There are two British Record Society publications in this collection:

  • Sussex Wills at Lewes 1541-1652 (BRS vol. 24)
  • Chichester Consistory Administrations 1555-1800

Below we have included descriptions of the publications and details about where to access the original documents.

Sussex Wills at Lewes 1541-1652

British Record Society Volume 24

Published 1901

Read the Original Introduction to BRS Volume 24.

Locating the original documents

Where are the originals held?

The original wills are held at East Sussex Record Office. A record office photocopy form is downloadable from the record office website. Complete the form and return to East Sussex Record Office but do not send any money at this stage and they will advise you of the actual cost.

What information from the document do I need to locate the original?

  • Testator's name
  • Abode
  • Year of will
  • Folio

About the index

This is an index to wills proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Lewes in the Bishopric of Chichester together with those in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Peculiar of Malling and the peculiar of the Deanery of Battle. These comprising together the whole of the Eastern division of the County of Sussex and in addition the parish of Edburton in West Sussex.

What does the index include?

The index to this volume has been compiled by reference to the bundles of the actual documents themselves and also contains some administrations, caveats, guardianships, and renunciations as found in the act books.

All names and places appearing in the will plus incidental information such as occupation where found in the original documents are included in the index. The actual printed index is arranged chronologically (by year) and then within this by folio number. Names in the index are according to the spelling used in the documents, usually based on the signaturee of the testator.

Dates of wills are given in 'Old Style' or Julian Calendar.

Chichester Consistory Administrations 1555-1800

British Record Society Volume 64

Published 1940

Read the Original Introduction of BRS Volume 64.

Locating the original documents

Where are the originals held?

The original documents are held at West Sussex Record Office. To obtain copies of an original documents you need to contact the West Sussex Record Office by letter, phone or e-mail, giving full details (including source ie BRS and which court etc) and all references. They will then send you a copyright order form and a quote for the full costs. You then need to complete the order form and return it to the record office (with payment).

What information from the document do I need to locate the original?

  • Testator's name
  • Place
  • Year of Administration etc
  • Volume / page number/ Folio

About the index

This is an index to administrations and related documents in the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Chichester 1555-1800.

The jurisdiction of the Consistory Court extended over the whole of the Archdeaconry of Chichester, comprising the Deaneries of Arundel, Boxgrove, Midhurst, and Storrington, and thus covered the western part of the County of Sussex.

Also included are wills and administrations for the following Peculiars:

  • Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury (1570-1670) comprising the parishes of South Bersted, Chichester All Saints, Durrington, Heene, East Lavant, Pagham, Patching, Slindon, Tangmere and West Tarring, together with Plaistow chapelry in Kirdford and a small area of Horsham called the Bishopric.
  • Peculiar of the Dean of Chichester (1577-1800) comprising of the parishes of St Andrew, St Bartholomew, St Martin, St Olave, St Pancras, St Peter the Great, St Peter the Less, the Close, New Fishbourne and Rumboldswhyke.

Notes and Abbreviations used in the index

Consistory Court

The Diaries from which the Calendar of Administrations has been compiled is as follows:

Diary  DatePagesNotes
A  1555-1572  Jan-99 
B  1575-1593  1-147   
C  1577-1585  1-121   
D  1595-1600  1-119   
E  1601-1613  1-246   
F  1613-1624  1-230   
G  1625-1634  1-275   
H  1635-1645  1-206   
"  1644-1645  2o6a-2o6v  Inserted since volume originally written. Some entries appear in Vol. K.
"  1660-1665  207-370    
I  1666-1670  1-134   
K  1644-1653  1-165  Some entries occur in Vol. H
L  1667-1670  1-69  A duplicate of Vol I, pp. 50-134
"  1671-1672  70-93   
M  1697-1714  1-131   
N  1714-1728  1-86   
O  1729-1738  1-131   
P  1738-1749  1-111   
Q  1749-1759  1-84   
R  1758-1768  1-90   
S  1768-1782  1-139   
T  1783-1799  1-136  

In Diaries B, C, D, H, I, K the sequence of dates is rather mixed up and there appears to be a gap between L and M.

Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury

The following is a list of Registers and Diaries (or Act Books) containing transcripts of Wills and grants of Administration from which this index was compiled.

Wills - Part 1

Vol  Dates  No. of pages  Notes
1A  1520-1526  104  A register of Wills. It really embraces from 1516 to 1536.
A  1560-1567  33  A register of Wills.
1B1553-1563  25A register of Wills.
3  1568-1570  29  A register of Wills.
2  1560-1567  80  A register of Wills. There are also a few Administrations.
4  1566-1575  57  A register of Wills.
5  1576-1578  66  Wills plus Diary plus Administrations.
6  1578-1592  82  A register of Wills and a few Administrations.
7  1592-1622  159  A register of Wills.
10  1622-1648  173  A register of Wills.

Part II

Three books numbered 8, 9 and 9A, are registers of Wills proved in London and form a separate Calendar. It will be seen that the parishes are not confined to the boundaries of the Peculiar but cover the whole Archdeaconry of Chichester.

Vol  Dates  No. of pages  
8  1622-1639; 1639-1670  69  
9  1615-1622  47  
9A  1614-1615  12  


The Administrations in this Peculiar are taken from the Diaries which consist of the following volumes.

Diary  DatesNo. of pagesNotes
A  There is no book now existing under this denomination.
B1592-161439There is a separate index of Wills and Admons.
C1568-157539There is no index to this book.
D1578-159242This book has an index at the end.
E1614-163968This book has separate indexes of Wills and Admons.
F1639-167040Has separate indexes. It is labelled E outside, but I have put F as well and it is by this letter the Admons. have been calendared.

Business in this Peculiar was never inhibited, but during a vacancy of the See of Canterbury no business whatever was done.

II. Peculiar of the Dean of Chichester

The Registers and Diaries to 1800 are contained in nine volumes, the particulars of which are as follows:

Vol  DatesNo. of pagesNotes
11577-162675A Diary
21553-156361A Register of Wills
31577-1643260A Register of Wills
41660-167231A Diary
51689-1768140A Diary. From 1704 to 1768 the Wills will be found in Vols. 6,.7, and part of 8.
61704-1731253A Register of Wills
71732-1766261A Register of Wills
81766-1793251A Register of Wills
91793-183036A Register of Wills

Where no parish is named in the index, 'Chichester' only is stated in the calendars.