Reference code(s): GB 0210 PROBBR
Title: Welsh Probate Records, Archdeaconry of Brecon
Short title: Brecon Probate Records
Dates of creation: 1543-1858 (mainly 1570-1653, 1660-1858)
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 20,272 items, 26 vols
Name of creator(s): Church of England. Archdeaconry of Brecon
Administrative and biographical history: In England and Wales prior to 12 January 1858, wills were proved and letters of administration granted in ecclesiastical courts, each having its own area of jurisdiction. Which court had jurisdiction in a particular case depended mainly on the place of death and the extent and location of the deceased's estate. The Archdeacon's Court of Brecon was responsible for probate and administration in the counties of Brecon, most of Radnor (except seven parishes), and parts of Monmouth (three parishes), Montgomery (two parishes) and Hereford (eight parishes). During the Commonwealth, 1653-1660, the Court of the Archdeaconry of Brecon ceased to function and the business of probate was undertaken by the Court of Civil Commission in London. Following the Restoration jurisdiction was reinstated in the church courts. In 1858 the responsiblity for probate was transferred from the ecclesiastical courts to a simpler system of civil probate registries.
Scope and content: 20,272 original wills, inventories, administration bonds and miscellaneous other probate records, 1557-1857 (mainly 1609-1653, 1660-1857) from parishes in Breconshire, Radnorshire, parts of Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire and Herefordshire, and stray items from other parishes in Wales and England; 26 vols register copy wills, 1543-1858 (mainly 1570-1589, 1694-1858); and four bundles of unproved wills (uncatalogued).
Language/script: English, small proportion of Welsh, small proportion of Latin pre-1733.
Physical characteristics and technical requirements: Some items damaged.
System of arrangement: Divided into original probate records arranged chronologically within the diocese, and further sub-divided by parish and surname; and register copy wills arranged chronologically by volume.
Conditions governing access: Public records. Some items unfit for production.
Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.
Finding aids: For searches of original probate records, 1660-1858: NLW, full catalogue online, or A2A website; hard copies of the indexes for the Archdeaconry of Brecon available as an Index to the Archdeaconry of Brecon Probate Records Vol. 1 Pre-1660 (Aberystwyth: NLW 1989) and unpublished Brecon Probate Indexes, 1660-1699, 1700-1749, 1750-1857. Abstracts and Indexes of Original Wills, Archdeaconry of Brecon, are available on microfiche, compiled by the Genealogical Society of Utah. For register copy wills: Brecon Probate Index Pre-1600 (Registers) (Aberystwyth: NLW 1983), and manuscript probate indexes, 1660-1857. One bundle of the unproved wills is covered by the last manuscript index, dated 1824-1858. Hard copies of the NLW indexes to original pre-1858 wills of the Archdeaconry of Brecon are held by Powys County Archives Office, The Family Records Centre, London, and the Society of Genealogists, London. N.B. For best results in personal name searches, possible alternative spellings of each name should be considered.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained.
Accruals: Accruals are not expected.
Archival history: In 1858 the earlier probate records from the Archdeacon's Court were transferred to the District Probate Registry at Hereford, where they remained until the closure of the latter in 1928. At that date they were removed to the Llandaf District Registry, whence they were conveyed to the National Library of Wales in 1945, in accordance with the Direction of the President of the Probate Division of the High Court of Justice.
Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by Llandaf District Probate Registry in 1945.
Related units of description: Register copy wills of the District Probate Registry of Hereford, 1858-1928, are held by NLW and by the Principal Registry of the Family Division, London. Some wills and administrations are included in the consistory court papers filed with the diocesan records of the Church in Wales, held at NLW. Other sources of probate records from Wales are the records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) and those of the Court of Civil Commission, available for consultation at The National Archives, Kew.
Publication note: Jones, Nansi C., Index to the Archdeaconry of Brecon Probate Records Vol. 1 Pre-1660 (Aberystwyth: NLW 1989); Jones, Nansi C., Brecon Probate Index Pre-1600 (Registers) (Aberystwyth: NLW 1983).
Note: Title derived from content of fonds.
Archivist's note: Compiled by Hilary A. Peters for the ANW project from the following sources: Jones, Nansi C., Index to the Archdeaconry of Brecon Probate Records Vol. 1 Pre-1660 (Aberystwyth: NLW 1989); Jones, Nansi C., Brecon Probate Index Pre-1600 (Registers) (Aberystwyth: NLW 1983); NLW, unpublished Brecon Probate Indexes, 1660-1857; NLW, information leaflet, Probate Records in the National Library of Wales (1993).
Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.
Date(s) of description: June 2006