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15th Century English Transcript Example
Extract (lines 1-17 only) from the Will of John Hotoft of Knebworth, Hertfordshire, England
dated  21st October 1438 (17 Henry VI) London, proved 10th May 1443
copyright © Transcription Services Ltd 2008-2018
   1.   The last wille of John hotoft made at London in the fest of xj mL  virgines (11 thousand virgins*, St.Ursula, 21st October) the yeer of the Regne of King Harry the

  2.   Sixt  . xvij .  (17 Henry VI, 1438) is this . First I wylle that ther is put in suer keping of money the which is redy in hande for a

  3.   prest to sing for me and al other that are nempned** in  . ij .  bill being in knebworth churche in the keping of

  4.   the person (parson) of Wynbyssh & Sir Willm for to sing in the same cherch . vij . yeer next folowing after my

  5.   dethe . taking by yeer . X . marc (10 marks = £6 13s 4d)  & the som total  .  xlvj li xiij s iiij d . (£46 13s 4d = 70 marks) Ther is redy at knebworth wt inne a lone

  6.   Bownden Cofr  . CC . mrc (200 marks =£133 6s 8d) . Also ther is redy at London in my Comier/Comur/Conner? . L . mrc . (50 marks = £33 6s 8d) Also I will that ther be solde

  7.   of sylver vessell to myne use in all possible the parsellys folowyng that is for to wytte  . ij .  chargeres  . vij .  disshes

  8.   vj .  Sawsrs of the best sort  . ij .  potts of sylvr of the best sort  . ij .  basons &  . ij .  Clerys of the best sort and . iiij .

  9.   cuppes of sylvr covred of the best sort  . ij .  sal[v]ers of silvr of myddelsort  . xxiiij .  spones of the best sort . Althis

10.   abovesaid I will that thei be solde in haste . For I wille have at my departing that is for to Wyte at

11.   the daye of my beryyng dabte to poor peple  . xx li .  (£20)  And also I Wille have a  . mL .  (thousand) masses at the same day

12.   and tyme withinne with inne [H]ertford Shir als many as may be getyng and the remennt at London . Also I wille

13.   have my howshold kepte at knebworth a hoole yeer after my dethe tyll the day of the terment be made

14.   all at my cost that is for to say my wyfe & my servntes such as are necessarie for to be hadde

15.   for the yeer with such goodes as are there & with my Cropp that is on the grounde for I knowe the[e] shall

16.   have y month where of . Also the[e] shalle have Myghelmasse rent at Knebworth War[wick] Leicester Shire and Essex

17.   and moor if hit nede for to kepe honestly my wyves astate for the yere . Also I wille that my wyfe have


*      The veracity of a medieval legend "St Ursula and the 11 thousand virgins" has been often debated.
        One suggestion is that a virgin martyr named undecimilia (Ursula) had in ancient times her name mis-interpreted as undicimilia (considered as a numeral, 11 thousand);
        another, perhaps less likely, that the tale derives from  XI. M. V.  being read as "11 thousand virgins" rather than "11 martyred virgins".

**    nempne = to name or call, from Old English nemnan, past tense nempned



 original document copyright © The National Archives (PRO) - Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Will of John Hotoft 10th May 1443
PCC Probate Register: Rous,  quire: 15,  folio: 117 verso - National Archives catalogue ref: PROB/11/1, Documents Online image ref: 199/24953


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