Nottinghamshire Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Nottinghamshire

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 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.

Getting Started

Follow these steps 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 the 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.

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.

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.

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

Appeals Courts

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.[1]

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.

  1. Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: published by author, 1974; page 101.