Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Rochester
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 Centre for Kentish Studies 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 alsoon microfilm via any centers near you.
Printed and Published Indexes
Indexes are usually included with the records as listed above. In addition, the following are available at the FHL:
- Archdeaconry of Rochester probate indices, 1440-1857 (also available at the Centre for Kentish Studies)
- The West Kent probate index: wills and administrations for all courts and peculiars in the Diocese of Rochester 1750-1858 (on CD, available from the compiler, David Wright)
The records for this court are deposited at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone. These include:
- 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)
- 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
Family History Library Records
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):
- Probate records for the Episcopal Consistory Court of the Archdeaconry of Rochester, 1440-1858
- Probate records, 1666-1858 (Archdeaconry of Rochester. Episcopal Consistory Court)
- Wills and inventories, 1635-1857 (Archdeaconry of Rochester. Episcopal Consistory Court)
- Probate inventories of the Diocese of Rochester, Kent, 1662-1784 (Consistory Court)
- Probate inventories of the Archdeaconry of Rochester, 1719-1782
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.
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).