Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)
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. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry.
Step By Step
1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed then to the "Records" section (see below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Lichfield Record Office (see address below), to hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf, citing information obtained from the indexes (see next heading). Officials may send a list of record searchers upon request.
4. You can also visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes and wills (see the Family History Library's cataloged entries providing the microfilm numbers so you can have them circulated to the center near you for searching). The information obtained from the index[es] will help you more quickly search the wills and admons which can also be circulated on microfilm via any family history.
Consistory Court of Gloucestershire Wills and Inventories from 1541 to 1858 (index and images) at Ancestry (£).
The Gloucestershire Archives also has an online index for 1541-1858 included in their Genealogical Database.
Printed and Published Indexes
- Handwritten indexes are included with the original records at the archives and on microfilm, as above.
- Indexes to wills (1541-1650, 1660-1800) and administrations (1684-1800) have been printed by the British Index Library (FHL book 942 B4b, vols. 12 and 34).
The original records are deposited at the Gloucestershire Archives.
- Original wills and administrations, 1541-1650, 1660-1858
- Registered wills, 1667-1858
- Registers of acts and administrations, 1570-1628, 1640-1650, 1668-1858
- Inventories, 1587-1650, 1660-
- A caveat book for 1723-1754
Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.
Family History Library Records
- Wills, 1542-1685
- Probate records, 1541-1858 (including original wills 1541-1650, 1687, 1692-1697, register copy wills 1667-1691, 1698-1857, and act books 1570-1628, 1640-1649, and 1668-1858)
This court had primary jurisdiction over the whole of Gloucestershire except those parishes in the jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Bristol, three Peculiar Courts of Bibury, Bishop's Cleeve and Withington and held concurrent jurisdiction over two Warwickshire parishes, Welford and Sutton-Under-Brailes--both of which lay partly in Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.
Before 1541 all the county was in the Diocese of Worcester, except for the parishes beyond the Severn which were in the Diocese of Hereford. The Diocese of Gloucester was formed in that year. Wills for the years 1650-1660 may be found in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury.