Palatinate of Chester: Coroners' Inquisitions Files

Details of CHES 18
Reference:CHES 18
Title:
Palatinate of Chester: Coroners' Inquisitions Files
Description:

This series contains files of coroners' inquests mostly for Cheshire but with a few for Flintshire and Denbighshire. The main sequence of Cheshire files runs from 1794 to 1830, but there are a few medieval files, the earliest two being by the coroners for Maelor Saesneg and Englefield respectively in Flintshire. The files include items other than inquisitions themselves, including some coroners' claims for expenses and correspondence with local constables.

The first item in the series is an artificial assemblage consisting of several items covering a period of nearly 400 years. The next two consist of inquisitions for various years of George I and George II. All the subsequent pieces form an apparently nearly continuous run beginning in 34 George III and running to 1 William IV, mostly in annual files, followed by a single file, covering 2-14 Victoria, for the Stockport division of the county only.

The main sequence of files seems to relate almost entirely to Cheshire, although there is one file of Denbighshire inquisitions in a different format from the Cheshire files, the Denbigh inquisitions being on printed parchment forms while the Chester ones are consistently entirely in manuscript on paper of a regular and larger size until the late 1820s. A similar Denbighshire file is attached to the Cheshire file for 49 George III. Many of the inquisitions bear the applied seals of the jurors, and their signatures, or both.

The files do not contain only the inquisitions themselves but often also related documents; for example letters from a coroner to the constables of various townships directing them to assemble juries to hold particular inquisitions, informations by witnesses and a coroners's claim for expenses.

Date: c1339-c1851
Related Material: For further nineteenth century coroners' inquisitions see ASSI 66
For Duchy of Lancaster coroners' inquisitions see DL 46
Coroners' inquest files can be found in JUST 2
For Palatinate of Lancaster coroners' inquisitions see PL 26
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record
Language: English
Creator: Palatinate of Chester, Coroners, 1297-1830
Physical description: 45 file(s)
Custodial history: The earlier items seem to be chance survivals, but the reason for the apparently systematic collection of those from 1794 to 1830 is not clear. The most likely explanation is that they were collected by the Court of Great Sessions of Chester, as similar inquisitions had been collected by the equivalent assize courts in ordinary English counties before 1750; but, if so, there is no indication of why it was thought worthwhile to do so. Their virtual cessation in the first year of William IV, when Cheshire and Flintshire were incorporated in the new assize circuit for Wales, might support that suggestion.

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