Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 963 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.—For the classification of the records hitherto described the knowledge preserved of their origin and purpose has been used. There exist, however, masses of records where this path is now inaccessible; these have been formed by putting together records of a similar nature either in ignorance of their history or without regarding it; the justification of this course of action must be found in the special circumstances of each case. These collections are as follows: Ministers' Accounts are the accounts of bailiffs, receivers, and other officers managing estates, including, first, those of the duchy of Lancaster; second, accounts of crown lands filed as vouchers in the King's Remembrancer's Office; third, accounts of monastic and other lands seized by the crown, or acquired by it by purchase, inheritance or marriage. A list of these accounts has been published by the Record Office (Nos. V. and VIII.) covering the period down to 1485. For the accounts of the duchy of Lancaster a list will be found in the 45th Report, extending to the reign of George III. Court Rolls are records of the proceedings and profits of manorial and other private courts coming from the same sources as the Ministers' Accounts, and closely connected with them. For a list see Record Office, Lists and Indexes, No. VI.; and for specimens Select Pleas in Manorial Courts, edited for the Selden Society by F. W. Maitland. Ancient Deeds.—In this collection are placed all documents which appear to have formed part of a title to land, some original royal charters and other analogous records. There are five series, A, B, C, D, and E, distinguished by their former place of custody. Documents too large for the ordinary method of packing have a double letter, e.g. A.A., and to those bearing fine seals the letter S is added, e.g. AS or AAS. There are thus in all fifteen classes. The A classes are derived from the Treasury of Receipt, or Chapter House at Westminster, and are largely monastic; the B classes are from the court of Augmentations; the C classes are chancery deeds, probably deposited as exhibits in suits or for enrolments; the D classes are from the King's Remembrancer's office; and the E classes are from the Land Revenue office. In 1907 five volumes of a descriptive catalogue had been published by the Record Office. Ancient Correspondence consists of documents which in form are rather of the nature of a letter than a writ or petition. Most of them were found detacHed in the chancery records, but similar documents from other sources have been added. The introduction to the Record Office List (No. XV.) contains some account of the formation of the class, and the list gives references to printed collections based upon these documents. Vol. 53 contains letters of the Cely Family and is published (Camden Society, 3rd series, vol. i.). Ancient Petitions.--The history of the formation of this class is obscure; an account of it is in the Record Office Index to the class (No. I.); but see also the Introduction to F. W. Maitland's Memoranda de Parliamento (Rolls Series, vol. 98), in which volume a number of these petitions are printed in full. Diplomatic Documents.—In the Chapter House at Westminster was a collection of treaties and other documents connected with foreign affairs, and to these have been added other similar documents found there. Of these there is a descriptive list in the 45th and 49th Reports. A collection of so-called Diplomatic Documents from the chancery forms part of the Chancery Miscellanea. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII.—T his great collection of materials for the reign of Henry VIII. (Calendar of 20 volumes in 30) at present extends to the year 1547, and is intended to contain abstracts of all documents bearing upon that reign in the Record Office, the British Museum and other collections. Record Office documents dealt with in this Calendar have sometimes been left in their original place of custody and sometimes transferred to a series of bound volumes known as Letters and Papers, Henry VIII. References will be found in the Calendar to a previous series of State Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., printed by a Royal Commission for printing State Papers. Miscellaneous Books.—The many books and registers preserved in the Record Office will be found described in the Handbook. The following have been printed:

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