Hampshire Probate Records

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Getting Started[edit | edit source]

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 Hampshire See England Probate Records for a general description of probate records in England.

1858 to the Present[edit | edit source]

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

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Before 1858[edit | edit source]

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

Step 1. Search Indexes[edit | edit source]

Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Hampshire. Search these indexes first:

Before looking for a will, you should search an index.

An index to the wills is available via Hampshire Archives and Local Studies' Online Catalogue at the Hampshire Record Office. Their online searches provide access not only to Hampshire wills, but to all probate records as well as several other record types dating from the 15th to 20th centuries. Write to the Hampshire Archives for copies to be made of a will or administration. 

  • Wills and inventories, 1491-1857 with indexes for the Consistory Court of Winchester
  • Administrations, 1558-1858 includes index for the Consistory Court of Winchester
  • Archdeaconry of Winchester card index of wills, 1660-1857 (A-Cabanac)
  • Archdeaconry of Winchester card index of wills, 1660-1857 (Cabanac-Z)
  • Original index to the archdeaconry wills (WI-1-5) 1502-1792, 1742-1857 
  • Extracts from registered and original wills in the Consistory Court of Winchester, 1492-1652, and the Archdeaconry Court of Winchester, 1501-1653. Lists the testator, executor and anyone else for whom some relationship was stated, witnesses names and relationship, place of residence, occupation, date of probate, etc. Extracts are not arranged in either alphabetical or chronological order. The Family History Library also has an listing at the British Reference Counter of these extracts.
  • Hampshire will index, Consistory Court of Winchester, 1840-1858Complete extracts
  • Hampshire probate record card indexes, [1]
  • An index of personal names in Isle of Wight probate records, 1378-1600
  • All of the Peculiar courts have been combined into one record and are arranged chronologically and indexed. They are cataloged under: Church of England. Diocese of Winchester. Collection of wills from the Peculiar Courts of Hampshire, England, 1561-1845. Check the Author/Title Catalog under this heading or the Locality Catalog under: England, Hampshire - Probate records.
  • Collection of wills from the Peculiar Courts of Hampshire, England, 1561-1845
  • Original index to the Hampshire Peculiar Court wills, 1597-1833 (by first letter of surname and then date)
  • "The principal material in the Diocesan Registry Collection is a batch of register copies of wills." These wills, dating from 1502-1640, are transcribed and indexed in this book, along with a few administrations, inventories, etc. This series of wills contains probate records from all of the courts of Hampshire.
  • Winchester guardianships after 1700 from Diocesan Records Contains nearly 1,050 guardianship documents from the Consistory Court mostly between the years 1700 and 1790 and also an index.
  • Unclassified wills, 1398, 1469, 1502-1560 Includes Index.

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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 Hampshire 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.

 A    B    C    D-G    H    I-N    O-R    S    T-U    V-Z  


Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record[edit | edit source]

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.

Hampshire Probate Courts[edit | edit source]

The major probate court for Hampshire was called the Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Winchester which held jurisdiction over most of the county prior to 1858.

Hampshire also had numerous concurrent smaller jurisdictions called "peculiars" courts as well (see the "Hampshire Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" section below to determine the correct court jurisdiction for the parish you want to search). There were close to seventy parishes lying within 43 smaller, Peculiar Court jurisdictions.

To search for an administration (when a person died intestate or, that is, without naming an executor to the estate) in one of the peculiar courts, a search must be conducted in the above Episcopal Consistory Court. 

Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.