The records in this series relate to the Duchy and the administration of its estates, throughout England and Wales, by the Duchy Chancery and the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy sitting as the Court of Duchy Chamber, an equity court dealing with tenants' disputes and revenue matters.
The series is very varied in content but the main areas covered are as follows:
- transcripts and copies of evidences of title, inquisitions post mortem and pleadings relating to the Lancaster inheritance and those of the Ferrers, Lacy, Warenne and Bohun families;
- a collection of documents relating to sea walls and sewers in Lincolnshire;
- a group of warrants, many of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century date, of the Duchy Chancellor and Council to the clerk to prepare instruments under the Duchy seal, to the auditors to prepare particulars, and to other officers to make enquiries;
- a collection of miscellaneous documents, including accounts relating to Jews in Exeter in the late thirteenth century, a paper book of transcripts of charters and other material relating to Calais, ministers' accounts of Henry, Earl of Derby (later Henry IV), material relating to the dissolution of the monasteries in Lancashire, manumissions of villeins on Duchy lands during the reign of Elizabeth I, and lists of names of mayors and officers of Liverpool corporation between 1762 and 1808;
- records of the Court of Duchy Chamber, including indexes to decrees, orders and pleadings, draft minute books, clerks' court books, attorneys' account books, and books of attachments and appearances;
- records of the Duchy Court of Revenue, including a book of orders of 1764, draft minutes, and material relating to the process of recovery of debts of officers and tenants, including extents for debt and bonds of obligation;
- personal and office papers of Duchy officers, and legal papers of cases relating to the Duchy in various courts;
- records relating to the courts and buildings of the liberty of the hospital of Savoy, Middlesex;
- accounts and inventories of Wigston hospital, Leicester, and material relating to Trinity hospital, Newarke, Leicester;
- papers relating to enclosure acts on Duchy lands, and papers relating to Enfield Chase in Middlesex.
The series includes some indictments material from the period when Henry, duke of Lancaster exercised Palatinate powers and which became separated from the main series of Palatinate documents now in PL 26
Much of the material in this series supports and explains that in other series.
The arrangement of the material has varied according to the different phases in the materials deposit and listing in the Public Record Office. Many of the original 97 bundles now comprise more than one box of papers.
- 1st phase: Bundles 1-36 (now pieces 98-875) are organised into subseries based on record type or subject. The subseries are evidences of title, enrolments and transcripts, transcripts of pleadings and sewers and sea-walls, warrants and unclassified. Within each subseries material is arranged in chronological order.
- 2nd phase: Bundles 37-43 (now pieces 876-1143) contain material of uncertain origin from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, which have been sorted into those relating to specific Duchy officers, or their work, those relating to records, a series of precedent papers for documents issued out of the Duchy chancery and the Court of the Duchy Chamber. These are divided into subseries as follows: legal papers; small paper books; chancellor's papers; chancellor's secretary's papers; receiver general's papers; attorney-general's papers; clerk of the council's papers; auditor south parts papers; auditor north parts papers; clerk of the revenue's papers; documents relating to records; precedent papers and officer's personal papers.
- 3rd phase: Bundles 44-94 (now pieces 1144-1194) consists of 51 individual bundles of records and is the subseries described as 'unclassified bundles of papers'.
- Last phase: Bundles 95-97 (now pieces 1195-1229) consists of bundles of papers relating to specific officers in two cases and to an area in the third. They are divided into three subseries: Frederick Dawes Danvers' papers, Enfield Chase Middlesex and papers of Sir John Heath.