Courts of the Bishop (Episcopal Consistory) and Archdeaconry of Oxford

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England Gotoarrow.png Oxfordshire Probate Records, Berkshire Probate Records


"The Archdeaconry is almost con-terminous with the county [of Oxford], and the diocese covered the same area from its foundation in 1542 until 1836. Berkshire Archdeaconry was transferred to Oxford from Salisbury diocese in 1836, and Buckingham Archdeaconry was transferred to Oxford from Lincoln in 1845. There are, however, very few Berskhire and Buckinghamshire wills of the period 1836-1857 in the Consistory collection.

"The Consistory and Archdeaconry Courts had concurrent jurisdiction throught the area except in the Peculiars... It is not possible to separate the records of the two Courts completely owing to their complicated history; they frequently exployed the same officials. Consistory and Archdeaconry wills are registered in the same volumes to 1644 and grants of administrations to 1732, although the loose records of the courts are filed separately throughout."[1]

  1. Camp, Anthony J. "Wills and Their Whereabouts," page 105. London: the author, 1974. FHL book 942 S2wa.


The original records are deposited at the Oxfordshire Record Office. They include:

  • Original wills, 1574-1858 (Consistory) and 1578-1857 (Archdeaconry)
  • Register copy wills for both courts, 1528-1644 (with gaps)
  • Register copy wills for the Consistory, 1672-1858 (with gaps)
  • Register copy wills for the Archdeaconry, 1649-1857 (with gaps)
  • Administration bonds, 1542-1857 (Consistory, with gaps early to 1615) and 1554-1857 (Archdeaconry, with gaps early to 1660)
  • Administration act books, 1603-1732 (for both courts) and 1732-1857 (with separate books for each court)
  • Inventories, 1550-1590 (printed by the Oxfordshire Record Society - OCLC #919569). Others are filed with the original wills and administrations
  • Caveat books, 1643-1677

Some records have been microfilmed and available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and through family history centers. They include: