Court of the Bishop of Carlisle (Episcopal Consistory)

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England Gotoarrow.png Cumberland Probate Records or Westmorland Probate Records

For a general explanation about probate records 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.


Online Indexes

Printed and Published Indexes

Comprehensive indexes are available through the Cumbria Archive Services in the Carlisle and the Kendal offices.  The indexes cover from 1617 to 1941, listing the year of probate and the residence of the deceased. This is extraordinarily helpful in distinguishing between many individuals of the same name.

The Family History Library has indexes, 1563-1858, on film. Some indexes are on films containing wills, administrations and inventories.


Archive Location

The original records are deposited at the Carlisle Record Office (part of the Cumbria Archive Service). The Cumbria Archives Service provides a research service for a fee.

Archive Records

  • Original wills, administrations, and inventories, 1558-1644, 1661-1858
  • Register copy wills, 1727-1858
  • Act books, 1661-1858

Family History Library Records

The Family History Library has film copies of these records. Films can be viewed in the library or in a family history center.  


This court covered the northern part of Westmorland and all of Cumberland expect the Deanery of Copeland in the southwest of the county (see the Court of the Archdeaconry of Richmond Western Deaneries - Copeland).