Online Encyclopedia

CHANCERY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 961 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHANCERY.—The records of the chancery are here treated in two divisions, administrative and judicial. (i) Chancery Administrative.—These are either enrolments of letters issued under the great seal, documents forming part of the process of issuing such letters, or documents drawn up for the information of the chancery. Enrolments.—The Charter Rolls (1 John to 8 Henry VIII.) contain the enrolments of the most formal letters. The Record Commission published one volume folio containing a transcript of the rolls for the reign of John; and a badly designed and executed calendar entitled Calendarium Rotulorum Chartarum. The Record Office has published three volumes of a complete calendar of the Charter Rolls from 11 Henry III. The Patent Rolls (3 John to the present day) contain enrolments of less formal letters addressed generally. The Record Commission published one volume folio containing a transcript of the rolls for the reign of John, with a valuable itinerary of that king. The Record Office has also printed in fullthe rolls for the period 1–16 Henry III. From this point over 3o volumes of a Calendar have been published, and the remaining gaps in the series are being closed. For these gaps the Record Commission's Calendarium Rotulorum Patentium is still useful, but only refers to a small proportion of the matter on the rolls. The rolls for the reign of Henry VIII. are calendared in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. The Close Rolls (6 John to the present time) contain the enrolments of letters directed to specified persons and also enrolments of deeds made according to statute or for safe custody. The Record Commission published two volumes folio containing a transcript of the rolls for the period from 6 John to 11 Henry III. The Record Office has also published several volumes of rolls for the reign of Henry III. From the. reign of Edward I. eighteen volumes of a calendar have appeared. The Fine Rolls (1 John to 23 Charles I.) contain the record of judicial writs issued under the great seal with a note of the fine or fee paid; also of letters of appointment to offices and letters relating to the administration of the feudal incidents of tenure. The Record Commission published a transcript of the rolls for the reign of John under the title Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus; for the reign of Henry III. they also published two volumes of Excerpta e Rotulis Finium consisting of the entries relating to the feudal incidents. There were also other rolls containing letters issued under the great seal relating to special countries and subjects. The most important of these are here mentioned. French Rolls, Gascon Rolls, and Norman Rolls deal with the affairs of the English dominions in France and with relations with that country. A catalogue of many of the entries on these rolls down to the reign of Edward IV. was published by Thomas Carte in two volumes folio. Of the French Rolls (16 Edw. III. to 26 Charles II.) those for the reign of Henry V. are briefly calendared in the 44th Report; and those for the reign of Henry VI. in the 48th Report. Of the Gascon Rolls (38 Henry III. to 7 Edw. IV.) the earlier rolls have been printed in full in the Documents inedits published by the French government under the care of MM. Francisque-Michel and Bemont. Of the broken series of Norman Rolls (1 John to lo Henry V.) those for the reign of John and that for 5 Henry V. have been printed in full in one volume by the Record Commission; to the remainder a calendar will be found in the 41st Report. The books here mentioned deal with some rolls now placed in other classes. Other rolls contain letters under the great seal relating to Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Of these the Record Commission printed the Scottish Rolls (19 Edward I. to 8 Henry VIII.) in full, omitting the numerous letters of protection contained in them. For the Welsh and Irish Rolls there is only a very partial calendar in Ayloffe's Calendar of Ancient Charters. The Roman and Almain Rolls have been used in Foedera, and many entries from the other chancery rolls will be found there. The Liberate Rolls (2 John to 14 Henry VI.) contain the enrolments of writs for the issue of money out of the Exchequer. The rolls for 2–4 John have been printed in full by the Record Commission. Documents forming Part of the Process of issuing Letters under the Great Seal,—These are known as Chancery warrants, and consist of Privy Seals, Signed bills and other documents forming steps in the process. Series I. of these documents extends to the end of the reign of Richard III., and Series II. to the end of the reign of Henry VIII.; Series III. ends with the reign of Anne, and Series IV. with that of William IV., while Series V. is still in progress. Series I. and II. are arranged in chronological order (Series I. being also classified); the remainder are in monthly bundles. The warrants for the reign of Henry VIII. are calendared in the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII.; those for the first seven years of Charles I. are calendared in the 43rd Report. With these may be placed the Inquisitions ad quad damnum. Of these the Record Office has published a descriptive list (Nos. XVII. and XXII.) for the period 28 Henry III. to 2 Richard III. Documents drawn up for the Information of the Chancery.—The most important of these are the inquiries held under writs issued from the chancery. The first series of these (Henry III. to Richard III.) is now arranged in three classes, Inquisitions Post Mortem including analogous documents relating to the feudal tenure of land, Criminal Inquisitions and Miscellaneous Inquisitions. The Record Office has published three volumes of a calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem. The Record Commission calendars refer to the old arrangements of these inquiries into two series, known as Inquisitions Post Mortem &Y. and Inquisitions ad quod damnum &c., a distinction of title which concealed the identity of the documents described. Both calendars contain many inaccuracies and omit much useful information. To supply some of these defects for the period Henry III. to Edward I. the Record Office published the Calendarium Genealogicum, but this work does not attempt to deal with the lands mentioned in the inquiries. In the second series of these inquiries the three classes of inquisitions are all placed together. One volume of a calendar to the Inquisitions Post Mortem for the reign of Henry VII. has appeared. Certificates of Gilds are returns made under the statute of 12 Richard II. Those in English have been printed by J. and L. Toulmin Smith for the Early English Text Society. Charitable Uses: a list (No. X.) of all inquisitions and decrees of commissioners appointed under two statutes of Elizabeth to examine and rectify abuses of charitable bequests has been published by the Record Office. Forests (Chancery) contain perambulations and proceedings before the justices in eyre of the forest. The perambulations for certain counties have been printed by G. J. Turner in Select Pleas of the Forest (Selden Society). Scottish Documents.—Five rolls relating to the policy of Edward I. towards Scotland. The first two contain the proceedings touching the claims to the crown of Scotland and are printed in Foedera, vol. ii. p. 762 (Record edition) ; the remaining three, known as Ragman Rolls, contain in triplicate the submissions of the Scottish nobility to Edward I., and were printed by the Bannatyne Club in 18J4. Other chancery documents relating to Scotland are described in J. Bain's Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. Most of these together with the earlier Forest proceedings are included in the Miscellanea of the Chancery, which contains numerous other detached documents and rolls. Many of those relating to foreign affairs are printed in the Foedera. (2) Chancery Judicial.—These may be divided into Proceedings, or Bills and Answers, &c., filed by the parties; Decrees and Orders of the court; and Affidavits and other documents connected with the course of the action. The series known as Early Chancery Proceedings (Richard II. to Philip and Mary), comprising documents of all three classes, is arranged roughly in chronological order. The Record Office has published three volumes of a descriptive list (Nos. XI I., XVI. and XX.) of the whole of this series; and the first two bundles have been printed in full in the Record Commission's Calendar of Proceedings in Chancery, Elizabeth; other specimens are printed in Select Pleas of the Chancery (Selden Society), edited by W. P. Baildon. For the reign of Elizabeth the Proceedings are arranged alphabetically under the plaintiff's name in two series. Series I. is calendared in the Record Commission volumes already mentioned for Series II.; the Record Office has published a descriptive list (Nos. V I I. and VIII.) covering the years 1558–162 i. To the Bills and Answers of the reign of Charles II. Messrs Phillimore and Fry have published in the Index Library of the British Record Society an index taken from Topham's manuscript index in the Record Office. The same society has reproduced in an alphabetical form an index to the proceedings in Reynardson's division for the years 1694–1714. These last indexes contain only the surnames of the parties, without reference to the nature of the suit. Decrees and Orders (36 Henry VIII. to the present time) are the entry-books of the orders of the court; with them may be classed the Reports and Certificates of the masters and chief clerks. The Affidavits, &c., date from 1611. The chancellor formerly had a common law jurisdiction relating to certain matters touching feudal incidents and tenures, to repeals of letters patent, and to actions upon recognizances acknowledged in chancery or concerning officers of the court. No printed means of referring to these records exist.
End of Article: CHANCERY
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