Office of the Commissioners of Bankrupts and Court of Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy Commission Files
This series consists of files of examinations of bankrupts, depositions and other proceedings.
The series is a small sample only of the vast numbers of bankruptcy files. It is not known how the sample was constructed.
These surviving files contain examinations of bankrupts, lists of creditors drawn up in response to advertisement in the London Gazette, depositions, etc. but can vary in size from a single sheet to multiple volumes.
The original description was augmented in 2013 by incorporating information from a detailed index. The opportunity was taken to indicate female bankrupts (search for 'female').
Occupations often include (dealer and chapman); as bankruptcy procedures applied primariy to traders, potential bankrupts quite often took the precaution of qualifying as traders by engaging in some minor trading transaction, and describing themselves as dealers and chapmen in addition to their main occupation.
The greater proportion of the files possess docket book references (given as former reference), to the registers of commissions called Bankruptcy Commission Docket Books (B 4, which record all the commissions. This consists of the initial letter of the bankrupt's name, the number of the relevant docket book (better to use date) and the registered number within that docket book. There are, however, a number of files which had not been marked up with docket book references, and these, where possible, have been supplied with references from the appropriate docket books and are arranged at the end of the series (B 3/5451-5814).
The date shown in the piece description is invariably the date of the earliest active document on the file and is generally the date of the commission or fiat (after 1831), or adjudication of bankruptcy (after 1849). All are expressed in the description as date of commission: this may therefore be technically inaccurate). Where there is a collection of files for a particular commission, the date given in each case is the date of the earliest document found in the whole collection.
Office of the Commissioners of Bankrupts, 1571-1832
Proceedings arose from the issue of commissions to the Commissioner of Bankrupts, up to 1831, under the Bankrupts Act 1571. The commission was replaced by a fiat authorising prosecution of creditors' complaints in the Court of Bankruptcy or elsewhere, from 1831 to 1849, under the Bankruptcy Court (England) Act 1831. By the Bankrupt Law Consolidation Act 1849 the fiat was itself replaced by an adjudication of bankruptcy granted at a creditor's petition.
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