Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
For a general explanation about 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.
Indexes to Yorkshire wills are beginning to come online. Yorkshire will indexes online are only available at britishorigins for the following years:
- Medieval Probate Index - 1267- 1500
- Peculiar Courts Probate Index - 1383-1883
- Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York - 1842-1858
Indexes are important because they show the names of individuals and give references to easily find a will. Search the following indexes for your ancestor.
Printed and Published Indexes
- Calendar of probate records taken from the act books of the Prerogative Court of York : 1 December 1688-30 April 1731, and the Deanery of Holderness, 1 December 1688-31 December 1705
- Calendar of Yorkshire probate records taken from the deanery act books of the exchequer court of York, 1688-1731
- Index of wills in the York Registry
Yorkshire probate index : part one, 1800 to 1803 was compiled by Janet Ogden, Stephen D. Whitwam and Brian Jones.
The original records for this court are in the Borthwick Institute for Historical Research
University of York
Heslington York YO10 5DD
Telephone: (0)1904 321166 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 9:15am - 4:45pm
The Family History Library has the following records on film.
Register of tuitions and curations, 1592-1639. Click to read an explanation of tuitions and curations.
- ORIGINAL WILLS, ADMINISTRATIONS (ADMONS), INVENTORIES, TUITIONS 1427-1858
- REGISTER OF COPY WILLS 1389-1558
- ACT BOOKS 1502-1858
- REGISTER OF TUITIONS AND CURATIONS 1592-1639
- REGISTER OF WILLS DECREED OUT OF COURT 1778-1833
- CAVEAT BOOKS 1521-1859
- CITATION BOOKS 1611-1695
- COMMISSION BOOKS (GRANTS OF PROBATE & ADMINISTRATION FOR CLERGY, EXECUTORS, ADMINISTRATORS, CONFERRING OF CURATION AND TUITION OF MINORS, WITNESSES) 1611-1683
- CHANCERY AND AUDIENCE RECORDS 1525-1640
This court's jurisdiction applies to persons with bona notabilia (property worth 5 pounds or more) in more than one diocese within the northern Province of York, which includes all of the dioceses of York, Carlisle, Chester, Sodor and Man (Isle of Man), Durham and Lancaster. If probate records are not found in this court, be certain to search the Court of the Dean and Chapter of York.
The Court of the Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York held jurisdiction over the whole of the Province of York, which consisted of the counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Westmoreland, Yorkshire.
Unless a person held properties in more than one diocese (within the Province of York), always first search, the local diocesan court probate records of the county in which they lived and/or died. When a search of this courts’ probate records, or a search in those of the local diocesan courts fails to provide the desired probate record, be sure to search the Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of York as well.