Probate jurisdiction was changed by the Probate Act of 1857, which came into force in January 1858. The records are consequently divided into two sections:
- DPR1: pre-1858 probate records. Records of the pre-1858 probate jurisdictionadministered through the Bishop of Durham's consistory court, or by the commissary of the Dean and Chapter of Durham.
- DPR2: post-1857 probate records. Records of the post-1858 probate jurisdiction administered through the Durham District Probate Registry (part of the Court of Probate, later the Probate Division of the High Court).
The pre-1858 records (DPR1) relate to the area covered by the diocese of Durham, together with some areas over which either the Bishop or the Dean and Chapter of Durham had probate jurisdiction, viz:
- Northumberland(excluding Hexham and Hexhamshire pre-1837)
- County Durham
- Crayke (Yorkshire), pre-1837
- Northallerton and Allertonshire (Yorkshire), pre-1846
Further guidance on the pre-1858 probate records held, their geographical scope and administrative background, is available within the detailed DPR1 catalogues and at our North East Inheritance project website.
The post-1857 records (DPR2) relate to County Durham only. They exclude Gateshead and parts of South Tyneside after 1926.