Court of the Bishop of London (Episcopal Consistory)
- 1 Step By Step
- 2 The Records
- 3 Historical Background
- 4 Strategies, Tips, Other?
Step By Step
1. First search indexes (see below). Indexes help you more quickly find the will or admon, so write down each detail cited in an indexed entry.
2. Proceed to the "Records Held in This Archive" (below) to determine what original probate records exist for this court.
3. Contact or visit The Guildhall Library, 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 (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 center worldwide.
Probate Indexes of This Court
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:
The Metropolitan Archives and Library is currently compiling and posting online a will surname index covering wills and administrations from 1363 to 1857. Currently, it is only a (partial) index for this probate court covering much of Middlesex County and is available online.
Printed and Published Indexes
- 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 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 and may be circulated to each of its satellite Family History Centers.
The London Metropolitan Archives & Library
40 Northampton Road
London EC1R 0HB
Tel: (020) 7332 3820
Fax (020) 7833 9136
Website is available:
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.
Records Held in This Archive
- Calendar and Index of Wills 1362-1814
- Wills and administrations 1514-1640
- Registered copies of wills 1520-1857
- 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.
Probate Records of This Court in The Family History Library
Search the following probate records in the order listed below:
- Registered Wills 1514-1685
- Original wills, 1507-1546 1552-1751
- Registered Wills & Admons 1752-1857
- Calendars and index of wills v. 1-2 1362-1858
- Index to registers 1514-1641
- Registered Copy of Wills vols. 1-4 1514-1559
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.). 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.
Strategies, Tips, Other?
See the above general countywide index online (see "online Indexes) or those available through the Family History Library's (see "Printed Indexes) many family history centers worldwide for an index to this court.
To view a list of parishes and their respective probate court jurisdiction, see the "Middlesex Parishes and Their Probate Jurisdictions" on the main page for Middlesex Probate Records.