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Wills and Probate - 1480 to 1857

John A'bear's will, 1616

Wills, or grants of administration for those who died without a will, can tell you a lot about someone and their relatives. The Berkshire Record Office (BRO) holds probate records from 1480 to 1857.

Until January 1858 the Church dealt with wills and probate, as soul and property were joined together. BRO has the records of two church courts that granted probate up to 1858: the Archdeacon of Berkshire, and the Peculiar of Faringdon. The Archdeacon oversaw wills of people with property in Berkshire, unless they owned land elsewhere or lived in one of the 'peculiars', places where court jurisdiction had been granted to another Church official.

A complete index to the Archdeacon's collection, 1480-1857, is available at the BRO, and for sale from the Berkshire Family History Society. The index to probates granted by the Faringdon Peculiar Court is available via the link below.

In January 1858 the Principal Probate Registry was established. Post 1858 wills are not held here. For post 1858 wills and grants of probate, contact the Probate Service by clicking on the link below.



Peculiar of Faringdon: probate index 1547-1853 (85KB)


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39,000 names on one CD.

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The Probate ServiceFor wills and estate administrations from 1858 to the present day


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