Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Windsor
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. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry.
Step by Step
1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to the "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court. Also see "Family History Library Records."
3. Contact or visit The Aerary St Geroge's Chapel Dean's Cloister Windsor Castle 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 probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any centers near you.
The original and copy wills (only 18 in number) have been abstracted in "The Manuscripts of St. George's Chapel" by Canon J. N. Dalton (1957). FHL book 942.29/W2 H25b no. 11.
The original records are held at the Aerary, St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. They include:
- Original and copy wills, etc., 1396-1638
- Register copy wills, etc., 1662-1735
Family History Records
The records have not yet been microfilmed and are not available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
Windsor is a 'royal peculiar' subject only to the crown. This court had jurisdiction "in the freehold of the College within the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle." Wills proven through this court would have been for the Deans, Canons and other staff of the College of St. George at Windsor Castle.
- Camp, Anthony J. "Wills and Their Whereabouts." London: the author, 1974. FHL book 942 S2wa, page 5.