Some East Ilsley Wills

Transcription of particular wills was originally undertaken to add another dimension to the work on Monumental Inscriptions of East Ilsley. The project was then extended, and wills of former residents were searched for and also transcribed. A total of some 200 wills have now been identified and transcribed, including many that pre-date the beginning of parish registers. Working, for the most part, from printouts from microfilm in the Local Record Office or downloaded from the Internet, it took patience to decipher the two to three hundred year-old scripts, a task made more difficult due to the fact that no punctuation is used. One could not be sure, either, whether particular letters were capitals or not. The printouts from microfilm, or downloaded from the Internet, vary in quality. This adds to the difficulty in deciphering them. On rare occasions it was possible to gain access to an original document, which made the task slightly easier.

The whole enterprise, over a number of years, was an immense learning curve, and inevitably there will be some errors in the work. These transcriptions should be regarded merely as a guide to future researchers. 

It is always wise to consult the originals in cases of serious study

A typical example of some difficult text is shown below.

This extract from the will of Henry Poynter 1838, reads as follows:

… they the said Richard Winkfield and George Hanslow or the survivor of them and the heirs executors administrators assigns of such survivor do and shall with all convenient speed after my decease sell and dispose of my household goods and furniture and also my business also the good will thereof and stock in trade in any manner they may deem best and upon such terms and with power to take such reasonable security for the payment of the purchase and if not at once paid down as they may deem expedient just giving my…….. William Church the option of owning the same and also get in and convert into money all other my personal estate and do and shall out of the monies arising from such sale and other my…………..

The first 190 of these transcriptions were put onto a CD, which contains full transcripts of the wills, summaries of the people mentioned (beneficiaries, witnesses etc.) and a full name index.

Since the publication of the CD, a further ten wills have been found and transcribed, also, about the same number of inventories.

A link to the wills index containing all those so far transcribed can be found here.