Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory)

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Step By Step[edit | edit source]

1. First search each applicable index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will or administration (admon), writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit the Staffordshire County Record Office 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 view microfilm copies of wills or admons.

Indexes[edit | edit source]

Surviving wills and administrations of this court have mostly been indexed:

Online Indexes[edit | edit source]

Start with:

Also check:

  • 1516-1652 - A scanned edition of W.P.W. Phillimore's 1892 publication by the British Record Society, Calendars of Wills & Administrations in the Consistory court of the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516-1652, is available on Google Books. The publication also includes indexes to probate records of the peculiar courts for Derbyshire, 1753-1790.
  • 1650-1730 - An index for wills and administrations 1650-1730 for the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry covering 23000 plus probate documents can be found at Staffordshire Name Indexes - free

Printed and Published Indexes[edit | edit source]

  • Phillimore, W. P. W.  Calendars of wills & administrations in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 1516-1652: also those in the "peculiars" now deposited in the probate registries at Lichfield, Birmingham and Derby, 1529-1652; 1675-1790; 1753-1790.  London: British Record Society, 1892. (WorldCat OCLC number 154289290; FHL book 942 B4b, vol. 7, also on film 0962380 item 2, and fiche 6073725.)  It is also searchable online.

This source gives the name of the deceased and often their residence. An over-all aphabetical index is found at the end.

This publication is available at many major archives in the United Kingdom such as at the Lichfield Record Office, the Society of Genealogists in London, the Borthwick Institute in York, and other archives.

Handwritten Indexes[edit | edit source]

Indexes to wills and administrations exist for the years 1494 to 1860 and are found with the original records at the Lichfield Record Office. Also, the registered wills are somewhat alpha-ordered in their arrangement.

The original records on microfilm include the handwritten indexes. Click on the links under "Family History Library Records" listed below under "Records" to obtain the microfilm numbers of the original records in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Records[edit | edit source]

Start with:

Archive Location[edit | edit source]

Lichfield Record Office (formerly Lichfield Joint Record Office)
The Friary'
Staffs WS13 6QG
Telephone: U.K. 01543 510720
Overseas: (+44) 1543 510720

The records include:

  • Original wills, 1472-1858
  • Register copy wills, 1516-1771
  • Act books, 1532-1638
  • Inventories, 1494-1860
  • Calendars, 1494-1860

Archive Records[edit | edit source]

[Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.]

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

The records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through one of the more than 4,500 family history centers worldwide.  These include:

Obtaining a copy of a probate record:

  1. You may visit the Lichfield Record Office or contact their research service and request a copy of a probate record (include in your request, the index reference you found).
  2. You may visit the Family History Library and search the records on microfilm, or visit a family history center where you can order the films and search them there.
  3. Start your search in indexes.

Bishop's Registers[edit | edit source]

Years Bishop FHL Film Book Online
1296-1321 Walter Langton 1484317 Can. & York Soc. 91, 97
1321-1322 vacancy 1484317
1322-1358 Roger Northburgh 1484317
1358-1360 vacancy 1484318
1360-1385 Robert Stretton 1484318
1386 Walter Skirlaw 1484318
1386-1398 Richard Scrope 1484318
1398 vacancy 1484318
1398-1414 John Burghill 1484318
1415-1419 John Catterick 1484319 Can. & York Soc. 77
1420-1447 William Heyworth 1484319
1447 vacancy 1484319
1447-1452 William Booth 1484319 Can. & York Soc. 98
1452-1453 vacancy 1484319
1453-1459 Reginald Boulers 1484319
1459 vacancy 1484320
1459-1490 John Hales 1484320
1490-1493 vacancy 1484320
1493-1496 William Smith 1484320
1496 vacancy 1484320
1496-1502 John Arundel 1484320
1503-1531 Geoffrey Blyth 1484321
1531-1534 vacancy 1484321
1534-1543 Rowland Lee 1484321
1543-1554 Richard Sampson 1484321
1554 vacancy 1484321
1554-1559 Ralph Baynes 1484321
1559-1560 vacancy 1484321
1560-1579 Thomas Bentham 1484321
1579-1580 vacancy 1484321
1580-1609 William Overton 1484321
1619-1632 Thomas Morton 1484321
1537-1603 Draft Register 1484321

Jurisdiction[edit | edit source]

The diocese of Lichfield was one of the largest in England. Until 1541, it included all of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, parts of Shropshire, Warwickshire and Lancashire, and a few parishes in Flintshire and one in Denbighshire, Wales. The creation of the See (Diocese) of Chester in 1541 removed all of Cheshire and the parts of Lancashire and Wales.

During the Commonwealth Interregnum from 1653 to 1660, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the form of a civil court, had sole probate or testmentary jurisdiction over all of England and Wales.

To view a list of parishes and their respective probate court jurisdiction, look on the "Probate Records" page for the county you are interested in.  Look for the section, "Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions". 

When a search of this court's probate records fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the Prerogative Court of the Exchequer of the Archbishop of York and the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury (PCC) as well.