Nottinghamshire Probate Records
For an explanation of 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 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:
- Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
- Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
- Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
- Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.
Nottinghamshire Probate Courts
Here is a list of the ecclesiastical courts that had some pre-1858 probate jurisdiction over Nottinghamshire. Click on a court name to learn more.
- Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
- Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York
- Court of the Manor of Edwinstowe
- Court of the Manor of Gringley-on-the-Hill or Bawtry
- Court of the Peculiar of Kinoulton
- Court of the Manor of Mansfield
- Court of the Manor of Rufford Abbey
- Court of the Manor of St John of Jerusalem or Shelford St Johns
- Court of the Manor of Skegby and Teversal
- Court of the Peculiar of Southwell
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England, particularly in cases of:
- Wealthy individuals
- People who owned property in more than one county or court's jurisdiction
- Military and Naval personnel
- People who lived or owned property outside 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.
Some Explanatory Notes on the Nottinghamshire Probate Courts
Nottinghamshire was under the jurisdiction of the Archdeaconry of Nottingham in the Diocese of York until 1837 when it was transferred to the Diocese of Lincoln. The Diocese of York was the under the authority of the Archbishop of York.
Before 1858, every town and parish in Nottinghamshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Search the courts in the order given. Search indexes first. For indexes, click on a court name.
Here is a list of Nottinghamshire towns and parishes beginning with A and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them.
|PARISH||PRIMARY COURT||SECONDARY COURTS - IN SEARCH ORDER|
|Annesley||Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York||2 - Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York|
|Arnold||Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York||2 - Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York|
|Askham||Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York||2 - Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York|
|Attenborough||Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York||2 - Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York|
|Averham with Kelham||Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York||2 - Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York|
|Awsworth||Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York||2 - Chancery Court of the Archbishop of York|
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.