Wills are a valuable asset to the family historian. Through this index discover if your ancestor’s will was proved in the Peculiars court in Surrey, England and where it can be found today. The index will also reveal more about your ancestor such as his/her occupation and where he/she owned a property or estate. The original records can be accessed from the Lambeth Palace Library.
Each record includes a transcript from the original index. The detail in each transcript may vary but most will include the following:
Name of testator
Place – can either refer to a residence or an estate in the will.
Court – the court in which the will was proved
Document references – explains the type of document available and gives their archival reference information.
Where are the originals held?
All surviving probate material for this court is now held at Lambeth Palace Library.
To obtain a full copy of a Will, Administration or inventory, download an order form from their website. Complete the form (including all references etc) and return to Lambeth Palace Library who will advise you of the full cost and payment methods.
What information from the document do I need to locate the original?
Year of will
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 archidiaconal and episcopal jurisdictions known as "peculiars".
The Surrey Peculiars Probate index is an index to Wills, administrations and inventories in the Peculiar Court of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Deanery of Croydon (Surrey) 1660-1751, which included the Surrey parishes of Barnes, Burstow, Charlwood, Cheam, Croydon, East Horsley, Merstham, Mortlake, Church Newington, Putney, Roehampton, Walworth St Peter and Wimbledon.
For further information about the Church of England courts, their hierarchy and the role of each court read the Church of England Courts. We have also provided a closer look at the hierarchy of the Surrey Peculiars court. Both are available through the Useful Links and Resources section.
Document references will include the reference and folio number for the original document. The folio number identifies the group of pages, anywhere from 2 to 16, within which the will's first page appears.
Document reference also explains the type of document available.
Administration - If a person died without leaving a will (intestate), someone (usually a relative) could apply to the probate court for a grant of administration, which would allow them to deal with the estate.
Certificate of Bona Notabilia - 'Noteworthy goods'. Refers to the requirement of the Prerogative courts that only estates valued at £5 or more in more than one diocese should come within their jurisdiction.
Inventory - A list of the testator's property.
Renunciation - A document from one or more of the executors, or prospective administrators, renouncing their executorship or right to administer.
Will - A written statement by which a person sets out how he/she wishes their property to be distributed after their death.
(Genuine) Will - For probate to be granted, the will must be tested (proved) as genuine before the church courts.
(Spurious) Will - False, fake or illegitimate will.