have been peculiar to Havering, though Margaret Spufford does find an occasional example of a testator altering his scribe's formula in a way which suggests personal religious views: Contrasting communities, Almanacs: Bernard Capp, 'Will formularies', Local population studies 14 49; legal works: two which are often cited by scholars are A boke of presidentes exactly written in maner of a register London, ; and William West'sSymbolaeographia.

Which may be termed the art, description, or image of instruments, couenants, contracts, etc. London, Cross's argument has been undermined by Marsh 'In the name of God', Because sixteenth- and seventeenth-century testators tended to make wills when dying, they were thinking especially of facing the Almighty and the way in which the bequest of their soul was phrased might have had more relevance; as it became more common to make wills while healthy the religious preamble fell into disuse: Marsh, 'In the name of God', ; Stephen Coppel, 'Will-making on the deathbed'.

Local population studies 40 37— Alsop, 'Religious preambles'. Zell, 'Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century wills as historical sources', Archives 14 69; idem, "The use of religious preamblesas a measure. His is not an isolated case. Professor Spufford and Dr Marsh have in their works a number of examples of deeply religious and pious individuals whose wills begin in ways that would give no indication of it. Craig and Litzenberger, 'Wills as religious propaganda, , , See also Cross, 'Wills as evidence', 51, for several examples of preambles as 'authentic confessions of faith'.

CW Christine Carpenter, 'The religion of the gentry of fifteenth-century England', in Daniel Williams ed. See also Nigel Saul, 'The religious sympathies of the gentry in Gloucestershire', Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 98 ; Malcolm Vale, Piety, charity and literacy among the Yorkshire gentry, York, Clive Burgess, "By quick and by dead": wills and pious provision in late medieval Bristol', English historical review ; idem, 'Late medieval wills and pious conventions: testamentary evidence reconsidered", in M.

Hicks ed. Cullura and P. Goldberg, 'Charitable provision in late medieval York: "To the praise of God and the use of the poor"', Northern history29 ; Peter Heath, 'Urban piety in the later middle ages: the evidence of Hull wills', in R. Dobson ed. Barron and C. See also Eamon Duffy, The stripping of the altars: traditional religion in England c. Burgess, '"By quick and by dead"', Dickens, Lollards and Protestants in the diocese of York, London, ; repr. Palliser, The Reformation in York York, , Mcintosh, A community transformed, ; Cross, 'Development of Protestantism', esp.

Lorraine Attreed detects a sharp increase in bequests to tbe poor in a wider sampling of northern wills:'Preparation for death', ; W. Jordan, Philanthropy in England London, See also: Caroline Litzenberger, 'Local responses to changes in religious policy based on evidence from Gloucestershire wills ',Continuity and change 8 ; G.

Mayhew,'The progress of tbe Reformation in East Sussex ; the evidence from wills', Southern history 5 Derek Plumb, 'The social and economic spread of rural Lollardy: a reappraisal', Studies in church history 23 , ; idem, 'John Foxe and the later Lollaids of tbe Thames valley', unpub. University of Cambridge Ph. Christopher Marsh, '"A gracelesse, and audacious companie"? Dr Marsh's monograph, The Family of Love in English society, , was not yet available when this essay was written.

William Stevenson, 'Sectarian cohesion and social integration, ', in E. Leedham-Green ed. Spufford, Contrasting communities, ; idem, Small books and pleasant histories: popular fiction and its readership in seventeenth-century England London, esp. Christopher Harbarte was on the list for Walmgate ward. Elizabeth Dynley did not die until and was buried at St.

Michael le Belfry. She was still named as Elizabeth Dynley despite her re-marriage and listed as a recusant. Peacock, Catholics in Yorkshire , p. Stacpoole ed.

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These are the two families who Aveling holds up as maintaining Catholicism within the City. York Historian 18 Memoranda Book of Richard Cholmley, p. Prest ed. Many parishes failed to return numbers, especially in the North Riding due to the outbreak of plague.

CSPD , Addenda, pp. Memoranda Book of Richard Cholmley, pp. The 'physicians' consulted included a Mr. Wendell, Doctor Fryer and Dr. Lapworth of Oxford whom he lists as his physician.