Winchester houses and people c.1650-c.1710 : a study based on probate inventory evidence
Winchester probate inventories produced between 1650 and 1710 are the focus of this thesis.
They are examined, in conjunction with a number of accompanying wills. records of town
government and also taxation records, in order to demonstrate change and continuity in the form
of domestic space and to analyse the nature of the relationship between the built domestic
environment and the people who lived within it. The investigation brings the analysis of inventory
evidence of domestic space into the mainstream of contemporary studies of the meanings of
consumption. The study is principally based on documentary evidence but reference is made to
some of the archaeological evidence also. Particular attention is paid to standing remains in the .
cathedral close as outstanding examples of new forms of domestic architecture in the restoration
Winchester inventories are evidence of the physical environment of the city in a period of
considerable social. economic and political change. The examination of these sources is of
relevance to people other than those interested in the history of England's former royal capital.
The methodology of inventory analysis employed here. using as it does the source-oriented
database management software kaeiw, offers a paradigm for future students of this source
material. This is one of the first studies in this country to employ such a methodology. As such it
affords the opportunity to evaluate the usefulness of techniques available in the new and growing
field of historical computation.
Inventories contribute to our understanding of continuity and change in areas other than house
form and room use. These documents cast light upon the social structure of post-medieval
Winchester and provide an indication of the ways in which the city was adapting to changed
circumstances in a period after the terminal decline of its staple industries. This study also offers
the first attempt to integrate an investigation of the relationships between appraisers and
inventoried testators into a wider examination of the consumption of domestic space in this