Chichester Consistory Administrations 1555-1800

British Record Society Volume 64

Published 1940

Introduction to Original Volume

The Diaries from which the following Calendar of Administrations has been compiled are as follows and contain the names of Testators, persons of whose effects Administration was granted (including accounts, renunciations, commissions, etc., connected with testamentary depositions), Sequestrations, Commissions for various purposes, and Marriage Licences.

Only the Administrations and documents relating to them have been extracted for the present index, the wills having already appeared in Vol. 49 of the Index Library, while the Marriage Licences were extracted by Mr. Dunkin and appeared in Vols. 9 and 12 of the Sussex Archaeological Society's proceedings.

Diary  DatePagesNotes
A  1555-1572  Jan-99 
B  1575-1593  1-147  Page 22 is blank and there is a note "No. Diary kept between 1576 and 1585 ", which, however, is belied by Vol. C.
C  1577-1585  1-121   
D  1595-1600  1-119   
E  1601-1613  1-246   
F  1613-1624  1-230   
G  1625-1634  1-275   
H  1635-1645  1-206   
"  1644-1645  2o6a-2o6v  Inserted since volume originally written. Some entries appear in Vol. K.
"  1660-1665  207-370    
I  1666-1670  1-134   
K  1644-1653  1-165  Some entries occur in Vol. H
L  1667-1670  1-69  A duplicate of Vol I, pp. 50-134
"  1671-1672  70-93   
M  1697-1714  1-131   
N  1714-1728  1-86   
O  1729-1738  1-131   
P  1738-1749  1-111   
Q  1749-1759  1-84   
R  1758-1768  1-90   
S  1768-1782  1-139   
T  1783-1799  1-136  

The Series continues up to the present time. It will be noticed that in Diaries B, C, D, H, I, K the sequence of dates is rather mixed up and there appears to be a gap between L and M. There is the usual interval between 1644 and 1660 in Vol H when all Wills and Administrations were proved or administered in London.

Peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury

It was not in every Diocese that the Archbishop of Canterbury had peculiar jurisdiction. A full list of such Dioceses is to be found in the Parliamentary Return of Probates of Wills printed in 1845.

As regards the Diocese of Chichester, the Archbishop had jurisdiction over nine parishes viz Bersted, East Lavant, Pagham, Slmdon and Tangmere in the Deanery of Pagham. All Saints parish in the City of Chichester, Patching and Tarring in the Deanery of Tarring, and Mayfield in the Deanery of Dallington. This Peculiar is referred to in Dr Marshall Ancient Courts of Probate p 41 and in Mr J H Lea's Genealogical Research in England p 38 as the Peculiar of Pagham and Tarring.

The Registers and Diaries (or Act Books) containing transcripts of Wills and grants of Administration are in a somewhat confused order of date but the following list will help to make it clearer. The references in the printed Calendar are to the volumes stated in this list. There is considerable over­lapping of dates.,/p>

Wills - Part 1

Vol  Dates  No. of pages  Notes
1A  1520-1526  104  A register of Wills. It really embraces from 1516 to 1536.
A  1560-1567  33  A register of Wills. v. In this book the dates work back­wards, those of 1560 being at the end.
1B1553-156325A register of Wills. 1B is at the commencement and 3 at the reversed end. Each part has a separate pagination.
3  1568-1570  29   
2  1560-1567  80  A register of Wills. There are also a few Administrations.
4  1566-1575  57  A register of Wills.
5  1576-1578  66  From pp. 1-24 are Wills. From pp. 26-66 it is a Diary, hence there are often two pages against most of the Wills. All the Administrations are calendared.
6  1578-1592  82  A register of Wills and a few Administrations.
7  1592-1622  159  A register of Wills. Two Wills proved in London in 1616 at end.
10  1622-1648  173  A register of Wills.

Part II

Three books, two of which are numbered 8 and 9 and a thin book which I have called 9A, are registers of Wills proved in London. As they seem to be of a different class to the other registers, they form a separate Calendar.

It will be seen that the parishes are not confined to the boundaries of the Peculiar but cover the whole Archdeaconry of Chichester. There is nothing to show the reason for this.

Vol  Dates  No. of pages  Notes
8  1622-1639; 1639-1670  69  These are at the end of the volume
9  1615-1622  47   
9A  1614-1615  12  


The Administrations in this Peculiar are taken from the Diaries which consist of the following volumes. Only the Administrations are here calendared. It will have been observed that a few Administrations occur in the Registers of Wills.

Diary  DatesNo. of pagesNotes
A  There is no book now existing under this denomination.
B1592-161439There is a separate index of Wills and Admons. at end of the book.
C1568-157539There is no index to this book.
D1578-159242This book has an index at the end.
E1614-163968This book has separate indexes of Wills and Admons.
F1639-167040Has separate indexes. It is labelled E outside, but I have put F as well and it is by this letter the Admons. have been calendared.

There are other indexes in the Probate Registry which bring the records of this Peculiar down to 1859, but from about the date the old indexes above enumerated end, they are all written out in a modern handwriting and are very easy of reference, so it was not thought necessary to print them.

Business in this Peculiar was never inhibited, but during a vacancy of the See of Canterbury no business whatever was done.

II. Peculiar of the Dean of Chichester

The Peculiar of the Dean had jurisdiction over the following parishes in Chichester, St. Andrew, St. Bartholomew, St. Martin, St. Olave, St. Pancras, St. Peter the Great, St. Peter the Less, and the outlying parishes of New Fishbourn and Rumboldswick (otherwise Wike or Whyke).

The Registers and Diaries to 1800 are contained in nine volumes, the particulars of which are as follows:

Vol  DatesNo. of pagesNotes
11577-162675A Diary
21553-156361A Register of Wills
31577-1643260A Register of Wills
41660-167231A Diary
51689-1768140A Diary. From 1704 to 1768 the Wills will be found in Vols. 6,.7, and part of 8.
61704-1731253A Register of Wills
71732-1766261A Register of Wills
81766-1793251A Register of Wills
91793-183036A Register of Wills

Wills and Administrations are intermixed in the Diaries. The Calendar as here printed is not continued after 1800, but Wills and Administrations were dealt with till 1858 when the records were transferred to the Court of Probate.

This Peculiar was inhibited by the Bishop, usually for three months, at his Visitation. During inhibition the business was transacted in the Bishop's Court and the Wills proved and Administrations granted were registered there.