West Kent Wills and Families up to 1650

  • Over 10,000 pages and 1000 transcripts published on CD
  • Index of 19,000 NW Kent wills in searchable database
  • More than 1½ thousand people mentioned by name in Sevenoaks families.
  • Published December 2004 - Supercedes 'The History of Sevenoaks to 1650'
The definitive reference work for family and local historians


Index of wills in West Kent to 1650

This index is no longer
being maintained.

A searchable version
with transcripts
is avalaible on the H.o.S. CD

Using the index
* Look for a surname
* List of aliases
* Looking for a place
and other uses for the index
* About the index
Looking at wills
*What is a will?
*Deanery of Shoreham wills

This index collects over 19,000 entries from six sources into a single index in a standard format that can easily be searched. A version is provided here for locating individuals by surname. A list of aliases is provided which gives leads to alternative spellings and quite often a different name entirely.

Because there are other uses for this index besides surname searching a text version is available for downloading which can then be sorted and selected. For example it is not difficult to extract all the wills for a particular parish then sort them by date.

During the course of this research some of the wills have been transcribed (they're all written in English but the 400 year old handwriting takes a lot of getting used to - hence the convenience of a typed version). These are marked in the index as are also some where interesting points have been found.

All these wills are available for public inspection at the various archives where they are held. Sometimes these are conveniently available on microfilm and sometimes the originals themselves can be viewed. There are lots of details of real people's lives lying in these archives waiting to be unearthed.

This index has been compiled by Jean Fox. If you have corrections, additions or further transcriptions then let Jean know so we can update the index and make it a richer source for historians.

This index has been compiled by Jean Fox.
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Post: Lulworth, School Lane, Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 OBQ
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Intoduction Introduction Surname search Sources
  1. The Index of Wills Proved in the Rochester Consistory Court 1440-1561 (refered to, in entries, as "the book").
  2. The card index in CKS, Maidstone of wills proved in the Rochester Consistory Court up to 1653.
  3. Index to Deanery of Shoreham Wills and Administrations, 1614-1821 (Kent parishes; wills of testators and indication where there is an Act Book entry up to 1653).
  4. Index of Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury; London, British Record Society for parishes covered by sources 1, 2 and 3; Volumes 1 & 2 (1383-1558); Volume 3 (1559-83); Volume 4 (1584-1604); Volume 5 (1605-19); Volume 6 (1620-29).
  5. Abstracts of Probate Acts in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury; London, 93 & 94 Chancery Lane for parishes covered by sources 1, 2 and 3; Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (1630-49).
  6. Testamentary Records in the Commissary Court of London; HMSO, for parishes covered by sources 1, 2 and 3.
The wills from sources 1, 2 and 3 are held in the Centre for Kentish Studies, County Hall Maidstone, those from sources 4 and 5 in the Public Record Office, London and those from source 6 in the Guildhall Library, London.

Source 1 also gives some references to probate acts (pa), administrations (A) and "coll. litterati" (coll). These references are indicated with an * and reference should be made to the source book for details.

Source 3 also gives entries for testamentary information contained in Act Books but with no surviving will. No details of these are held at Maidstone; they are indicated in this index by the reference "AB" and more details can be obtained by reference to the Deanery of Shoreham index.

Source 4 sometimes gives additional information taken from the Public Act Book and this is indicated in the index entries by "P.A.B."

Source 5 gives the name of the person who proved the will, sometimes with extra information.

RochesterSources 1 & 2about 14,250 entries13,200 wills
ShorehamSource 3about 800 entries550 wills
PCCSources 4 & 5about 3,900 entries
LondonSource 6about 100 entries

Intoduction Sources Surname search Abbreviations and format


b. buried
d.b.n. of goods unadministered by
d.m. during minority of
m; man
N.E. no executor nominated in will
P.A.B. Public Act Book
P.r. power reserved for administering a like grant
t.a.i. Tanquam ab intestato (as of an intestate)
w; woman
w.p.b. will proved by

Format of index

Entries are organised as one line of data per will
Basic information
Alternative spelling of surname
Where a name occurs in a variety of forms, the most common form is used as the basic reference with the particular variation in brackets, after the complete name. Thus, all variations can be referenced together in first name order within surname.
Parish For PCC wills, many locations are sometimes given for one testator; in this index the Kent parish is given priority even though it may be subsidiary to other locations. Some can have more than one location within the geographical area covered and, in this case, these are given in the same order as in the source volume but, where there is insufficient space in the Location field, the list is continued under "Notes". Wills where the location is just "Kent" without a parish have not been included.
Date p - proved
d - dated
f - filed
c - about
pd - proved and dated the same year.
  • Source 1: Dates are in the old form, i.e. year begins on 25th March.
  • Sources 2 and 3: dates up to 25th March are given in the form 1566/7.
  • Sources 4, 5 and 6: only the year is given
Index data
Court P - PCC
S - Deanery of Shoreham
L - London
  • For RCC wills:
    Drb/Pwr number - reel and folio of will register; 5*?? and 6*?? are Act Book refereneces
    generally Drb/Pw - reel number for original will; F if will filed but reference not known; occasionally the number is Dra/Pw1.
  • For Deanery of Shoreham wills:
    Prs/w - reel & folio of will register; "AB" for Act Book entry only.

    day and month
  • For PCC wills and those proved in the Commissary Court of London:
Additional information
Notes The first item in this column is occupation or equivalent (e.g. widow, gent.); where none is known, "m;" (man) or "w;" (woman) is given.
In text fileOn web pageMeans
[Trans/JF]Jean Fox has a transcript Almost all transcripts are on the CD If you want them you'll have to buy the CD.
[Extract]Jean Fox has a partial transcript
[Curiosity][Interesting items from Wills] makes a reference to this will

Intoduction Abbreviations Aliases Surname search
For surname searching the index is split into sections alphabetically. Click on the first letter of the name below to display a section, then search the text for the name you want. If you can't find the name then check in the list of aliases.

Warning:Some these pages are BIG! (See below for how to download the whole lot in compressed form.)

The index contains
  • Surname
  • Forenames
  • Parish
  • Dates of death / probate
  • Indexing
  • Notes often including occupation

Intoduction Search by name Places List of aliases
If the name you're looking for is not found in the alphabetical section then consult the list of aliases which might direct you to another section. This might be a matter of different spellings or alternative names for the same person

Intoduction Aliases Extracting wills related to a place
By far the best bet for anybody who wants to investigate places, remembering that you will get a lot further with sounds-like is to use the very flexible selection facilities in the database which is published on the CD This program needs Windows 95 or later to run. (Now available by download.)

Copyright Jean Fox 1998
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