Miscellaneous public records



Almost any public record can be useful to the genealogist in some way, particularly if the ancestor being hunted held some kind of public office - as so many of the 'manor-holding' classes did, if only at a local level. Some of the public records not already covered in other sections are listed below. The works below are some of the main printed editions, but - as elsewhere - there are many others, particularly local extracts and collections, and of course a huge number of records remain unpublished.


For source material from miscellaneous public records on the internet, click here

Contents:

Exchequer

The following discussion of the records of the Exchequer is available online:

This P.R.O. information leaflet discusses several class of medieval Exchequer - and other - records:

Many of the records already discussed belong to the Exchequer: Domesday Book, land taxes and feudal surveys, Pipe Rolls and subsidies and other taxes. As one of the great departments of medieval government, the Exchequer produced many other records; those listed below are some of the ones that have been printed.

Augmentation Office

The Court of Augmentations and Revenues, incorporated into the Exchequer in 1554 as the Augmentation Office, had administered the estates of the crown - the 'Augmentations' being the lands seized by Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries.

Exchequer of Receipt

The Exchequer of Receipt, or Lower Exchequer, was responsible for the actual receipt and issue of money.

The following information is available online:

The main printed editions are:

Memoranda Rolls

The Exchequer Memoranda Rolls contain notes on a wide variety of matters made by the two 'remembrancers': the King's Remembrancer (E159; from 1218) and the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer (E368,370; from 1199). These two series are essentially duplicates until the late 13th century. They include some enrolled private deeds.

The following information is available online:

The main printed editions are:

Praestita and Misae Rolls

In E101 (King's Remembrancer: Accounts, various). The praestita rolls record payment to royal officers and servants; the misae rolls contain accounts of the royal household.

The main printed editions are:

Treasury

T1 (from 1557). From the second half of the 16th century, the Treasury gradually separated from, and ultimately replaced in most respects, the Exchequer.

Some late 16th century material is included in:

Treasury of the Receipt

The 'Treasury of the Receipt' in Westminster was the repository for various Exchequer records, including miscellaneous books (E36).

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State Papers

SP1-15 (1509-1625; continued for later reigns). Under the Tudors, much of the administrative business previously carried out by the Chancery passed instead to officials later known as the Secretaries of State; the Chancery concentrated instead on its function as a court of equity. In addition to the domestic series of State Papers, treated below, there were also foreign (SP68-106), Scottish (SP49-53,58,59) and Irish (SP60-66) series of papers, many of which have also been printed.
The following P.R.O. information leaflets are available online:

The main printed editions are:

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Palatinates and Duchies

Certain counties were in medieval times largely exempt from the direct jurisdiction of the king - these were the counties palatine of Chester (CHES; from the 13th century), Durham (DURH; from the 13th century) and Lancaster (PL; from 1351). They were administered by scaled-down versions of the departments of central government, and had their own jurisdictions of both common law and equity - they also produced separate series of inquisitions post mortem. A similar situation prevailed in the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster (DL; from 1351), which lay scattered widely throughout the country.

Palatinate of Chester

Palatinate of Durham

Palatinate of Lancaster

Duchy of Lancaster

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Privy Council and Privy Seal Office

PC2 (from 1481) and Privy Seal Office records in the British Museum. The Privy Council, in medieval times, was a small body consisting of the monarch's senior counsellors. In addition to the main business of government, it was responsible for the hearing of private petitions addressed to the king - a function which developed into the equity jurisdiction of the Chancery in the late 14th century. The Privy Seal, in the late medieval system, was used as a preliminary authorisation for royal letters to be issued under the Great Seal; the Privy Seal Office also acted as the Privy Council's secretariat until 1540.
The following information is available online:

The main printed editions are:

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Signet Office

SO3,4 (from 1584; earlier signet letters survive elsewhere). In the system which had evolved by the early 15th century, the signet was the seal used in the first stage of the preparation of grants to be issued under the Great Seal (the Privy Seal being used in an intermediate stage).
The following information is available online:

The main printed editions are:

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