Search here for wills proved in the Welsh Ecclesiastical courts before 1858.
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Wills can help you discover:
Until 1858, the courts of the Church of England proved wills. The National Library of Wales holds original wills, inventories and bonds, and also register copy wills. From this page you can search for wills proved in the Welsh Ecclesiastical Courts before 1858.
There were seven dioceses or their equivalents in Wales. The following list shows the areas of probate jurisdiction and the dates of the wills which are held here at the Library:
Diocese of Bangor: Anglesey, most of Caernarfonshire, most of Merioneth, parts of Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire
Archdeaconry of Brecon: Breconshire, most of Radnorshire, and some parishes in Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire and Herefordshire
Diocese of Chester: four parishes in Flintshire and Holt in Denbighshire.
Peculiar of Hawarden: parish of Hawarden
Diocese of Llandaff: Monmouthshire and Glamorgan (except for Gower)
Diocese of St Asaph: most of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Montgomeryshire, and parts of Merioneth, Caernarfonshire and Shropshire
Diocese of St David’s: Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire and part of Glamorgan (Gower)
If you cannot find the will that you require online, it may be worth searching the manuscript indexes to the pre-1858 register copy wills or the Church in Wales diocesan records. Wills may also be present in estate archives and solicitors’ collections (for these search the main Library catalogue).
If individuals held land in more than one diocese in Wales, their wills were proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. The index to PCC wills, 1384-1858, is available online via The National Archives (TNA) website. Copies of PCC wills relating to Wales are available on microfilm at the National Library of Wales.
After 1858 a simpler system of civil probate was introduced. Wills which were proved in Wales between 1858 and 1941 are available at the National Library of Wales. They may be accessed through the Calendar of Grants of Probate on microfiche and the original volumes in the Reading Rooms. There is also free access online through Ancestry Library which can be viewed within the building.