This series contains several related but nevertheless distinct elements: term indictment files and separate oyer and terminer and informations files of the King's Bench.
The bulk of the series consists of a long series of King's Bench term indictments files running from 1385 to 1675, which includes in the reign of James I some term files containing informations only.
There are also, for some terms in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries during which the court held provincial sessions in various county towns, separate files containing the indictments and other material arising from the court's oyer and terminer (trailbaston) jurisdiction in the county in which it was then sitting; the last such session was held in 1421.
Another category of oyer and terminer files resulted from specific commissions issued at various dates between about 1351 and 1539 to justices who subsequently returned them into King's Bench, where they were kept separately from the ordinary term files.
There was a considerable increase in the number of informations filed in the indictments files about 1616, which was probably the reason for the creation of a separate series of informations files, which run only from about 1617 to 1623. Subsequently informations appear again in the main series of term indictments files, and they continued to be used to a considerable extent in the later seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Each of the term indictments files was originally separate, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries a considerable number of them were stitched together to make units composed of two or more files. Many of these, at an earlier stage of the arrangement, had had their membranes numbered in pencil and had been given new parchment wrappers. A few that had for three centuries been in the Assize and Quo Warranto Rolls series, had received similar covers, and had had their membranes numbered in ink in the 1830s. These and other indications, from medieval dockets and covers to modern repairing notes on the first or last membrane of a file, have made it possible to restore most of these term indictments files to their original separate identity.
Digital images of some of the records in this series are available through the Anglo-American Legal Tradition website. Please note that The National Archives is not responsible for this website or its content.