Northamptonshire Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Northamptonshire

The following article is about probate records in the county of Northamptonshire. Read about the types of probate records, and general information about them, by clicking here. This article explains about the records for Northamptonshire and how to start your search.

Getting Started

Before 1858, every town and parish in Northamptonshire fell under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of one or more courts. Follow these steps to look for a record.

  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 the Parishes and Their Court Jurisdictions section below.
  3. 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.
  4. Follow the steps at the top of the table to search for a will.

Each parish has a primary court, meaning that it’s the first place to look. There are also secondary courts, meaning addition courts to search. To see a list of the primary and secondary courts for each parish in Northamptonshire, click on the beginning letter of your parish.

Parishes and Their Court Jurisdictions

Each parish has a primary court, meaning that it’s the first place to look. There are also secondary courts, meaning addition courts to search. To see a list of the primary and secondary courts for each parish in Northamptonshire, click on the beginning letter of your parish.

 A    B    C    D-F    G-H    I-M    N-P    Q-S    T-U    V-Z


Northamptonshire Probate Courts

The names of the courts with jurisdiction over Northamptonshire are:


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.

Probate Records After 1857

Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. For more information about these records, and how to find, read Principal Probate Registry.

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, and how to find them, read Estate Duty Records.

Probate Indexes

Online Indexes

Before looking for a probate, it's best to search an index first.

The Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index has been created by Kay Collins, a volunteer at the Northampton Record Office, partially assisted by several others, from several of the earlier indices of probate records held in the Northampton Record Office. This composite index was commenced in 1997 and the records in this database include all work done up to 2005. The project is now largely complete (errors and omissions excepted) and this database may be updated at a future date with corrections and/or omissions. Go to Northants Wills/Admons Proved 1853-1857.[1]

Findmypast.co.uk has the index to pre-1858 probate records.

The following link may be of help to the website. [2] Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index The Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index has been created from several of the earlier indexes of probate records held in the Northampton Record Office. The index contains 87,058 entries that cover the period 1469 to 1857.

Filmed Indexes

Some Explanatory Notes on the courts in Northamptonshire

Since civil and ecclesiastical boundaries were not necessarily one and the same, it is important in pre-1858 probate searches to consider nearby courts including those situated across county boundaries. Also, ecclesiastical boundaries and rights were not always observed or may have been changed over the years.

Many peculiar courts closed before 1858. When this occurred jurisdiction reverted to the local archdeaconry and/or diocesan courts.

Before 1541 Northamptonshire was in the diocese of Lincoln, and from 1541 to 1858 (except for peculiars) was in the diocese of Peterborough. It appears that from 1541 to 1598 the court of the Bishop of Peterborough and the Court of the Archeacon of Northampton exercised concurrent Jurisdiction in the county.

The rolls of the Burgess Court of Higham Ferrers contain the texts of many wills which were registered in respect of property there (See Historical Manuscripts Commission Report xii, appendix part 9, page 530), but the wills were actually proved in the Archdeaconry of Northampton and are found in the records of that court.

The original records of the Court of the Bishop of Peterborough and the Court of the Archdeacon of Northampton are at the Northampton Record Office, Delapre Abbey, Northampton. Those for the Courts of the Peculiar Parishes of Gretton and  Nassington are at the Lincolnshire Archive Office, The Castle, Lincoln.