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Volunteer projects - Diocese of London Consistory Court Wills

Part of a will from the Diocese of London Consistory Court [reference: DL-C-0424-107

Part of a will from the Diocese of London Consistory Court which was indexed in this project
[Reference: DL/C/0424/107]

Introduction

Wills contain a huge amount of information on personal relationships, occupations, material belongings and even religious conviction, and as such are an invaluable resource for family, local, social and economic historians alike. The Diocese of London Consistory Court was responsible for proving wills of those testators with lands in more than one Archdeaconry within the Diocese, and is the middle tier of the hierarchy of courts dealing with probate matters. Users should be aware that wills of those people with more wealth were generally proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (held at The National Archives), and those with less wealth in local Archdeaconry courts (some held at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), and others in appropriate local authority record offices).

Volunteers at LMA created this index over the period 2001-2007. The index contains 31,000 entries of wills and letters of administration (granting authority to an executor when a person died intestate) compiled from the London Diocesan Court registers (DL/C/354-416). Near complete coverage is provided for the years 1514-1858 (please note there are no registers for the years 1521-1539 and 1642-1670). Please note that at this time the Diocese of London included a wide geographical area: not only the square mile of the City, but parts of the ancient counties of Essex and Middlesex, and some parishes in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

How to use the index

Index fields for this resource are as follows:

  • Name
  • Occupation/Status
  • Address
  • Place of origin – this may include details of Parish, County and Country
  • Month and Year Proved
  • Microfilm number
  • Page/Folio/monthly entry reference

This index is ordered by surname, and available to download in a series of PDF files using the links below.

Due to their fragile state, these registers are not available for consultation and users should consult the microfilm copy as directed.

The corresponding original wills can be found in series DL/C/418-544. Please note that fewer original wills have survived than their registered copies, and the information contained in them is identical to those in this index.

Please note that the following conventions for indexing have been used:

  • The date given is that of the probate – when the will was proved in court – and not the date of death of the testator (this can sometimes be many months or even years before)
  • The use of square brackets [ ] indicates an insertion by the indexer where the information included is very likely to be correct, but is not explicitly stated in the will.
  • All information is listed as given in the will, including original spellings. Please note these may not always correspond to modern equivalents which have been inserted in square brackets where appropriate.
  • Where possible, parish names have been standardised, using square brackets where appropriate, according to The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers 2nd Edition, ed. Humphrey Smith, Phillimore 1995.

We would like to extend our thanks to all the volunteers who created this index at LMA.

Downloadable PDF indexes

While every effort has been made to ensure this index is as accurate as possible, please do contact us with any suggested corrections. Email ask.lma@cityoflondon.gov.uk marking your email ‘DL/C Wills Index amendment’.

Further information

For more information see Wills and other probate records: a practical guide to researching your ancestors' last documents, Karen Grannum and Nigel Taylor, The National Archives 2004.

If you'd like more information about what our volunteers do, and how to get involved, please see our volunteers page.

Published:
20 March 2013
Last Modified:
09 July 2019

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