Rutland Probate Records
Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. Probate records include wills and administrations. This article is about probate records in Rutland. For a general description of England probate records, click here.
1858 to the Present
Beginning in 1858, the Principal Probate Registry had the authority for probating estates. Click on the link to learn more.
Before 1858, Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process. To search for a pre-1858 probate record in Rutland, follow these steps:
Step 1. Search Indexes
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Rutland. Search these indexes first:
- http://www.familyhistoryonline.net/database/SussexFHGprobate.shtml -- compiled by the Sussex Family History Group which has transcribed the names of 12,300 individuals found in Sussex wills, including testators, executors, beneficiaries or witnesses. The information recorded includes name, date and place.
- The Sussex Record Society has published four volumes of indexes to Sussex wills, and these can be viewed on their website. They are arranged by parish then by surname.
- Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills (1384-1858).
Did you find a reference to a probate record?
- If yes, go to Step 4 below.
- If no, go to Step 2 below.
Step 2. Identify when and where your ancestor died
Determine when your ancestor died. If you aren't sure, use an approximate date.
Determine where your ancestor died. It is easier to find a probate record if you know whether the place where your ancestor lived or died is a parish. To learn whether it is a parish, look it up in a gazetteer. Here is a link to the 1872 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales online:
The gazetteer will either tell you:
- A place is a parish, or
- What parish it is a part of, or
- What place it is near.
If the latter, look that place up in the gazetteer and see if it is a parish.
Once you have identified the parish, go to Step 3.
Step 3. Identify court jurisdictions by parish
Once you have identified the parish where your ancestor lived or died, learn which courts had jurisdiction over it then search indexes for those courts. Every town and parish in Rutland fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. Click on a link below for the letter the parish begins with.
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
- 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.
Probate Indexes Online
Findmypast.co.uk has the index to pre-1858 probate records.
The following link may be of help towills and adminitrations. Probate Index 1469-1857 The Northamptonshire and Rutland Probate Index has been created from several of the earlier indexes of probate records held in the Northampton Record Office. The index contains 87,058 entries that cover the period 1469 to 1857.
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.
- Camp, Anthony J. Wills and Their Whereabouts. London: by the author, page 113.