Canterbury Probate Office Records
East Kent wills and probate records 1396 - 1858
© M. J. & D. G. Cozens. March 2005 - December  2010  Update 7
All surviving wills from 1550 to1858 indexed
Copying only permitted for private or academic use

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84,085 people, 138,035 records


East Kent wills 1660-1858

Origin of records
Before the civil probate courts were created in 1858, wills were probated by ecclesiastical courts.  In Kent the majority of wills written by testators living east of a line from the Medway to Horsmonden were probated by the Achdeaconry (ADC) and Consistory (CCC) courts of Canterbury.

he wills probated by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) in London originated from the relatively wealthy individuals living mainly in the south of England and most of Wales (originally the ecclesiastical province of Canterbury) and are now held by the Public Record Office in London. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury in London was the only probate court from 1653 to 1660.

Wills were drawn up by testators or clerks in the parishes and witnessed by local people. When the wills were probated at Canterbury they appear to have been copied with the witnesses signatures or marks being written in the text. Many have survived either as originals or probate office copies in the PRC16 (ADC) & PRC31 (CCC) series.  At some point in time the wills were copied again into the register volumes in the PRC17 (ADC) and PRC32 (CCC) series.

Henry Plomer indexed all the probate documents up to 1558 before WW1. His work was published in 1920 by KAS and has been retained with corrections as it is still the best record of early probate documents at Canterbury.  We have indexed from the original documents:-
Consistory Court registered wills from 1550-1857 and original wills from 1559-1857
Archdeaconry Court registered and original wills from 1550-1858

New year dates
In England before 1752, the Julian Calendar New Year's Day was the 25th March (Lady Day).  In 1752 New Year's day was changed to 1st January in the Gregorian Calendar.

Our thanks to:-

Canterbury Cathedral Archives & Library staff for their assistance and access to records.
Centre for Kentish Studies staff for help with original documents.
Kent Archaeological Society for hosting this project.
© M. J. & D. G. Cozens December 2010 
This Kent Archaeological Society site created by M. J. Cozens with the help of  Maureen Rawson

East Kent wills 1396-1659

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