Court of the Bishop of Bristol (Episcopal Consistory)

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Gotoarrow.png Gloucestershire Probate Records


This court had primary jurisdiction over nineteen ancient parishes in the city of Bristol as well as the Gloucestershire parishes of Almondsbury, Alveston, Clifton, Compton, Greenfield, Elberton, Filton, Henbury, Horfield, Littleton-on-Severn, Mangotsfield, Olveston, St. George Bristol, Stapleton, Stoke Gifford, Westbury-on-trym, and Winterbourne St. Michael; and the parish of Abbots Leigh in Somerset.

Before 1542, Bristol was part of the Diocese of Worcester, except the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Mary Redcliffe, Temple or Holy Cross, and Abbots Leigh, which were in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The Diocese of Gloucester was formed in 1541 and Bristol and the aforenamed parishes were incorporated to it.

Records for 1640-1660 may also be found in the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury.


The original records are deposited at the Bristol City Record Office.  They include:

  • Original wills, 1546-1858
  • Copy wills, 1677-1721 (about 70 total)
  • Register copy wills, 1559-1572, 1767-1857
  • Administration bonds, 1661-1857
  • Registered administrations, 1767-1857
  • Inventories, 1611-1643, 1660-1767
  • Great orphan book, 1370-1612; recognizance of orphans, 1333-1700

Records have been microfilmed and many are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through family history centers.  They include probate inventories, 1573-1792.

Click here for a list of other Bristol records at the Family History Library, with links to their entries in the library catalog.


The Bristol Record Office has an online index to wills for 1781-1858.  There are instructions for how to obtain a copy of a will through their office.

Indexes at the Family History Library include:

Click here for a list of other Bristol probate indexes at the Family History Library with links to their catalog entries.