Catalogue description Signet Office: King's Bills

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Details of SP 39
Reference: SP 39
Title: Signet Office: King's Bills

Fair copy petitions (otherwise known as 'King's Bills'), prepared by the Clerks of the Signet, for grants, pardons, commissions, etc., which were submitted via the Secretaries of State to the King for signature with the sign manual, which transformed them into warrants to the Signet for action to be taken.

The King's Bills do not represent all petitions to the King, but those which had gone through some kind of official check first, apparently administered by the Secretaries of State. Most have a precis (in English) for the King. If the petition was an official one, it bears the signature of the drafter (usually one of the law officers) and gives the authority on which it was drafted.

The series was previously known as State Papers Domestic Warrants.

Date: 1567-1645
Related material:

From 1661 the series is continued in SO 7

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

Signet Office, 1444-1851

Physical description: 37 volume(s)
Publication note:

The records are calendared in: Calendar of State Papers Domestic Series of the reign of James I ed. M A Everett Green (London 1857-1859) Calendar of State Papers Domestic Series of the reign of Charles I ed. J Bruce W Douglas Hamilton and S Crawford Lomas (London 1858-1897). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Unpublished finding aids:

SP 39/1-30 are indexed (the references no longer match exactly, but the modern reference can be ascertained by comparing dates) in SP 130/54

Administrative / biographical background:

Once a petition had been approved with the sign manual, the resulting warrant would either pass under the Signet, controlled by the Secretaries of State (as would appear to be the case with SP 39) or it could act as an immediate warrant, bypassing the Signet and the Privy Seal, and going direct to the Great Seal.

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