ACT PAPERS - administrative reports, mostly from non-departmental agencies, such as national boards, corporations, and other authorities established by Parliament.
AID - payment due to the Crown or feudal lord on specific occasions, or granted to meet special emergency.
ASSIZE RECORDS - records of the Clerks of Assize reflect the work of the Assize Justices under their civil and criminal commissions.
BILL - a short, formal document; petition by plaintiff initiating action in equity; brief written statement initiating proceedings at common law. See also: PUBLIC BILLS.
BULL - leaden or other metallic seal, or letter (esp. papal) sealed therewith.
CALENDAR - a chronological register of documents which includes brief descriptions and serves as an index to the document collection.
CHANCERY RECORDS - the administrative records of the Chancellor, custodian of the Sovereign's Great Seal. These include several series of documents, including Charter Rolls, Patent Rolls, Close Rolls, etc.
CHARTER ROLLS - the royal charter was the solemn instrument whereby the Sovereign made original and confirmatory grants in perpetuity of lands, liberties, privileges, etc., to both corporations and individuals.
CLASS or CLASSIFICATION - records of the Public Record Office are arranged in groups according to the several courts or departments from which they emanate (e.g., Exchequer, Admiralty, etc.). Each group is divided into "classes," and each class is assigned a class name and a class number. Most of these classes are original, and they correspond to distinct series compiled and preserved as such in their place of origin. Others are artificial, i.e., they represent assemblages of documents brought together for convenience of storage or reference after transfer to a repository (e.g., "Miscellaneous").
CLOSE ROLLS - writs and orders under the Great Seal addressed by the Sovereign to individuals were folded or closed up and are hence known as letters "close." These contain royal instruments for the performance of a variety of acts, including the observance of treaties, the levying of subsidies, the repair of buildings, the payment of salaries, the delivery of landed inheritances to heirs, the assignment of dower to widows, and so forth.
COMMAND PAPERS - series in the Parliamentary Papers of reports presented to Parliament "By Command of Her Majesty." These are reports sent to Parliament through the initiative of the government minister or by Royal Warrant rather than required by and Act of Parliament.
COMMON LAW - traditional English law administered in king's courts, as distinct from local customary law, statute and equity.
COURT ROLL - record of proceedings in manorial court.
CURIA REGIS ROLLS - judicial records (Latin text) of proceedings in the Bench (later known as the court of Common Pleas) and in the court coram rege.
DECREE - judgement (in court of equity), either "final" or "interlocutory" (reserving possibility of further consideration); distinct from "order," which might be merely procedural.
GovP - 44
DENIZATION - limited naturalization of aliens; before 1844 aliens could be fully naturalized only by Act of Parliament.
DEPOSITION - statement on oath, especially written statement admissible in lieu of production of the witness.
ENROLMENT - entry on a roll or (later) in a book.
EXCHEQUER - the accounting and auditing department in the government's treasury. Its name is derived from the checkered cloth on which accounts were originally worked out.
FEUDAL INCIDENTS - obligations incident to feudal service, such as payment of aids and reliefs, wardship of heir during minority, etc.
FINE ROLLS - "fines" or payments made for writs, grants, licenses, pardons, etc., of various kinds, most of them under the Great Seal, relating to matters in which the Crown had a financial interest.
GAOL DELIVERY - trial of prisoners detained on criminal charges.
GASCON ROLLS - documents relating to the English administration in Gascony, including treaties, truces, appointments, grants of land, etc.
INQUISITION or INQUEST - inquiry by means of sworn testimony, sometimes instituted by writ of inquiras.
INQUISITIONS POST MORTEM - upon the death of any land-holder presumed to have been a tenant of the king in chief, sworn inquiry was held to establish of what lands, etc. he was seized at the time of his death, their value, by what rents or services they were held, and the name of his next heir. The "proofs of age" returned when minor heirs came of age are filed with the Inquisitions Post Mortem.
LIBERATE ROLLS - writs of liberate (Latin "deliver ye") whereby the officers of the Exchequer were ordered to make payments on behalf of the Crown.
MUSTER - assembly for inspection of men eligible for military service, together with their arms.
ORDER - see DECREE.
OYER AND TERMINER - commission to justices to "hear and determine" specified treasons, felonies and misdemeanors, or all such committed within a specified district.
PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS - also called Sessional Papers, the collective name for the documents issued for the House of Commons and, separately, the House of Lords of the British Parliament. Included are public bills, reports of committees and royal commissions, command papers, etc.
PATENT ROLLS - letters patent, so called from being issued "open," with the Great Seal pendant, announced royal acts of the most diverse kinds, including grants and leases of land, appointments to offices, licenses and pardons, denizations of aliens, and presentations to ecclesiastical benefices. (The kind of royal grant which had been made previously by Charter took the form of letters patent from 1516 on.)
PECULIAR JURISDICTION - exemption from authority of bishop as ordinary (judex ordinarius) within his diocese.
PROBATE - certificate that a will has been duly proved and may be executed.
PROOF OF AGE - testimony (to some extent fictitious) that an heir to feudal tenement is of age to receive possession or occupation of the land.
PUBLIC BILLS - bills relating to public policy introduced in Parliament.
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QUARTER SESSIONS - statutory quarterly sessions of Justices of the Peace.
RECOGNIZANCE - formal acknowledgement of debt or other obligation, usually with sureties and subject to special penalties for default.
REMEMBRANCER - the official concerned with making and acting upon Remembrances (memoranda, reminders).
ROLL - document consisting of several parchment membranes attached end to end (Chancery type) or rotelets all attached at the top (Plea Roll type).
ROYAL COMMISSION REPORTS - reports of specially appointed commissions of investigation, created by Royal Warrant and not by Parliament. These may include reports from ad hoc committees, statistical returns, etc. Many are issued as Command Papers.
RETURNS - Administrative or executive reports issued periodically or special reports that are required by an Act of Parliament. (Part of the Parliamentary Papers.)
SESSIONAL PAPERS - see Parliamentary Papers.
SOVEREIGN - the Royal Crown, the King or Queen.
STATE PAPERS - the principle documents of the offices of the Secretaries of State from Henry VIII onwards. State Papers are generally categorized as Foreign, Domestic, Colonial, or other geographic areas.
TESTAMENT - see WILL.
TREATY ROLLS - record of the English side of official dealings--commercial, diplomatic, and military--with European countries and of the administration of possessions of the English Crown in Northern France.
VISITATION - inspection of church, religious house, etc., especially by a bishop or his representative.
WARRANT - document serving as authority for payment, grant, appointment or other act.
WILL - declaration providing for disposition of property after death (formerly concerned with land only, as distinct from a testament concerned with goods).
WRIT - sealed document conveying a formal command of the Crown or of a court.
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|Name||Date Began||Date Ended|
|William I||25 Dec 1066||9 Sep 1087|
|William II||26 Sep 1087||2 Aug 1100|
|Henry I||5 Aug 1100||1 Dec 1135|
|Stephen||22 Dec 1135||25 Oct 1154|
|Henry II||19 Dec 1154||6 Jul 1189|
|Richard I||3 Sep 1189||6 Apr 1199|
|John||27 May 1199||19 Oct 1216|
|Henry III||28 Oct 1216||16 Nov 1272|
|Edward I||20 Nov 1272||7 Jul 1307|
|Edward II||8 Jul 1307||20 Jan 1327|
|Edward III||25 Jan 1327||21 Jun 1377|
|Richard II||22 Jun 1377||29 Sep 1399|
|Henry IV||30 Sep 1399||20 Mar 1413|
|Henry V||21 Mar 1413||31 Aug 1422|
|Henry VI||1 Sep 1422||4 Mar 1461|
|Edward IV||4 Mar 1461||9 Apr 1483|
|[Henry VI - restored 9 Oct 1470 to c. Apr 1471]|
|Edward V||9 Apr 1483||25 Jun 1483|
|Richard III||26 Jun 1483||22 Aug 1485|
|Henry VII||22 Aug 1485||21 Apr 1509|
|Henry VIII||22 Apr 1509||28 Jan 1547|
|Edward VI||28 Jan 1547||6 Jul 1553|
|Mary||6 Jul 1553||24 Jul 1554|
|Philip & Mary||25 Jul 1554||17 Nov 1558|
|Elizabeth I||17 Nov 1558||24 Mar 1603|
|James I||24 Mar 1603||27 Mar 1625|
|Charles I||27 Mar 1625||30 Jan 1649|
|Commonwealth||30 Jan 1649||29 May 1660|
|Charles II||[30 Jan 1649]||6 Feb 1685|
|James II||6 Feb 1685||11 Dec 1688|
|William & Mary||13 Feb 1689||8 Mar 1702|
|[Mary died 27 Dec 1694]|
|William III||27 Dec 1694||8 Mar 1702|
|Anne||8 Mar 1702||1 Aug 1714|
|George I||1 Aug 1714||11 Jun 1727|
|George II||11 Jun 1727||25 Oct 1760|
|George III||25 Oct 1760||29 Jan 1820|
|Regency||Feb 1811||Jan 1820|
|George IV||29 Jan 1820||26 Jun 1830|
|William IV||26 Jun 1830||20 Jun 1837|
|Victoria||20 Jun 1837||22 Jan 1901|
|Edward VII||22 Jan 1901||6 May 1910|
|George V||6 May 1910||20 Jan 1936|
|Edward VIII||20 Jan 1936||11 Dec 1936|
|George VI||11 Dec 1936||6 Feb 1952|
|Elizabeth II||6 Feb 1952||Ongoing|
GovP - 47
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