Court of the Peculiar of Leighton Buzzard

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Description[edit | edit source]

Probate is the legal court process by which the estate of a deceased person is distributed to his or her heirs. The term probate refers to a collection of documents, including wills, administrations (also called admons), inventories, and act books. The Church of England ecclesiastical courts had authority for this process until to 1858. This article explains about probates and how to get started to search for a will.

Beginning in 1858, authority over probate matters was taken from ecclesiastical courts and put under the civil authority of the Principal Probate Registry.

Step by Step[edit | edit source]

1. First search each index (see below) to help you more quickly find the will, writing down each detail cited in the indexed entry.
2. Proceed to the "Records" (below) to determine what probate records exist for this court. Also see "Family History Library Records".
3. Contact or visit the Bedford County Record Office or, hire a professional record searcher to view these records on your behalf. The Record Office offers a research service if you prefer.

4. Visit The Family History Library, or one of its 4,500 satellite family history centers worldwide and search indexes to probate records; then with the information obtained from the index[es] you can search more quickly the original wills and admons also on microfilm via any centers near you.

Indexes[edit | edit source]

Online Indexes[edit | edit source]

Printed and Published Indexes[edit | edit source]

The peculiar court of Leighton Buzzard : persons named in wills proved 1701-1846. Probate records, 1712-1846. Deeds and estate papers pertaining to Toddington and Leighton-Buzzard, Bedfordshire Contains extensive abstracts of wills, deeds etc., chiefly pertaining to Leighton-Buzzard, with a few for Toddington. Some of the families concerned are the Franklin, Villiers, Norman, Mead and Brandreth families.

Records[edit | edit source]

Archive Location[edit | edit source]

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service (BLARS)

County Hall Cauldwell Street BEDFORD MK42 9AP

Telephone:- U.K. 01234 228833/228777 Overseas +44 1234 228833/228777

Fax:- U.K. 01234 228854 Overseas +44 1234 228854

E-mail address:-

Archive Records[edit | edit source]

Add information about the manuscript, printed and digital records in this location.

Family History Library Records[edit | edit source]

Jurisdiction[edit | edit source]

From the 13th century, Leighton Buzzard, attached to the royal manor of Leighton, was held by the Bishop of Lincoln and as such became a peculiar with probate jurisdiction.  The peculiar includes the chapelries of Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge. 

While most wills of people living in Leighton Buzzard and the chapelries went through the peculiar court, some went through  the Court of the Bishop of Lincoln (Episcopal Consistory) and the Court of the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln, so those courts should be searched if a will is not found in the peculiar court.

In addition, Leighton Buzzard sits close to the Bedfordshire border with Buckinghamshire and some Leighton Buzzard wills for 1712 to 1798 have been found in the records of the Court of the Peculiar of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. 

For the years 1736-1857, some Leighton Buzzard wills have been found in the records of the Court of the Archdeaconry of Northampton, though the reason for this is not clear. 

The Bedfordshire Record Office (now the Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service Archives) has several helps for Leighton Peculiar wills on its website (ref: PLBP/W/V), as well as abstracts of some Leighton Peculiar wills.