Difference between revisions of "Lincolnshire Probate Records"

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After the Reformation, the archdeaonries of Bedford, Buckingham and Huntingdon remained until the period 1837-1845 when they were transferred to other dioceses. Since court records of the Bishop's Commissaries for the various Archdeaconries tended to be kept with the records of these archdeacons there is only a relatively small number of wills at Loncoln relating to the counties other than Lincolnshire.<br>  
 
After the Reformation, the archdeaonries of Bedford, Buckingham and Huntingdon remained until the period 1837-1845 when they were transferred to other dioceses. Since court records of the Bishop's Commissaries for the various Archdeaconries tended to be kept with the records of these archdeacons there is only a relatively small number of wills at Loncoln relating to the counties other than Lincolnshire.<br>  
  
For most of the wills proved in all the courts down to 1532, printed abstracts will be found in C.W. Foster's ''Lincoln Wills'' published by the Lincoln Record Society volumes 5 (1271-1526) and 10 (1505-1530). There are further abstracts of selected items in ''Lincolnshire Wills: First Series A.D 1500-1600'' (published in 1888) and ''Lincolnshire Wills: Second Series A.D. 1600-1617 ''(published in 1891) by Canon A.R. Maddison.<ref>Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. 4th ed. London: published by author, 1974; page 66.</ref> The Family History Library has a copy of these volumes (FHL [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=203079&disp=Lincolnshire+wills++ 942.53 P2ma; film 990132 Items 3-4]). <br> {{reflist}}
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For most of the wills proved in all the courts down to 1532, printed abstracts will be found in C.W. Foster's ''Lincoln Wills'' published by the Lincoln Record Society volumes 5 (1271-1526) and 10 (1505-1530). There are further abstracts of selected items in ''Lincolnshire Wills: First Series A.D 1500-1600'' (published in 1888) and ''Lincolnshire Wills: Second Series A.D. 1600-1617 ''(published in 1891) by Canon A.R. Maddison.<ref>Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 66.</ref> The Family History Library has a copy of these volumes (FHL [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=203079&disp=Lincolnshire+wills++ 942.53 P2ma; film 990132 Items 3-4]). <br>  
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{{reflist}}
  
 
== Court Jurisdictions  ==
 
== Court Jurisdictions  ==

Revision as of 17:58, 27 July 2009

England Gotoarrow.png Lincolnshire

For an explanation of probate records in England, click here.

Getting Started

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court.

To look for a probate record before 1858:

  1. Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
  2. Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
  3. Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
  4. Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.

Lincolnshire Probate Courts

The following ecclesiastical courts had some probate jurisdiction over the county of Cumberland prior to 1858. Click on a court name to learn more about its records, indexes and finding a probate for your ancestor. To determine which court, go to the Court Jurisdictions section below.

In addition, the Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York had jurisdiction over most of the Northern counties of England. The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.

  • Wealthy individuals
  • People who owned property in more than one county
  • Military and naval personnel
  • People who lived or owned property outside England

Appeals Courts

Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:

Some Explanatory Notes on the Lincolnshire Probate Courts

Before the Reformation the diocese of Lincoln comprised:

  • Archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow in the county of Lincoln
  • Archdeaconry of Leicester
  • Archdeaconry of Northampton (including the counties of Northampton and Rutland)
  • Archdeaconry of Oxford
  • Archdeaconry of Bedford
  • Archdeaconry of Buckingham
  • Huntingdon (including the counties of Huntingdon and the county of Hertford except for the peculiar of St. Albans).

After the Reformation, the archdeaonries of Bedford, Buckingham and Huntingdon remained until the period 1837-1845 when they were transferred to other dioceses. Since court records of the Bishop's Commissaries for the various Archdeaconries tended to be kept with the records of these archdeacons there is only a relatively small number of wills at Loncoln relating to the counties other than Lincolnshire.

For most of the wills proved in all the courts down to 1532, printed abstracts will be found in C.W. Foster's Lincoln Wills published by the Lincoln Record Society volumes 5 (1271-1526) and 10 (1505-1530). There are further abstracts of selected items in Lincolnshire Wills: First Series A.D 1500-1600 (published in 1888) and Lincolnshire Wills: Second Series A.D. 1600-1617 (published in 1891) by Canon A.R. Maddison.[1] The Family History Library has a copy of these volumes (FHL 942.53 P2ma; film 990132 Items 3-4).


  1. Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 66.

Court Jurisdictions

Before 1858, every town and parish in Lincolnshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and one or more secondary courts. 

To see a list of Lincolnshire places and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, and instructions of what to do next, click on a link:

    A   B   C-D   E-F  G   H   I-K   L-M    N-P    Q-R   Sa-So   Sp-Sw   T-Z.


Probate Indexes Online

Search the Lincoln Consistory Court Wills Index, 1701-1800. The site contains lists in PDF format in alphabetical order by name. Calendars of Lincoln Wills 1320-1600 is a digitized book.

Probate Indexes

Family History Library has these indexes available [1] [2] [3]

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. Between 1813-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.


Post-1857 Probate Records

Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system.  The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the principal registry office located in London.  The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service.  To learn more, go to the HMCS website.

A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills.  The indexes for 1858-1957 and the records for the Principal Registry and the District Registries for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.