More Gloucestershire wills and inventories now available on Ancestry

The images of a further 1000 wills and inventories are now available to view on Gloucestershire’s Ancestry sub site. These are largely the images of wills and inventories from three of the County’s ecclesiastical peculiars. These peculiars were based around manors which belonged to the Bishop of Worcester, and as such they did not join the Diocese of Gloucester until 1847. Until this time the rector of each peculiar retained the right to prove wills and grant probate administrations and marriage licences.

This means that wills and inventories for the peculiars are not contained within the main Diocesan sequence of probate records, and thus have not been included in the listing of these records on our Genealogical database. Some of the originals are in poor condition, which has made handling them difficult.  Thus the current indexing and imaging of these on Ancestry represents the first time that they have been made widely available to anyone not visiting the Archives.

The three peculiars concerned are Bibury, Bishops Cleeve and Withington. It is worth remembering though that each peculiar had jurisdiction over an area wider than just the parish that gave it its name. Thus Bibury peculiar also claimed jurisdiction over the parishes of Aldsworth and Barnsley, and the chapelry of Winson. The peculiar of Bishops Cleeve also administered Stoke Orchard chapelry, while Withington had oversight of Dowdeswell.

Photograph of will of Barbara Batson

Bibury peculiar will of Barbara Batson, 1730

This means that it’s worth checking out the Ancestry images if your interest is in any of these places. They appear on the existing “Gloucestershire, England, Wills and Inventories, 1541-1858” section on Ancestry. Sometimes both the will and probate inventory will be held, but in other cases only a will or an inventory survives. There are 335 wills for Bibury peculiar, and a further 13 inventories for which no will survives. Seventy four wills survive for Bishops Cleeve, with a further 34 inventories without wills. There are 96 wills and/or inventories for Withington peculiar.

If you’d like to know more about this and the other Gloucestershire resources available on Ancestry, then why not come along to our Ancestry drop-in event this Saturday (October 3rd)? The event runs between 10am and 2pm at the Archives, and on-site car parking is free on a first-come, first-served basis. At it you can

  • Ask the experts – a team from Ancestry will be available to answer your questions about the website and show you how it can help your research.
  • Overcome those research ‘brick walls‘ – whether your interest is family or local history experienced volunteers from Gloucestershire Family History Society, Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Archives’ own staff will be on hand to help you.
  • Discover how to move beyond the basics – Gloucestershire Archives holds many other sources which will help you delve deeper into the past.  We’ll have a small display of some of these.

We hope to see you there.

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