The records in this series consist of pleadings in equity cases initiated in the court of Chancery.
They often comprise the plaintiff's bill of complaint only, but the defendant's answer and other documents in the process, including the plaintiffs's replication to the answer, are also filed in many cases.
By the reign of James I, the bill gave the plaintiff's name, rank in life, occupation and place of residence.
Matters in dispute include inheritance, lands, trusts, mortgages, debts and marriage settlements.
Data from the Equity Pleadings database, which was produced with the support of the Transport History Research Trust, the Friends of The National Archives and the Pilgrim Trust, has now (September 2012) been incorporated into the catalogue.
This data was supplemented by the addition of document type (bill, answer etc) from OBS 1.
The series is searchable by name, place, and subject for most of the series, but only by short title for the last third.
In addition, the opportunity was taken to add four codes 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.