Copyright Stephen Swailes.

The JUST 1 rolls preserved at The National Archives are extensive and are often in excellent condition. They run from about 1200 to 1482 but few exist after 1422.

The rolls indexed here for Northamptonshire typically contain the following.

- Bills of attorney which simply state who appointed whom to act on their behalf.

- Assizes which heard cases and came to a judgement. These typically begin with, 'Assisa venit recognoscere si ...' which means, 'The assize came to recognise whether ...'. In many instances the assize examined cases of novel disseisin which occurred when a person, the plaintiff, had been dispossessed of certain property. The extent of their losses is normally given, i.e. the amount of property, acres of land, and/or rent. Where the assize found in favour of the plaintiff the amount of damages awarded is given.

- Assizes of essoin at which no-one attended and which were held over to another date (essoins were excuses for non-attendance at court). These typically carried notes, omitted here, which, I think, set a future date and place for the case to be heard and which also say that as no-one attended the sheriff then is have there the bodies (Ideo vicecomes tunc habeat ibidem corpora).

- Arrangements for providing bail or surety.

- Various memoranda and instructions to local justices.

These index pages contain the personal names, dates, and places mentioned in the rolls. The details of the legal arguments at cases are far beyond the capabilities of this transcriber and are thus omitted. The indexes are intended to serve as a finding aid and the original should always be checked for further information.

In interpreting bills of attorney, 'ponit loco suo' is translated here as 'appoints' meaning the appointment of an attorney.

In pleas, the use of 'concerning' or 're' in the index is usually shorthand for 'concerning a plea of assize of X', for example, 'concerning a plea of assize of novel disseisin'. This is usually followed with 'by' which refers to the name of the attorney that represented one of the parties.

Many assize cases end with 'X is dismissed without day' (inde sine die). This means that X was acquitted and did not have to attend on another day.

Many entries are short and the image/membrane numbers on which they occur are given. However, some reports are long and extend over several membranes. Where this occurs only the first image number is given.

Some cases were continued on the back of a membrane but in creating the images AALT for practical reasons photographed all the fronts then all the backs. As such they are sometimes presented here in separate files.

Further information on the JUST 1 rolls is available on The National Archives' website and many early rolls have been printed by local record societies and the Selden Society. For Northants, see D. M. Stenton (1930), The earliest Northamptonshire assize rolls A.D. 1202 and 1203, Northamptonshire Record Society. This volume includes material contained in JUST 1/559, 1/613 and 1/817.

The medievalgenealogy.org.uk website also contains links to some doctoral theses that rely on plea and assize rolls and which contain translations of original material. Gallagher's translation of the Suffolk eyre roll of 1240, for instance, is particularly helpful.