Wills and Coroners' Inquest Reports
Wills and other probate documents can provide a fascinating picture of how your ancestor lived as well as providing details of their surviving relatives. Wills proved since 1858 are stored centrally at the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the Courts Service.
Prior to 1858 church courts dealt with the granting of probate of wills and the issuing of letters of administration. The jurisdiction for granting probate for a will was dictated either by where the deceased owned property or where they died. The City of Westminster Archives Centre holds wills and administrations proved in the Commissary (sometimes referred to as the Consistory) Court of the Royal Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster for 1504-1829. A name index is available in our Search Room.
Various indexes to wills can also be searched online for a fee at London Origins.
The PCC (Prerogative Court of Canterbury), 1384-1858, is available for a fee through the National Archives.
London Signatures (the Archdeaconry Court of Middlesex's database of wills) can be searched for free.
Coroners' Inquest Reports
The coroner was responsible for inquisitions into sudden or suspicious deaths. Bear in mind that the sensitive nature of these records means that they are closed to public access for 75 years. Information Sheet 9: Coroners' Records, shows the location of Coroners Records for Westminster, Marylebone and Paddington. A full list of our holdings can be found in Courts of Law section of our Guide to Holdings.
If inquest papers have not survived then local and newspapers are excellent sources of information, containing many of the details recorded in the inquest papers. Details of our newspaper holdings can be found in Westminster Union List of Periodicals (WULOP).
Was this useful?
Whatever your interest, Westminster City Council welcomes and encourages you to get in touch with suggestions for improvements to the site. Please tell us how useful this page was to you.