This series contains the original files of feet of fines with, from the mid 16th century onwards, associated documents (writs of covenant and of dedimus potestatem, and concords of fines). Files cover a range of years initially but later are divided into separate files for each session. Some of the earlier items in the series are the remains of broken files.
The series extends in an almost unbroken sequence from the re-creation of the Palatinate for John of Gaunt in 1377 until the abolition of fines in 1834.
The early fines are exactly similar in form to the fines levied in the Westminster court, except for the duke's style; they are said to have been made in the court of John, Duke of Lancaster 'in the [number] year of his regality in his county palatine'. After the accession of Henry IV in 1399 the court came to be described as 'the king's court of his county palatine of Lancaster'.
Some documents bear a marginal number which at different times corresponds with the number on the dockets or on the enrolments of fines but which sometimes corresponds with neither. From 1760 the order in which the fines accumulated on the files accords with the order in which entries were made in the related docket rolls which act as a means of reference to the fines. Before that date docket rolls entries refer principally to related entries on the plea rolls.