Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's CathedralEdit This Page

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[Return to the Essex Probate Records page.] 


Location of Records of This Court

Essex Record Office
Archives & Museums
Wharf Road
Chelmsford CM12 6YT
Telephone (01245) 244644

Website: Essex County Record Office

Historical Background

Probate records of the Court of the Peculair of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral were once held in the Chelmsford Cathedral Registry. After the setup of civil courts by act of Parliament in 1858, they were removed to Somerset House, London in 1858. In 1958, almost all of Essex wills were transferred back to Chelmsford to the County Hall, where they reside today.

These records date from 1400 to 1858 and the court held juridsiction over Barling, Belchamp St Paul's, Heybridge, Navestock, Tillingham and Wickham St Paul's parishes in Essex.


Searching for probates in this court


Calendar (first-letter-of-surname index) of Wills and Administration Acts are divided in to four calendar books: <br>

  • First Calendar 1400-1603
  • Second Calendar 1604-1725
  • Third Calendar 1726-1794
  • Fourth Calendar 1795-1858 

In addition to the general index above, most of the filmed volumes also contain a separate index to the wills and administrations


1420-1858 Alpha Indexes precede the Wills <br>Wills from 1420-1858


Original Wills (unindexed) 1400-1637

ACT BOOKS Indexes mostly at end of each Act Book for the preceding entries Act Books are often in Latin and in chronological order 1558-1858


The Archdeaconry Court of Essex probate records is well-covered with the following indexes: 

Online indexes

A general will index for Essex County is available &nbsp; online. This single index consolidates just about all Essex county wills of the various probate court jurisdictions into one database. 

Printed Indexes

The Essex County Record Office compiled and published a complete surname index covering wills and administrations from eight Essex County probate courts including this court.

  • Emmison, F. G., ed.; [Index to] Wills at Chelmsford. (FHL book 942 B4b vols. 78, 79; 84; also on microfilms 0962739 and 0962740; also on microfiche 6073796, 6073797, and 6073802

Original Handwritten Indexes

Calendars to the Probate Acts of Wills and Administrations (Admons) exist from 1400-1858. Calendars are a kind of index to the day to day probate court procedures in which wills and admons (administrations) are processed. 

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

Microfilmed Indexes at the Family History Library

Original (Unregistered) Wills and Registered Wills as well as extant indexes for this court are available on microfilm at the Family History Library and may be circulated to each of its satellite Family History Centers (see Court of the Archdeaconry of Essex), or go to this Family History Library Catalog page

Strategies, Tips, Other?

There are no indexes on microfilm for the years 1718-1858 for the Archdeaconry Court of Essex. See the above general countywide index online (see "online Indexes) or available through the Family History Library's&nbsp;(see "Printed Indexes) many family history centers worldwide for an index to this court.

To view a list of parishes and their&nbsp;respective probate court jurisdiction, see the "Essex Parishes Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" on the main page for Essex Probate Records.


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