The Court of Arches of the Archbishop of Canterbury

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[Return to the London Probate Records page.] 

Starting Your Search in Indexes

1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find a will or administration (admon), writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to the "Probate Records of This Court" (below) to determine what original probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Lambeth Palace Library or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any family history centers near you.

Probate Indexes

The Court of Arches of the Archbishop of Canterbury probate records are well-covered with the following indexes: 1660 to 1913 published by the List and Index Society, London.

Printed Indexes

  • A comprehensive will and admon index to London (including Greater L.) for the years covering 1750-1858, is Dr David Wright's London Probate Index on CDs and are on sale or he will perform "lookups" in his indexes for you.
  • The following published index found in the publications of the List and Index Society covers court cases in this court from 1660-1913--which includes probate records for the above-mentioned three City of London parishes: Indexof cases in the records of the Court of Arches at Lambeth Palace Library, 1660-1913. This volume and almost the whole set of volumes (well over 200 volumes) to the excellent series is likely to be found at many major academic (university) libraries throughout North America and in especially the U.S.

Original Handwritten Indexes

There are "typed script" indexes at the Lambeth Palace Library.

Microfilmed Indexes at the Family History Library

Outside of the above indexes there closest recourse to quick-finding wills of this court jurisdiction may be in the Act Books (see below) covering all years from 1635 to 1818 

These are on microfilm and may be viewed at the Family History Library and may be circulated to any one of its satellite Family History Centers.

Location of Records of This Court

Lambeth Palace Library

Lambeth Palace Road

London SE1 7JU

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7898 1400
Fax: + 44 (0)20 7928 7932
Post: The Librarian, Lambeth Palace Library, London, SE1 7JU, UK


Records of This Archive

Act books 1635-1818

Muniment Books 1554-1850

Black Book of the Arches  - No date given

Assignation Books 1763-1875

Minute Books 1862-1883

Sentences 1560-1797

Appeals 1661-1803

Personal Answers 1661-1798

Depositions 1664-1803

Searching for probates in this court

ACT BOOKS 1635-1818




MINUTE BOOKS 1862-1883

SENTENCES 1560-1797

APPEALS 1661-1803



Historical Background

Although the  The Court of Arches of the Archbishop of Canterbury was an "appeals court" for the Province of Canterbury, it also held peculiar jurisdiction for the probating of wills admons in three London parishes within the City. These parishes were St Gregory by St Paul's (Cathedral), St Giles without Cripplegate and St Helen Bishopsgate. Records of this probate court date from 1635 to 1913. Be certain to check the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's, jurisdiction as well.

Strategies, Tips, Other?

If no will is found in this court, then recourse should next be taken to search the wills and admons of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Pauls (Cathedral).

To view a list of parishes and their respective probate court jurisdiction, see the "London Probate Jurisdictions by Parish" (above).