Catalogue description Palatinate of Lancaster: Crown Court: Indictments Files, Coroners' Files, etc

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Details of PL 26
Reference: PL 26
Title: Palatinate of Lancaster: Crown Court: Indictments Files, Coroners' Files, etc

The bulk of this series consists of indictments for the years 1660-1867, kept in sessional files by the Clerk of the Crown. The documents are usually in the form of presentments or inquisitions, and are often annotated with the verdict and sentence.

The years before 1660 are less well represented. During the reigns of Henry VI and Edward IV indictments were filed with writs of indictments and writs of assizes (the possessory assizes and nuisance were treated as Crown business in the Palatinate at that time), lists of officers, gaol calendars and recognizances in sessional files bearing the title 'brevia assisarum et indictamentarum'. There follows a gap until the middle of the reign of Henry VIII, after which for the remainder of his reign there are two series of files: one for indictments, and one for the writs relating to both assizes and indictments.

Occasional files refer to the latter as 'Writs of the Crown' in their cover titles. Indictments survive from the years 1525-1546, filed separately from the sessional files which also survive and are also in this series. Neither indictments nor writs of indictments nor writs of assizes survive between 1547 and 1659.

The series also contains some calendar rolls of indictments for the reigns of Edward IV, Henry VII and Henry VIII; coroners' inquisitions, 2 Charles 1-3 George IV; and some broken files of indictments.

Date: 1424-1867

The descriptions given in the early part of the catalogue are based as far as possible on the original cover descriptions. Usually there were two sessions each year: one during Lent and the other near a Feast Day between late July and early September. For the purpose of this list the sessions have been dated as Lent and Summer; the actual feast days can be obtained by using the catalogue for PL 15, the plea rolls for the same sessions. From 1811 onwards, they are dated here as Spring and Summer. There were also some additional Winter sessions from the 1840s onwards.

Related material:

For coroners' inquisitions from the Palatinate of Chester, see CHES 18

Separated material:

No indictments survive from between 1377, when the Palatinate was re-created for John of Gaunt, and 1439. During the reigns of Henry VI and Edward IV indictments are on sessional files with writs of indictments, writs of assizes, lists of officers, gaol calendars and recognizances. /28. Sessions were held at Preston and Lancaster between 1351 and 1361, when Henry, Duke of Lancaster exercised Palatinate powers, but the only surviving indictments files are now among the records of eyres, assizes and gaol delivery kept at Westminster; see:

For records of coroners in cases held by the Duchy of Lancaster, see DL 46



Mainprise rolls for the reign of Henry VIII which were formerly in this series, were transferred in 1988 to PL 45

A single roll of indictments for 1355 is in DL 41/10

Three files are bound in a Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer volume in E 36/90

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin

Palatinate of Lancaster, Crown Court, 1377-1875

Physical description: 301 files, papers and rolls
Unpublished finding aids:

Until the end of Henry VIII's reign (1547) there is some overlap between this series and the files of original and judicial writs maintained by the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas (PL 20). PL 26 contains some files of writs in common pleas and s

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