Pre-1858 Probate Jurisdictions: Where To Look For Wills

Negotiate the labyrinth of over 300 pre 1858 probate courts with our probate jurisdiction maps.

Prior to 1858, probate was handled by the ecclesiastical or church courts with jurisdiction in archdeaconries, dioceses of bishops (consistory courts) and provinces of the archbishops of Canterbury and York. There were also areas exempt from archdiaconal and episcopal jurisdictions known as “peculiars”.

Ecclesiastical court jurisdiction was by archdeaconries and dioceses which often – but not always – coincided with county boundaries. There are however, numerous exceptions and this series of probate jurisdiction maps will help simplify the process of finding your way around the 300 or so pre-1858 probate courts functioning at one time or another.

Each map, based on the pre-1974 counties, is accompanied by a detailed legend giving a breakdown of the jurisdictions for each county. As each map is unique it is important to look at a map in conjunction with its own legend.

England

Bedfordshire

Berkshire

Buckinghamshire

Cambridge

Cheshire

Cornwall

Cumberland and Westmorland 

Devon

Dorset

Durham & Northumberland

Essex

Gloucestershire & Bristol

Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hertfordshire 

Huntingtonshire

Kent

Lancashire

Leicestershire

Lincolnshire 

 London & Middlesex

Norfolk

Northamptonshire & Rutland

Nottinghamshire

Oxfordshire

Shropshire

Somerset

Staffordshire & Devonshire

Suffolk

Surrey

Sussex

Warwickshire

Wiltshire

Worcestershire 

Yorkshire, Province of York

Yorkshire, East Riding

Yorkshire, North Riding

Yorkshire West Riding

Ireland

Northern Ireland

Ireland – South

Scotland

Scotland

Wales

North Wales

South Wales