Probate before 1858
Prior to 1858, wills were proved in an ecclesiastical court. Which court dealt with a particular will depended on where property was held.
Parishes of the Church of England were grouped into archdeaconries, and a group of archdeaconries formed a diocese (ie the area of a bishop's jurisdiction). Each diocese belonged either to the ecclesiastical province of York or of Canterbury:
If property was owned in more than one archdeaconry in the same diocese, the will would be proved in the bishop's court, referred to as a Commissary Court.
If the property was owned in more than one diocese, the will would be proved in one of the two archbishops' prerogative courts. If the property were all within the province of York, probate would be dealt with by the Prerogative Court of York (PCY), otherwise by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). So if property were owned in both provinces, probate was dealt with by PCC, the senior court.
The archbishop of Canterbury was also bishop of the diocese of Canterbury, and the bishop's court for Canterbury was called the Court of the Commissary General. Similarly for the diocese of York, where the bishop's court was called the Consistery Court of York.
Some parishes were situated in one archdeaconry or diocese but subject to the jurisdiction of another court (that of archdeaconry, diocese, Dean & Chapter of a cathedral, or a local lord of the manor - manorial court). Such parishes were called peculiars. So if a person held property in a peculiar parish, the will may have been proved in the peculiar court of that parish (if the property were wholly within that parish), or the court of another jurisdiction (if some of the property were held elsewhere).
A peculiar court may be a: