Court of King's Bench: Plea Side: Plea (Judgment) Rolls
A series of rolls which continues from Easter term 1702 the record of civil pleas in the Court of King's Bench, formerly recorded in the civil pleas section of the Coram Rege rolls, and also continues the enrolment of deeds previously also included in the latter.
They become progressively less useful as a record of business as attorneys increasingly tended, especially after about 1760, not to file the enrolments of cases with which they were concerned. The rolls contain some enclosure awards.
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.
1 Anne - 39 Victoria
During the reign of Queen Anne the rolls for Hilary and Trinity terms are in two parts and those for Michaelmas and Easter only one, continuing the pattern followed by the Coram Rege rolls from the late sixteenth century; presumably the explanation continues to be the practice, by plaintiffs resident outside London and Middlesex, of filing large numbers of bills on the Plea Side of the court so that they would be heard at nisi prius in the following Lent and Summer assizes respectively.
Between 1714 and 1739 there is normally only a single part for each term, but from then until 1773 the pattern of two parts for each Hilary and Trinity term resumes.
Thereafter until 1780 there are normally three parts for those terms, by which time the other two terms are in two parts.
Subsequently the rolls for Hilary and Trinity come to be divided into as many as six parts, with Michaelmas and Easter in as many as four each, before the number of parts declines again under William IV; in 1839 the main terms are down once again to two parts and the smaller to one, and after 1846 all terms had only one roll each, a pattern which continues until the series ends. The decline is at least partly attributable to the increasing tendency of attorneys not to hand in for filing the enrolments of cases with which they were concerned.
Civil pleas were formerly recorded in a section of the Coram Regis rolls in KB 27
By the beginning of the reign of Victoria, blank rolls on which to enroll pleas were purchased by attorneys from law stationers, acting as agents for the Court of King's Bench. After engrossing the first part of the proceedings in a case upon one, the attorney in question took it to the Judgment Office, where a number was assigned to it and written at its foot; the first 20 numbers were not allocated in this way but reserved for entries of outlawry. The number assigned was, from Trinity term 1839 to Michaelmas term 1852 only, noted in a day book known as the Entry Book of Judgments (KB 168). When completed, the rolls were handed in by the attorneys for filing in the term roll, at which point the attorney was entitled to a small fee; if it was handed in late a 'post terminum fee' was charged. Both fees ceased to be paid, and the attorneys accordingly gradually ceased regularly to hand in rolls since they had lost the financial incentive to do so.
Unpublished finding aids:
For an index to the rolls, showing only those judgments which were actually enrolled, from 1863 to 1875, see IND 1/6650 A repertory of deeds and wills enrolled in the Judgment Rolls, down to 1805, is available; there is also a list of the enclosure awards enrolled, originally printed in Deputy Keeper's Report XXVII, appendix, pp 4-9, but now incorporated into a composite list of enclosure awards enrolled in a number of different series.
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