Before 12 January 1858, church courts were responsible for granting probate for wills and authorising the administration of estates if a will was lacking. This only involved a minority of the adults who died, particularly but not exclusively drawn from the better-off members of the population. The main types of records surviving from these courts include:
•Wills and copies of wills
•Inventories that list and value the chattels forming part of some estates
The index covers all 442 relevant records from these courts where the wills of Brixworth residents could be proved until 1858:
•Prerogative Court of Canterbury
•Peterborough Consistory Court
•Northampton Archdeaconry Court
The original records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury are kept at The National Archives. Those for the other two courts are at Northamptonshire Record Office. They can be consulted as follows.
Prerogative Court of Canterbury – Access to an index to these wills for the whole of England & Wales is free on The National Archives website. The charge of £3.50 normally made for viewing and saving PDF copies of wills from that site has been waived during Coronavirus disruption.
Peterborough & Northampton Courts – Films of the original documents can be seen at Northamptonshire Record Office. Digitised images are normally available to view in person and download at Family History Centres.
You can find the Index here
Abbreviations and phrases there have these meanings:
•a/c = Account
•Admon = Administration
•D = Deposition
•Fo/Pg = Folio or page
•G = Guardianship
•I = Inventory
•NAC = Northampton Archdeaconry Court
•Nuncupative = A verbal will proved after testimony of witnesses
•PCCant = Prerogative Court of Canterbury
•PetCC = Peterborough Consistory Court
•R = Renunciation
•S = Sentence
•UnpW = Unproved will
•W = Will
Researched and written by Francis Howcutt.