We continue to transcribe known Langham Wills and associated documents from the 14th century to the 19th century. Several Wills are awaiting conservation and will be transcribed when they are made available. More than two hundred fifty Wills have been transcribed as at spring 2013. Please select the Wills or Inventory links to the right of this text, the data is in a fully searchable format. Some Wills are fairly easy to read and transcribe like those of John Smith the Ironmonger and his father Richard Smith the Blacksmith, both Wills were proved on 12th March 1705 but John made his in 1702. Copying and transcribing from film is often difficult, especially if the writing bleeds through from the preceding page. Where we were allowed to photograph original wills the copy is much clearer and thus transcription is easier. Richard Cheseldyn wrote his own will, and if you read the words aloud you will hear speech as it sounded in Langham in 1689. He was of a good, local yeoman family so he had been educated. Writing a document in the seventeenth century was quite an undertaking, even if you did not have to pay the local curate or a lawyer to do it for you. Parchment or paper would have to be purchased and the ink made. Henry Hornby signed his will in 1695 and may have written it himself, although it does not have the same immediacy as Richard Cheseldyne’s. We get closer to Henry through his inventory which tells us how many rooms his house had and what was in them, but it doesn’t give details of his clothing. Henry was a Chandler, he was wealthier and had a larger house than Henry Hornby the Butcher who died in 1698. Many people in Langham did not make wills, they had too few of the world’s goods to make it necessary and could not afford the expense. Those who did make wills have provided us with a window to look into their world, but we should not forget the majority.
Langham Village History Group ~ © 1996 - 2021
Langham Wills & Inventories
Langham Village History Group