English Secretary Hand, brown ink on vellum, 21 lines, with autograph signature bottom right; page measuring 10″ x 6.5″; significant fading, ink stains, transfer wax damage at centre bottom; seal tongue intact, including remnants of red wax seal.
1. In the name of God Amen I Margrett Richardson of Archdeacon Newton widdow sicke
2. in body but in p[er]fect remembrance praysed be god do make this my last will and testament in manner and forme followeing : First
3. I give and bequeath my soule to Almighty God my onely Savio[u]r and Redeemer in and through whose blood I hope verily to be saved and
4. my body to be buried w[i]thin the parish Church of Connscliffe. I give to my foure daughters fifty pounds a peece to be paid out of
5. my lease w[i]thin four yeares and all my houshold stuffe to be equally devided amongst them, to be payd in manner & forme following
6. vizt [i.e. videlicet: that is to say] my two eldest daughters that is my daughter Elizabeth and Mary to have for the first yeare eyther of them xxli and
7. the second yeare eyther of them tenne pounds and my other two daughters xli a peece and the third yeare my two
8. eldest daughters xxli a peece & 4th yeare my younger daughters 40li a peece. And I give and bequeath to my Cosin
9. Margrett Scurfeld all my goods moveable and unmoveable my debts discharged and my funerall expences defrayed
10. and do make her whole executor of this my last will and testament In witnesse whereof I have sette my hand this 7th of November
12. In dei no[m]i[n]e Amen admiss[is] l[egi]time probac[i]onibus de et sup[er] facc[i]o[ne] test[ament]i suprascript[i] Nos Thomas
In the name of god, Amen. (Regarding) the lawfully admitted proofs of and upon the making of the testament above-written, We, Thomas
13. Buccerell(?)* artiu[m] mag[iste]r Re[veren]di in xpo [i.e. Christo] p[at]ris et d[omi]ni d[omi]ni Thomae providen[tia] div[in]a Dunel[mu]m Ep[iscop]i vicar[ius] in sp[irit]ualibus g[ene]ralis
Buccerell(?*), master of Arts, of the Reverend father in Christ and right reverend Master Thomas, (by) divine providence Bishop of Durham, the vicar in spirituals general
[* central letters obscured by ink blot]
14. et offic[ia]lis principalis l[egi]time fulcit[us] Ip[su]m testam[entum] rite factu[m] et l[egi]time probatu[m] p[ro]nunciamus et ins[in]uamus ac pro vir[i]bus
and chief official, lawfully supported, the Same testament, duly made and lawfully proved, we do pronounce and enter, and also for the strengths
15. et vero valore eiusd[em] Declaramus Necnon
//// [word crossed out] administrac[i]o[n]em omniu[m] et singuloru[m] bonoru[m] iuriu[m]
and true validity of the same we do Declare, And also
//// [word crossed out] the administration of all and singular the goods, rights,
16. creditoru[m] et cattalloru[m] quae fuerunt p[redictae(?)*] defunct[ae] infra Dunel[mu]m ubili[be]t existen[tium] Henrico Richardson
credits, and chattels which were of [i.e. belonged to] the [aforesaid(?)*] deceased within Durham, wherever being, (to) Henry Richardson
[* best guess at illegibly faded word, based on length, shape, & initial letter]
17. de Darneton filio defunct[ae] (ad exequend[um] et p[er]implend[um] d[i]c[t]um test[ament]um iuxta testatricis intenc[i]o[n]em
of Darneton, son of the deceased (towards carrying out and fulfilling the said testament according to the intent of the testatrix,
18. iuxtaq[ue] iuris in ea parte exigen[tiam]) [?*] plenarie in d[omi]no com[m]ittimus p[er] p[rese]ntes Datum Dunel[mu]m
and according to the exigency of the law in that part), [?*] fully in the lord, we do commit by (these) presents; Given (at) Durham
[* indecipherable word, lost to seal wax transfer]
19. sub sigillo n[ost]ro (quo in huios utimur) xx[xo(?) die*] mens[i]s Maij Anno d[omi]ni 1645.
under our seal (which for this we use), (on) the [30th(?) day*] of the month of May (in) the Year of (our) lord 1645.
[* best guess at passage obscured by wax seal damage, based on length, shape & standard ritual phraseology]
20. Ri:[chard] Keirhowse
* This represents a typical problem encountered in the transcription of early documents: though the hand itself is generally clear, the manuscript is damaged – by ink blots, significant fading, and transferred residue from the remnant of its wax seal. Ultra-Violet Light can resurrect washed-out ink to a remarkable degree, while familiarity with the ritualised language of legal documents can aid in recreating lost text on the basis of its length and shape, but question marks inevitably remain.
In this instance, necessary corrections might be made by checking against the pre-1858 Durham Probate Records series, in which wills are filed by year of probate, with each year arranged alphabetically under surname.
Probate of ye