Huntingdonshire Probate Records
The following article is about probate records in the county of Huntingdonshire. 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 term probate refers to a collection of documents, including wills, administrations (also called admons), inventories, and act books. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.
Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry. The Probates After 1857 section below has a link to an article about probates after 1857.
Follow these steps 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 the Court Jurisdictions section below.
- Click a letter or span of letters for your place. This opens an article showing a table of places and the courts that had jurisdiction over them.
- Follow the steps at the top of the table to search for a will.
Court Jurisdictions by Parish
Before 1858 all of Huntingdonshire, with just a few exceptions, was under the primary probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The exceptions were a few places and parishes considered peculiars and their courts will be found in the jurisdiction lists through the links below. Click on a letter link for the name of a parish.
Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Most of Huntingdonshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of the Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. The majority of probate searches will be in the records of this court and its superior courts. However, the following smaller courts also had some pre-1858 jurisdiction within the county. Click on a court name to learn about records and indexes.
- Court of the Archdeacon of Huntingdon (Hitchin Division)
- Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Bishop of Ely (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of Brampton
- Court of the Peculiar of Buckden
- Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Leighton Bromswold
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Stow Longa
In addition, the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the whole of England and specifically in the following cases.
- Wealthy individuals
- Interregnum, 1649-1660, because the Prerogative Court was the only court.
- Property in more than one diocese in the Province of Canterbury.
- Property in both the Province of Canterbury and Province of York.
- People who died outside England, including British citizens and others who held property in England.
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.
Note: List here any that are combined indexes for several of the courts. If an index covers only one of the courts, the index should be listed on that court's page.
- Probate records of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1585-1858 Many index listing in the following film notes on the Family History Library catalog 
- Probate records for the Commissary Court of Lincoln for the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, 1559-1857, 1559-1857 This Court only had jurisdiction in Huntingdon prior to 1837 
- Calendars of Huntingdonshire wills, 1479-1652 
- Abstracts of Huntingdonshire wills, 1601-1652, in Lincoln consistory court at Lincoln, England 
- Transactions of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archaeological Society - v. 5-6 (1936-1940) v. 6 Part 3 pages 79-96 have an index of Wills Proved in the Peculiar Courts of Brampton, Buckden, Leighton Bromswold, Stow Longa, all in the County of Huntingdon, together with the Bonds and Inventories. According to this 1940 publication They were preserved in the Probate registry at Peterborough. 
- The Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of Ely and Court of the Archdeacon of Ely had jurisdiction only from 1837-1858 in Huntingdon Index of the probate records of the Consistory Court of Ely, 1449-1858, Index of the probate records of the Court of the Archdeacon of Ely, 1513-1857 
- Court of the Bishop of Peterborough (Episcopal Consistory) only included the parish of Washingley in Huntingdon Calendars of wills, administrations & etc., for the Archdeaconry Court of Northamptonshire and the Consistory Court of Peterborough 
Some Explanatory Notes on the Huntingdonshire Probate Courts
Before the Reformation the diocese of Lincoln included the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon. After the Reformation, the archdeaconry remained until the period 1837-1845. 
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. Estate duty indexes may help locate a will. For more information, go to Estate Duty Records.
Probates After 1857
Beginning in 1858, the government took over the settlement of estates and all wills are now probated through the Principal Probate Registry system. For more information, go to Principal Probate Registry.
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: by author, 1974; page 66.