Herefordshire Probate RecordsEdit This Page
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For an explanation of probate records in England, click here.
Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Post-1857 Probate Records section below contains links to additional information about the records of this court.
To look for a probate record before 1858:
- Discover when and where your ancestor died. If you don’t know, use the approximate date and place where they lived.
- Go to Court Jurisdictions section below.
- Click a letter or span of letters for your place name. This opens a jurisdictions table.
- Follow the instructions on the jurisdictions table page.
Herefordshire Probate Courts
Most of Herefordshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory). The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts. However, the following courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
- Court of the Dean of Hereford Cathedral
- Court of the Archdeacon of Brecon
- Court of the Bishop of St. David's (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of Moreton Magna or Moreton on Lugg
- Court of the Peculiar of Upper Bullinghope or Upper Bullingham
- Court of the Peculiar of Little Hereford & Ashford Carbonell
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England, particularly in cases of wealthy individuals, people who owned property in more than one county or court's jurisdiction, people who lived or owned property outside of England, and military and Naval personnel.
Any probate that was disputed and could not be settled by the county courts could be sent to these higher appeals courts:
The Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury also served as an appeals court.
Before 1858, every town and parish in Herefordshire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary ecclesiastical court and one or more secondary ecclesiastical courts.
For a list of Herefordshire places and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click on a letter link:
If you do not know the parish in which your ancestor died or held property, search the Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory) first.
Indexes to Probate Records
In addition to the probate indexes listed below, indexes are also found with the records of the courts. Click on the court links above.
Probate Indexes Online
Before looking for a will, you should search an index. 
- Abstracts of Herefordshire Probate Records Herefordshire Wills Collections. This page provides details of compilations of Herefordshire Probate Records (Wills), either partial abstracts or indexes, online and in printed collections. The following are listed in reverse order of their creation, or my discovery.
- Probate Records for Ledbury are available at this website 
Estate Duty Records
Starting in 1796, a tax or death duty was payable on estates over a certain value. Estate duty abstracts may add considerable information not found elsewhere. Between 1813-1858 estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
Post-1857 Probate Records
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. The system consists of 11 district registry offices and 18 sub-district registries, located throughout England and Wales, and the principal registry office located in London. The records are available through the office of Her Majesty's Courts Service. To learn more, go to the HMCS website.
A country-wide surname index to the records is available, so it is much easier to look for post-1857 wills. The indexes for 1858-1957 and the records for 1858-1925 are available on microfilm at the Family History Library.
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