Warrants used to authorise the issue of either a common form grant of administration, or a grant of probate and a commission or requisition to swear an executor, where the executor was unable to come to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to swear the oath. The principal item of information in warrants, which is not generally to be found in other Prerogative Court of Canterbury records, is the date of death of the testator or intestate.
The warrant states that the aspirant administrator, or a proctor acting for the aspirant administrator or for an executor, appeared, and sought either a grant of administration, or a grant of probate and a commission to swear an executor.
A surrogate of the judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury wrote a fiat on the foot of the warrant authorising the issue of the grant of administration or the issue of the grant of probate and the commission. Where the administrator was a Quaker the warrant will bear the administrator's signature, as from 1696 Quakers were allowed to make solemn declarations rather than swear oaths.
The dates of death of testators are given on warrants regularly only from the mid eighteenth century. Where the testator's or intestate's estate was too small for the executor or administrator to be charged fees this fact is noted at the foot of the warrant, generally by the use of the term pauper.