Probate Inventories were made so that the authorities knew how much to charge for proving a will.

Fewer inventories than wills survive, and for the Devon part of my tree (and One-Name Study) there are hardly any, as most were lost along with Devon wills in WW2. None seems to survive for those whose wills were proved in the PCC.

Where they do survive they can be fascinating documents, at least for those of us who are fascinated by the lives of our ancestors, and not just how we are related to whom.

Terms such as ‘husbandman’, ‘yeoman’ and ‘gent’ can cover a wide spectrum of individuals. There wills may give us an idea of how well of they were, but inventories can make it much clearer.

Several things need to be bourne in mind, though. It is suggested that items are often undervalued, and where a person lived into old age they may already have passed on some of their goods, especially if they had retired.

Inventories seen and transcribed so far:


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