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Lancashire (LAN)


  1. The majority of parishes belonged to (A) the Consistory of Chester. See the opening paragraph under Cheshire for the situation before 1541 and a definition of Supra and Infra probates.
  2. The exceptions were in the northern part of Lancashire and are listed below. Most of these parishes came under (B) the western deaneries of the Archdeaconry of Richmond. The western deaneries with jurisdiction in Lancashire were Amounderness, Furness, Kendal and Lonsdale. There was also one parish in (C) the Dean and Chapter of York until 1836, and one manorial court with surviving probate records in (D) the Manor of Halton. (Three other manors: Nether Kellet, Skerton and Slyne with Hest also had probate jurisdiction, but no known records survive today for these courts.)
Place Court
Aldingham Deanery of Furness (B)
Bispham Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Bolton-le-Sands Deanery of Kendal (B)
Broughton see Kirkby Ireleth
Cartmell Deanery of Furness (B)
Chipping Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Claughton Deanery of Lonsdale (B)
Cockerham Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Colton Deanery of Furness (B)
Dalton Deanery of Furness (B)
Dunnerdale see Kirkby Ireleth
Garstang Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Halton Manor of Halton (D)
Hawkshead Deanery of Furness (B)
Heysham Deanery of Kendal (B)
Kirkby Ireleth Pre-1836, Dean and Chapter of York (C) and post-1836, Deanery of Furness (B)
Kirkham Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Lancaster Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Lytham Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Melling Deanery of Lonsdale (B)
Nether Kellet see Bolton-le-Sands
Pennington Deanery of Furness (B)
Poulton-le-Fylde Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Preston Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Ribchester Deanery of Amounderness (B)
St Michael-on-Wyre Deanery of Amounderness (B)
Seathwaite see Kirkby Ireleth
Skerton see Lancaster
Slyne with Hest see Bolton-le-Sands
Tatham Deanery of Lonsdale (B)
Tunstall Deanery of Lonsdale (B)
Ulverston Deanery of Furness (B)
Urswick Deanery of Furness (B)
Warton Deanery of Kendal (B)
Whittington Deanery of Lonsdale (B)
Woodland with Heathwaite see Kirkby Ireleth

Decision Table

For those who lived in (A) the Consistory of Chester, search:

  1. Consistory Court of Chester as outlined below
  2. Prerogative Court of York (York: PCY)
  3. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (London: PCC)
  4. Court of Delegates, 1636- (London: Delegates)

For those who lived in (B) the western deaneries of the Archdeaconry of Richmond, search:

  1. The respective deanery. (The master printed index for all entries of persons from Lancashire in the western deaneries is listed below. Further information concerning the deaneries of Kendal and Lonsdale are filed under Westmoreland and York.)
  2. Do 2-4 as listed under (A) above.

For those who lived in (C) the Dean and Chapter of York, search:

  1. Court of the Dean and Chapter of York (York)
  2. Do 2-4 as listed under (A) above.

For those who lived in (D) the Manor of Halton, search:

  1. Manor Court of Halton
  2. The Deanery of Kendal and the rest of the steps listed under (B) above.

For those who lived anywhere in the county between 1653-1660, search:

  1. Prerogative Court of Canterbury (see London: PCC)

For those who lived anywhere in the county between 1812-1857, regardless of what is found in the probate records of any of the above courts, consider searching also the estate duty registers (see London: Estate Duty).

Online Search

Start your search with the website at Lancashire Will Search. If this fails, then continue as outlined below.

Printed Indexes/Microfilmed Calendars for the Consistory of Chester

  1. 1545-1837, (FHL 942.7 B4Lc) various volumes
    The printed index was published by the Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society. For a breakdown of the years and type of will (Supra or Infra) covered by each volume go here. All volumes are at the FHL. The entries for Lancashire are listed separately from those for Cheshire starting in 1821. The appendix to volume 105 adds Lancashire wills from both the Consistory of Chester and the Archdeaconry of Richmond not included in any volumes printed before 1953.
    BYU has most of the volumes under CS 435 .L3 R33x, with the exception of volumes 22, 33, 43, 52, 107, 113, 118, and 120. Volumes 22 is on film 823506.
  2. 1457-1858, Online
    An index based mainly on the act books is now available for a free search at FindMyPast. It is listed under Lancashire Wills at Chester and Probate 1457-1858.
  3. 1838-1858, Manuscript Calendars (FHL and BYU 90073, 90974 and 90123)
    The supra wills and administrations are on the first two films listed above, and the Infra documents are on the last film.

Microfilmed Records for Lancashire in the Consistory of Chester

With the exception of the original Supra wills, 1838-1858, all of the surviving probate documents for this court have been filmed, in some cases twice. The second filming of act books has more complete indexes, while the infra original wills, 1750-1802, may contain documents not found in the first filming. Enter 2107179 into the Film/Fiche box on the main menu of the online FHL catalog for the second filming (1998) at FamilySearch. For details of the first filming, including some entries for Cheshire not found in that county’s online index, see David H. Pratt’s Researching British Probates, 1354-1858(FHL Reference 942 P23p and BYU Religion/Family History Reference CS 434 .X1 P72 1992). The diocesan disputed wills and other documents involving testamentary suits have also been microfilmed on 22 rolls of film, 166084-166105. They were indexed by the Lancashire & Cheshire Record Society in their volumes 33, 43 and 52. These three volumes are in the system as described above under number 1, and volume 43 is on film 823510 at BYU.

Printed Indexes for Lancashire in the Western Deaneries, Archdeaconry of Richmond

1457-1858, (FHL 942.7 B4Lc) & (BYU CS 435 .L3 R33x) volumes 10, 13, 23, 66, 99 and 105
See the web sites listed above under number 1 for the printed indexes of the Consistory of Chester for details of these volumes. Note the comment about the appendix in volume 105. The printed indexes refer to the respective deaneries by their initial letter as follows: A for Amounderness, F for Furness, K for Kendal and L for Lonsdale. A more recent index covering 1748-1858 was published in 2001. It has the advantage of including residents of other counties in addition to Lancashire from all of the surviving documents. See FHL 942.72 P22a, volumes 1-20 bound into 5 volumes.

Microfilmed Records for the Western Deaneries

All of the surviving probate documents for the western deaneries involving Lancshire have been microfilmed. The original wills for Amounderness, Kendal and Lonsdale, 1749-1858, were filmed twice. The second filming begins with film number 2106597 and is probably more complete than the first. The first filming for the western deaneries begins with 98557.

NOTE: Where an initial film number is given, use either version of the FHL catalog to see all of the films in that collection. The previous version at FamilySearch may be a little easier to use for that purpose.

Printed Indexes for the Manorial Court of Halton

1615-1815, (FHL 942.7 B4Lc) & (BYU 435 .L3 R33x) volumes 23, 66, and 99

See the above note under Richmond. The bulk of the index, 1615-1790, is in volume 23 on pages 139-144. Only 9 documents were probated after 1790. To avoid the need to examine the last two volumes for them, the names of the 9 testators are listed below by the year of probate:

  • Francis Fell, 1794
  • Rev. Robert Fletcher, 1795
  • Richard Hartley, 1798
  • Robert Leaper, 1798
  • Thomas Cowperthwaite, 1799
  • Christopher Walling, 1800
  • Edward Baines, 1805
  • Thomas Armistead, 1806
  • William Bradshaw, Lord of the Manor, 1815

Microfilmed Probate Records for the Manor of Halton

The original wills, 1615-1815, for testators whose surnames start with A-G are on FHL film 93650. Those for H-W are on FHL and BYU film 93651. The act book is on FHL and BYU film 93652. The registered copy wills, 1743-1806, as well as other manorial court records for 1743-1747 are on FHL and BYU film 93761.

Miscellaneous Section

  1. 1650-1660, PCC Wills (FHL 942.7 B4Lc) & (BYU 435 .L3 R33x) volume 4
    Appendix I in volume 4 indexes Lancashire and Cheshire wills for this time period in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
  2. 1800-1842, PCC Wills (FHL 1538166, item 16)
    Wills for testators with surnames starting with A-G from the Consistory of Chester for this time period in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are indexed on this film. This index was produced by the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society.
  3. The following entries of interest for immigration studies with their year of probate were noted in the Lancashire series from the Consistory of Chester:
    • Allard Vanwicke, merchant of Dublin (supra will) 1642
    • Peter Le Cocq of Guernsey, Liverpool & Boston, Mass. (supra will) 1799
    • Thomas McKivett, mariner (supra adm. granted to his mother, Judith, of Carlingford, Louth, Ireland) 1799
    • Samuel M. Neill, minor (supra guardianship granted to Silvester Robinson, New York City) 1809
    • William Ashton, merchant from St Croix, West Indies (supra will) 1817
    • Justino da Silva Cerquinho, merchant en route from Brazil to Portugal (supra adm.) 1823
    • Bolton Jackson of Baltimore (supra registered copy will) 1839
    • Thomas Day (supra registered copy will proven in New York) 1851
  4. Also noted in a miscellaneous series on FHL & BYU film 93555 were 2 administrations from the Archdeaconry of Richmond for:
    • Harry Piper, merchant of Alexandria, Virginia, 1800
    • Isaac Willasey of Kingston, Jamaica, 1806
  5. A selection of wills from the Archdeaconry of Richmond including Lancashire for the period 1442-1579 were published in volume 26 of the Surtees Society. Volume 26 is now online. Start here.
  6. Consult Pratt’s Researching British Probates, 1354-1858 mentioned above in the section for Microfilmed Records for Lancashire in the Consistory of Chester for some corrections to the printed indexes. The index may also be helpful for internal migration and subjects such as bishop’s transcripts and marriage licenses.