Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Rochester

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England Gotoarrow.png Kent Gotoarrow.png Kent Probate Records

Getting Started: Step by Step

Historical Background

In 1846 the diocese of Rochester was reduced in area. Some parishes were transferred to the diocese of Canterbury and others to the diocese of London.


Indexes are usually included with the original records as listed above.  In addition, the following are available at the FHL:


The original records for this court are deposited at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone.  These include:

Consistory Court--

  • Original wills 1498-1857 (with some gaps before 1713)
  • Aministration bonds, 1666-1858 (also for the Archdeaconry Court)
  • Inventories, 1687-1784
  • Register Copy wills, 1440-1857 (with some gaps before 1660, especially for the Commonwealth period)
  • Probate & administration act books, 1437-1858 (with gaps, especially before 1678)

Archdeaconry Court--

  • Original wills, 1638-1857 ( with large gaps, especially before 1713)
  • Register copy wills, 1635-1857 (with gaps, especially before 1704)
  • Act books, 1635-1857 (with gaps)
  • Inventories, 1719-1782

Records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, and through family history centers world-wide.  They include (with some duplication):


These combined courts had primary jurisdiction over many parishes in the western half of the county of Kent.  See the parish jurisdiction lists for specifics.

These courts also had secondary jurisdiction over the parish of Islesham in Cambridgeshire (and should be searched only after the Court of the Peculiar of Islesham and the Court of the Bishop of Norwich).