Warwickshire Probate Records

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England Gotoarrow.png Warwickshire Gotoarrow.png Warwickshire Probate Records

Getting Started

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include wills and administrations. This article is about probate records in Warwickshire. For a general description of England probate records, click here.

1858 to the Present

Beginning in 1858, the Principal Probate Registry had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.

Before 1858

Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Warwickshire, follow these steps:

Step 1. Search Indexes

There are no known online indexes to pre-1858 probate records for persons in Warwickshire, with the exception of the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury which was the highest court in England.

Did you find a reference to a probate record?

  • If yes, go to Step 4 below.
  • If no, go to Step 2 below.

Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died

Determine when your ancestor died. If you aren't sure, use an approximate date. 

Determine where your ancestor died. It is easier to find a probate record if you know whether the place where your ancestor lived or died is a parish. To learn whether it is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here is a link to the 1872 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales online:

The gazetteer will either tell you:

  • A place is a parish, or
  • What parish it is a part of, or
  • What place it is near.

If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.

Once you have identified the parish, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish

Once you have identified the parish where your ancestor lived or died, learn which courts had jurisdiction over it then search indexes for those courts. Every town and parish in Warwickshire fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on a link below for the letter the parish begins with.

Before 1858, every town and parish in Warwickshire came under the jurisdiction of a primary probate court and one or more secondary courts. When looking for the pre-1858 will of an ancestor in Warwickshire, you need to determine what courts had jurisdiction over the place where your ancestor died or had property.  Click on a link below for the letter your parish of interest begins with and follow the instructions given on the next page.

 A  B  C  D-L  M-P  Q-S  T-Z

Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record

Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:

  • Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
  • Visit the Family History Library or a family history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.

Warwickshire Probate Courts

Most of Warwickshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of either the Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory) or the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory).  The majority of probate searches will be in the records of these two courts and their superior courts.  However, the following smaller courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.

Some Explanatory Notes on Warwickshire Probate Courts

  • From 1837, the whole of the Warwickshire's parishes came under the probate court jurisdiction of the Bishop of Worcester
  • In pre-1837 the north, east and northwestern Warwickshire parishes came under the authority and jurisdiction of the Bishop of Lichfield.
  • The rest of the of Warwickshire (south-west portion) in pre-1837 came under the Diocese of the Bishop of Worcester. 

Here's the List of Warwickshire Parishes which in pre-1837, came under the court jurisdiction of the Diocese of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory).