Much of the information provided applies to all
Wills & Administrations,
though is especially relevant to Matlock Wills.
Normally signed by the testator and witnessed.
- Nun-cupative Will
A spoken Will that was witnessed, but not signed by, the
Early Wills may include an inventory, or list, of all goods left by the deceased.
This can be an invaluable
source of information about the goods and chattels owned
by the deceased person. Items were often listed under which
room they were in, so an inventory can also indicate the
size of the property.
Sometimes only an inventory has survived.
Granted to the executors named in the Will.
- Letters of Administration
(Adm or Admons) When person had died intestate (with no Will).
- Letter of Administration (with Will)
Granted to someone other than an executor when the deceased
left a valid will (post 1858).
There were two main courts in which Derbyshire Wills were proved
before 1858, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Lichfield
Consistory Court. If your interest is not Derbyshire,
Wills for other UK counties will be held at the County Record
Office for that county or Record
Office of the relevant diocese. Some
Wills are also held at the Borthwick Institute, York.
1. Consistory Court Wills
Most proved Wills and Letters of Administration for Matlock and
Matlock Bath are held at:
Lichfield Record Office,
Telephone: +44 1543 256 787
Please note that to obtain a copy of a Will you may also have
to pay search fees unless you can provide full probate details;
it is not sufficient to provide the year only. This also applies
to marriage licence. If you want a copy of a marriage licence you
will need to provide the date of marriage and the search for the
licence will mean you have to pay a fee.
- Order - Copies - Wills
To view the PDF file, you may need to download the free Adobe
The Matlock names from
the period 1516-1652, where the abode is known, are listed
on this web site.
Wishful Thinking has provided a
helpful transcript of "Calendars of Lichfield Wills
and Administrations, 1516-1652",
(1892) ed. W.P.W. Phillimore, Index Library, British Record
Society, London. But you should be aware that few entries
Recent searches for the website "UK Books Online and Links",
which is where scanned copies of the Calendars of Lichfield Wills
and Administrations were originally stored, have failed. However
the scans are still available on Eric Youle's site, http://history.youle.info/
They are listed under the 'Sheffield Historical' menu item.
When I last looked this was in the LH frame.
2. P.C.C. (Prerogative Court of Canterbury)
names of those whose Wills were proved in the Prerogative Court
of Canterbury are listed
on this web site.
i. During the Commonwealth period (1653 -
1660) all Wills were proved centrally, so were PCC, and are
held by The National Archives (formerly called the Public Record
The National Archives (TNA)
Wills from other periods may also have been PCC Wills.
This was the case if people held property in more than
one diocese or county. It also may have been because
people wanted to show how important they were.
It is now possible to download images of many PCC wills 1670-1858
as well as some Death Duty Register entries of Wills
proved elsewhere, but not adms at present.
- at the National Archives
This replaced DocumentsOnline (formerly PRO-Online) 'allows you
online access to The National Archive's collection of digitised
public records, including both academic and genealogical sources'.
ii. Copies for some of pre 1858 Wills may also be held by the
Derbyshire Record Office
Libraries & Record Offices, elsewhere on this site, for
Records for Derbyshire, Abstracts of, on Rosemary
Lockie's GUKUTILS site, ares easily searchable by surname
1858 and after
Not every Matlock will post 1858 was proved within Derbyshire
so what you are seeking may not be found on this web site.
The only place where there is a complete set of Will calendars
(indexes) from 1858 onwards that is available for public inspection
is at the London Probate Department in the Strand, London. Post
1858 Wills are occasionally still referred to as 'Somerset House'
Wills as the calendars were held at Somerset House in London for
many years.They were transferred to First Avenue House a number
of years ago and have now been re-located. First Avenue House now
deals with probate (Principal Registry of the Family Division,
7th Floor, 42-49 High Holborn, First Avenue House, Holborn, London,
1. Visiting London
The Probate Calendars have been moved from High Holborn. You can
now search the Calendars and obtain copies of Wills from The London
Probate Registry, either by collecting your order 48 hours after
your initial visit or by requesting the requested copy to be send
to your address.
The London Probate Registry,
Royal Courts of Justice,
Their website - London
Probate Department You will need to look at the bottom
of the page and the map provided only points to First Avenue
House in High Holborn.
(The opening hours are 9am to 4pm although please
note that the search facility will be unavailable between
the hours of 1-2pm).
If you cannot visit The London Probate Registry in person try
a very large library. An increasing number of places, both at home
and overseas, hold microfilm or fiche copies of the calendars,
though these will not provide Will information to the
2. Now online *New*
Wills, probate and inheritance. Wills and Probate, including
those of serving Soldiers (1850-1986), can be purchased through
their site at £10
each (December 2014). An easy
to us search facility is provided.
3. By Post
Court and Tribunal Service Website has more information
on obtaining Probate Records, though it is not easy to find
the information using this link!
The page on that site with more details, should
you need them, is now Guide
to obtaining copies of probate records
You can purchase copies of Wills or Letters of Administration
by post from:
The Postal Searches and Copies Department,
Leeds District Probate Registry,
(This used to be The Postal Searches and Copies Department,
York Probate Sub-Registry,
YO1 9RG and before that was Probate Registry, Duncombe
Place, York, YO1 7EA)
is currently £10 per item required and this
includes a search of up to four years (the price has recently
increased). You must supply at least the correct full name; the
address and date of death should also be supplied if at all possible.
the Probate Service form and fill it in -
remember to tick that you want both the Will and the Grant. Sorry
this link, and the one on the Probate Service Page, does not
seem to be working.
To view the PDF file, you may need to download the free
Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Payment should be made by cheque or postal order, payable
to "HMCS"- or HM Courts Service.
If you are applying from outside the UK, payment should be
made by international money order expressed in pounds sterling.
4. Derbyshire Record Office
If you are live in or near Derbyshire, try the Derbyshire
Record Office as their catalogue has details of wills that
were proved locally, i.e. at Derby. (The DRO became a new joint
service with County Hall LSL on 12 Feb 2013)
They now offer a copying service, with a variety of prices depending
on the number of sheets contained in the Will.
Go to Search
Wills By Surname
Please note that the Will of someone who lived in Matlock
or Matlock Bath could have been proved anywhere in the country,
especially if their executors did not live in Derbyshire, so probate
details may not be held at the DRO as probate may not have been
granted at Derby. In addition, the person may be 'of Matlock' on
the Will, but their death may be registered elsewhere if they died
on holiday, visiting relatives or in hospital for example.