Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)
This court handled a high volume of wills between the 1780s and 1858.
Step By Step
- Search the index at Ancestry. If the desired digitized will is not found, proceed to Step 2.
- First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
- Proceed then to "Records" section (see below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
- Contact or visit The London Metropolitan Archives and Library, or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf, citing information obtained from the index[es]. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
- You can also visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes (see the Family History Library's cataloged entries providing the microfilms so you can have them circulated to the center near you for searching the wills). 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 .
First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find a will or administration (admon).
The Consistory Court of London probate records have to some extent been indexed with the following ones:
- London, England, Wills and Probate, 1507-1858 at Ancestry (£) includes Consistory Court of London.
- London & Middlesex Will Abstracts 1700-1704 at Origins.net (£). Includes abstracts of original wills proved in the Consistory Court of London.
- Indexes to the Ancient Testamentary Records of Westminster (1913) by Arthur Meredyth Burke. The extant testamentary records of Westminster indexed in this book consist of the testamentary records of the Peculiar Court, 1504-1700, the Westminster wills and administrations preserved amongst the records of the Consistory Court of London, 1540-1556, and the miscellaneous testamentary records preserved in the Muniment Chamber of Westminster Abbey, 1228-1700.
The Metropolitan Archives and Library is currently compiling and posting online a will surname index covering wills and administrations from 1363 to 1857. Currently, it is only a (partial) index for this probate court covering much of Middlesex County and is available online.
Printed and Published Indexes
- A probate index for the Consistory Court of London from 1363 to 1700 has been compiled by the British Record Society in its extensive publications (vols 89 and 98). These publications are likely available in most major United States (especially university libraries) and United Kingdom Archives and libraries as well as in The Family History Library.
- A comprehensive will and admon index to most of London's (including Greater L.) probate courts for the years covering 1750-1858, is Dr David Wright's London Probate Index on CD and is on sale. He will perform "lookups" in his indexes for you for surnames covering from G-Z at a set fee.
Original handwritten indexes:
Calendars and Indexes to Wills (1362 to 1858), and Index to probate registers (1514-1641), to this Probate court exist covering acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons). Calendars are a kind of index (of the first letter of each surname) to the probate records and admons (administrations).
The above calendars can be accessed by visiting The London Metropolitan Archives and Library. To view what precise probate records they hold before visiting [their archives], go to Access2Archives and use their search engine for determining availability of records in The LMA.
Microfilmed indexes available at the Family History Library:
Calendars and Indexes of Wills and Admons (Administrations) to the Consistory Court fo the Bishop of London are available on microfilm at the Family History Library covering the years 1362-1857.
Opening Times: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30am - 4.45pm
Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am - 7.30pm
Saturday openings: 9.30am - 4.45pm
Check website for specific Saturdays to be open.
Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.
- Calendar and Index of Wills 1362-1814
- Wills and administrations 1514-1640
- Registered copies of wills 1520-1857
- Vicar General Books - 1520- 1685
- Indexes - 1362-1857
For access to these records, e-mail the archive for a list of record searchers or visit the archive according to their scheduled opening hours.
Family History Library Records
Search the following probate records in the order listed below:
- Registered Wills 1514-1685
- Original wills, 1507-1546 1552-1751
- Registered Wills & Admons 1752-1857
- Calendars and index of wills v. 1-2 1362-1858
- Index to registers 1514-1641
- Registered Copy of Wills vols. 1-4 1514-1559
Return to the London Probate Records page.
The Episcopal Consistory Court of the Bishop of London had jurisdiction over the whole diocese of London (the city) except the peculiars–including a concurrent jurisdiction with the smaller Archdeaconry courts of London and Middlesex, Colchester (Essex) and St Albans (Herts.). The Consistory Court of London handled a very large volume of wills between the 1780s and 1858. When a search of this courts’ probate records fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the above Archdeaconry courts as well.
- Cliff Webb, My Ancestors were Londoners: A Guide to London Sources for Family Historians (London: Society of Genealogists, 2009), 35.