Hampshire Probate Records
The following article is about probate records in the county of Hampshire. For general information about English probate records, 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. 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. The Probates After 1857 section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.
Follow these steps to look for a probate record before 1858:
- Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
- Go to the Court Jurisdictions section below.
- Click a letter or span of letters for your place. This opens an article showing a table of places and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.
- Follow the steps at the top of the table to search for a will.
Court Jurisdictions By Parish
Before 1858, most Hampshire townships and parishes in Hampshire were under the probate jurisdiction of a primary or a peculiar ecclesiastical court and one or more secondary ecclesiastical courts.
To see a list of places in Hampshire and the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click on the letter that the place name begins with:
Hampshire Probate Courts
The major probate court for Hampshire was called the Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Winchester which held jurisdiction over most of the county prior to 1858.
Hampshire also had numerous concurrent smaller jurisdictions called "peculiars" courts as well (see the "Hampshire Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" section below to determine the correct court jurisdiction for the parish you want to search). There were close to seventy parishes lying within 43 smaller, Peculiar Court jurisdictions.
To search for an administration (when a person died intestate or, that is, without naming an executor to the estate) in one of the peculiar courts, a search must be conducted in the above Episcopal Consistory Court.
Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
- Court of the Peculiar of Old Alresford with New Alresford and Medstead
- Court of the Peculiar of Alverstoke with Gosport
- Court of the Peculiar of North Baddesley
- Court of the Peculiar of Baughurst
- Court of the Peculiar of Binstead
- Court of the Peculiar of Bishopstoke
- Court of the Peculiar of Brighstone sometimes called Brixton (Isle of Wight)
- Court of the Peculiar of Burghclere
- Court of the Peculiar of Calbourne
- Court of the Peculiar of Cheriton with Kilmeston and Tichborne
- Court of the Peculiar of Chilbolton
- Court of the Peculiar of Chilcombe
- Court of the Peculiar of Compton
- Court of the Peculiar of Crawley with Hunton
- Court of the Peculiar of Droxford with Swanmore, Shidfield, Hill and Midlington
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury
- Court of the Peculiar of Easton
- Court of the Peculiar of East Meon with Combe, Steep, Ramsdean, Froxfield and Oxenbourne
- Court of the Peculiar of Exton
- Court of the Peculiar of Fareham with Catisfield and Dean
- Court of the Peculiar of Fawley with Exbury, Lepe, Cadlands, Ower, Holbury, Langley, Stanswood, Butsash, Hardley, Stone, Hythe and Brickmerston
- Court of the Peculiar of Hambledon with Denmead
- Court of the Peculiar of Hannington
- Court of the Peculiar of Havant with Leigh and Brockhampton
- Court of the Peculiar of Highclere
- Court of the Peculiar of Holdenhurst
- Court of the Peculiar of Houghton
- Court of the Peculiar of Hursley with Otterbourne, Merdon and Silkstead
- Court of the Peculiar of Hurstbourne Priors with St Mary Bourne
- Court of the Peculiar of Littleton
- Court of the Peculiar of Meonstoke with Soberton and Hoe
- Court of the Peculiar of West Meon with Privett
- Court of the Peculiar of Michelmersh with Braishfield
- Court of the Peculiar of Morestead
- Court of the Peculiar of Overton with Tadley and Polhampton
- Court of the Peculiar of Ovington
- Court of the Peculiar of Ringwood with Harbridge
- Court of the Peculiar of St. Faith or St. Cross
- Court of the Peculiar of South Stoneham and St. Mary Extra with Allington and Shamblehurst
- Court of the Peculiar of Twyford with Owslebury and Brambridge
- Court of the Peculiar of Upham with Durley
- Court of the Peculiar of Bishops Waltham with Hamble and Bursledon
- Court of the Peculiar of North Waltham
- Court of the Peculiar of Warnford
- Court of the Peculiar of Whitchurch with Freefolk and Charlecott
- Court of the Peculiar of Winnall
- Court of the Peculiar of Wonston with Sutton, Scotney and Cranborne
- Court of the Peculiar of East Woodhay with Ashmansworth
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.
- Wealthy individuals
- Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
- Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
- Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
- People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in 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.
Probate Indexes Online
Before looking for a will, you should search an index.
An index to the wills  is available via Hampshire Archives and Local Studies' online Catalogue at the Hampshire Record Office. Their online searches provide access not only to Hampshire wills, but to all probate records as well as several other record types dating from the 15th to 20th centuries. Write to the Hampshire Archives for copies to be made of a will or administration.
The first stage of our on-line catalogue project provides access to a detailed catalogue of wills, 1540-1858, held in the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives (also known as Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office). The catalogue also contains (for about 25% of the wills) digital images of probate records. 
To obtain the address or e-mail address, click on any court name in the list above. In addition, the Family History Library has microfilmed the Hampshire probate records and they are available through its Family History Centers worldwide.
Wills and inventories, 1491-1857 with indexes for the Consistory Court of Winchester 
Administrations, 1558-1858 includes index for the Consistory Court of Winchester 
Archdeaconry of Winchester card index of wills, 1660-1857 (A-Cabanac)
Archdeaconry of Winchester card index of wills, 1660-1857 (Cabanac-Z)
Original index to the archdeaconry wills (WI-1-5) 1502-1792, 1742-1857
Extracts from registered and original wills in the Consistory Court of Winchester, 1492-1652, and the Archdeaconry Court of Winchester, 1501-1653. Lists the testator, executor and anyone else for whom some relationship was stated, witnesses names and relationship, place of residence, occupation, date of probate, etc. Extracts are not arranged in either alphabetical or chronological order. The Family History Library also has an listing at the British Reference Counter of these extracts
Hampshire will index, Consistory Court of Winchester, 1840-1858 Complete extracts
Hampshire probate record card indexes, 1540-1857 
An index of personal names in Isle of Wight probate records, 1378-1600 
All of the Peculiar courts have been combined into one record and are arranged chronologically and indexed. They are cataloged under: Church of England. Diocese of Winchester. Collection of wills from the Peculiar Courts of Hampshire, England, 1561-1845. Check the Author/Title Catalog under this heading or the Locality Catalog under: England, Hampshire - Probate records. Collection of wills from the Peculiar Courts of Hampshire, England, 1561-1845 
Original index to the Hampshire Peculiar Court wills, 1597-1833 (by first letter of surname and then date) 
"The principal material in the Diocesan Registry Collection is a batch of register copies of wills." These wills, dating from 1502-1640, are transcribed and indexed in this book, along with a few administrations, inventories, etc. This series of wills contains probate records from all of the courts of Hampshire. 
Winchester guardianships after 1700 from Diocesan Records Contains nearly 1,050 guardianship documents from the Consistory Court mostly between the years 1700 and 1790 and also an index. 
Unclassified wills, 1398, 1469, 1502-1560 Includes Index 
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.
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 Principal Probate Registry.