IT is hoped that the following abstracts of the wills of
parishioners of Herne may prove useful to some future historian of the,
parish, and may also present matters of more general interest.
The wills were proved in the Consistory Court of the
Archbishop of Canterbury. In one case, however, namely, that of William
Hammond (1396), probate was granted, "sede vacante," by
the Prior and Chapter of Christ Church, and the abstract is taken from
Register "G" in the Cathedral Library. During a vacancy in the
see the Prior and Chapter exercised all archiepiscopal
We obtain from the wills valuable information concerning
the Parish Church and in respect of the names of places, land and
fields in the parish, as well as some idea of the furnishing of the houses
and the mode of life of the people.*
The will of William Hammond (No. 1), set out in full, may
serve as an illustration of the way in which the wills were drawn. The
customary preamble stated that the testator was sound in mind if feeble in
body, and commended his soul to God, St. Mary and all the Saints. To the
wife was bequeathed, usually, a house for her life, or the use of the
living-room, bedroom and kitchen, with all the contents thereof. (See No.
* For a household inventory in 1609 see Vol. XXVII., pp.