The records in this series consist of pleadings in equity cases initiated in the court of Chancery.
They comprise bills and answers, often with replications and rejoinders attached, together with writs and sometimes an office copy of the bill. Some bear annotations of process in court.
The series is searchable by name, place, and subject for the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and VI, but only by short title for the reign of Charles I. We welcome more detailed descriptions.
Four searchable codes have been added to the relevant more detailed descriptions to help researchers identify causes brought by different types of litigant, as follows:
These codes (SFP, JFP, CBP, UBP) can of course be used with other search terms.
- By gender: SFP for sole female plaintiff, and JFP for joint female plaintiffs - where the bill was filed in the name of females only. [Sole here does not imply femme sole, although many female litigants were widows or spinsters]. This is not completely to be trusted, as it omits a widow acting for infant sons but includes a widow acting for infant daughters.
- By corporate body: CBP brings up hospitals, colleges, London companies, trading companies etc.
- By unincorporate body - a group acting in a joint interest: UBP will produce churchwardens, parishioners, copyholders, manorial tenants, inhabitants etc.
Some relatively recent records were destroyed in the fire at the Six Clerks' Office in 1621: traces of these may be found in copies held elsewhere, such as the Norfolk Record Office holding PD 209/368, which is copy pleadings and depositions in Crome and other feoffees of the town lands of North Elmham, Norfolk v Thomas Taverner, 1617.