The material in this series consists of the central documentation created and used by the Council, Chancery and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for the administration of the lands and rights of the Duchy.
The series is very mixed and includes:
Cartularies and cowchers, including the fifteenth-century Great Cowcher of the Duchy, containing transcripts of over 2,400 deeds, the Little Cowcher, with copies of various grants, acts and statutes relating to the rights of the Duchy, and several medieval monastic cartularies, such as those of the abbeys of Furness and Kirkstall;
Enrolment books, which contain all the instruments passed under the Duchy and County Palatine (otherwise in PL, Chancery Administrative Records division) seals from John of Gaunt's registers in the fourteenth century to 1817. The instruments enrolled in these books include grants, letters patent, presentations, warrants, leases, commissions, writs, orders, decrees, letters of homage and manumissions. There are two parallel series of auditors' enrolment books, one for the Duchy's holdings north of the Trent and one for the south, and there is also material relating to the lands of the Duchy held in jointure by the queen, Catherine of Braganza;
Surveys and valuations, a few of them with plans, most of which were drawn up in response to inquisitions or commissions to survey, and which list the names of tenants with details of the lands held and rents paid, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries;
Revenue proceedings of the Court of Duchy Chamber, which consist of the registers of proceedings of the court from 1631 to 1882;
Accounting material, which includes a 'state of offices and revenues' of the Duchy dated 1786, some annual accounts of particular receivers, 1618-1673, and some debenture books of Duchy officers dating to the first half of the eighteenth century;
Out-letter books of the deputy clerk of the council, 1778-1824, and one of the steward of the honor of Clare, 1884-1894;
Also included are letters patent, mainly from 1485 to 1740, presentations to benefices and leases, leases, manumissions (a deed which gives freedom to a serf), debenture books and letter books.
Other miscellaneous volumes, including three fifteenth-century books of tenures and knights' fees made in order to collect the incidents of feudal tenure, and the register of the clerk of the signet, John Godsalve, of bills signed by Henry VIII during his tour in attendance on the secretary during 1541-1543.