England Court Records

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Court records will probably mention some of your ancestors as defendants, plaintiffs, jurors, or witnesses. Court records can establish family relationships and places of residence. They often provide occupations, descriptions of individuals, and other family information. They seldom provide birth, marriage, or death information.

Most researchers use court records after they have investigated other records. Court records tend to be difficult to use since few are indexed, the handwriting is hard to read, and they include unfamiliar legal terms. To interpret court records, you may need to consult a dictionary.

There are many English courts. Those described here (except for the Chancery Court and the Court of the Exchequer) generally pertain to the poorer classes. If your ancestor was wealthy, search the records described in the "Land and Property" section of this outline.

Quarter Session Courts

From the 16th century on, Quarter Session courts dealt with many issues, including crime, land, licensing, oaths of denization, militia, county rates, roads and bridges, taxes, religion, social welfare, lunatics, and so on. Many middle class and poor people are mentioned.

A more detailed discussion of these records is in:

Emmison, F. G., and Irvine Gray. County Records. Revised Edition. London, England: The Historical Association, 1973. (Family History Library book 942 H2ha no. 62 1973.)

A list of available records is in:

Gibson, J. S. W. Quarter Session Records for Family Historians: A Select List. Third Edition. Birmingham, England: Federation of Family History Societies Publications, Ltd., 1992. (Family History Library book 942 P23gjs 1992.)

The original records are in the respective county record offices. Copies of some Quarter Session records are in the Family History Library. They are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

ENGLAND, [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS

Manorial Courts

Records of these courts give information about the day-to-day life on a manor (an estate held by a lord), including petty crimes, land transfers, manorial appointments, customs, rental fees, and so on. The court regulated the responsibilities and interrelationship of the manorial lord, his steward and bailiff (law officer), and the village people. Manorial court records began in 1066 and ended in the early 1900s.

To find the name of the manor, or if there was a manor for the locality where your ancestor lived, use a gazetteer such as The Imperial Gazetteer (see England Gazetteers).

Manorial court records in England can be found in many different repositories. For more information on the location of manor records in the following counties, consult the Manorial Documents Register:

  • Cumberland
  • Hampshire (and the Isle of Wight)
  • Lancashire (north of Furness)
  • Norfolk
  • Surrey
  • Middlesex
  • Westmorland
  • Yorshire (all three Ridings)

Information is also accessible through the GENUKI Web site at: www.genuki.org.uk

If you do not have access to the Internet, or for counties other than those listed above you may write to the National Archives which maintains the register.

The Family History Library has some manorial court records. To find the records that are in the library, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

ENGLAND - COURT RECORDS

[COUNTY] - ENGLAND - COURT RECORDS

[PARISH] - [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS

[MANOR] - [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS

Bibliography

More detail is given in:

Park, Peter B. My Ancestors Were Manorial Tenants: How Can I Find Out More About Them? London, England: Society of Genealogists, 1994. (Family History Library book 942 D27pp.)

Ellis, Mary. Using Manorial Records. London, England: PRO Publications in association with The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1994. (Family History Library book 942 J77e.)

Assize Courts

These circuit courts usually dealt with the more serious criminal cases from the 13th century to 1971. The records mention many middle class and poor people.  For more information, read Assize Court Records.

Chancery Court

What is a Chancery? A simple definition says "Chancery Proceedings record disputes over inheritance, land, debts, etc., from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries"(Gibbons). FitzHugh states, "Chancery as a court of law dates from about 1348. It was a court of equity based on Roman Law to deal with cases for which the Common Law made no provision, and later with cases remediable under Common Law but in which the plaintiff would have found himself under a legal disadvantage. It was absorbed into the Supreme Court of Judicature in 1873"(FitzHugh, 65)

Garrett explains, "Originally, all cases were oral. . . [the] plaintiff and the defendant appeared before the Judge, and indulged in an altercation on the spot. Later, however, the practice grew up of setting down the initial proceedings in writing"(Garrett, 1). Garrett continues by explaining the different types of documents and the general order in which they were made.

There are two divisions in the Court of Chancery, being the court of Common Law and the court of Equity. This paper discusses only the court of Equity. The primary documents are of two kinds: a) Proceedings; and b) Registers.

Proceedings consist of the following documents:

1) Bill of Complaint
2) Writ of Subpoena
3) Answer by the defendant, or Plea to reject the Bill
4) Replication, or Exception, by the plaintiff
5) Rejoinder by the defendant
6) Rebuttal by the plaintiff (sometimes)
7) Surebuttal by the defendant (sometimes)
8) Interrogatories
9) Depositions by witnesses
10) Bill of Revival

Registers consist of the following types of documents:

1) Orders and Decrees
2) Awards and Agreements

The Family History Library has no original records from the court of Chancery. The collection consists of calendars, abstracts, and indexes. To find Chancery Court records, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

ENGLAND - COURT RECORDS

Chancery Court records are held at The National Archives.

Chancery Calendars, Indexes and Abstracts

Some of the Chancery court records have been indexed. See the article by Ron Hill in the “Helpful Guides” section below to see a list of indexes for different time periods. Also, two of The National Archives Research Guides “Chancery Proceedings: Equity Suits from 1558" and “Chancery Proceedings: Equity Suits before 1558” list the records and what records have been indexed.

The National Archives website has available the “Equity Pleadings Database”, which includes part of the C6 class of records and is searchable by name or place. Also, some of these records have been indexed in The National Archives Catalogue. Search the Catalogue on the National Archives website with an ancestor's surname in the "Word or Phrase" field and the letter C in the "Department or Series code" field.

Two men, Charles Allen Bernau and George Frederick Tudor Sherwood, have both complied calendars and indexes to chancery material. Family History Library has the Bernau Collection and Sherwood Collection. You may search the Family History Library Catalog by Place under England - Court Records - Indexes or England - Court Records or do a Keyword search for Bernau and Sherwood.

Chancery Proceedings and Depositions Indexes and Published Records

Compiled from The National Archives Research Guides to Chancery Records and Ronald A. Hill's article “English Genealogical Research: Using Chancery Court Proceedings”. National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Volume 91, No. 2, June 2007. pp. 111-138.  Used with permission.

Date/Range  

Class/Bdle 

              Description                                                        

              Indexes or Printed

1377-1558
C1/1
Chancery Proceedings

Calendar of Proceedings in Chancery, vol. 1, pp. i-cxlvii, FHL film 874093, item 1. 
E A Lewis, An Inventory of the Early Chancery.

1377-1422
C1/2
Chancery Proceedings

Calendar of Proceedings in Chancery, vol. 2, pp. i-lxxvi, FHL film 874093, item 2.

1385-1467
C1/3-37

Chancery Proceedings

C1 documents were sorted in the 19th century into bundles according to the name of the chancellor to whom they were addressed.  In many cases, the
chancellor was specifically named and suits can be dated to within a few years. In others, the address was such that more than one chancellor could be identified (e.g. 'the bishop of London, Lord Chancellor', when several bishops of London have been Chancellor in their time).  To narrow this down further,
you will need to consult the tables given at the front of each of the published volumes mentioned in the Bibliography.
These are all on the open shelves at The National Archives.

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early
Chancery Proceedings
FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 12;
Harleian Society FHL British 942 B4h vols. 78 & 79
(FHL film 162077 items 3-4); Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D.
1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county.  For a list of local record society publications, see E C  Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983:  continued on www.hmc.gov.uk).  Most are available in The National Archives library.

1433-1485

C1/38-75
Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 16; Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county.  For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983:  continued on www.hmc.gov.uk).  Most are available in The National Archives library.


1485-1500

C1/76-235

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 20; Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

1500-1515

 

C1/23
6-377

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 29; Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

 

1515-1518

 

C1/378-457

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 38; Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.


1518-1529


C1/45
8-600

Chancery Proceedings


Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 38; Bernau Index; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

1529-1532

 

C1/60

1-694

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 48; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

1532-38


 

C1/69

4-771


Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 48; Sherwood Slip Index.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

 

 

1533-1538

 

C1/77

2-934

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 50; 

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

 

1538-1544


C1/93

5-1094

Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 51; Sx bundles 935-987 only.
W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.


1544-1551


C1/10

95-1285


Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 54; 

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

 

1551-1553


C1/12

86-1324


Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 54;

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.


 

1553-1555


 

C1/13

25-1397


Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 55; 

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.


1556-1558


C1/13

98-1488


Chancery Proceedings

Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 55; 

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

[1386-1558]

 

C1/14

89-1519

Chancery Proceedings various dates, some early.


Online in TNA Catalogue; Lists and Indexes, Early Chancery Proceedings FHL British Q 942 B4pre no. 55.

W P Baildon ed., Select Cases in Chancery, A.D. 1364-1471 (Selden Society, 1896).  Many local record societies have published transcripts for their own county. For a list of local record society publications, see E C Mullins, Texts and Calendars (London, 2 vols, 1978, 1983: continued on www.hmc.gov.uk). Most are available in The National Archives library.

1558-1603 C2/Eli z/A.a.1-H.h.6

Chancery Proceedings:  Series I or the Regnal Series.  Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives.  *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included in the Bernau Index.  Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Vol 1 FHL film 874093 item 1 or 1501916; prefaced by bundle 1.  Early Chancery Proceedings mentioned above.


1558-1603
C2/Eli z/H.h. 7-R.r.12

Chancery Proceedings: Series I or the Regnal Series. Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives. *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included in the Berna Index.  Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Vol 1 FHL film 874093 item 2 or 1501917; prefaced by bundle 2 Early Chancery Proceedings mentioned above.

1558-1603
C2/Eli z/S.s. 1-Z.z.1

Chancery Proceedings: Series I or the Regnal Series. Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives. *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.


 


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included in the Bernau Index.   Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Vol 1 FHL film 874094 or 1501918.

1558-1603
C2/Eli z/Misc.   Bundl


Chancery Proceedings: Series I or the Regnal Series. Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives. *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.

 


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included in the Bernau Index.  Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  Vol 1 FHL film 874094 or 1501918.

1603-1625 C2/James


Chancery Proceedings: Series I or the Regnal Series. Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives. *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.

 


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included in the Bernau Index.  Lists and Indexes, Index of Chancery Proceedings (Series I) James I,
A-K only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 47
   (FHL film 924081 item 2)

L-M only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 32
   (FHL film 916576 item 2 or 1501921 item 1)
N-R only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 33
   (FHL film 916576 item 3 or 1501921 2)
S-Z only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 34
   (FHL film 916576 item 4 and 916577 item 1 or 1501923 item 1)
Some in Sherwood Slip Index

1625-1649 C2/Chas

Chancery Proceedings: Series I or the Regnal Series. Several sequences of paper finding aids, including name and place indexes, at The National Archives. *Some published catalogues; see Bibliography.


 


Not all are searchable online.  Some but not all are included int he Bernau Index.  Partial index found in The Index Library, A Calendar of Chancery Proceedings, Bills & Answers, Charles I.
A-D only FHL 942 B4b Vol 2
(FHL film 962742 item 1)
E-L only FHL 942 B4b Vol 5
(FHL film 962742 item 2)
M-R only FHL 942 B4b Vol 6
(FHL film 962742 item 3)
S-Z only FHL 942 B4b Vol. 14
(FHL film 564344 item 1)
Some in the Sherwood Slip Index.


1558-1579
C 3/1-202

 

Chancery Proceedings:  Series II.*


Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county.  Lists and Indexes, Index of Chancery Proceedings (Series II), FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 7 (FHL film 1696603 item 10).  Indexed in Bernau Index and Sherwood Slip Index.

1579-1621
C 3/203-329

Chancery Proceedings:  Series II.*


Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county. Lists and Indexes, Index of Chancery Proceedings (Series II), FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 24. Indexed in Bernau Index and Sherwood Slip Index.


1621-1660

C3/330-469


Chancery Proceedings:  Series II.*



Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county. Lists and Indexes, Index of Chancery Proceedings (Series II), FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 30. Indexed in Bernau Index and Sherwood Slip Index.

 


1558-1649
C3/470-485


Chancery Proceedings:  Series II.* Unsorted bundles.


Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county. FHL film 1501919 item 3.


C4


Miscellaneous proceedings that have likely been detached for C1-C3; Not very accessible.


Partially searchable online; nothing available at FHL; An unpublished descriptive list of part of the series available at the TNA.


1570-1714

C8


Six Clerks Series:  Mitford division**


Not searchable online.  TNA manuscript calendar
Plaintiff A-C FHL film 824651
Plaintiff C-H FHL film 824652
Plaintiff H-N FHL film 824653
Plaintiff O-S  FHL film 824654
Plaintiff T-Z  FHL film 824655
Another Filming as follows:
Plaintiff A-F FHL film 1501932
Plaintiff G-R  FHL film 1501933
Plaintiff S-Z  FHL film 1501934
Peter Coldham, Index to disputed estates in chancery, FHL fiche ______ has _____?


1613-1714

C 5

Six Clerks Series:  Bridges

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county.  Lists and Indexes, Index of Chancery Proceedings, Bridges Division 1613-1714.

A-C only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 39
D-H only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 42
I-Q only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 44
R-Z only FHL Q 942 B4pre no. 45

Included in Bernau Index and Sherwood Slip Index


1620-1714


C 7


Six Clerks Series:  Hamilton**

Not searchable online.

TNA manuscript calendars
Plaintiff A-C FHL film 824644
Plaintiff D-G FHL film 824645
Plaintiff H-K FHL film 824646
Plaintiff L-O FHL film 824647
Plaintiff P-S FHL film 824648
Plaintiff S-V FHL film 8 24649
Plaintiff W-Z FHL film 824650
Another filming available:
Plaintiff A-E FHL film 1501928
Plaintiff F-K FHL film 1501929
Plaintiff L-S FHL film 1501930
Plaintiff S-Z FHL film 1501931

Peter Coldham, Index to disputed estates in chancery, FHL ???????


1625-1714


C 6


Six Clerks Series:  Collins**


See the Equity Pleadings Database on the national archives website.

TNA manuscript calendars
Plaintiff A-F FHL film 824637
Plaintiff G-N FHL film 824638
Plaintiff M-V FHL film 824639
Plaintiff W-Z FHL film 824640 item 3
Plaintiff A-K FHL film 824640 item 2
Plaintiff L-Z FHL film 824641
Another filming available:
Plaintiff A-F, bundles 1-268 FHL film 1501925 item 2
Plaintiff G-R, bundles 1-268 FHL film 1501926
Plaintiff S-Z, bundles 1-268 FHL film 1501927 item 1
Plaintiff A-Z, bundles 1-269-355 FHL film 1501927 item 2
Index to Personal estates for bundles 1-268 only FHL film 824640 item 2 or 1501925 item 1

Single Bills calendar to bundles 356-610 only FHL film 824643 or 1501924 item 3



1640-1714

C 10


Six Clerks Series:  Whittington.  Miscellaneous pleadings are listed at the end of the Whittington volume**


Searchable online for 1st plaintiff, 1st defendant and county for about half the series.

TNA manuscript calendars:
Plaintiff A-C FHL film 824657
Plaintiff D-K FHL film 824658
Plaintiff L-P FHL film 824659
Plaintiff Q-S FHL film 824660
Plaintiff T-Z FHL film 824661
Another filming available
Plaintiff A-C FHL film 1501935
Plaintiff D-M FHL film 1501936
Plaintiff N-Z FHL film 1501937
Peter Coldham, Index to disputed estates in Chancery, FHL ?????

1649-1714 C9 Six Clerks Series:  Reynardson


Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant.  The Index Library, Index of Chancery Proceedings (Reynardson's Division, 1649-1714)
A-K only FHL 942 B4b Vol 29 (FHL film 990401)
L-Z only FHL 942 B4b Vol 32 (FHL film 526491  item 3)

Manuscript calendar for bundles 1-41 (out of 491 bundles) FHL film 824656 or 1501935 Sherwood Slip Index contains defendants surnames.


  • Miscellaneous set of answers and subsidiary documents are in C 4, which is searchable.
  • For C 6, C 7, C 8 and C 10, there are indexes to disputed wills (by the name of the testator, not of the plaintiff) available at The National Archives.  P W Coldham compiled these idexes.
                                                         
1715-1758                C 11              Various Six Clerks, Series I.                        

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and one defendant.  The Bernau Notebooks give more information (for all parties) surname, forename, occupation and date:  available at the FHL see Bernau notebooks listing below.

1758-1800 C 12 Various Six Clerks, Series II

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and one defendant.

Bernau Chancery Proceedings at FHL:
Volume 1 A-Bez FHL film 87884
Volume 2 Bib-Cim FHL film 87884
Volume 3 Cla-Dys FHL film 87885
Volume 4 Eab-Gre FHL film 87885
Volume 5 Gri-Jax FHL film 87886
Volume 6 Kac-Nye FHL film 87886
Volume 7 Oad-Sid FHL film 87887
Volume 8 Sie-Zou FHL film 87887

1800-1842 C 13 Various Six Clerks, Series III

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and one defendant:  work is taking place on this series to make it searchable by full name of all defendants.

1842-1852 C 14 Modern Series:  Pleadings

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant.  To check that a suit is the right one, order up the relevant volume from C 32.

1844-1864 C 18

Miscellaneous Pleadings.  Contains a very few 17th and 18th century pleadings.

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant and defendant. Gives forename as well.

1853-1860 C 15 Modern Series:  Pleadings

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant.  To check that a suit is the right one, order up the relevant volume from C 32.

1861-1875 C 16 Modern Series:  Pleadings

Not searchable online.  To check that a suit is the right one, order up the relevant volume from C 32.

1876 Onwards J 54

Chancery Division: Pleadings, Common Law Orders etc.,

Not searchable online.  Index for 1876-1880 only in IND 1/2218 to IND 1/2226


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  Town Depositions

    Date
   Range
   Class/   
    Bdle
                          Description                                                       Indexes or Printed                   
1534-1853 C 24 Town depositions

C 24/2450 to C 24/2508 are searchable on line.

Deponents indexed in Bernau Index.

Mostly listed by term:  use IND 1/16759 and IND 1/9115 to IND 1/9121.

Partial Calendar 1534-1558 FHL film 916577 item 2.

1854-1880

March

C 15, C 16, J 54 Town depositions are filed with the pleadings. See pleadings above.
1880 April See Country depositions


  Country Depositions

    Date
   Range
   Class/   
    Bdle
                          Description                                                       Indexes or Printed                   
1558-1649 C 21 Country depositions

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant.
Deponents indexed in Bernau Index and Sherwood Slip Index
Original manuscript calendars
Plaintiff A-J FHL film 916583 item 2
Plaintiff K-S FHL film 916582 item 5
Plaintiff S-Z FHL film 916583 item 1
Another filming available:
Plaintiff A-J FHL film 1501923 item 2
Plaintiff K-Z FHL film 1501923 item 3

1649-1714

C 22 Country depositions

Searchable online for 1st plaintiff and 1st defendant.

Depoinents indexed in Bernau Index for C 22/1, and for all cases where the plaintiff's name began with A:  about 8% of total

Manuscript Calendars, alphabetical by plaintiff surname
Collins Division bundles 1-219 FHL film 916557 item 3
Hamilton Division bundles 220-307 FHL film 916577 item 3
Hamilton Division bundles 308-311 FHL film 916578 item 1
Bridges Division bundles 312-581 FHL film 916578 item 1
Mitford Division bundles 582-738  FHL film 916578 item 2
Whittington Division bundles 739-824 FHL film 916578 item 3
Whittington Division bundles 824-953 FHL film 916579 item 1
Reynardson Division bundles 954-1052 film 916579 item 2


1715-1880 March

C 11,
C 12,
C 13,
C 14

Country depositions are filed with the pleadings See pleadings above
1880
April
1925
J 17 Town and Country depositions Use IND 1/16748 to IND 1/16752

Court of the Exchequer

This court also dealt with matters of the wealthy. Beginning early in the 12th twelfth century, it became an administrative body for collecting the royal revenue and performing the accompanying judicial business. As time went by, the court gained jurisdiction over suits between two individuals. The Public Record Office keeps the records from the Court of the Exchequer. The Family History Library has an index to 127,628 "Exchequer Depositions" between 1559 and 1695 on: FHL BRITISH Film 104399 Items 3-6.

The National Archives in England has a Research Guide to some of the tax records from the Exchequer court, which includes links to a searchable database to locate some tax records.

Ecclesiastical Courts

These courts helped regulate religious affairs. The records are in the respective county record office or diocesan archive in England.

Other court records are:


  • Probate records, discussed in the "Probate Records" section of this outline.
  • Inquisition post mortem records, discussed in the "Land and Property" section of this outline.

Inns of Court

The Inns of Court served as the place for educating those who were to become barristers, solicitors, lawyers, attorneys, proctors or Serjeants-at-law. With the exception of King’s Inn located in Dublin, Ireland (see Ireland Court Records), all were located in London and have admission records dating well into the sixteenth century or earlier.

The Middle Temple, London

 “Although no exact date can be given, it is believed that the Middle Temple and the remaining three Inns of Court were established by the middle of the 14th Century. The Inn's name derives from the Knights Templar who were in the possession of the Temple site for some 150 years. The origins of the Inn can be traced from two roots: the occupation of the Knights Templar and the replacement of the priestly lawyers by a lay profession.”

For a list of admissions to the Middle Temple, London, see: Sturgess, H. A. C. Register of admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, from the fifteenth century to the year 1944. 3 volumes. London: Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, 1949. Volume 1, 1501-1781; volume 2, 1782-1909; volume 3, 1910-1944. (FHL call no. British 942.1/L1 C4st vol. 1-3 and on FHL microfilms Vols. 1-2 on 873,850, items 1-2 and Vol. 3 on 873,851, item 1).

Source: Middle Temple History, http://www.middletemple.org.uk/the_inn/History

Lincoln’s Inn, London 

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is said to take its name from Henry de Lacy, third Earl of Lincoln, who died in 1311. His own great house was adjacent and he is credited with being the Society's patron. Although the other three Inns of Court are of comparable antiquity, having evolved from uncertain origins in the fourteenth century, Lincoln's Inn can claim the oldest extant records, the Black Books, which record its principal activities from 1422 to this day.

For a list of admissions to Lincoln’s Inn, see: The Records of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn; vol. 1 from 1420 to 1799, vol. II admissions from 1800 to 1893 and chapel registers. London: Lincoln’s Inn, 1896-1902. FHL microfilm (only) volumes 1 (1422-1586) and 2 (1586-1660) 845,175 and volumes 3 (1660-1775) and 4 (1776-1845 with calls to the bar) 845,176.

Gray’s Inn, London 

It is clear that Gray’s Inn was in existence as early as 1388 since that is the first record of members graduating as Serjeants-at-law. “Between 1680 and 1687 there were three disastrous fires in Gray's Inn. That of 1684 was particularly grievous for it burnt the Library, which was then on the present site of No 1 Gray's Inn Square, and that is probably when [the] ancient records were lost.”

For a list of admissions to Gray’s Inn, see: Foster, J. The Register of Admissions to Gray’s Inn 1521-1889 together with the marriages in Gray’s Inn Chapel 1695-1754. London: Hansard Publishing Union, 1889. FHL British 942.1/G1 K29f and FHL microfilm 844,906, item 1; second microfilm copy 1,696,584, item 3.

Source: Gray’s Inn, http://www.graysinn.info/index

The Inner Temple, London

 “The history of the Temple begins soon after the middle of the twelfth century, when a contingent of knights of the Military Order of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem moved from the Old Temple in Holborn (later Southampton House) to a larger site between Fleet Street and the banks of the River Thames. The new site originally included much of what is now Lincoln's Inn, and the knights were probably responsible for establishing New Street (later Chancery Lane), which led from Holborn down to their new quarters.”
For a list of admissions, see: Students admitted to the Inner Temple 1547-1660. London: Inner Temple, 1877. The registers for the later years are only available at the Inner Temple. The FHL does not have copies of the published register for 1547-1660.

Source: Inner Temple Library, http://www.innertemplelibrary.org.uk/temple-history/inner-temple-history-introduction-part-1.htm

Inns of Chancery

There were a number of Inns of Chancery associated with the principle inns named above. Students admitted to these Inns might become solicitors or proctors, however, many may also be found in the records of the Inns of Court where they were trained to become barristers. By the year 1900, the last of these Inns, i.e. Clement’s Inn, had closed. Admission registers are available for some of the Inns.

Associated with Lincoln’s Inn were Thavy’s Inn and Furnivall’s Inn; Inner Temple were Clifford’s Inn, Clement’s Inn, and Lyon’s Inn; Middle Temple were New Inn and Strand Inn; and Gray’s Inn were Staple Inn and Barnard’s Inn. 
Source: Holdsworth, Sir William, A History of English Law, 3 volumes. (London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., Sweet and Maxwell) 2: 498.