Derbyshire Probate Records
This article will help you find a probate for a person who lived and/or died in Derbyshire. For a detailed explanation of probate records, see the article on England Probate Records, then return to this page.
Before 1858, every town and parish in Derbyshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary ecclesiastical (Church of England) court and one or more secondary ecclesiastical courts. Follow these steps to look for a probate record:
- Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you do not know, use an approximate date and the place where they lived.
- Go to the Pre-1858 Court Jurisdictions by Parish section below to learn what courts had jurisdiction over the place, and follow the instructions.
For information on post-1857 probate records, scroll down to that section below.
Pre-1858 Court Jurisdictions by Parish
Most of the county was under the primary jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory) and the secondary jurisdiction of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, which also was the highest court in the country. However there were exceptions.
Click here for an alphabetical list of the parishes of Derbyshire that were exceptions to the norm. If you do not find your place in the list of exceptions, then click below on the courts mentioned in the paragraph above.
Derbyshire Probate Courts
The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over Derbyshire before 1858:
- Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield
- Court of the Peculiar of Burton upon Trent
- Court of the Peculiar of Hartington
- Court of the Peculiar of the Manor of Dale Abbey
- Court of the Peculiar of Peak Forest
- Court of the Peculiar of Sawley
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England.
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury also served as an appeals court.
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. Here is a list of some indexes. Others will be listed in each court's article.
- Abstracts of Derbyshire Probate Records:
- Derbyshire wills for the period 1858-1928 (from the Derbyshire Record Office):
- Derbyshire WILLS, 1525-1928 (browse 35,066 Wills and 5,093 different surnames; pertaining to much more than just people from the parish of Wirksworth):
- PENTRICH WILLS & PROBATE INDEX (from the Pentrich Historical Society; also includes entries for people in parishes adjacent to Pentrich):
Estate Duty Records
Starting in 1796, a tax or death duty was payable on estates over a certain value. Estate duty abstracts may add considerable information not found elsewhere. Estate duty indexes may help you locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
Probates After 1857
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to article on the Principal Probate Registry.