Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory)
Step By Step
1. If you have not yet found an index reference for the probate record of your ancestor, start by searching each index listed below. If you find a reference, write down each detail cited in the index entry.
2. Proceed to "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Herefordshire Record Office, or hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may be able to send a list of record searchers upon request. OR...
4. Visit The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide, and search indexes to the probate records. With the information obtained from an index, you can more quickly find the original records on microfilm and view or order the film.
Here are some indexes to this courts' wills online.
Printed and Published Indexes
Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, Series 5,vol. 4 Index to Wills Proved in the Court of the Bishop of Hereford 1444-1578
Index to wills proved in the Bishop's Court of Hereford 1442-1579, by Stephen J. Kelsey
Index to wills proved in the Bishop's Court of Hereford Before the Commonwealth Period 1601-1656 by Stephen J. Kelsey
Indexes available at the Family History Library:
The original and microfilmed records include indexes. The Family History Library has film copies of the following indexes:
- Probate indexes and abstracts, 1662-1858
- Episcopal Consistory Court of the Bishop of Hereford - Calendar of wills, 1700-1802
- Indexes to Original Wills & Administrations
- Index to wills and inventories 1517-1663
- Index to wills proved in the Bishop's Court of Hereford 1442-1579; also in FHL book
- Index to wills proved in the Bishop's Court of Hereford Before the Commonwealth Period 1601-1656; also in FHL book
If you find an index reference to the probate records of your ancestor, proceed to the 'Records' section below and follow the instructions.
To obtain a copy of the probate record of your ancestor, either visit or contact the archive which holds the original records or visit the Family History Library or a family history center and view the record on microfilm, as indicated below.
The original records are deposited at:
Herefordshire Archive Service
Herefordshire Record Office
Hereford HR1 2QX
Office Tel No: 44 (0) 1432 260750
Herefordshire Archives Website
- Original wills, administrations, and inventories, 1520-1539 (with a few earlier), 1540-1858
- Register copy wills, 1663-1858
- Various act books, 1445-1835, 1587-1686, 1662/3-1858
- Tuition bonds, 1673-1792
Family History Library Records
Records of this court have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through the many family history centers world-wide. Click on a link below to find a film number:
- Original Wills 1442-1836
- Registered Wills 1633-1858
- Administrations & Inventories 1662-1735/6
- Act Books 1587-1858
- Acts of Office 1407-1831 consist of all acts by the archdeacon. They are not all probate records.
- Probate Indexes & Abstracts 1662-1858
This court had jurisdiction over all of Herefordshire except the following:
- Eight southwest parishes in the area of Longtown that were in the Court of the Archdeaconry of Breconshire
- The city of Hereford and twenty-five parishes in the jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Dean of Hereford
- And the peculiar prebends of Little Hereford, Upper Bullinghope or Upper Bullingham, and Moreton Magna or Moreton-upon-Lugg.
Before 1541, when the Diocese of Gloucester was formed, the western portion of Gloucestershire beyond the rivers Severn and Leaden was in the Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory) and there are consequently a few Gloucestershire wills in this court prior to 1541.
This court also had jurisdiction over these parishes in Worcestershire: