Durham Probate Records: pre 1858
Introduction
Geographical scope
Contents
Arrangement
Related material - here
Related material - elsewhere
Bibliography

Catalogue

Reference code: GB-0033-DPR1
Title: Durham Probate Records: pre 1858
Dates of creation: ca.1540-January 1858
Extent: 225 metres
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Origination: The Spiritual Chancellors to the Bishops of Durham (through their Registrars), and the Dean and Chapter of Durham (through their Commissaries)
Language: English, with some Latin before 1750s

Geographical scope

The pre-1858 Durham probate jurisdiction dealt with the estates of those whose property lay solely within the diocese of Durham. The geographical range of the records of this jurisdiction is extensive because throughout this period the diocese of Durham covered most of the historic counties of both Durham and Northumberland, as well as small parts of Cumberland and Yorkshire. In addition, both the Bishop of Durham, and the Dean and Chapter of Durham cathedral, had probate jurisdiction over parts of Yorkshire in and around Northallerton.
The pre-1858 Durham Probate Records therefore cover the following areas (based on pre-1974 counties):
The parts of Northumberland over which the Bishops of Durham did not have probate jurisdiction were as follows. Earlier probate records for these places are in the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York.
ThockringtonSubject to the peculiar jurisdiction of a prebend of York Cathedral until ca.1846 (probate records 1846-1857 within DPR1)
Hexham and HexhamshireA detached part of York diocese so subject to the probate jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York, until 1837. Hexham and Hexhamshire covered the parishes and chapelries of Allendale, Allenheads or Allendale St Peter, Bingfield St Mary, Carrshields (or High West Allen), Hexham, Ninebanks (or Low West Allen), St John Lee, St Oswald in Lee and Whitley chapel. Probate records 1837-1857 are within DPR1.

The two peculiar jurisdictions within Yorkshire covered the following parishes and chapelries. Both these peculiars were abolished in 1846, with jurisdiction transferred to the Archbishop of York. Probate records for 1846-1857 should therefore be at the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York.
Bishop of DurhamBirkby, Cowesby, Hutton Bonville, Leake, Nether Silton, North Otterington, Osmotherley and Thornton-le-Street
Dean and Chapter of DurhamBrompton, Deighton, High Worsall, Kirby Sigston, Northallerton and West Rounton


Contents

Records of the pre-1858 probate jurisdiction administered through the consistory court of the Church of England diocese of Durham, and of the extra-diocesan ('peculiar') jurisdictions of the Bishop of Durham and of the Dean and Chapter of Durham within North Yorkshire. Surviving material from the Bishop of Durham's Allertonshire peculiar is within the main series of probate material for the diocese of Durham (DPR1/1-5,7-8), whereas material for the Dean and Chapter of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire peculiar forms a separate sequence (DPR1/6, indexed in DPR1/7/7).

Accession details

See collection-level description for accession details and previous custodial history.

Conditions of access

Open for consultation. See notes within collection-level description for further details.

Copyright and copying

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material. See notes within collection-level description for further details.

Arrangement

The separate series listed below reflect the original arrangement of the probate records when received from the District Probate Registry (with the exception of DPR1/8). Original wills and related documents in DPR1/1 were to some extent re-sorted after receipt (although the yearly bundles reflect the original arrangement), while the other classes are largely arranged as originally received.

Finding aids

The bulk of the pre-1858 Durham Probate Records were catalogued as part of the North East Inheritance (NEI) project, 2006-2009. This catalogue is available online at http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/data/, and can be searched by name, place, occupation, date and/or document type. For the convenience of family historians, a set of downloadable PDF listings in personal name order is also provided. More background information can be found on the NEI project pages.
A card index within the Palace Green library search room includes entries from the pre-1650 will registers which are not yet included within the online NEI database, though for other purposes has been superseded by it. Other finding aids for specific series are mentioned within the detailed list below.

Copies

Most of these records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU, part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons) before their deposit in Durham University Library. Although good quality, these microfilms are impracticable to use because individual items are not numbered or labelled. Other microfilms of specific items are mentioned within this catalogue as appropriate.
Digital images of the principal series of pre-1858 probate records have also been made by the GSU and are due to be mounted online by them. Further information is available on the North East Inheritance database site.
Manuscript abstracts, transcripts and indexes are held by other local libraries and record repositories, including the following. These collections often contain details of probate documents the originals of which no longer survive.

Related material - here

Durham Cathedral archives Locellus VIII, nos. 1-20, 22, 33, 41, 42: wills and inventories from the Prior and Convent of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire peculiar, c.1444-1531.
Other medieval wills within the cathedral archives include the following (some of which were proved in the Bishop of Durham's consistory court), though this list is not comprehensive.
Durham Diocesan Records Records of litigation relating to probate matters are generally found not in the Durham Probate Records but among the consistory court act books and cause papers in the Durham Diocesan Records. A typescript list of wills among the consistory court cause papers, including a few inventories, is available in the Palace Green library search room at ASCRef Z DPR.
Other collections An incomplete card index to wills etc within other collections is in the Palace Green library search room.

Related material - elsewhere

Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York Prior to 1858 probate matters concerning the estates of deceased persons holding property in more than one diocese were dealt with by either the Prerogative Court of York (PCY), if the property lay entirely within the Northern Province of the Church of England, or the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC), for estates situated in the Southern Province of the Church of England or scattered throughout the country. The records of the PCY are in the Borthwick Institute for Archives.
Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, University of York: Durham University Library holds a bound photocopy of a manuscript “Index of York wills [in the Borthwick Institute] probably relating to Hexham & Hexhamshire [in Northumberland], 1688-1745, 1746-1799”. This index and its introduction were originally prepared by the late Dr. K. Mitchell (died 1994) and the introduction was updated by the staff of the Borthwick Institute in March 1994. A microfiche copy of the index (issued in 1994) is available from the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society. (For Hexham and Hexhamshire wills see Administrative etc. history).
The National Archives, Kew The records of the PCC (see above under Borthwick Institute) are in the National Archives. Durham University Library holds copies of various published indexes of PCC wills etc.
Wills from the Commonwealth period, during which ecclesiastical courts were abolished and there was briefly a centralised system of testamentary jurisdiction for the whole country under a Court of Civil Commission. There are printed indexes to Commonwealth wills in the Index Library series. Durham University Library holds a typescript index of Commonwealth wills for Northumberland and Co. Durham, 1649-1660, compiled in 1909 for J.W. Robinson by Mrs. Trentham, with additions by R.H. Leighton.
Cumbria Record Office Howard of Naworth Papers, volume 44/16 (temporary DUL reference) contains copies of “manorial wills” for Cumberland, c.1839-1866. These are copies of wills proved in various registries which contain references to properties within the Howard manors, chiefly in the Barony of Gilsland.

Bibliography

A bibliography, with links to online full texts where available, is held on our North East Inheritance project pages.

Catalogue

Original wills and associated documents
Reference: DPR1/1
Dates of creation: 1540-1857
Extent: 137 metres
Original wills, filed by year of probate (using mainly old-style years pre-1752). Within each year the wills are arranged according to the surname of the testator. Filed with the wills, in cases where they survive, are inventories of the deceased person's goods (until about the 1720s only), and executors' accounts (mainly for the 16th century, in some other cases accounts are written at the end of the inventory). Other miscellaneous documents such as renunciations or commissions etc are also occasionally found with the wills, although many such documents are stored with the executors' bonds within DPR1/3 below.
In addition to the wills proved in Durham, this series includes any inventories or accounts that survive, where these were originally associated with administration bonds (for those who died intestate). In these cases, the administration bonds themselves were filed in a separate sequence, now under DPR1/3 below.
The wills, inventories and other documents within this series are listed within separate online files as follows (based on the dates of probate or administration), though for most purposes a search of the North East Inheritance database will be more helpful.
16th century wills
1600-1625 wills
1626-1650 wills
1651-1680 wills
1681-1699 wills
1700-1725 wills
1726-1750 wills
1751-1775 wills
1776-1799 wills
1800-1810 wills
1811-1820 wills
1821-1830 wills
1831-1840 wills
1841-1850 wills
1851-1857 wills (up to 1857 - no wills appear to have been proved during the first half of January 1858)


Will registers
Reference: DPR1/2
Dates of creation: 1527-1858 (mainly 1550s-1858 with gaps, especially during 17th century)
Extent: 6 metres
Volumes (except as stated), containing registered copies of wills proved in the diocese of Durham. In addition to copies of wills the registers up to the early 17th century also contain copies of some inventories, and also grants of administration. Earlier registers each cover a span of years but from the mid-1820s there is generally one register per year. The date spans refer to the date, or assumed date, of the grants of probate and administration for each deceased person whose documents are transcribed into the register, rather than to the date of the creation of the original documents themselves. There are indications that the registers were occasionally compiled some months or even years after probate or administration had been granted. Within each register the contents are usually arranged chronologically according to the date of probate of the will. A record's presence in a particular register can usually be taken as a guide to a probate or administration date, and exact dates can often be found in surviving probate act books (DPR1/4 below). The registers include copies of some wills etc of which the originals no longer survive.
Language:  Mainly English, with some Latin up to 1730s
Many probate registers have been indexed by names of testators, either by contemporary ecclesiatical court officers or by their civil probate court successors for business purposes. All the entries within the registers are included within the North East Inheritance database online, excepting entries from DPR1/2/1-7 (to 1613) which were excluded from the initial database but should be added during 2011/12. A card index within the Palace Green library search room includes entries within these early registers.
Detailed lists of the contents of the registers can be found in the following catalogues
Durham will registers 1-29
Durham will registers 30-49
Durham will registers 50-63
though for most purposes a search of the North East Inheritance database will prove more useful.
Not all the volumes are numbered on their spines. The remaining volumes were numbered in 2003, prior to their digitisation by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU).

DPR1/2/1   1526/7-1578
Registered wills date chiefly from the 1550s, but including the following earlier items:
f.47r: will of Sir Thomas Foster, 1526/7
f.29r-v: will of John Hedworth, 1534/5
f.32: will of Henry Pattinson, 1546

Index at f.95. Foliated as 96ff., but really 97 ff. as 46 occurs twice.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 105, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/2   1561-1567
Indexed at end of following volume, DPR1/2/3. The index refers to the old foliation in red ink at the top right corner of each sheet, not to the more recent pencil foliation. When this volume was foliated the number 70 was not used.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 105, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/3   1567-1571
Indexed at end (with preceding volume). The index refers to the old foliation in red ink at the top right corner of each sheet, not to the more recent pencil foliation. When this volume was foliated the numbers 35-36, 222 and 254 were not used. Folio 206 is a stub.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 106, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/4   1571-1583

Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 106, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/4A   1573-1584
This item consists of 26 unbound folios in a slip-case, all(?) relating to Northumberland.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 106, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/5   1577-1580

Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 106, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/6   1580-1614
There is an index to this volume at ff.274-286. When this volume was foliated the numbers 77 and 273 were not used.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 107, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/7   1586-1613
Indexed at ff. ii - iv. Folio 273 is a stub. When this volume was foliated the numbers 311-318 and 352 were not used.
Previously mis-numbered with the series of act books under the reference DPR1/4/5.
Microfilm available for consultation or copying (ref 5TC 107, positive in Palace Green library search room)
DPR1/2/8   1665-1670
Indexed at ff.233-235. When this volume was foliated the number 148 was not used.
DPR1/2/9   1670-1675
Indexed at ff. i - iii. Wrongly labelled 1668-1684 on spine.
DPR1/2/10   1707-1708
Indexed at ff. i - xx (booklet in pocket inside front cover) and at ff. xxi - xxii. The index is foliated and the volume paginated.
DPR1/2/11   1724-1725
Pagination starts at 142 (presumably continued from that of a previous volume, which no longer survives), and continues to 400, with numbers 212, 233 and 277 not used. Indexed at ff. vi - xi (damaged) and (a replacement) at ff. xiii - xix.
DPR1/2/12   1725-1729
When this volume was paginated the numbers 341-390 were repeated by mistake following on from the original p.390 (second sequence now 341 bis - 390 bis), and numbers 188, 191-199, 277, 291-299, 344-353 (first sequence), 366 (first sequence), 477 not used. Indexed at pp.622-628.
DPR1/2/13   1729-1735
Indexed at pp. 875-894. There is another index at pp. 895-896, some of which is a copy of parts of the above index (M - O), the rest of which (A - F) concerns 'Commandments' and does not appear to relate to this volume. When this volume was paginated the numbers 81, 101, 560-599 and 769 were not used.
DPR1/2/14   1735-1737
Modern typescript index at ff. i - v. This refers to the pencil foliation. There are also remnants of an earlier incomplete ink pagination, apparently continued from the pagination of a previous volume. Folio 59 wrongly placed in front of folio 58 during rebinding in 1975. Wrongly labelled 1735-1736 on spine.
At one point, but probably not always, the sheets in this volume were bound with those in DPR1/2/14A. The original volume was divided in two and rebound as two volumes in 1975.
DPR1/2/14A   1737-1742
There are two sets of paginations and the older set is divided into two sequences. Modern typescript index at ff. i - xxiii, referring to the old paginations. For the year 1737 the pages were formerly numbered and dated with the year in ink (1737 pages 1-148), to which page numbers have now been added in pencil (pages 1-148). For the subsequent years 1738-1742 the pages were formerly numbered and dated with the year in ink (1738 etc. pages 1-495), to which page numbers have now been added in pencil (pages 149-642). In the old pagination, page 515 is repeated once. In the new pagination page 180 occurs three times.
DPR1/2/14B   1734 and 1750-1752
Indexed at pp. iii - iv, covering 1734 entries only. When this volume was paginated the number 124 was not used.
Three bifolia apparently from a register covering 1744 are kept within the series of original wills and inventories, where they are listed as DPR/I/1/1744/S17/1-6.
For registered copies of some wills made or proved in 1752 and one will made in 1757 see the final section of DDR/EJ/FAC/1/1, the register of faculties for 1767-1792 (pp. 1 rev. - 18 rev.).
DPR1/2/14C   1759
Indexed at pp. 162-167. When this volume was paginated the numbers 155-159 were not used.
DPR1/2/15   1760
Indexed at pp. 172-178.
DPR1/2/16   1761
Indexed at pp. 167-170.
DPR1/2/17   1767
In the most recent ink foliation (which was intended to correct the repetition of some numbers in the previous foliation) there is a gap (numbers 181-188 not used), but there was no gap in the previous ink foliation (present folio 180 was previous folio 175 [repeated] and present folio 189 was previous folio 176 [repeated]). This item consists of unbound folios in a slip-case.
DPR1/2/18   1769
Indexed at ff. 130v-131v.
DPR1/2/19   1770
Modern typescript index at ff. i - vi.
DPR1/2/20-22 (not used)
There are no surviving probate registers numbered 20 to 22.
DPR1/2/23   1774-1775
Indexed at pp. 637-640.
DPR1/2/24   1776-1778 (surnames A-K only)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only (A-K), and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Indexed (separately for each year, arranged in the same way) at pp. 661-669. The pagination has been altered considerably in parts (in ink) but the index refers to the final ink pagination. When this volume was paginated the numbers 330-339 were not used.
DPR1/2/25   1778 (surnames L to Y) and 1781 (surnames A to part W)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Indexed (separately for each year, arranged in the same way) at pp. 645-653 (with copy/draft index as loose booklet at pp. 655-666).
DPR1/2/26   1781 (surnames part W only) and 1784 (surnames A to P)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Indexed (for whole volume, arranged in the same way) at pp. 547-556.
DPR1/2/27   1784 (surnames R-Y) and 1787 (surnames A-K)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically (with three 'W' wills for 1784 at p.554-555). Indexed at pp. 556-561, including reference number of bond associated with each will.
DPR1/2/28   1787, 1791, 1826 (sede vacante)
This register contains copies of wills proved in sede vacante years (during the periods between the death of a bishop and the consecration of his successor). Indexed at pp.xv-xvi. The entries are arranged alphabetically only by initial letter of the surname and thereafter presumably chronogically.
DPR1/2/29   1787 (surnames L-W) and 1790 (surnames A-J)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. at pp. 560-564 (with copy or draft as loose booklet, p.568-575). Pagination has been altered considerably in the latter part of the volume (in ink) but the index refers to the final ink pagination. When this volume was paginated the number 406 was not used.
DPR1/2/30   1790 (surnames K-W) and 1793 (surnames A-C)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Indexed (separately for each year, arranged in the same way) at pp. 553-558. Pagination has been altered in the latter part of the volume (in ink) but the index refers to the final ink pagination.
DPR1/2/31   1793 (surnames D-Y) and 1795 (surnames A-H)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Indexed (separately for each year, arranged in the same way) at pp. 559-563 (with copy or draft as loose booklet, p.i-vi). Pagination has been altered in the latter part of the volume (in ink) but the index refers to the final ink pagination.
DPR1/2/32   1795 (surnames (J-Y) and 1797 (surnames A-D)
Items are arranged first by year, then within each year alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Not indexed. When this volume was paginated the numbers 190-199 were not used, and 337-346 were wrongly repeated between pages 346 and 347: they have been renumbered in pencil as pages 346A-346J.
DPR1/2/32A   1800 (surnames A-B)
Modern typescript index at p.i-iii.
DPR1/2/33   Jan 1821-May 1822
Apparently arranged chiefly according to date of probate. At pp. i - xxxii is a loose booklet containing (pp. i - xxii) an index to the 1822 entries in this volume only. When this volume was paginated the number 188 was not used, and numbers 411-412 were wrongly numbered 410-411: these have been renumbered in pencil as pages 411-412.
DPR1/2/34   May 1822-Dec 1823
Apparently arranged chiefly according to date of probate. Not indexed. In the original ink pagination numbers 504-505 were wrongly numbered 503-504: these have been renumbered in pencil as 504-505. Similarly page numbers 534-535 were wrongly numbered 533-534 and have been renumbered in pencil as 534-535; and page numbers 578-579 were wrongly repeated following page 579 and have been renumbered in pencil as 579A-579B.
DPR1/2/35   Jan 1824-Dec 1825
Apparently arranged chiefly according to date of probate. Indexed at p.1075-1081.
DPR1/2/36   1825 (surnames E-Y)
Apparently arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only, and then, within each initial letter, presumably chronologically. Not indexed (but see preceding volume). Wrongly labelled 1825 D-Z
DPR1/2/37   1826
Wills are registered in two sections, in each case being arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only:
p.1-103: surnames M-R
p.105-1029: surnames A-Y (including M-R)

DPR1/2/38   1827
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only.
DPR1/2/39   1828
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only. Not indexed. In the original ink pagination of this volume the pages 584-751 were wrongly numbered 484-651 (so numbers 484-583 were repeated): these have now been renumbered in pencil as 584-751.
DPR1/2/40   1829
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only. Indexed at p.v-xxx. When this volume was paginated the page numbers 293, 395 and 457-466 were not used, and when bound the sheet numbered 565-566 was wrongly placed in front of instead of behind the sheet numbered 563-564.
DPR1/2/41   1830
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only. Indexed at p.iii-xvii. When this volume was paginated the numbers 313-317 were not used.
DPR1/2/42   1831
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of the surname only. Indexed at p.iii-xxviii.
DPR1/2/43   1832
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. The volume is paginated in ink up to page 600 and thereafter in pencil. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at pp.785-790, using the final pagination of the volume. In the original pencil pagination pages 601-622 were wrongly numbered 501-522 (subsequently renumbered as 601-622). Similarly pages 630-642 were wrongly numbered 650-662 (renumbered as 630-642), and pages 770-779 were wrongly numbered 780-789 (renumbered as 770-779).
DPR1/2/44   29 Dec 1832 and 1833
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate, with a loose insert at p.658-673 containing, in random order, copies of wills proved ca.April 1833 - July 1833 which had been omitted from the main body of the volume. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames, but including the wills at p.658-673) at p.iv-viii. When this volume was paginated the number 625 was not used.
DPR1/2/45   1834
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.v-ix.
DPR1/2/46   1835-1836
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. A partial index is at p.v-xii (as loose booklet, covering p.1-516 only, by initial letter only of surnames and without giving page numbers).
DPR1/2/47   Jan 1837-May 1838
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.913-921.
A loose sheet containing probate acts 5 September [1724] - 28 September [1724] was found between pages 912 and 913 of DPR1/2/47 in December 2003, and identified as containing the missing pages 15-16 from DPR1/4/19, the Durham Probate act book for 1724-1735. It has been restored to its correct place in that volume.
DPR1/2/48   May 1838-Apr 1839
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. 'Draft index' (by initial letter only of surnames) on loose sheets at p.v-xii, and contents list on loose sheets at p.xiii-xx.
DPR1/2/49   Apr 1839-June 1840
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.xxv-xxxiii, with [draft] on loose sheets at p.v-xvi, and contents list on loose sheets at p.xvii-xxiv.
DPR1/2/50   June 1840-Dec 1841
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.v-xiv, with draft on loose sheets at p.831-838, and contents list on loose sheets at p.839-846.
DPR1/2/51   1842
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.v-x, with draft on loose sheets at p.595-602, and draft contents list on loose sheets at p.603-610.
DPR1/2/52   1843-1844
Apparently arranged chiefly (but not strictly) according to date of probate. Indexed (by initial letter only of surnames) at p.v-xvi.
DPR1/2/53   1845
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname (then by date of probate). Indexed (in the same order) at p.v-x, with [draft] on loose sheets at p.695-702.
DPR1/2/54   1846
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname (then by date of probate). Indexed (in the same order) at p.v-xi.
DPR1/2/55   1847
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname (then by date of probate). Indexed (in the same order) at p.v-xi.
DPR1/2/56   1848 (surnames A-Y) and 1849 (surnames A-B, plus C to May only)
Arranged in two sections (each by initial letter of surname, then by date of probate), viz:
p.1-738 (1848, A-Y)
p.753-864 (1849 A-B for whole year, then C for January to May only)
The original ink pagination ends on p. 287 but has been continued to end of volume in pencil (cancelling earlier pagination for 1849 entries only, which started with 1 on p.753 and continued into the next volume). Not indexed. Wrongly labelled Feb 1848-May 1849 on spine.
DPR1/2/57   1849 (surnames C for May-December only, and D-Y all year) and 1850 (surnames A-P all year, and R for January to November only)
Arranged in two sections (each by initial letter of surname, then by date of probate), viz:
p.1-525 (1849, C for May-Dec then D-Y whole year)
p.529-974 (1850, A-P whole year, then R for Jan-Nov)
New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed. Wrongly labelled May 1849-Nov 1850 on spine.
DPR1/2/58   1850 (surnames R for December only, and S-Y all year), 1851, January-April 1852
Arranged in three sections (the first two by initial letter of surname then date of probate, the third solely by date of probate), viz:
p.1-186 (1850, R for Dec, then S-Y whole year)
p.187-810 (1851)
p.811-1012 (1852, Jan-Apr)
New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed. When this volume was paginated the numbers 890-899 were not used. Wrongly labelled Dec 1850-Apr 1852 on spine.
DPR1/2/59   April 1852-December 1853
Arranged chiefly by date of probate. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed. When this volume was paginated the numbers 462-469 were not used.
DPR1/2/60   1854
Arranged chiefly by date of probate. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed.
DPR1/2/61   1855
Arranged chiefly by date of probate. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed.
DPR1/2/62   January-12 December 1856
Arranged chiefly by date of probate. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier pagination.
DPR1/2/63   11 December 1856-9 January 1858
Arranged chiefly by date of probate. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier (year-based) paginations. Not indexed. New pencil pagination throughout volume, cancelling earlier pagination (continued from previous volume).
Probate bonds
Reference: DPR1/3
Dates of creation: 1555-1556 (two only) and 1565-1858 (with gaps, especially in 16th-17th centuries)
Extent: 54 metres The bonds for each year are in separate numerical sequences which were devised before the deposit of the material with the university; sometimes but not always these run chronologically. From 1739 onwards the bonds are divided into two numerical sequences for each year, one consisting of administration bonds (relating to the estates of intestates) and the other primarily of will bonds (relating to executorships). Filed with the will bonds are also some tuition and curation bonds (relating to the appointment of guardians for minors), and a few non-probate (chiefly sequestration) bonds.
No probate bonds survive for the following [old-style] years: 1540-1554, 1557-1564, 1567, 1569-1575, 1578-1582, 1584, 1588, 1590-1591, 1594-1596, 1600, 1606, 1609-1612, 1614-1615, 1622, 1626-1628, 1634-1635, 1646-1647, 1650-1659, 1661-1663, 1665, 1669, 1672, 1678-1679, 1682.
Only a few probate bonds survive for the following [old-style] years: 1555-1556, 1568, 1592-1593, 1597-1599, 1601-1602, 1604-1605, 1607-1608, 1613, 1617, 1620-1621, 1623, 1631-1633, 1636, 1641, 1643, 1660, 1666, 1668, 1683-1684.
The probate bonds within this series are listed in a chronological series
1555-1675 bonds
1676-1705 bonds
1706-1725 bonds
1726-1749 bonds
1750-1785 bonds
1786-1819 bonds
1820-1839 bonds
1840-1858 bonds
though for most purposes a search of the North East Inheritance database will be more helpful. In particular, abodes of the deceased are frequently not stated within the above lists although included in the NEI database. However, the lists include entries for the various illegible fragments and the few non-probate items found within the series.
Although most of the probate bonds from the Bishop of Durham's Allertonshire peculiar are filed in the main series of probate bonds there is also a separate small batch of such bonds, 1732-1768, among the Durham Diocesan Records at DDR/P/ALP/1. One earlier Allertonshire bond for 1555 is kept with the 1555 wills.
The non-probate material chiefly concerns sequestrations of benefice income (granted to churchwardens during vacancies). See the Durham Diocesan Records for other sequestration records, and for background information.

Probate act books
Reference: DPR1/4
Dates of creation: 1571-1577, 1577-1587, 1598, 1599-1653, 1660-1668, 1724-1735, 1776-1778, 1780-1800 and 1809-1858
Extent: 2 metres
Volumes recording grants of probate and administration by the Durham ecclesiastical (consistory) court, and instance and office testamentary business, with many gaps in the series. They also contain acts of the court when sitting in various places outside the consistory court and acts commissioned by the court and enacted by surrogates. Also a box of unbound consistory court acts, dealing almost entirely with probate matters, 1850-1859. At certain periods separate probate act books were not kept; instead acts relating to testamentary matters were recorded in other volumes among the Durham Diocesan Records, chiefly in the main series of consistory court act books at DDR/EJ/CCA.
Language:  In Latin until 26 March 1733, thereafter in English
Many of the act books have been indexed, either by contemporary ecclesiatical court officers or by their civil probate court successors for business purposes. Additionally some typescript indexes have been created by Durham University archivists, which are kept on the search room shelves (at ASCRef Z DPR) as noted below: these all index both deceased persons and places within a single sequence. Finally the North East Inheritance (NEI) database contains some references to the probate act books, linking these acts to other probate records in the DPR1 collection, although none of the act books are comprehensively indexed within the NEI database.
Many consistory court act books among the Durham Diocesan Records contain details of the the proving of wills similar to the information recorded in this series. In particular volumes DDR/EJ/CCA/1/16, 18 and 20, 1666-1734, relate solely to testamentary business. A consolidated list of volumes containing records of probate grants and administrations is in the Palace Green library search room at ASCRef Z DPR.

DPR1/4/1   1571-1577
Manuscript index at f.92v-93r, 94r-v. Folios 72-73 wrongly bound between f.69 and f.71.
DPR1/4/2   1577-1582
Manuscript index at f.295r-299v, and separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. Folios 24-25 missing (probably since 1817, when Raine missed f.24), folio 182 wrongly bound between f.225 and f.226.
DPR1/4/3   1582-1585
As well as routine probate business, this act book includes some other general consistory court business, some possibly arising from visitations, as follows.
f.55: cause against Elizabeth Wright and Thomas Dighton, both of Allertonshire
f.55r: list of churchwardens in Yorkshire peculiars, May 1583
f.64v: ? disputed probate cause, William Lawson and J Harle against Margaret Kitchen alias Raines
f.65r: patent of apparitor general re-granted (John Roddam)
f.68r: stray from Hexhamshire (York diocese), viz will of John Erington of Lynell [Linnels?], Hexham
f.92r: list of Crayke churchwardens and moral causes
f.103r-v: defamation cause, ? Newcastle
f.103v-104r: Longhorsely living
f.119r: Billingham sequestration
f.121v, 123r: matrimonial causes, Sockburn and Newcastle

The probate business is not written up in strict date order, several entries are duplicated and many headings are incomplete or altered.
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR, together with introduction on the officials involved and probate procedures. Folios 133-154 missing.
DPR1/4/4   1585-1587
[Incomplete] index at ff.134r-140r. Folios 141-147 blank.
A fragment from a probate act book sede vacante for September-November 1588 survives among the J.J.Howe collection in Durham Cathedral Library, referenced as JJH 8/1. A separate typescript index to this volume (people and places together) is at ASCRef Z DPR.
DPR1/4/5 (reference not used)
The volume previously referenced under this number has been identified as a will register, and is now available under reference DPR1/2/7 above.
DPR1/4/6   1591-1595
Damaged and incomplete index at f.iv-vi. Includes caveats at f.ii-iii.
DPR1/4/7   1594-April 1598
Indexed at f.93B-93K, covering also first section of following volume (to f.261: numbers in the index indicate that this particular foliation originally continued into the 290s). In addition the index seems to cover yet another sequence of folios, running from ca.150s-290s (and possibly one other further series) but these folios have not yet been identified (possibly DPR1/4/9, or may not survive).
DPR1/4/8   April 1598-September 1598; c.December 1624-January 1630; c.December 1633-May 1636; c.[1632?]; c.1634; 1636; 1647; 1661
This volume contains five sections:
f.218-261, April 1598 - September 1598 (continued from and indexed within preceding volume, qv; f.260 missing, f.261 restored ca.1979-1980).
f.1-224, ca.December 1624 - January 1630
f.225-281, ca.December 1633 - May 1636
f.282v, [1632?]
f.283-290, various dates, including ca.1634, 1636, 1647 and 1661 (thought to be possibly Yorkshire cases only)

Separate card index in Palace Green library search room.
Being conserved and rebound, [2010-2012]
DPR1/4/9   June 1599 - March1607
Conserved and rebound, [2000x2009]. ? Excluded from digitisation project. Fragments included with volume, belong with either this or the next volume.
DPR1/4/10   1607-1614
Conserved and rebound as two volumes (10A-B), [2000x2009], viz:
10A: f.i-xii and f.1-208, for 1607-May 1611
10B: f.209-416, for June 1611-1614
? Excluded from digitisation project
DPR1/4/11   September 1614-December 1619
Caveats at f.ii-iv, probate acts f.1-348. Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR.
Binding: Annotation “Raine 181[7?]” on f.ii recto (under repair flap) may indicate when volume originally bound. Rebound ? mid/late 20th century.
DPR1/4/12A   1620-1621
This volume contains only Northumberland Probate Acts, plus one reference to a marriage licence at f.74. Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR.
DPR1/4/13A   1621-1624
This volume contains chiefly Northumberland Probate Acts, but also a few other probate and non-probate items. Damaged and incomplete index at f.i-xii (pages folded to fit within binding). Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR.
DPR1/4/12   1620-1625
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. Separate card index in Palace Green Library search room. Last folios fragile and unable to be examined until conserved.
DPR1/4/13   c.1630-1633
Damaged index at f.i-xxii (photocopy available at ASCRef Z DPR). Apparently originally two sections:
f.1-126, ca.1629/30-December 1631 (smaller pages)
f.127-265, ca.December 1631-December 1633 (f.138A-B ? not probate)

DPR1/4/14   ca.April 1635-March 1638 and 1646
Fragile parchment index loose at back of volume is unfit for opening until conserved. Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR, which uses the original foliation as described below.
The contents of this volume are at present bound in a jumbled order and may not all have come from the same original foliation sequence. Most but not all of the folios bear their original foliation numbers. Other folio numbers have been deduced from the entries in the original parchment index. There are many gaps in the foliation sequence. The present order of the folios is as follows: [80-81], 82-87, [88-89], 96-127, [127A], 161, 219, [204], 205-213, 190-193, 224-233, 194-203, 182-187, 234-324, 336-342, Blank sheet, 330-335, 20 (dated 1646), 22 (dated 1646), 188, [189].
An analysis of the entries indicates that the volume should be read in the following order:
f.80-89: Apr-May 1635
f.96-127: July 1635-Feb 1636
f.127A: May 1636
f.161: May [?1636]
f.182-187: Sep-Oct 1636
f.188-189: [? Oct 1636]
f.190-193: Nov 1636
f.194-203: Nov 1636-Jan 1637
f.204-213: Jan 1637
f.219: Feb 1637
f.224-233: Feb-Mar 1637
f.234-324: Mar-Dec 1637
f.330-335: Feb 1638
f.336-342: Feb-Mar 1638
f.20-22: July-Aug 1646

DPR1/4/15   1638-1644
Indexed at f.169-179 (photocopy available at ASCRef Z DPR, ? not comprehensive). Entries in this volume have not always been enrolled in strict chronological order.
DPR1/4/16   April 1645-1650 and 1660-1665
20th-century pencil pagination runs throughout volume, as follows:
p.3-179 (original ink foliation 1-89): 1645-1650
p.180-490: 1660-1665 (p.259 occurs twice)
Volume originally finished at p.482: loose sheets containing pages 483-490 were presumably identified as belonging to this volume after it had been rebound [in the second half of the 20th century].
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR, using the pencil pagination. This index did not originally cover the loose pages 483-490 but manuscript entries (personal names only) for these pages have been added. Partial manuscript index for C-E and J-W at p.1-2, covering 1645-1650 only (using ink foliation).
DPR1/4/17   1645-1653
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. Folios 1-17 and 20-22 are missing.
DPR1/4/18   November 1660 - October 1668
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. When paginated the number 146 was not used.
DPR1/4/19   1724-1735
Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR (omitting entries on loose p.15-16, see under DPR1/2/47 above). In the original ink pagination the page between 94 and 95 was wrongly numbered 93 (now renumbered 94A), and 146 was used twice (now 146 and 146A).
DPR1/4/20   January 1776-January 1778
Records of grants of administration and tuitions only. Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. Labelled on front 'No.1'.
DPR1/4/20A   1780-1790
Records of grants of administration and tuitions only. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/21   January 1791-December 1800
Records of grants of administration and tuitions only. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/22   November 1809-November 1813
Records of grants of administration and tuitions only. Not indexed. Folios 5v-8v, 50r-53r, 68r-80r blank.
DPR1/4/23   1814-1821
Records of grants of administration and a few tuitions only, on printed proformas. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/24   1822-1832
Records of grants of administration only, on printed proformas. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/25   1833-1842
Records of grants of administration only, on printed proformas. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/26   1843-1853
Records of grants of administration only, on printed proformas. Not indexed.
DPR1/4/27   1835-1845
Most entries relate to appointments of guardians for minors, with some grants of probate and administration. Separate typescript index at ASCRef Z DPR. List of names (possibly of clerks or registrars) inside back cover, all written in same hand.
DPR1/4/28   January 1850-January 1858
Box of unbound acts, chiefly probate, of the Durham consistory court (found in the series DPR1/5 (commissions etc) and transferred to DPR1/4 November 2003). Arranged in date order and numbered December 2003: pencil numbers at the bottom of the first sheet of each item indicate the order in which the items were originally filed, but should not be used for citation purposes. Not indexed.
Commissions, monitions and citations
Reference: DPR1/5
Dates of creation: 1650-1732 and 1753-1857 (with gaps)
Extent: 21 metres
Any surviving commissions etc. for the pre-1650 period and for 1733-1752 will be found with the series of original wills. These commissions etc. were generated during the court proceedings relating to the grant of probate and administration. The pre-1797 documents are chiefly in chronological order but after that date most of them are unsorted. Commissions are authorisations to carry out particular acts, usually administration of an oath to an executor or administrator of an estate. Monitions are usually general summonses to kindred or others with an interest in a will or administration of an estate. Citations are summonses usually to a specific person, sometimes to anyone concerned, to appear in an ecclesiastical court for some specific purpose.

Dean and Chapter of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire peculiar
Reference: DPR1/6
Dates of creation: 1670-1808
Extent: 2.5 metres
Two series of probate records relating to places in the Dean and Chapter of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire peculiar, as follows:
The documents within this series are listed within a separate online file, though for most purposes a search of the North East Inheritance database will generally be more helpful.

Alphabet books
Reference: DPR1/7
Dates of creation: 1540-1858
Extent: 0.5 metre
Manuscript lists of names of deceased persons, arranged by initial letter of surnames (and within each letter, in yearly groups of wills and administration bonds). In the first instance only original wills and bonds were listed, but some later annotations indicate when an inventory survives and, for certain periods, the deceased person's place of abode, when this can be ascertained. Note that some of the documents mentioned within these lists, particularly bonds, no longer survive.
Except as otherwise stated in the list below, these volumes relate to wills proved and administrations granted within the bishop of Durham's consistory court or registry (including wills from the bishop's Allertonshire peculiar, but excluding those from the Dean and Chapter's peculiar).
Copies can be made from microfilms of DPR1/7/1-5 (ref 5TC 192-196), and these films are also available for consultation in various local libraries and repositories, including Cleveland Archives Department, Middlesbrough and Newcastle upon Tyne Central Library. Copies are also held by the Society of Genealogists in London and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU).
Digital photographs of DPR1/7/1-5 are also held by the GSU. These are available for use within Durham University only, but for all practical purposes as a finding aid are superceded by the online North East Inheritance database.

DPR1/7/1   1540-1599
DPR1/7/2   1600-1660
DPR1/7/3   1660-1786
DPR1/7/4   1787-1831
DPR1/7/5   1832-1858
DPR1/7/6   1832-1839
Duplicate entries as DPR1/7/5
DPR1/7/7   1666-1845
This volume lists probate records from the Dean and Chapter of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire peculiar.
Miscellaneous fragments and labels
Reference: DPR1/8
Extent: 2 metres