Court of Arches
Return to England.
Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term probate refers to a collection of documents, including wills, administrations (also called admons), inventories, and act books. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858.
Step By Step
1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will or administration (admon), writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Record Office or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Visit The Family History Library or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any centers near you.
Printed and Published Indexes
Indexes from 1660-1857 were compiled by the British Record Society (vol. 85) and are available at major academic and research institutions in the UK and U.S.A., including the Family History Library.
The Family History Library has an Index of cases in the records of the Court of Arches at Lambeth Palace Library, from 1660-1913 are on microfiche #6066891
The original records for this are held at:
Lambeth Palace Library
Lambeth Palace Road
Lambeth, London, SE1 7EH
Tel: +44 20 78981200
Family History Library Records
The Family History Library has the following records on film. Films can be viewed in the library or in family history centers.
- Records of the Court of Arches, 1660-1913 (microfiche series)
- Proceedings of the Court of Arches, 1554-1883 (series 2)
The Court of Arches of Canterbury was a court of appeal for both the Province of York and Canterbury. Its equivalent in the Province of York was the Chancery Court of the Province of York. The royal peculiars and the peculiars of the Archbishop were exempt and do not come under this court's jurisdiction.