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Death, Religion, and the Family in England,
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Ralph Houlbrooke

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208761.001.0001

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Last Wills and Testaments: Form and Contents

Last Wills and Testaments: Form and Contents

(p.110) 5 Last Wills and Testaments: Form and Contents
Death, Religion, and the Family in England, 1480–1750

Ralph Houlbrooke

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the gradual shrinking of the religious functions of the will during the centuries following the Reformation. Wills have been the subject of close analysis and much controversy in recent decades. They have been studied for the light they throw upon the development of religious opinions, the changing nature of charitable bequests, and the strength of individual relationships with families and neighbours. Research has tended to focus on particular communities or topics. The chapter takes a broad and long view of the evolution of the will as a document drawn up in preparation for death.

Keywords:   death, preparation for death, will-making, Reformation, last will

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