Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York

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England Gotoarrow.png Yorkshire Gotoarrow.png Yorkshire Probate Courts


To read a general explanation of probates in England, click here.


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. Search indexes to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail given in the index.

2. Go to the Archive Records below to determine what original probate records exist for this court.

3. Obtain the records to search. Use one of these methods to find indexes and records.

  • Contact or visit the Archive (see below) or hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf.
  • Order microfilm copies of the indexes and records listed in the Family History Library Records (see section below) by visiting the Family History Library or one of its family history centers and search indexes and records.


The Family History Library has indexes and calendars, 1427-1857, on film. The indexes are not complete for every year. They can be viewed in the library or in one of the family history centers worldwide.


Archive Location

The records of this court are held in the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research.

Archive Records

  • Original Wills, Administrations, Inventories and Tuitions, 1535-1858

Family History Library Records

Films can be viewed in the library or in a family history center.


There is some confusion between the Chancery Court and the Consistory Court. Since the Consistory Court of York left no known probate records, it is presumed that any references to it under the subject of probates refer to instead to the Chancery Court. Apparently there are no registered copy wills or surviving act books for the Chancery Court of York.

The Chancery Court of York was the appeals court in the province of York.[1] 

The court also had jurisdiction during archiepiscopal visitations and over beneficed clergy in the diocese of York. Registered copies of wills and probate acts relating to the beneficed clergy are found in the Archbisops' Registers, 1316-1858; grants of probate and administration are entered in the Chancery act books.[2] 


  1. Herber, Mark D. "Ancestral Trails: the complete guide to British genealogy and family history." Society of Genealogists, London: Sutton Publishing, 1997, page 454. (FHL book 942 D27hm)
  2. Camp, Anthony J. "Wills and Their Whereabouts." London: Self-published, 1974, page 155. (FHL book 942 S2wa; microfiche 6037033)