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|Poor Law Records|
The three principal probate courts were the Consistory of Norwich and its two archdeaconries: Norwich and Norfolk. The names of these three courts have resulted in some confusion in the cataloging of the microfilms. Fortunately, the Norfolk Record Office now has an online index to all pre-1858 records probated in that county at Norfolk Record Online Catalogue and is putting images of all wills probated in the county online. The wills for 1800-1857 are now available at Norfolk Sources.
- Original jurisdiction for the majority of parishes in this county lay with (A) the Archdeaconry of Norwich and the Archdeaconry of Norfolk. The jurisdictions of the two archdeaconries crisscrossed with roughly the northern half of the county under the Archdeaconry of Norwich and the southern half under the Archdeaconry of Norfolk.
- The exceptions to the above are listed below, including the three peculiar courts (B-D) the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, the Peculiar of Castle Rising, and the Royal Peculiar of Great Cressingham.
|Arminghall||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Castle Rising||Peculiar of Castle Rising (C)|
|Catton||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Eaton||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Emneth||Consistory of Ely (see Cambridge)|
|Great Cressingham||Peculiar of Great Cressingham (D)|
|Great Plumstead||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Hemsby||Archdeaconry of Norwich (A) but
Pre-1534 in D & C of Norwich (B)
|Hindolveston||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Lakenham||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Martham||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|North Wootton||Peculiar of Castle Rising (C)|
|Norwich||Archdeaconry of Norwich (A) except:|
|St Helen||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|St James with Pockthorpe||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|St Mary in the Marsh||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|St Paul||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Roydon near Lynn||Peculiar of Castle Rising (C)|
|Scratby||Archdeaconry of Norwich (A) but
Pre-1534 in D & C of Norwich (B)
|Sedgford||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|South Wootton||Peculiar of Castle Rising (C)|
|Sprowston||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Taverham||Archdeaconry of Norwich (A) but
Pre-1534 in D & C of Norwich (B)
|Thorpe next Norwich||Consistory of Norwich|
|Trowse||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|West Beckham||Dean and Chapter of Norwich (B)|
|Winterton||Archdeaconry of Norwich (A) but
Pre-1534 in D & C of Norwich (B)
- A few wills involving property were proven outside of the ecclesiastical court system in the City of Norwich and the Borough of King's Lynn. Some 446 wills were enrolled with the deeds of Norwich, 1286-1508. Some 20 wills were enrolled at King's Lynn, 1276-1539. The records for both places are at the Norfolk Record Office. Put a surname in the box "Any Text" and probate in the "Category box." The enrolled wills for Norwich are also indexed in BRS 69 as outlined below under the Consistory of Norwich. Extracts for two of the wills enrolled at King's Lynn along with a list of 14 other wills, 1276-1751, are found in the Historical Manuscripts Commission Report, 11, Appendix 3, pages 231-234. (FHL 6021744 and BYU DA 25 .M2 S65)
- The Norwich District Probate Registry covering the county of Norfolk was created in 1858 as part of the new civil probate court system. The wills of this district from 1858 through 1925 have also been microfilmed. Put 2232931 into the Film/Fiche box on the main menu of the FHL catalog at FamilySearch to see the call numbers for each year.
For those who lived in (A) the Archdeaconries of Norwich and Norfolk, search:
- The respective Archdeaconry Court
- Consistory of Norwich
- Prerogative Court of Canterbury (London: PCC)
- Court of Arches, 1660- (London: Arches)
- Court of Delegates, 1636- (London: Delegates)
For those who lived in (B-C) the Peculiars of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich and Castle Rising, search:
- The respective Peculiar Court
- Do 2-5 above for (A) the Archdeaconry Courts
For those who lived in (D) the Royal Peculiar of Great Cressingham, seach:
- Royal Peculiar of Great Cressingham
- Do 3-5 above for (A) the Archdeaconry Courts
For those who lived anywhere in the county between 1653-1660, search:
- Prerogative Court of Canterbury (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. (London: Estate Duty)
Printed Indexes for the Consistory Court of Norwich
- 1370-1550 (FHL 942 B4b and BYU CS 434 .B7) volume 69
The enrolled wills for the City of Norwich are listed on pages 413-423.
- 1550-1603 (FHL 942 B4b and BYU CS 434 .B7) volume 73
- 1604-1686 (FHL 942.61 B4rs) volume 28
- 1687-1750 (FHL 942.61 B4rs) volume 34
- 1751-1818 (FHL 942.61 B4rs and BYU DA 670 .N59 N863) volume 38
There are 4 entries for the parish of Ballingdon in Essex.
- 1819-1857 (FHL 942.61 B4rs and BYU DA 670 .N59 N863) volume 47
Volumes 69, 73 & 38 are also in the Ancestry.com system.
This is a subscription site but you have free access to it when searching at the FHL or using the computers in the family history section of the BYU library.
Filmed Calendars for the Consistory Court of Norwich
- 1650-1763, Original/Registered Wills (FHL/BYU 94843, items 1-2)
- 1764-1858, Original/Registered Wills (FHL/BYU 94844)
- 1700-1858, Administration Bonds (FHL/BYU 94845, items 3-4)
The first 2 volumes on this film are actually act books.
- 1516-1646, Administration Act Books (FHL 1595516, items 18-19 and 1951567, it. 15)
Abstracts are included from several act books. Item 15 is a duplicate of item 18 for 1516-1588 but easier to read.
- 1553-1849, Inventories (FHL 1565979, item 4)
Microfilmed Records for the Consistory Court of Norwich
The original wills were mainly filmed from 1703-1857. All of the registered copy wills, administration bonds, administration act books (may include marriage licenses), and inventories have been filmed, in some cases twice. The original wills begin with film 1545221, the inventories with 1565979, and most of the other records are under 94841. For any original wills that were not filmed, contact the Norfolk Record Office.
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.
Also filmed were the ecclesiastical court depositions, 1499-1788. Perhaps 20-25% of the entries refer to probate matters. There is a printed calendar, 1499-1530, plus abstracts under FHL 942.61 B4rs, volume 10. Of the 431 cases outlined in this calendar, 76 concern probates. The initial film number for the depositions is 1526942.
Filmed Calendars for the Archdeaconry Court of Norwich
- 1469-1728, Wills (FHL and BYU 94846, items 1-3)
This is volumes 1-3 of a manuscript calendar. Volume 1 covers 1469-1584 and is difficult to read. This volume actually contains 3 nuncupative wills. On the first page is the will of John Randall of Whetacre Sanctey dated 1576. He mentions his wife Mary, a son John, not yet 21, and there is a witness named Andrew Randall. Volume 2 is for 1573-1604 and volume 3 for 1660-1728.
- 1728-1858, Wills (FHL and BYU 94847, items 1-2)
Volume 4 covers 1728-1811 and volume 5 is 1812-1858.
- 1700-1858, Administration Bonds (FHL and BYU 94848, items 1-2)
Volume 1 covers 1700-1811 and volume 2 is 1812-1858. See the administration act books for entries before 1700.
- 1674-1825, Inventories (FHL 1471414, item 17)
They are also listed online here. To see the lists, put ANW 23 in the box labeled "Catalogue Ref."
Microfilmed Probate Records for the Archdeaconry Court of Norwich
No original wills were filmed for the Archdeaconry of Norwich. The registered wills, administration bonds and act books were filmed twice. The initial film number for the first filming is 94846. A duplicate series of wills for the Deanery of Lynn, 1583-1605, was registered separately. The inventories for the archdeaconry are on films 1471414-1471417.
Printed Indexes for the Archdeaconry Court of Norfolk
- 1453-1603/4, Registered Wills (FHL 942.61 B4m) volumes 3, 5, 10
Volume 3 covers 1453-1542 and is also available on BYU film 990208, item 5.
Volume 5 is 1542-1560 and volume 10 is 1560-1603/4.
- 1838-1858, Registered Wills (FHL 942.61 S2m)
This bound volume of a privately made transcript mistakenly refers to the Archdeaconry of Norwich. It covers part of volume 95 through volume 101 and was derived from films 167178-167184.
Filmed Calendars for the Archdeaconry of Norfolk
- 1459-1784, Wills (FHL and BYU 94849)
Volume 1 ends with the coverage for 1604-1606. Volume 2 covers the registered copy wills, 1607-1629, and the original wills 1615-1629. Volume 3 is for original and registered wills, 1630-1784. Volume 4 on FHL/BYU film 94850 is a duplicate of volume 3 but is easier to read.
- 1785-1858, Wills (FHL and BYU 94851, item 1) is volume 5 of this series.
- 1691-1793, Administrations/Guardianships (FHL and BYU 94851, item 2)
This information is described as a supplement to volume 5. There is a short break on the film after 1793 followed by information on a duty or tax levied on legal matters, 1671-1680. It includes probates and gives the name of the testator or intestate, the date of payment and who paid the tax.
- 1691-1858, Administrations (FHL and BYU 94852)
Microfilmed Probate Records for the Archdeaconry Court of Norfolk
The original wills were filmed only to fill in the perceived gaps in the registered wills. The registered wills, administration bonds, administration act books, and inventories have been microfilmed. See the initial film for most of these records: 94849 at FamilySearch. The act books may include marriage licenses. Some of the act books were filmed twice and the second filming may be labeled incorrectly as either the Consistory or Archdeaconry of Norwich. Film 1657299, item 5, contains 36 entries of acts, 1669-1670, taken from the back of a visitation book. Film 1526941, items 5-6, is a duplicate of the acts, 1670-1675. The same material is found in items 8-9 of film 1595565. The inventories, 1728-1774, are items 7-9 of film 1526941. (NOTE: the index is also listed online. Repeat the process described above for the inventories of the Archdeaconry of Norwich, but this time put ANF 11/3 in the box "Catalogue Ref" to see the lists.)
Printed Index for the Peculiar Courts of Norfolk
- 1416-1857, Wills/Inventories/Marriage Licenses (FHL 942.61 B4m) volume 16
The printed index is mainly to registered wills with references to unregistered original wills. The administration bonds are separately indexed by bundle. The index for the Dean and Chapter of Norwich is on pages 3-14 for 1416-1600, pages 15-51 for 1600-1857, and pages 53-56 for the inventories, 1681-1782. The index for the Royal Peculiar Court of Great Cressingham, 1675-1754, is on page 59. The index for the Peculiar Court of Castle Rising, 1624-1723/4, is on pages 63-65.
Microfilmed Probate Records for the Dean and Chapter of Norwich
The original wills were not filmed except for a small collection stored in the Muniment Room of Norwich Cathedral. The rest of the available records have been microfilmed. The main collection of films starts with FHL/BYU film 94853 at FamilySearch. This initial film is a calendar to both original and registered wills. There is one other volume of registered wills, 1585-1588, on FHL film 1526941, item 4. All of the probate records itemized by Anthony J. Camp as having been stored in the Muniment Room are on FHL film 1471495, items 8-10 and 13-20.
Microfilmed Probate Records for the Peculiars of Castle Rising and Great Cressingham
All surviving records for these two courts have been microfilmed. The records for the Peculiar Court of Castle Rising are on film 1526942, items 6-8. The original records for the Royal Peculiar Court of Great Cressingham are on film 1471495, items 1-3, and the registered wills are on film 1471417, item 10.
- The printed index for the Consistory Court, 1819-1857, reveals that John Thirkettle of New Orleans had a will probated in 1851. The Consistory Court's volume of registered wills, Gilberd or volume 9a, for 1472-1477 on FHL/BYU film 94859 is preceded by a decayed original will of Damaris Atthill, wife of Richard Atthill. She first married John Lancaster, worsted weaver of Norwich in 1676, and then Atthill in 1710.
- The administration bonds for the Consistory Court for 1703-1705 on FHL film 167003 are filed by archdeaconry. Those for the Archdeaconry of Norfolk start with an index followed by the respective documents. At the end of the documents for 1705 come the bonds for the Archdeaconry of Norwich. Each year is indexed separately. Document 19 in the year 1704 is a guardianship bond for William Harvy, age 5 and the only child of Elizabeth Harvy, widow of Wells-next-the-Sea. She was the only daughter of Susan Ives, deceased widow of the same parish. Guardianship was granted to Richard Allen, yeoman.
- Volume 51 of the registered wills, 1653-1660, of the Archdeaconry Court of Norwich on FHL film 173319 contains entries from the Archdeaconry of Norfolk and from the county of Suffolk. At the end of FHL/BYU film 173411 for the administration bonds, 1719-1723, of the Archdeaconry of Norwich are guardianship papers relating to documents 99 in 1721 and 74 in 1722. Guardianship of the children of Mary Fenn, widow of Runham, was granted to Simon Browne of Stoakesby. The children were Nicholas Crow, 15, Mary Clabourne, 11, and Frances Clabourne, 9.
- The administration bonds for the Archdeaconry of Norfolk reveal the following extra information. Document 50 for 1749 on FHL/BYU film 167201 shows that administration of the property of Adam Thunder of Marham was granted to his brother-in-law, William Wakefield, yeoman of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey, Surrey. The bond is accompanied by a copy of the christening of Thomas, son of William and Mary Wakefield in 1739 in Bermondsey. Documents 83-85 in 1748 refer to the property of Daniel Battely, yeoman of Stockton, who died around 1729. The administrator was Sarah Mash, wife of George Mash of Gillingham. Also mentioned are their daughters, Mary and Sarah Mash, and her mother, Sarah Battely. Documents 19-21 in 1857 on FHL film 167220 are for John Turrell, bachelor of Sistead; Louisa Turrell, spinster of Roughton; and Elizabeth Horner of Roughton. The documents are accompanied by a pedigree and explanatory page showing the ties between the Turrell, Horner and Ward families.
- 1420-1522, Will Transcriptions (FHL 942.61 B2a) volumes 1-9, 16-17, and 22
Some 111 wills from all of the major courts were transcribed mainly for the time period listed above and published by the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society. However, 9 wills come from periods earlier than 1420 and 13 after 1522.
The separate index to volumes 1-10 lists over 100 of these wills. There appear to be some 9 unindexed ones in volumes 6-7, 16-17 and 22. The Norfolk Record Society also published in their volume 56 (FHL 942.61 B4rs) 4 early wills ranging from 1291-1629.
- There are 4 collections of abstracts of probates for this county available at the FHL as follows:
|Collection||Years Covered||FHL Films|
|G.H. Holley||Early-1779||94822-94838, arranged alphabetically by surname|
|Fred Johnson||Varies||1696510-1696518, partially indexed|
|George Minns||1577-1884||88000, item 2, indexed on pages A-O|
|Bradfer Lawrence||1370-1763||2299699-2299704, alphabetically by name|