Testaments Tutorial - 18th Century: The Introductory Clause
Online Tuition in the Palaeography of Scottish Documents

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6. The Introductory Clause

The first clause of a testament is the introductory clause in which the executor declares the identity and date of death of the deceased and the relationship between the executor and the deceased. In this case, Mary Murphy was unable to give a precise date of death, so the clerk left blanks for the day, month and year (such blanks are quite common in testaments dative). Her relationship to the deceased and her right to movables were confirmed by the court.

In the image below note some of the words and phrases, which occur commonly in testaments:

Term Definition
Goods and gear movable property
Pertained belonged to or legally connected to a person
Time of his/her decease time of his/her death
Faithfully made and given up accurately made and presented in court
Defunct the deceased
Executor dative qua nearest in kin family member appointed executor by the court
Decerned decreed by a court

introductory clause of the testament dative of Alexander Murphy, NAS ref. CC12/3/6 p16
National Archives of Scotland, CC12/3/6 p16

Exercise 1
In the transcription below fill in the missing common phrases by typing in the appropriate blank spaces. The text will be red as you type and will turn black when you have transcribed the word correctly. The answers are case- sensistive, so make sure you have used capital letters where appropriate.

The Testament Dative and Inventary of the
which and belonged to the deceased Alexander Murphie law-
full son of the deceast John Murphie in Easter Bennan in the Island of
Arran and Commissariot of the Isles the which
happened upon the [blank] day of [blank] one thousand se-
ven hundred and [blank] years and
by Mary Murphy lawfull sister of the and spouse to Ar-
chibald Robertson in Easter Bennan
to the said Defunct to him by the Commissary of the

Read a transcription of introductory clause

Mary Murphy then provided the court with an inventory of the movables belonging to the deceased, which you can find on the next page.

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