Rutland Probate Records
The following article is about probate records in the county of Rutland, or Rutlandshire. For general information 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 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, every town and parish in Rutland fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court or a secondary court. For an authoritative treatise on each Rutland probate court and the parishes comprising them in pre-1858, see Anthony J. Camp's Wills and Their Whereabouts, available in select locations and in the Family History Library (FHL book 942 S2wa).
For a list of Rutland parishes and the pre-1858 courts that had jurisdictions over them, click on a link for the span of letters for the parish.
Rutland Probate Courts
Most of Rutlandshire was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of either the r 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 Bishop of Peterborough (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Caldecote
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Empingham
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Ketton with Tixover
- Court of the Peculiar of the Prebend of Liddington
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
- People who owned property in more than one county
- Military and naval personnel
- People who lived or owned property outside 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.
Probate Indexes Online
Before looking for a will, you should search an index.
- The Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index was created by Kay Collins, a volunteer at the Northampton Record Office. She was partially assisted by others and from several earlier indices of probate records held in the Northampton Record Office.
- Rutland, England: Parish and Probate Records is a collection of historical parish and probate registers from the county of Rutland.
- Church of England. Archdeaconry of Northampton. Court Probate records, 1467-1877 
- Calendars of wills, administrations & etc., for the Archdeaconry Court of Northamptonshire and the Consistory Court of Peterborough 1510-1858 
- Card indexes to wills from the consistory court of Peterborough in various arrangements There are indexes by parish and by pre-1858 and post-1858 wills 
- Church of England. Diocese of Peterborough. Consistory Court Probate records, 1541-1858 
- Card index to all Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills, relating to Northamptonshire and Rutland testators, 1383-1700 
- A Calendar of wills relating to the counties of Northampton and Rutland and proved in the court of the Archdeacon of Northampton, 1510 to 1652
Some Explanatory Notes on the Rutland Probate Courts
The county of Rutland formed part of the Archdeaconry of Northampton in the Diocese of Lincoln before 1541 when it passed with the Archdeaconry to the Diocese of Peterborough. No probate records are deposited withing the county.
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 the author, page 113.