The outstanding Salisbury Diocesan Probate collection contains 105,000 wills and inventories dating from Tudor to Victorian times (1540-1858). This unique collection covers the whole of Wiltshire and Berkshire, parts of Dorset and Uffculme in Devon. The collection is one of the finest in the country, and an invaluable source for historians.
The Wiltshire Wills Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund , has made sure the documents are cared for better than ever in the future. They have all been catalogued onto a computer database, and they have been flattened and re-packaged, repaired where necessary, and digitised. A state of the art "leaf-casting" machine has been used to repair damaged documents. A paper pulp mixture is drained through the holes in the will. The pulp fills in the gaps and, as it dries, paper patches form in the document.
The digitisation of the wills has been completed with the help of Ancestry and photographs of the wills became available via Ancestry on 30 January 2018. Pleas note that the previous Wiltshire Wills website will no longer be available as of spring 2018.
We can supply free access to Ancestry at WSHC and at Wiltshire and Swindon libraries. Many libraries elsewhere in the UK also can supply free access to Ancestry. If you are unable to access Ancestry please contact us and we can supply printouts from the digital images, at a charge. See our charges here. Please note that we cannot supply digital images outside Ancestry for contractual reasons. Please also note that we are no longer giving access to the original records (except in very exceptional circumstances) to help preserve them since they are extremely fragile in many cases.
For more information about the usefulness of wills please see our Wiltshire Wills blog
Download our guide to probate records in Wiltshire here