chapter  8
24 Pages

Contested Successions and Contested Marriages: Evidence from the Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury

Early modern English folk frequently selected their spouse as executors or executrices and left them substantial legacies in their wills, and the law dictated that a surviving spouse had priority in being appointed administrator or administratrix should a husband or wife die intestate.1 Thus, in the testamentary litigation observed, whether an individual was married to the will-maker or the individual who died intestate was relevant evidence in determining if a will that was offered for probate was genuine and valid, or whether an individual who petitioned to administer an estate should be granted letters of administration.