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Probate Inventories
Probate Inventory of Thomas Malpas 1587, reproduced by kind permission of Gloucestershire Record Office

These are room by room inventories of the possessions of a person who had died, often made by a group of their friends. There are a few from the Tudor period but most are from the Stuart period.

They give a vivid idea of how rooms were furnished and, as many people worked as well as lived in their houses, you can find out what tools were used by a particular tradesmen, what ingredients went into beer, or what animals were being kept by a farmer.


In an archive repository. The originals can be difficult to read. Ask if there are printed transcriptions.

Ideas for use
  • To help explain the layout of an old house or suggest a use for an old outhouse or odd shaped room.
  • To compare the possessions of a Tudor person with a modern person. Start by asking pupils to make an inventory of a room in their own house.
  • Visit the A2A website to search for probate inventories relating to your local area.

See also the section on Find Sources

Follow any of the links below for more information on basic sources and ideas on how to use them

Studying Your Locality : Historic Maps : Trade Directories : Newspapers and Magazines : Government Commissions and Reports : Photographs : Census : Official Guides : Estate Agent Records : Plans : Taxes and Rating Records : Church Registers

Please note that the inclusion of a listed building on this website does not mean it is open to the public.