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Wills - Prerogative Court of Canterbury

This list of Hulley - and variant spellings - wills and administrations from this source was obtained in 1992-3 from the Public Record Office when it was located at Chancery Lane, London.

Wills and Administrations 1383-1857 - List

Wills held at Public Record Office, London - Summaries


About the Prerogative Court of Canterbury

Wills have been proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) since 1383 and are now preserved in the Public Record Office, London.

By 1750 the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop Canterbury was proving Wills and granting Administrations at a rate of about 7,000 a year, and this number had grown to about 12,000 a year by 1800.

It was the supreme church court in the British Isles for the probate of wills, and because of the great prestige of its acts and the greater safety of its records it had attracted the probate of wills of men of substance at least since the Reformation.

The Bank of England acknowledged no probate other than of this court, and the wills of persons who died abroad possessing property in this country were almost invariably proved at Canterbury. Because of this the PCC wills include copies of those of numerous Irish and colonial persons who had a second probate at the PCC and whose wills have not survived in their own countries. Particularly in the period under consideration, thousands of bi-national Hollanders and other Europeans who had invested money in the British funds (again whose wills may not have survived or be easily accessible in their own countries) had their wills proven by the PCC.

The Bank of England did accept wills proved in other courts before 1812, but after that date it demanded PCC wills only.

The PCC was also the 'local court' for those possessing property in more than two dioceses in the Province of Canterbury and thus contains the wills of a great number of people in the south of England and particularly in the Home Counties (excepting Kent - see below), as also for those who had property in both the provinces of Canterbury and York.

In Kent the Archbishop of Canterbury delegated his powers to his commissary general, but this does not mean that no Kent entries are to be found in the PCC - though rare, they do appear.

Source: English Origins

 

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