Wills from Doctors' Commons: A Selection from the Wills of Eminent Persons Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1495-1695

Wills from Doctors' Commons: A Selection from the Wills of Eminent Persons Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1495-1695

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Wills from Doctors' Commons: A Selection from the Wills of Eminent Persons Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1495-1695

Wills from Doctors' Commons: A Selection from the Wills of Eminent Persons Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1495-1695

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"Wills from Doctors' commons." Wills from an office, of which it was said, not without reason, in a volume published by the Camden Society in 1853, that it was believed to be the only depository of historical documents, if not the only office of any kind, in the kingdom, in which there was no feeling whatever in favour of literature and historical inquiry; an office from the authorities of which the Council of the Camden Society wholly failed to obtain, on behalf of literature, even the smallest modification of their restrictive regulations; an office in which in recent times there was no one who could read or transcribe many of the documents which were there preserved; whilst absurd restrictions, framed upon the principle of securing a payment at every turn, drove persons who consulted the registers to contrivances the most ludicrous for fixing in their memories a date, an incident, an amount, or a name which happened to occur in a will.

That such a depository should be thrown open to inquirers, and that, in token of the fact, a volume of Wills should be published from it without payment of office fees, are circumstances which mark an sera in our literary history. Of old, admission to inspect the treasures of our record depositories was considered a very remarkable and peculiar privilege. It was never conceded save to men of the highest name in historical or antiquarian literature, and then only under formal instruments granted by Secretaries of State or other even more eminent authorities. This state of things continued with little . . .

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