Explore 4,687 surviving wills from the Archdeaconry Court of London and discover your ancestor today. Wills are a great source for family historians especially when searching for ancestors from before parochial records. The records include your relative’s marital status and you can discover their occupation.

The original documents

Where are the originals held?

The original wills are no longer at the Guildhall Library, but are now held at The London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/lma

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

  • Testator's name
  • Parish of residence
  • Occupation
  • Year of will

Discover more about these records

This dataset is an index to the surviving wills proved In the Archdeaconry Court of London 1700-1807. Prior to 1858 wills were dealt with by ecclesiastical courts. The court in which the will was proven depended on how much land they owned and where they lived. There was a hierarchy within the courts. The lowest probate court was the Archdeaconry Court. After 1858 wills were dealt with by the Principal Probate Registry.

By 1700 the business of the court was already declining, presumably because more and more testators were resorting to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. In the 1750s this drop became more marked, and there are very few wills after the 1770s. Although the court's jurisdiction was not abolished until 1858 the last will was proved in 1807.

Within the Diocese of London, the Archdeacon had jurisdiction over about half of the parishes in the City of London and some populous parishes bordering it in the county of Middlesex, including St Leonard Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. St Botolph Aldgate, to which many mariners dying abroad were ascribed as resident, also fell within this court's jurisdiction.

Discover more about the Church of England court system, hierarchy and court procedures through Findmypast’s Church of England Courts article. We have also included a full list of places found in the Archdeaconry Court of London records. Both articles are available in the Useful Links and Resources section on the record search screen.