Discover your English ancestor’s will from the Consistory Court of Gloucestershire from 1801 to 1858. The index will reveal if your ancestor’s will has survived over the years. A will is a valuable asset for your family tree. You will also find your ancestor’s occupation or status. Are you related to a banker, chemist, gentleman or a victualler?
Each record includes a transcript from the original index. The amount of detail in each transcript can vary, but most will include:
Name of testator
Status or occupation
Place – residence or estate of the deceased
Court – the court in which the will was proved
Document type – will or administration
Document reference – reference for the Gloucester Archives
Review the Glossary of Probate Terms for definitions of wills, administration and testator. The glossary is available in the Useful Links and Resources.
Where are the originals held?
The original wills are held at Gloucester Archives.
What information from the document do I need to locate the original?
Before 1858, probate cases were controlled by the Church of England’s ecclesiastical courts. The most important of these courts was the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. After the Prerogative court, each diocese had its own Consistory Court.
The Gloucestershire Wills & Administrations is an index of the original wills for the Consistory Court of Gloucester from 1801 to 1858. The Consistory Court of Gloucester was made up of around 307 parishes, virtually covering the whole of the ancient county of Gloucestershire apart from Bristol. Within the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court there were smaller Peculiar Courts. The record collection stops at 1858 because after this year probate matters were transferred to the civil probate registries.
For further details about the roles of the individual ecclesiastical courts read the Church of England Courts available in the Useful Links and Resources section.
Gloucestershire is in South-West England and the county town is Gloucester. In the early 19th century trade grew in Gloucestershire with the development of the Gloucester and Berkley canal. In 1820 the first cargo of French brandy arrived in Gloucester. Corn, from Ireland, was one of the principal imports in the early 1800s. Another chief import was timber from both Canada and the Arctic. The trade industry was expanded by the introduction of new railway lines to transport goods. During this time the Gloucester Old Bank was run by James (Jemmy) Wood. He was a local millionaire and was known as a miser. According to many, Jemmy Wood was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge. During the first half of the 19th century sanitation was still in need of improvement. Many used chamber pots or outside closets. It was not until the late 1800s that the city started to make arrangements to improve the situation by building sewers, which made water closets available to more people.
This calendar was compiled by Gloucestershire Record Office staff with the voluntary assistance of Dr G J Pitt, which is gratefully acknowledged.
The editor, Cliff Webb, would like to acknowledge with grateful thanks the work of Mr T Wilcock, who entered the material into a database and produced the draft supplementary indexes, and provided other invaluable advice as to the computerisation of the project.