Lincoln Consistory Court wills index
Wills are legal documents, produced and witnessed in order to determine the disposal of a person’s possessions after death. After the death the will was taken to the relevant court to be proved.
Probate jurisdictions in Lincolnshire
Wills were recorded in the Bishops Registers and records of the Dean and Chapter until the sixteenth century. From the sixteenth century until 1858 they appear among the records of the various ecclesiastical courts.
In Lincolnshire, wills were proved by a number of separate courts within the diocese, mostly at an Archdeaconry level. Most of Lincolnshire (the Archdeaconry of Lincoln) was under the jurisdiction of the bishop’s Lincoln Consistory Court (LCC), and the north west of the county was under the jurisdiction of the Archdeaconry of Stow. There were also certain parishes, called Peculiars which were exempt from the Diocesan authority, and administered by the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral or by the courts of individual Prebends. Each of these probate jurisdictions created separate series of records now held at Lincolnshire Archives. There are also a number of series of miscellaneous stray documents.
England and Wales were covered by two higher Archbishops’ Courts: the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC); and the Prerogative Court of York (PCY). These courts generally dealt with the probate matters of the landed gentry and persons with property in more than one diocese. Lincolnshire lay in the province of Canterbury and the records of the PCC are now held at the National Archives, Kew. However, a few Lincolnshire people appear among the records of the PCY, now held at the Borthwick Institute, York.
In 1858, probate functions were removed from the ecclesiastical courts. A centralised Principal Probate Registry was established in London, together with a series of District Probate Registries. Volumes of office copy wills dated between 1858 and 1941, produced by the Lincoln Probate Sub-Registry, can be viewed at Lincolnshire Archives.
Index of wills (1701-1800)
This index of wills proved in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Lincoln 1701-1800 are several pdfs; they are in alphabetical order from 1701 - 1750 and them alphabetical order from 1751 - 1800. Please bear in mind that the quality of the index and information you can retrieve depends on the quality of the original typescript and this is variable. It will serve as a guide pending the launching of improved catalogue searching on this website.
The index is searchable in sections using the Adobe search facility. View on the downloads at the bottom of this page, then click on the relevant index section to download and open a file. Type a name or place in the “Find” box on the header bar and the results will be shown highlighted on the page(s).
Please note that these indexes have been scanned from quite old typed lists. Therefore, the index may not locate names and place with total accuracy. Where the document reference cites numbers such as 1762189, the 1 after the date, 1762, should be taken as an oblique stroke. Hence, for example, the proper document reference is LCC WILLS 1762/89.
Indexes to probate records are available in the search room at Lincolnshire Archives. Staff will undertakes brief searches free of charge.
A microfiche index of wills and administrations administered by the probate registries in England and Wales 1858-1943 is available in the search room at Lincolnshire Archives.
An index of some of the Lincolnshire probate records is also available on CD for purchase by post from the Lincolnshire Family History Society or from Lincolnshire Archives if collected. The CD contains indexes of: Lincoln Consistory Court wills and administrations 1800-1858, Stow wills and administrations 1700-1834 and Lincoln District Probate Registry (Lincolnshire) wills 1858-1910.
Copies of the original wills ( but not the District Probate Registry copy wills after 1858), as digital images or printouts, can be ordered from Lincolnshire Archives.
Copies of post-1858 wills must be ordered from Probate Copies and Searches Dept., York House, 31 York Place, Leeds LS1 2BA.
For a guide to obtaining copies of probate records, visit the Justice website.