Ian Mortimer


Berkshire Probate Accounts 1583-1712

Probate accounts is the collective name usually given to administrators' and executors' accounts. They were drawn up after the death of an individual, when the executor or administrator had to answer in court for all the expenses of the administration of the estate. Thus they contain an absolute wealth of detail about a household at the end of a man's life. Excellent sources for funeral customs and medical relief, the collections for Kent, Berkshire, Wiltshire and West Sussex were the principal sourecs for Ian's PhD. But these documents also deal with the living - from childcare expenses to farming practices, from murders to mourning clothes. Together they constitute one of the richest and most interesting sources for early modern social history.

Transcribed and edited by Ian Mortimer. Published by the Berkshire Record Society as their fourth volume of documents, 1999.