Daniel Dickinson (1637-99): Probate 1700


Daniel Dickinson (1637-1699): Probate 1700

Daniel's probate consists of a wrapper, a will, an inventory and two bonds. A transcript of the will and inventory is available here, which also supplies a link to the original images.

The Will

The will is fairly straightforward. Daniel was close to death - he spoke the will and could hardly sign on the 18th December 1699. He died on the 24th and was buried on the 26th.

The event looks unexpected - pneumonia perhaps, or an accident, rather than a period of long decline. However, one could argue that the July signature is already showing weakness.


His signature on the will of his sister, Isabel, in 1681.

The 'jur' above the name records that he swore as a witness.


His signature on the will of Thomas Dickinson of Woodend in July 1699


His signature on his own will in December 1699.

The Inventory

The inventory was prized on the 4th January 1700 - an unusually long time after the burial. This may reflect the size of the task or the time of year or very bad weather conditions.

The prizers were William Harrison, Henry Wood, Joseph Bowman and William Bowman. The first was almost certainly William Harrison (1639-1705) of Todhole, a farm next to Streetgate and purchased by the Dickinsons in the eighteenth century. The second, again almost certainly, was another neighbour - Henry Wood (died 1740) of Woodend, a farm purchased by the Dickinsons in the nineteenth century. His father had died only three months previously, and his daughter was to marry Daniel's grandson. The third was Joseph Bowman (1656-1724) of Lingcroft, another neighbour and Daniel's nephew. The other presumably was Joseph's brother, William Bowman (died 1722, aged 65), later of Hodyoad, another nephew, recently married.

These were all senior yeomen, and would have been able to read and write - but the bottom of the document shows that Henry Wood was the man in charge on this occasion.

The inventory has been the source of some pride in the family. The value of his chattels (a midge over £517, excluding desperate debts of £30) was larger that that of John Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall. That pride may be misplaced - it would appear that Daniel had sold one of his Mockerkin properties, possibly to cash out for business reasons; or, in anticipation of his death, to pay for legacies. His son, John, was worth considerably less in his 1755 inventory. Furthermore, it has been said [] that financial accounts of the time tended not to distinguish between the cash holdings of a steward and that of his employer - the cash may actually have been on transit to the Lamplughs. 

Whatever, he was rich for a Cumbrian that wasn't involved in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.

A significant part of his inventory lists the normal sorts of things that one might find in any yeoman inventory of the period - furniture, utensils and other household possessions; and farm utensils, animals and crops.

The inventory mentions a Great Room (and closet), a Milkhouse (with  loft), a Backhouse (with loft), a Maids Chamber,  a Parlour, a Mens Chamber, a Dwelling House, a Smithy Shop, an Old Barn, a Garner [Granary], and a New Barn.

The New Barn

Daniel's diary and accounts for 1684 give some details of the building of the New Barn, and of the opening celebration.

[this will be written up later, possibly as a separate post]


The probate conists of two bonds - one for general purposes, and a 'child; or 'tuition' bond for his four youngest children.

His wife Ellen was the executor/administrator. She marked. This may simply may be because of age or infirmity; but, if not, demonstrates how female education was changing. Upper yeomen women of her generation generally were not literate - but their daughters were. This is partly the influence of Quakerism in the area, but more a consequence of changing needs. Just as yeomen were about to call themselves gentleman, so their ladies were expected to have social and other skills. An education now was a prerequisite for a good marriage.

The first bondsmen was John Dickinson, the heir of Streetgate. His signature is distinctive, and gradually got more elaborate. The second bondsman was Richard Tubman, Daniel's brother-in-law. A strong and confident signature.

The tuition bond provided support for Daniel's for youngest surviving children (Abigail, Joseph, Deborah and Isaac) up to the age of 21.