Richard III New Face

English Wills, 1477–1499

Part of the Richard III Society


English Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of York, 1477–1499: The documents in this volume are transcripts of a selection of wills proved in the Prerogative Court of York during the period 1477 to 1499. The wills were originally entered in what is now Volume V in the series of probate registers held in the Borthwick Institute at the University of York. In total this register contains nearly 1,400 wills and about 450 other probate records. The vast majority of the wills are in Latin. Originating from a group project, the transcripts published here include only the testaments and wills that were written in English and also the handful of Latin documents (plus translations) with accompanying English wills - in all, documents relating to 89 testators.

Many of these testators were inhabitants of York or Kingston-upon-Hull and all but five of the others were from elsewhere in present-day Yorkshire. Sixteen of them were women; some of the men were former mayors or held other civic office. A wide range of occupations is represented, including six clerics, five merchants, a mercer, a grocer, an apothecary, two drapers, a weaver and two ‘founderers’.

The wills reveal details not only of piety and religious practices in late medieval northern England but also of lands, animals, clothing and jewellery – including a bequest to the Abbot of St Mary’s, York, of a pair of silver and gilt spectacles. The volume is essential for historians of all aspects of life in the late fifteenth century and for family historians researching the period.


•  The work is presented in two PDF files, one for the introductory matter, numbered in Roman numerals, and one for the main text, pages 1–271, numbered in Arabic figures. The volume’s indexes are on pp 226–271.

•  Click the images shown to download the associated PDF. Some of the PDFs are large, so may take a short while to download!

Introductory pages pp i–xlix

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Preliminary Pages

Main text, pp 1–271

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Main Text