Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory)

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England Gotoarrow.png Staffordshire Gotoarrow.png Staffordshire Probate Records Gotoarrow.png Derbyshire Probate Records

Step By Step

1. First search each applicable index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will or administration (admon), writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Staffordshire County Record Office or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to view microfilm copies of wills or admons.


Surviving wills and administrations of this court have mostly been indexed:

Online Indexes

A scanned edition of W.P.W. Phillimore's 1892 publication by the British Record Society, Calendars of Wills & Administrations in the Consistory court of the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516-1652, is available on Google Books. The publication also includes indexes to probate records of the peculiar courts for Derbyshire, 1753-1790.

Printed and Published Indexes

  • Phillimore, W. P. W.  Calendars of wills & administrations in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516-1652: also those in the "peculiars" now deposited in the probate registries at Lichfield, Birmingham and Derby, 1529-1652; 1675-1790; 1753-1790.  London: British Record Society, 1892. (WorldCat OCLC number 154289290; FHL book 942 B4b, vol. 7, also on film 0962380 item 2, and fiche 6073725.)  It is also searchable online.

This source gives the name of the deceased and often their residence. An over-all aphabetical index is found at the end.

This publication is available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the Lichfield Record Office, the Society of Genealogists in London, the Borthwick Institute in York, and other archives.

Handwritten Indexes

Indexes to wills and administrations exist for the years 1494 to 1860 and are found with the original records at the Lichfield Record Office. Also, the registered wills are somewhat alpha-ordered in their arrangement.

The original records on microfilm include the handwritten indexes. Click on the links under "Family History Library Records" listed below under "Records" to obtain the microfilm numbers of the original records in the Family History Library Catalog.


Archive Location

Lichfield Record Office (formerly Lichfield Joint Record Office)
The Friary'
Staffs WS13 6QG
Telephone: U.K. 01543 510720
Overseas: (+44) 1543 510720

The records include:

  • Original wills, 1472-1858
  • Register copy wills, 1516-1771
  • Act books, 1532-1638
  • Inventories, 1494-1860
  • Calendars, 1494-1860

Archive Records

[Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.]

Family History Library Records

The records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through one of the more than 4,500 family history centers worldwide.  These include:

Obtaining a copy of a probate record:

  1. You may visit the Lichfield Record Office or contact their research service and request a copy of a probate record (include in your request, the index reference you found).
  2. You may visit the Family History Library and search the records on microfilm, or visit a family history center where you can order the films and search them there.
  3. Start your search in indexes.


The diocese of Lichfield was one of the largest in England. Until 1541, it included all of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, parts of Shropshire, Warwickshire and Lancashire, and a few parishes in Flintshire and one in Denbighshire, Wales. The creation of the See (Diocese) of Chester in 1541 removed all of Cheshire and the parts of Lancashire and Wales.

During the Commonwealth Interregnum from 1653 to 1660, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the form of a civil court, had sole probate or testmentary jurisdiction over all of England and Wales.

To view a list of parishes and their respective probate court jurisdiction, look on the "Probate Records" page for the county you are interested in.  Look for the section, "Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions". 

When a search of this court's probate records fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the Prerogative Court of the Exchequer of the Archbishop of York as well.