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Brixworth Village Thomas Roe & Buttercross
All Saints` Church Brixworth 1_Exterior Post-1865

Index of Names & Places In PCC wills

with Testators from Brixworth, Northamptonshire


This index aims to help readers decide whether they would like to see an image of the original document (or a full transcript if one should be available). So is provides the most useful details for helping people make that decision. It was compiled by reading the office copies of all the wills that were proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (which was abolished on 12 January 1858) where the testator is described in The National Archives’ index as being of Brixworth, Northamptonshire. The index does not cover the much larger number of wills that were proved at local probate courts during the period when it operated.


You can find the index here



People listed in the index (the “Subjects”)

    •The Testator

    •All those mentioned in the will, including witnesses

    •All those mentioned in the record of the grant of probate with the exception of the court officials.


Finding the wills


The index is a finding aid and not a full transcription, even of the fields included. If you see someone of interest, the next stage is to consult the will itself.


The office copies have been digitised and can be consulted on the following websites:


•The National Archives (TNA) – You can download a PDF of the will register page or pages that include a specific will. Normally there is a charge of     £3.50 per will but that has been waived during Coronavirus disruption.

•Ancestry – You can download PCC wills, one image at a time, at no extra charge if you have a relevant Ancestry subscription. As some wills are quite lengthy, a number of images may be required for a single will.


In either case, you have to search for the will using the index on the site you choose. The indexes were compiled separately. Generally speaking, the TNA index appears to have fewer transcription errors.


The series of images on the two sites were also created separately, so if legibility is poor for those on one site it is worth consulting the corresponding document on the other one.


For wills proved from 1 January to 24 March in the years before 1752, Ancestry indexes the probate year using the “old style” but the TNA index has converted such dates to the “new style”. Therefore, for instance, if the probate date of a will is recorded in the office copy as “5 February 1658“ it is shown as such in the Ancestry index but as “5 February 1659” in the TNA index.


The Index Fields




This is allocated in the order in which the first reference in the will to the subject appears.


Subject’s Forename


•Where there is no doubt about the meaning of an abbreviation or variant spelling, the name is standardised to its most common non-abbreviated modern form. Otherwise, it appears in the index as in the original.

•Titles or descriptions such as “Mr”, “Rev” or “widow” are only included in the index if no other “forename” is recorded.

•Descriptions such as “senior” or “junior” are not included.


Subject’s Surname


•This is the surname stated in the will, using the husband’s surname in the case of a married or widowed woman (if such as surname is stated) and the father’s surname for children of any age or marital condition if no other surname is recorded for that child.

•Where more than one spelling appears in the record, the one most commonly found in the will itself is adopted.

•If there is an alternative surname, the index has a separate record of the Subject for each one, e.g. “Smith alias Jones” and also “Jones alias Smith”.


Subject’s Place


•Where the Subject is also the Testator only the abode (existing and, where relevant, previous) as stated in the will is indexed. The index does not associate a Subject who is the Testator with other types of places (e.g. where property was held or to whose church or poor folk a bequest was made).

•For Subjects other than the Testator, the Place is usually the abode but sometimes may be where, for example, the Subject owned or rented land and did not necessarily live.

•If a married couple both appear in the will but an abode is specified for only one of them the same place is added in the index for the other person too.

•If the will describes the Subject as a “neighbour” and no abode is specified, the Testator’s abode is recorded as the Subject’s Place.

•If two or more Places are associated with the Subject (e.g. a former and a current residence), the index entry for the Subject has separate records for each one.

Where a Place mentioned in the will is complicated, such as a street & locality & county, it is abbreviated, e.g. to “London”.

•Counties are mentioned only if stated in the text.

•The names of counties may be abbreviated.

•Provided the identity of a place is not in doubt, its modern spelling is used.


Subject’s Role


•Testator - The person who made the will.

•Relative – Where the will states a family relationship either to the Testator or to anyone else. Godchildren are not included in this category but are classified as “Other”.

•Other – Anyone mentioned in the will who is not the Testator and for whom a family relationship is not stated, even if the person concerned has the same surname as the Testator. In some cases, the person concerned may in fact be related to the Testator. Occasionally, wills may be proved by someone other than the named executor (e.g. when that person had already died) – in that case the person proving the will is included in the “Other” category.

•Witness – A person who witnessed the signing of the will.

Probate Year

For wills proved from 1 January to 24 March in years prior to 1752, both the “old style” and “new style” years are shown in the index, e.g. as “1658/9”.


Testator’s Forename


Standardised in the same way as the Subject’s Forename.


Testator’s Surname


•Where more than one spelling appears in the record, the one most commonly found in the will itself is adopted.

•If there is an alternative surname, the index records it in this way: “Jones alias Smith”, adopting the order in the will.


Testator’s Abode


This is the parish, as identified in the PCC index and checked with the original. Subsidiary place names within a parish are not recorded.




Unless it is clear that names repeated within a particular will definitely do relate to the same person, the index may include more than one entry for Subjects who had precisely the same name. In some cases, these references may be to the same individual.


If the same person appears in more than one capacity (e.g. as “Relative & Witness” or “Other & Witness”) there is a separate index entry for each appearance.

Researched and written by Francis Howcutt

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