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.