Catalogue description Court of Requests: Miscellanea

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Details of REQ 3
Reference: REQ 3
Title: Court of Requests: Miscellanea

This series is unsorted and awaits detailed sorting and editorial work.

It contains proceedings, orders, decrees, writs and registers of the Court of Requests as well as a large number of strays, principally records of the courts of Star Chamber (otherwise in STAC) and Wards and Liveries. It also contains a few documents pertaining to the equity court of Chancery. It is unlikely that they are strays from the main records of the court; it is far more probably that they are strays from the archives of Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell both of whose muniments became forfeit to the Crown and were thus stored among the state records in the Treasury of the Receipt.

REQ 3/28-38 contain mostly, but not exclusively, documents discarded by Percy Bysshe Shelly Hunt during his work on the early records of the Court of Requests in the latter part of the 1880s. Hunt, recently promoted Assistant Keeper, had an inauspicious start to his career in 1841, when his palaeographic and language skills were found seriously wanting; and periodic doubts were thrown on his abilities at various times in the succeeding forty years. Like the preceding bundles, REQ 3/28-38 includes records both of the Court of Requests (often in poor condition) and other courts, and other miscellaneous documents which had been deposited amongst the records housed in the Treasury of the Receipt.

The existing listing is not definitive. It was compiled c1970 as a personal research aid for his work on Star Chamber by Professor Guy, the historian of that court under Henry VIII, and revised by Professor Guy, then an Assistant Keeper of Public Records, in 1975. It indicates the approximate date range and content of the majority of documents within each box, and draws attention to important formal documents, such as decrees and orders, found within any box. It is not intended to be comprehensive either of date or of content for any particular box.

For example, REQ 3/29 was sampled for the purposes of this note and, in addition to those writs and warrants of the reign of Elizabeth it was said to contain, it was found to include also proceedings and fiats of Elizabeth's reign, and proceedings, warrants and depostions of the reigns of Henry VIII-Philip and Mary, including a substantial portion of that register which is distributed in imperfect state through REQ 3/22 and REQ 3/30 also. Documents of the reign of Henry VII are intermixed with those of Henry VIII, and are not distinguished in the list.

Further additions were made to the series from the Exchequer Miscellanea 'B' ( E 216) and from the unsorted miscellanea of Star Chamber (STAC 10) in c1975 as part of Professor Guy's work and between 1979 and 1995.

Date: Henry VII-Charles I

The present division of documents between boxes is entirely artificial, for convenience of packing. Further additions were made to the series from the Exchequer for convenience of packing.

Some work was done on the records in the eighteenth century, as part of government funded work on the public records, but most of the series into which they have been subdivided are the product of sorting and listing begun in the nineteenth century but still incomplete.

Users are advised that the present references are temporary, serving only to give access to an important collection of equity miscellanea. The documents will be sorted and more comprehensively listed when resources become available. It is unlikely that any key will be preserved between the present arrangement and any future sorting and listing of REQ 3, and individual items may be distributed among other existing or new, record series.

Related material:

A collection of historical notes made by Sir Julius Caesar, a Master of the Court of Requests, on the court, may be found in the British Library.

Separated material:

Proceedings of the Star Chamber and the court of Wards and Liveries also include proceedings which properly belong among the records of the Court of Requests see: Strays of the Court of Requests may be found in the Star Chamber records in:

C 4





C 260


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

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, 1485-1540

Thomas Wolsey, 1475-1530

Court of Star Chamber, 1400-1641

Court of Wards and Liveries, 1541-1660

Physical description: 44 bundle(s)
Custodial history: The proceedings and many other records of the Court of Requests, the Star Chamber and the Court of Wards and Liveries were housed, after their abolition by the Long Parliament, in the Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer where, to some extent they became confused.

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