RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
LevelFile
Alt Ref NoMS 722
Extent128 ff.
TitlePROBATE ACT BOOK
Date1523-1525
DescriptionAct book of the joint commissaries appointed by Thomas Wolsey, Legatus de Latere and Archbishop of York, and William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the probate of wills in the Province of Canterbury. 7 January 1523 - 28 March 1525.

On 2 January 1523 William Warham gave in to demands from Thomas Wolsey for a major role in testamentary business in the southern province. Under a composition signed by Warham, estates having 'bona notabilia' in several dioceses were to be under the purview of joint commissaries appointed by Warham and Wolsey. These were to be John Alen, acting for Wolsey, and John Cocks, acting for Warham. They met mainly at St. Paul's, with some minor business in their own houses, until October 1529 when Wolsey fell from power. Cocks then sat unchallenged as keeper of the Archbishop of Canterbury's prerogative and much of the business was transferred to Lambeth. See Christopher Kitching, 'The Prerogative Court of Canterbury from Warham to Whitgift' in Rosemary O'Day and Felicity Heal, eds., 'Continuity and change. Personnel and administration in the Church of England 1500-1642' (Leicester, 1976), pp. 191-214, 276-9. The composition is calendared, under the date 2 Jan 1522 14 Henry VIII [ie. 2 Jan. 1523] in 'Letters and papers of the reign of Henry VIII, vol 3 part 2, 1867, p. 1157. On the role of John Alen (1476-1534), Archbishop of Dublin from 1528, as Wolsey's Commissary-General, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. On John Cocks (d. 1546), Vicar-General, Dean of the Arches and Auditor in the Archbishop of Canterbury's Court of Audience see Joseph Foster, 'Alumni Oxonienses'.

f. 1r-v. A fly leaf, with notes and jottings.
f. 2r. Begins with title, damaged on the right hand side: 'Acta habita et facta coram venerabilibus ... Johanne Alen utriusque iuris et Johanne Co... doctoribus commissariis reverendissimorum ... Thome ... Cardinalis Ebor. Archiepiscopi ... Will.mi Dei gratia Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi... a septimo die mensis Januarii anno ... quingentesimo secundo'.
ff. 2r-128v. Acta.
LanguageLatin.
FindingAidsNew description by Richard Palmer, 2012.
PhysicalDescriptionQuarter leather binding, 314 x 230 mm, with boards covered in marbled paper. 20th cent.
Paper leaves, the first leaves damaged with some loss of text.
A fragment from the vellum cover of the original binding is preserved within the front cover, with title: 'Liber Actorum habitorum et gestorum in anno domini millesimo quingentesimo vicesimo secundo'. A later hand, possibly that of Edmund Gibson, Lambeth Librarian and afterwards Bishop of London, has added: 'Q. Whether this does not belong to Drs. Commons'.
CustodialHistoryRecorded amongst the manuscripts of Archbishop Thomas Tenison in David Wilkins' catalogue of the Lambeth manuscripts dated 1720 (LR/F/40).
RelatedMaterialThe relation of MS. 722 to contemporary records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury merits investigation.
The National Archives PROB 11/21 (Bodfelde Register of wills proved in the Prerogative Court 1523-25) has a preamble: 'Testamenta decedentium infra provinciam Cantuariensem habencium ... bona jura sive credita in diversis dioc. seu jurisdic. Cant. provincie auctoritate reverendissimorum dominorum Thome ... Cardinalis Eboracen. Archiepiscopi ... de latere Legati, ac Will.mi dei gracia Cantuarien. Archiepiscopi...'. This is followed by a copy of the composition of 2 January 1523.
The earliest probate act book in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1526-38 (PROB 8/1), also has a section at the end with 34 entries of 'Acta de et super Commissionibus apparitoribus per provinciam Cant. auctoritate Reverendissimorum D. Thome Cardinalis Ebor. Legati de Latere et Will.mi Cant. Archiepiscoporum deputat. concess. et predicti Commissiones emanarunt sub sigillis predicti Reverendissimorum .... Sequuntur' (see J. Challenor C. Smith, 'Index of wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1383-1558' (London, 1893), pp. xx, xxviii.

For the executorship accounts of Sir Stephen Jenyns (d. 1523), making reference to the inventory appraised on behalf of Wolsey and Warham, see MS. 1102.

Show related Persons records.

Related name records
CodeNameDates
GB/109/8504Wolsey; Thomas (1470-1530); Cardinal; Archbishop of York and royal minister1470-1530
43Warham; William (?1450-1532); Archbishop of Canterbury?1450-1532
GB/109/8651Alen; John (1476-1534); Archbishop of Dublin1476-1534
NA2926Province of Canterbury; Prerogative Court of Canterbury; -1858-1858
GB/109/21767Cocks; John (d.1546); Vicar-General, Dean of the Archesd.1546
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