Wills of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, 1439-1474: Wills from the Register `Baldwyne' II: 1461-1474 (Suffolk Records Society)

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9781843835325: Wills of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, 1439-1474: Wills from the Register `Baldwyne' II: 1461-1474 (Suffolk Records Society)

The making and registering of wills by ordinary people became widespread in East Anglia a century earlier than parts of midland and western England. It was a rural society bustling with small farmers, craftsmen involved in the cloth industry, and other artisans and traders. The wills record their concern for religion, the local community and the future welfare of wives, children, godchildren and even servants. They provide fascinating details of the social conditions of the time, including familial and neighbourly relationships, housing and household possessions, landholding and farming patterns, trades and crafts, and provision for the poor. And, typically for late-medieval wills, they offer particularly rich details of religious practices, not only concerning devotions in, and the adornment of, parish churches, but also the activities of parish gilds. This volume contains abstracts, in English, of more than 770 wills made between 1471 and 1474, made by residents of the parishes of western Suffolk and eastern Cambridgeshire that comprised the archdeaconry of Sudbury. There are also some 50 probate sentences, together with 'probate sentences', which provide details of the granting of probate, without the associated wills. The introduction outlines the probate system at the time and examines the form and content of a medieval will; the volume is completed with full notes and an extensive glossary.

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(B)oth the interested local historian and the casual reader will find in them a treasure trove of information on rural life in mid-fifteenth century Suffolk. (...) The wills have been carefully edited to make the contents accessible to the modern reader. FELSHAM HISTORY CLUB

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