Records of the Court of Augmentations and the Augmentation Office
Many of these are the records of the Courts of General Surveyors and Augmentations relating to revenues accruing to the Crown following the Dissolution of the monastries, colleges and chantries in the 1530s and 1540s. They include earlier records of these ecclesiastical institutions which also came to the Crown. Also included, however, are records relating to the administration of the Crown lands from the abolition of the Court of Augmentations in 1554 to the early nineteenth century: records of the Pipe Office, the auditors of the land revenue and of the various commissioners and trustees for the sale of Crown lands and fee-farm rents during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Finally there are a very few records of the Augmentation Office of the Exchequer in which these collections were deposited from 1554.
Leases granted upon Crown lands, and associated documentation, are in E 299, E 300 and E 309-E 312; deeds of purchase and exchange are in E 305. Particulars for grants of Crown lands are in E 318 and E 319 and of concealed lands in E 302. Documents associated with the Commonwealth sales of Crown lands are in E 304, E 317 and E 320; and of fee-farm rents in E 307 and E 308. Accounts of sales of woods are in E 325. Particulars for grants of offices are in E 316
The only surviving records of the Augmentation Office itself will be found in E 324
There are some original finding aids in E 276
Court of Augmentations and Revenues of the Kings Crown, 1547-1554
Court of General Surveyors, 1542-1547
Exchequer, Augmentation Office, 1554-1833
The policies which led to the establishment of the Court of the Augmentations and Revenues of the King's Crown in 1547 originated in the royal desire to appropriate directly income which might otherwise pass through the elaborate procedures of the Exchequer. By the third quarter of the fifteenth century the Crown found it useful to take a prerogative approach to the administration of Crown lands, without creating any permanent organisation to fulfil requirements; commissions of inquiry carried out surveys as and when required, and receipts were diverted piecemeal from the Exchequer to the Chamber of the Royal Household. Under Richard III it was proposed that 'the court of Exchequer be clearly dismissed and discharged from any meddling with any foreign livelihood in taking of accounts, as Wales, duchies of Cornwall, York, Norfolk, earldoms of Chester, March, Warwick, Salisbury and of all other lands being in the king's hands by reason of forfeiture'; Henry VII continued to use similar expedients, while from the first year of Henry VIII's reign there were statutes assigning certain revenues, including that of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the king's Household.
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