The wills were read and the information summarised in 2001 by members of an evening class run at the Northamptonshire Record Office (NRO) by Philip Riden, editor of the volume of the Victoria County Histories covering the Cleley Hundred (Shutlanger, Stoke Bruerne, Cosgrove, Yardley Gobion and Potterspury). Over 400 original wills of Towcester citizens were read and transcribed.
If no beneficiaries are listed it means that the person died intestate, and the list of names under that of the testator are the witnesses or bondsmen. If there are beneficiaries then this list of names is that of the executors.
The information had been recorded on a data base by Margaret Webb.
Where there are two dates the earlier is probably the date the will was written and the later the date it was proved. There is also a problem with the early dates as the year ran from April to March, not from January to December as at present.
The Wills Section was revised in May/June 2004, thanks to the extensive information recorded by Mary Taylor. The details of some Wills appear only in the tdlhs data base, others only in the NRO lists. The lists now contain notes where the details appear in only one source. Other notes, supplied by Mary Taylor, have been added.