Difference between revisions of "Worcestershire Probate Records"
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== Getting Started ==
== Getting Started ==
Revision as of 22:54, 22 December 2009
The following article is about probate records in the county of Worcestershire. For general information about English probate records, 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.
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 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.
Worcestershire Probate Courts
Most of Worcestershire 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 Hereford (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.
- Court of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester
- Court of the Peculiar of Evesham
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Alvechurch or Allchurch
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Bredon with Norton and Cutsdean
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Fladbury
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Hanbury
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Hartlebury
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Ripple with Queenhill and Holdfast
- Court of the Peculiar of the Rector of Tredington with Shipston upon Stour
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.
- Wealthy individuals
- People who owned property in more than one county
- Military and naval personnel
- People who lived or owned property outside 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.
Court Jurisdictions by Parish
Before 1858, every town and parish in Worcestershire fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. When looking for the will of an ancestor, determine what courts had jurisdiction over the parish where your ancestor died or owned property, and search the courts in order.
For a list of Worcestershire parishes and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click on a letter link:
In addition of the indexes listed below, court-specific indexes will be found on the court pages. Click on a court name in the list above.
Worcestershire wills index, 1858-1928
"The index is arranged in alphabetical order of surname followed by the forename. Then the date of probate is cited, thus leading one to the register concerned, together with the relevant page number. It will be noted that there is some slight variation in style of the date of probate quoted. This is because this index was compiled from the existing indexes in each register and the amount of detail in each varied slightly, particularly in the first few volumes." -- from foreword.
CD-ROM no. 1671 at The Family History Library.
These records can cover just one parish or many parishes, covering pre-1858 probate records. The following is an index to these Worcestershire Peculiar Probate Court records.
- Index to Wills Proved in Peculiars 1712-1788  Contents: Fladbury, 1721-1775 -- Ripple, 1721-1729 -- Hanbury, 1720-1769 -- Bredon, 1717-1772 -- Tredington with Shipston (upon Stour), 1717-1788 -- Hartlebury, 1720-1784 -- Allchurch [i.e., Alvechurch], 1718-1773 -- Stratford, 1718-1773 -- Hampton, 1712-1760.
Some of the Peculiar Courts have indexed and unindexed portions of the records. The following follows this:
- Wills and administrations, 1441-1788 of the Court of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester which covers Berrow, Kempsey, Norton near Kempsey, St Michael In Bedwardine and College Precincts, Stoulton, and Tibberton. 
Not all the peculiar court records are indexed and need to be located differently. The following links can help in finding these unindexed peculiar probate records.
- Wills for the Peculiar Court of Bredon, 1668-1791 which covers the parishes of Bredon, Norton (Bredons Norton) and Cutsdean. 
- Wills and administrations for the Peculiar Court of Fladbury, 1662-1795 This covers the parish of Fladbury and its chapelries of Stock and Bradley, Throckmorton and Wyre Piddle. 
- Wills for the Peculiar Court of Ripple, 1663-1771 which covers the parishes of Holdfast, Queenhill and Ripple 
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.