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Pre 1858 wills

Wills are usually found in Diocesan Record Offices.  You need to work out which parish(es) the person lived or owned property in, and establish in which Archdeaconry or Diocesan court the will would have been proved.

Tip: If you are searching our online catalogue try entering the search term as “name” AND will.  This should bring back the most relevant results.  Try searching for James Goldsmith will and then “James Goldsmith” AND will

Archdeaconry of Sudbury:

The wills are held in the Bury St Edmunds Record Office, with the reference IC/500.  The collection includes wills from 1429 to 1857.  The online catalogue covers the period 1660 – 1857.  Copies of these wills can be requested through the catalogue.  We are in the process of digitising the later wills and uploading them to the website.  Once the images are on the website you can download them at a cost of £6 per will.  As of March 2019 there are 14,701 downloadable wills covering the period 1660 – 1775.

Archdeaconry of Suffolk:

These are held in Ipswich Record Office which also holds the wills proved in the Lothingland Deanery up to 1914.  The collection reference is IC/AA1 and the online catalogue covers the years 1444 – 1857. Copies of these wills can be requested through the catalogue.  Digitised wills can be downloaded at a cost of £6 per will.  As of September 2017 there are 16,291 downloadable wills covering the period 1703 – 1857. 

Consistory Court of Norwich:

Norfolk Record Office holds the records for the Consistory Court of Norwich for 1370 to 1857.  The NRO website has a specific search page for wills and other probate records.  They also have a useful leaflet which explains the probate records and courts in Norfolk.


The records of the Peculiar of Hadleigh, Monks Eleigh and Moulton are at Essex Record Office and form part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Peculiar of the Deanery of Bocking.  The catalogue can be searched using the Essex Archives Online website.

The records of the Peculiars of Isleham (1556-1852) and Freckenham (1661-1811) are at the Bury Record Office and can be searched online with references IC/500/7 and IC/500/10 respectively.  Both perculiars came under the Bishop of Rochester.

Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC):

These records cover the period 1384 – 1858 and can be searched and purchased online at The National Archives website.