Sealed Will in London for someone who died in Glasgow in 1936

Discussion in 'Wills & Probate' started by Mary Devine, May 23, 2018.

  1. Mary Devine

    Mary Devine New Member

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    Greetings everyone
    I'm new to the group and have a problem that I cant seem to solve. I have been discovering my ancestors for several years now and can't solve a puzzle. So maybe someone can enlighten me on English rules etc and shed some light on this issue.

    My Great, great grandmother - Sarah Elizabeth Jones (nee May) who was born in 1863 at East Bergholt, Suffolk, England and died in Glasgow on the 20th October 1936.

    Her husband was (as it turned out) a bit of a rouge who managed to hoodwink the wealthy of some of their wealth and die in 1904 ... leaving Sarah and his family (from a previous marriage) and Sarah's 3 children "dropped in the deep end" so to speak.

    There were quite a few properties at the end of the day (10 and counting in 1905) and a pay out to the family to get rid of them from Kent in 1917, so I know that Sarah would have left quite an estate as she had some fairly good business skills. Her 2 daughters married late and had no children and her son was shipped off to Australia at around 1909 where he married and had 3 children of his own.

    After the death of his wife in 1926 he surrendered his children to his deceased wife's family and disappeared until his death in 1959. He didn't do too well and basically lived like a pauper. His daughter, my grandmother, had nothing to do with him - hence the solving of the mystery.

    I'm just so curious as to this Sealed Will in London dated 30 January 1937.
    Was this sealed Will with a Solicitor of with a Government Department?
    Also stated on the Probate notice was "Confirmation of Marjorie Alice McKie and Stephen Cosh, Solicitor" - Marjorie was her daughter and I'm wondering if Marjorie and Stephen Cosh were Executors .. or not?

    How do get a copy of this Will as it might point to more information.
    If anyone can assist I would greatly appreciate it.
    Regards Mary Devine
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Northamptonshire, England.
    Hi Mary - welcome to the forum! :)

    You should be able to obtain a copy of the will by completing the form on the page here.

    According to, the possible reason for a sealed will is that a grant was issued to executor/s that have since passed away or are no longer able to act on behalf of the deceased.
    Ma-dotcom, GrannyBarb and Sis like this.
  3. Steve Bumstead

    Steve Bumstead Well-Known Member

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    North Devon, England
    Hi Mary and welcome to Top Dog C|:-)

  4. arthurk

    arthurk Well-Known Member

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    Cheshire, England
    Hi Mary, and welcome.

    The clue to this is in the England & Wales probate calendar (index) where you found the entry for Sarah. (For anyone looking, it's listed under "MAY or JONES" in 1937.) First, she died in Glasgow, and second, the use of the word 'Confirmation'.

    Although we're both part of the United Kingdom, England and Scotland have separate legal systems. Because Sarah died in Glasgow, her will would have needed to be proved in Scotland; and Confirmation is the Scottish legal term for what is known as Probate in England.

    It's quite common for people to leave assets in both England and Scotland, and in these cases, rather than obtaining probate in both countries, there is a system of 'sealing'. The probate/confirmation from one country is forwarded to the other, and the sealing is a kind of rubber-stamp exercise to enable the executors to deal with the assets in the other country with a minimum of fuss.

    The first time I came across this in my own research I rang the English probate registry to ask what records might be available, and they said there would be virtually nothing more than is in the index, so it really didn't seem worth applying for anything from England. All the interesting documents (will, inventory etc) would be held in Scotland, so I'd need to apply there.

    Unfortunately, the online Scottish probate indexes only include ones older than 1925. (These have been digitised and can be downloaded from Scotland's People.) For more recent ones you have to contact the National Records of Scotland.

    As you're in Australia, I don't suppose visiting their search room will be an option, but they do have a copying service. You can read more about this at

    They also have some guidance on wills and testaments, including a brief description of the sealing process, at
    Eve, Bonzo Dog, Half Hour and 5 others like this.
  5. PeterG

    PeterG Well-Known Member

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    Kent, UK
    It's the grant that is sealed, not the will.

    "Sealed" means that the grant has been embossed with the "seal" of the court thus making it official. An executor normally has to produce a sealed copy of the grant - not just a photocopy.
    Eve, arthurk, Half Hour and 3 others like this.

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