Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster (Abbey)

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Step By Step[edit | edit source]

1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, 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 Westminster City Archives, or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
4. Or, you can 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.

Indexes[edit | edit source]

The Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster probate records is partially-covered with the following indexes:

Online Indexes[edit | edit source]

  • Indexes to the Ancient Testamentary Records of Westminster (1913) by Arthur Meredyth Burke. The extant testamentary records of Westminster indexed in this book consist of the testamentary records of the Peculiar Court, 1504-1700, the Westminster wills and administrations preserved amongst the records of the Consistory Court of London, 1540-1556, and the miscellaneous testamentary records preserved in the Muniment Chamber of Westminster Abbey, 1228-1700.

Printed and Published Indexes[edit | edit source]

The Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster (Abbey) has no formal indexes published at this time from this court.

  • A comprehensive will and admon index to London (including Greater L.) for the years covering 1750-1858 and surnames from A-F, is Dr David Wright's London Probate Index on CD and are now available. He will provide a search service in his indexes for those surnames G-Z for you at set fee.

Original handwritten indexes:

Calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons) exist from 1504-1829. Calendars are a kind of index (of the first letter of each surname) to the probate records and admons (administrations).

In addition to the calendars, a majority of the original (unregistered) wills and the registered wills are alphabetically arranged at the City Archives and are likewise organized on the microfilmed probates for this court at the Family History Library. Visit the Westminster City Archives Department or the Family History Library Catalog under London, England to determine availability of records.

Microfilmed indexes available at the Family History Library:

The following two indexes cover some of this courts' probate records:

These indexes are on microfilm at the Family History Library or may be circulated to any of its satellite Family History Centers.

Records[edit | edit source]

Archive Location[edit | edit source]

Westminster City Archives Department
10 St Ann's Street
London SW1P 2DE

Website: The original records of this court are housed at the City of Westminster Archives Centre.

Archive Records[edit | edit source]

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

Calendar Wills & Administration (admons) 1504-1858

Original Wills 1504-1829

Copy (Registered) Wills 1591-1769

Registers 1504-1609, 1622-1641, 1660-667 at Westminster City Archives only

Administrations 1504-1821

Inventories - But few have survived

Wills & Administrations 1504-1667

Act Books 1566-1807 

To access these records, either write to or visit this archive at the above address. Officials at this record office will send a lsit of record searchers to you, on request.

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

Calendar Wills & Administration (admons) 1504-1829 

Original Wills 1662-1829

Registered Wills 1504-1609, 1622-1641, 1660-1667 

Wills & Administrations 1504-1667

Act Books 1566-1807 

Jurisdiction[edit | edit source]

Probate records of the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster commence from 1504 to 1857. This court holds some jurisdiction over a few (approximately four) of Essex's parishes until 1540 when it passed to the Bishop of London (see this probate court). The four Essex County parishes are: Newport, Creshall (Chrishall), Good Easter (also see this peculiar court) and Maldon St Mary's. By 1828, the jurisdiction was then limited to Maldon St Mary's,(Essex), only.