Cumbria Archives - Wills and Probate records

Wills and Probate after 1858

From 1858 the testamentary jurisdiction of ecclesiastical and other courts was abolished and replaced by the present centralised civil system of civil probate districts and civil probate registries under the control of the Principal Probate Registry in London. Original wills were retained by the district registry in which they were proved while copies were sent to the Principal Probate Registry.  Indexes are available to search online and copies of all wills proved in England and Wales can be ordered through the Government's website.

Wills for Cumberland and Westmorland were proved at the Carlisle probate registry, and copies can be seen in person at Carlisle Archive Centre. Catalogue entries for Carlisle probate wills covering 1858-1941 (together with wills for the diocese of Carlisle 1548-1858) are now in our online catalogue. These relate give details of name, occupation, address and year of probate. Researchers should simply enter a name in CASCAT and a relevant entry will have the reference number beginning with 'PROB'.

Wills for Lancashire North of the Sands were proved at the Lancaster probate registry, and are available at Lancashire Archives.

Wills before 1858

Before 1858 probate was largely the responsibility of ecclesiastical courts. Modern Cumbria fell within the probate jurisdictions of the dioceses of Carlisle, Chester, and Durham, and the provinces of York and Canterbury, meaning the locations of wills, inventories and grants of administration are scattered. Full details are available in our guide to wills and probate before 1858.