Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
For a general explanation about probate records in England, click here.
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.
Step By Step
1. Search indexes to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail given in the index.
2. Go to "Records" below to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Obtain the records to search. Use one of these methods to find indexes and records:
- Contact or visit the Archive (see below) or hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf.
- Order microfilm copies of the indexes and records listed in the Family History Library Records (see section below) by visiting the Family History Library or one of its family history centers and search indexes and records.
Indexes to Yorkshire wills are beginning to come online.
- The National Archives website has an index covering 1267 to 1500, for 10,000 wills proved in the Prerogative & Exchequer Courts of York, and other probate indexes, arranged alphabetically by location.
- The 'Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of York Probate Index 1731-1858' is available at British Origins. Click on the 'National Wills Index' then select it from the list. This is a subscription site.
Indexes to the Exchequer and Prerogative Courts were published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society. Many of these volumes have been converted to digital books. The following table will help you find these resources online (the dollar sign [$] means there is a fee for using the listed website):
|6||Wills 1389-1514; Probate and Administrations Act Book 1502-1514 (mislabeled on Google)||Link||Link||Link ($)|
|11||Wills 1514-1553; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1514-1553; Probate Acts 1514-1521; Act Book Deanery of Harthill 1558-1565||Link||Link||Link ($)|
|14||Wills 1554-1568; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1553-1568||Link||Link ($)|
|19||Wills 1568-1585; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1568-1585||Link||Link ($)|
|22||Wills 1585-1594; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1585-1594||Link ($)|
|24||Wills 1594-1602; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1594-1602||Link||Link ($)|
|26||Wills 1603-1611; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1603-1611||Link||Link ($)|
|28||Wills 1612-1619; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1612-1619||Link||Link ($)|
|32||Wills 1620-1627; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1620-1627||Link||Link ($)|
|35||Wills 1627-1636; Administration Acts (from Act Books) 1627-1652||Link||Link ($)|
|4||Wills 1636-1652||Link||Link||Link ($)|
|49||Wills, Administrations, Probate Acts 1660-1665||Link|
Printed and Published Indexes
- Calendar of probate records taken from the act books of the Prerogative Court of York : 1 December 1688-30 April 1731, and the Deanery of Holderness, 1 December 1688-31 December 1705
- Calendar of Yorkshire probate records taken from the deanery act books of the exchequer court of York, 1688-1731
- Index of wills in the York Registry
Yorkshire probate index : part one, 1800 to 1803 was compiled by Janet Ogden, Stephen D. Whitwam and Brian Jones.
The original records for this court are in the Borthwick Institute for Historical Research
University of York
Heslington York YO10 5DD
England Telephone: (0)1904 321166
Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.
Family History Library Records
The Family History Library has the following records on film.
- Original wills, etc. of the Exchequer and Prerogative courts, Archbishop of York, 1688-1750
- Wills and administrations, 1389-1858
- Wills registered at York, 1540-1802
- York District Probate Registry : probate act books, 1502-1624
- Register of tuitions and curations, 1592-1639. Click to read an explanation of tuitions and curations.
- Court books, 1548-1663
- Commissions books, 1611-1683
- Citation books, 1611-1695
- Caveat books, 1521-1859
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
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 locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
This court's jurisdiction applies to persons with bona notabilia (property worth 5 pounds or more) in more than one diocese within the northern Province of York, which includes all of the dioceses of York, Carlisle, Chester, Sodor and Man (Isle of Man), Durham and Lancaster. If probate records are not found in this court, be certain to search the Court of the Dean and Chapter of York.
The Court of the Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York held jurisdiction over the whole of the Province of York, which consisted of the counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Westmoreland, Yorkshire.
Unless a person held properties in more than one diocese (within the Province of York), always first search, the local diocesan court probate records of the county in which they lived and/or died. When a search of this courts’ probate records, or a search in those of the local diocesan courts fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York as well.