Shropshire 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 Shropshire. 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 Shropshire, follow these steps:
Step 1. Search Indexes
Here are some online indexes to probate records that include individuals who lived in Shropshire. Search these indexes first:
- a brand new index for 1650-1730 for Shropshire 12000 plus probate documents indexed at this link Will and administrations This Court is the Consistory Court of Lichfield and covers the northern half of County Shropshire,
Registered wills and original wills, administrations and inventories, 1494-1860, and, act books, 1532-1638 for Diocese of Lichfield Episcopal Consistory Court  These are calendars
Original wills, administrations and inventories for the Diocese of Hereford, 1517-1858 
This covers the some of the western and almost all the southern part of the county of Shropshire.
Mynegai i ewyllysiau Llanelwy St. Asaph probate index, 1660-1858 
Abstracts and indexes of original wills, Consistory Court, St. Asaph's Diocese, Wales, 1557-1833 
St Asaph's Diocese covers the Shropshire parishes of Halton, Kinnerley, Knockin, Llanyblodwel, Llanmynech, Melverley, Morton, Oswestry, St. Martins, Selattyn, Trefonen, Whittington.
Shropshire probates in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, calendar/index 1700-1749 
A general will index for the Diocese of Lichfield exists online, a scanned edition of P.W. Phillimore's publicationby the British Record Society in 1892,Calendars of wills administrations in the Consistory court of the bishop of Lichfield. This single index consolidates most Staffordshire wills of the various probate court jurisdictions from 1514-1652 for the Diocese of Lichfield and to 1790 for Staffordshire smaller peculiar courts. 
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 Shropshire fell under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and several secondary courts. For a list of Shropshire parishes and the pre-1858 ecclesiastical courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, click on a letter link for the name of a parish:
Step 4. Obtain a copy of the probate record
Once you have found an index reference to a probate, obtain a copy of the record. Do so by one of these methods:
- Visit or contact the record office that has the original records in its collection.
- Visit the Family History Library or a family history center and obtain a copy of the record on microfilm. For more information, click on a court name below.
Shropshire Probate Courts
Most of Shropshire (also known as Salop) was under the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction of either the Court of the Bishop of Hereford (Episcopal Consistory) or the Court of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (Episcopal Consistory). The majority of probate searches will be in the records of these two courts and their 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 St Asaph (Episcopal Consistory)
- Court of the Peculiar of the Chancellor of the Choir of the Cathedral in Little Hereford and Ashford Carbonell
- Court of the Peculiar of the Manor of Ruyton-of-the-Eleven-Towns
- Court of the Peculiar of the Manor of Pattingham
- Court of the Peculiar of Wombridge Abbey
- Court of the Prebend of Prees or Pipe Minor
- Court of the Peculiar of the Manor of Ellesmere
- Court of the Royal Peculiar of Bridgnorth
- Court of the Royal Peculiar of St Mary Shrewsbury
- Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury