Since 8th January 1858, Probate in England and Wales has been run by the Civil Authorities. Indexes to Grants of probate and letters of administration since 1858 are available at a number of institutions. The Family Records Centre for instance has fiche copies for the period 1858 to 1943. From 1944 onwards the indexes are available at First Avenue House, Holborn.
Millington Entries from the period 1858 to 1964 have been extracted. Search the index (not a full extract of wills).
Prior to 1858, the right to grant letters of probate was given to a complex hierarchy of ecclesiastical courts. Each bishop had their own diocesan court which awarded grants, although with the jursidiction of a Bishop there may well have been a number of so-called "Peculiars" which had the right to administer estates within their jurisdiction. Peculiars are sometimes vested in an Archdeaconry or even at the Parish level. Still more confusingly, some parishes jurisdiction was granted to other parishes some distance away.
Above the dicoesan courts sat the Archepiscopal courts, known as the Prerogative Courts of York (P.C.Y.) and Canterbury (P.C.C.) Those from Canterbury are being indexed and are being put on-line. Eventually these will be extracted and placed on this site.
Other courts that have been extracted (although they are not yet available on-line) include: