Posted: 20/07/2015 at 08:02
Hosta - there is a small group of us who volunteer at our local records office & transcribe the wills for use by researchers. As you say, the levels of literacy were poor (although the wills were often written by professional scribes or local priests) and the spelling, grammar & handwriting present challenges for anybody trying to read them without training.
The real challenge, however, lies in the fact that many of the wills spent decades lying in wooden parish chests and were damaged by damp, mould, insects and rodents. Some are not much more than large fragments. The challenge there is trying to chase down any registered copies and trying to make up a full transcription.
The wills are all pre reformation and are a fascinating insight into the beliefs, concerns and the possessions of our ancestors. They also contain much valuable information about village history when named fields and parcels of land are being bequeathed.
I just find it really interesting .....
Glad Verdun got his smilies back