DCD 1.1.Spec.71.

Will, with probate, 1431

An example of a particularly well-designed document: having written down the will, the scribe left space before forming the turn-up, so allowing for the subsequent insertion of the record of probate, and the testator's seal was affixed to a tag that is set to the left, to be balanced by that of the bishop's official almost eight weeks later. Both will and probate are typical examples. The short will opens with the invocation 'In dei nomine amen', the only context in which this formula was regularly used between the disappearance of diplomas and the advent of notarial instruments, cf. Cheney (1972) pp. 105-06, Loc.VII:7. The date is then given, again as in a notarial instrument, immediately after the invocation. The testator announces 'Ego ... compos mentis et sane memorie Condo testamentum meum in hunc modum In primis do et lego' [view] his soul to God, Blessed Mary and all the saints, his body to be buried at the Franciscans in Newcastle, and all his goods and property to a brother and a kinsman, whom he makes his executors. The witnesses are named, the first being a parochial chaplain, the date is given, and the text ends with a sealing-clause, which refers to 'sigillum quod ad manus tunc habui' [view] and was evidently not his own, for the inscription on it (an owl walking, on wing two crosses crosslet) appears to refer to the owner as John, and so possibly that of John Lascy, one of the executors.
Probate and the grant of administration to the executors are terse and to the point: 'Probatum et approbatum fuit presens testamentum coram nobis domini Dunelm- Episcopi Officiale in ecclesia Sancti Nicholai in Dunelm- xjo die Iunij Anno domini supradicto in presencia Willelmi Chaunceller armigeri et Ricardi Bukley clerici. Et commissa est administracio bonorum predicti Ricardi Clyderhowe defuncti. Henrico Clyderhowe et Iohanni Lascy executoribus predictis iuratis secundum formam constitutionis legati quondam in Anglia in hac parte editi' [view], referring to the papal legate Ottobuono's constitution on the matter in 1268 (Powicke & Cheney pp. 764-65). In England testamentary jurisdiction belonged exclusively to the spiritual courts until quite recently.
The text of the will is well-written, with relatively little abbreviation. The text-block is placed off-centre, to the right, cf. Loc.XXV:124, but the elaborated initial goes some way to balancing its appearance, cf. 2.13.Pont.12.