Source Information

Original data: Dioceses Of Lichfield and Coventry Wills and Probate 1521-1860. Stafford, Staffordshire, England: Indexes created from registers held at Staffordshire Record Office.

About Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, England, Indexes of Wills and Probate, 1518-1858

General Collection Information

This database is an index of wills and probate records for the historical county of Staffordshire, England from 1518 to 1858.

The information in this index comes from the following document types:

Wills: Wills direct the distribution of the estate according to the wishes of the deceased. A registered will is an official copy made by a court clerk.

Administration, Letters of Administration: In cases of intestate estates, letters of administration are requested to grant an administrator (usually the widow/widower or eldest son) the right to oversee the distribution of the estate in accordance with prevailing laws.

Inventory: An inventory lists belongings and their values, including such items as household goods, tools, and personal items. Inventories can give you some insights into your ancestor’s relative wealth, lifestyle, and occupation.

Using this Collection

This collection includes the following details:

  • Name
  • Occupation/Status
  • Document type
  • Date recorded
  • Place and county of residence
  • Court
  • Notes

History of the Collection

In England, the keeping of wills and probate documents began as early as the eleventh century, but there are few records before 1400. Probates were handled by the ecclesiastical courts until 1858. Ecclesiastical court jurisdiction was held by archdeaconries and dioceses, which often coincided with county boundaries.


Between 1541 and 1836 the diocese of Lichfield and Coventry was extensive, covering the entire counties of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, north Shropshire and north Warwickshire. The bishop of Lichfield and Coventry had general jurisdiction over probate within this area.


The National Archives. "Wills and Administrations before 1858." 22 January 2021. “Staffordshire Collection Digitisation Project - Staffordshire County Council.” Accessed 1 February 2021.