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When a man died, a record was made of his goods and chattels with their value, in order to prove his will. Such probate inventories, stored in record offices, provide evidence of the furnishings and other goods found in households of the Tudor and Jacobean period.

deathbed scene

Examples given here have the original spelling and are probably best understood if read aloud.



I. Inventory of Clement Swallow, gentleman, of Warwickshire, died 1571

Item certayne Rynges
Item viii kyne and heighfers wth iiii calves
Item iiii yonge bestes
Item ii Geldynges wth saddells brydells etc.
Item wood & coale
Item the swyne yonge & olde
Item three shepe
Item ii quarter of wheate & more
Item in malte & barley Vi quarter & vi strike or theraboughte
Item pease iiii strike or theraboughtes
Item in the parler one bedsted wth the beddynge stooles chayers cusshyns & other furniture for a parler
Item v Coffers contaynynge xvii pere of shetes vii horde clothes iii dozen of table napkyns vi towells or thereabought wth other lynnen & other suche stuffe
Item iii other coffers & iiii caskettes
Item vi candelstyckes wth the pewter cuppes trenchers & other necessaryes for a buttery
Item brasse pottes pannes cobberdes awndyrons trevettes spittes fyer shovells & other furnyture to a kytchyn
Item bakon & beyffe
Item certayne hordes & spynnyng wheles a chese presse & suche like other stuffe in the bultyng house
Item vessells in the bruyng house mylke house wth other stuff co[n]teyned in them & other houses of office
Item A malte myll wth a skele & other necessaryes in the myll house
Item olde Iron & other stuffe in ye store house & other outhouses
item butter & chese
Item woll hempe flaxe hoppes & other necessaryes in the chest chamber
Item salt fyshe stock fyshe & other necessaryes in ye fyshc house
Item hennes geyse capons duckes wth implementes for those & the like houses of office
Item A bell/ nettes etc. for larkyng
Item the necessary furnyture for ii servantes beddes
ltem in the grete chamber a bedsted with beddyng & other furnyture for a chamber
Item furniture for ii beddes in ye Inner chamber wthin the greate chamber wth bedde posts & Ropes etc
Item a flocke bedd wth other furnyture for more servantes
Item in the Studye a presse wth hys Apparell & hyrs there & ellswheare wth hattes cappes etc. & other necessaryes in the same co[n]teyned
Item bootes spurres swyrde/dagger wth other necessaryes for Rydynge
Item one coffer wth clothes lynynge sayes carsey & such like stuffe
Item certayne lawe bookes & other bookes wth other tryfles of small valew

II. Inventory of Gamaliell Rathbane, Turner, of Essex, died 1663

IN THE BEST CHAMBER - One feather bedd, one Flocke bedd, one feather Bolster, one Pillowe, one Bedsted with Matt and Corde, Two Coverletts, Three Blanketts, Three Curtaine Rodds, Three Blanketts, Three old stayned Curtaines, £4.
MORE IN THE BEST CHAMBER - Three Chests, two Trunkes, two little Tables, sixe Jointstooles, one Joynd chaire, Three Cushions, one Glasse Case, two lookinge Glasses, a Birdinge peece, one paire of Cobirons, a fire shovell and Tonges, a paire of Bellowes, a Saltboxe, a paire of Trammells, fower old Candlesticks, a smoothinge Iron, Two paire of flaxen sheets, three Pillowbeeres, a Dozen of Napkins, Three Towells, two shirts, two Table Cloathes, £4 8s.

IN THE OLD CHAMBER - One Cupboard with Drawers, two Chests, one Trunke, fower boxes, a Napkin Presse with two swords & other Lumber, £2 lOs.

MORE IN THE OLD CHAMBER - A parcell of Bookes, Twenty Pewter Dishes, Twelve Sawcers, sixe Porrengers, one Pewter Bason, one Quart pott, one Pewter Chamber pott, three Brasse Potts, one Chaffer, one Pestle and Morter, Three Skilletts, Two small kettles, one fryinge Panne, one Drippinge Pann, Three Spitts, an Iron Spade, £6 10s

IN THE SHOPP - Turninge Tooles, 13s. 4d.


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