Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)

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This court handled a high volume of wills between the 1780s and 1858.[1]

Step By Step[edit | edit source]

  1. Search the index at Ancestry. If the desired digitized will is not found, proceed to Step 2.
  2. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
  3. Proceed then to "Records" section (see below) to determine what probate records exist for this court.
  4. Contact or visit The London Metropolitan Archives and Library, or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf, citing information obtained from the index[es]. Officials may send upon request a list of record searchers.
  5. You can also visit The Family History Library, or, one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes (see the Family History Library's cataloged entries providing the microfilms so you can have them circulated to the center near you for searching the wills). The information obtained from the index[es] will help you  more quickly search the wills and admons which can also be circulated on microfilm via any family history .

Indexes[edit | edit source]

First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find a will or administration (admon).

The Consistory Court of London probate records have to some extent been indexed with the following ones:

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]

  • A probate index for the Consistory Court of London from 1363 to 1700 has been compiled by the British Record Society in its extensive publications (vols 89 and 98). These publications are likely available in most major United States (especially university libraries) and United Kingdom Archives and libraries as well as in The Family History Library.
  • A comprehensive will and admon index to most of London's (including Greater L.) probate courts for the years covering 1750-1858, is Dr David Wright's London Probate Index on CD and is on sale. He will perform "lookups" in his indexes for you for surnames covering from G-Z at a set fee.

Original handwritten indexes:

Calendars and Indexes to Wills (1362 to 1858), and Index to probate registers (1514-1641), to this Probate court exist covering acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons). Calendars are a kind of index (of the first letter of each surname) to the probate records and admons (administrations).

The above calendars can be accessed by visiting The London Metropolitan Archives and Library. To view what precise probate records they hold before visiting [their archives], go to Access2Archives and use their search engine for determining availability of records in The LMA.

Microfilmed indexes available at the Family History Library:

Calendars and Indexes of Wills and Admons (Administrations) to the Consistory Court fo the Bishop of London are available on microfilm at the Family History Library covering the years 1362-1857.

Records[edit | edit source]

Archives Location[edit | edit source]

London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road
London EC1R 0HB
Tel: (020) 7332 3820
Fax (020) 7833 9136

Opening Times: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30am - 4.45pm
Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am - 7.30pm
Saturday openings: 9.30am - 4.45pm
Check website for specific Saturdays to be open.

Archive Records[edit | edit source]

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

  • Calendar and Index of Wills 1362-1814
  • Wills and administrations 1514-1640
  • Registered copies of wills 1520-1857
  • Inventories
  • Vicar General Books - 1520- 1685
  • Indexes - 1362-1857

For access to these records, e-mail the archive for a list of record searchers or visit the archive according to their scheduled opening hours.

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

Search the following probate records in the order listed below:

  1. Registered Wills 1514-1685
  2. Original wills, 1507-1546 1552-1751
  3. Registered Wills & Admons 1752-1857
  4. Calendars and index of wills v. 1-2 1362-1858
  5. Index to registers 1514-1641
  6. Registered Copy of Wills vols. 1-4 1514-1559

Jurisdiction[edit | edit source]

Return to the London Probate Records page.

The Episcopal Consistory Court of the Bishop of London had jurisdiction over the whole diocese of London (the city) except the peculiars–including a concurrent jurisdiction with the smaller Archdeaconry courts of London and Middlesex, Colchester (Essex) and St Albans (Herts.). The Consistory Court of London handled a very large volume of wills between the 1780s and 1858.[1] When a search of this courts’ probate records fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the above Archdeaconry courts as well.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cliff Webb, My Ancestors were Londoners: A Guide to London Sources for Family Historians (London: Society of Genealogists, 2009), 35.