Nottinghamshire Probate Records
The following article is about probate records in Nottinghamshire. 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 Probates After 1857 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 an Archdeaconry in the Diocese of York until transferred to the Diocese of Lincoln in 1837. The original wills, bonds, and inventories of the Archdeaconry were transferred from York to Nottingham in 1972, but the registered copies of Nottinghamshire wills are still at York, as are the Nottinghamshire rural deanery probate act books and those Nottinghamshire wills proved in the Prerogative Court of York, the Chancery Court of York and the Court of the Dean and Chapter of York. There are no probate records for Nottinghamshire at Lincoln. Some stray wills, inventories, etc. c. 1607-1819, are amongst the Southwell Peculiar records.
Court Jurisdictions by Parish
Before 1858, every town and parish in Westmorland was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. When looking for a will of an ancestor in this county, search the courts in the order listed. It's best to search an index first. Indexes are mentioned on the individual court pages. To link to the court page, you need to see the jurisdiction tables. Click on one of the following letters to go to a jurisdiction table. For other places, click on a link:
A B-D E-H K-N O-S T-Z.
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.
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 101.