South Pennine Probate Archive

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More about South Pennine History Group

the archive

How to use the Archive

The archive has several features which make it easy to use. You can browse a map of the area to find records linked with particular places. You can browse indexes of places, people and subjects. You can perform a free-text search of the document texts. In all cases you can find and examine transcripts of the relevant documents. Glossaries explain the archaic words and phrases used in the documents.

Browse the archive shows the complete list of records. You can sort the list alphabetically to help you find records belonging to a particular township, person, or date period.  Alternatively, you can explore a map of the South Pennines to find the probate records of people linked with particular places.

Browse by area allows you to narrow down your search by specifying an area of interest, for example the Hebden Bridge area.  Alternatively, explore the map for records of people linked with particular places within the area. 

Browse by place contains a complete index of all the places mentioned in the documents.  You can then follow links to find the relevant documents which mention a particular place.

Browse by people contains a complete index of all people mentioned in the documents, not just those who wrote wills.  Again, you can follow links to find the relevant documents.

Browse by subject allows you to browse an index of the subjects which occur in the documents – not only things, like “butter bowl”, but concepts like “Monetary legacy, to wife”.  Again, following links, you can find the documents where a subject of interest is mentioned.

Search Here is a freetext search of the document transcripts.  Type in any word or phrase, to find records which contain the word or phrase.

Advanced Search allows you to enter any word (or words), and find documents which contain the word (or all of the words) entered, within the indexes for people, places and subjects.   In addition, you can narrow down your search by area, and by choosing probate records which contain only certain types of document

We also recommend you take a look at:

The Glossaries: the Glossary of Places provides grid references for places (where these are known) and any further information known about them; the Glossary of Terms gives definitions of terms in the documents which may be unfamiliar to you, such as “reckontree”, “turbary” or “copyhold”.

The Background: describes the historic background to how people made their wills and had them proved

The Area: gives a brief social and economic history of the South Pennine area, and a more detailed account for each of the areas whose probate documents feature on this website.

About the project: describes how the South Pennine Probate Archive was conceived and is developing; and should also answer your questions about the procedures we followed in transcribing and indexing the documents.

Finally, see

Links for other relevant useful websites

Publications for information about the publications of the members of South Pennine History Group

Contact us: We will be glad to receive your comments, questions, fresh information and even corrections.