Catalogue description Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Edward VI

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Details of STAC 3
Reference: STAC 3
Title: Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Edward VI

This series contains documents submitted or generated in the course of judicial proceedings, mostly in equity, heard before the king's Council at Westminster, and known as the Court of Star Chamber.

The series is incomplete, and although nominally of the reign of Edward VI only, also includes proceedings from both earlier and later periods, as well as proceedings heard and determined before the Court of Requests (records otherwise in REQ 3).

The records in this series comprise nearly 900 suits, an average of about 145 suits a year, a level of business on a par with that attained during the second half of the reign of Henry VIII. Despite a government decision, pronounced in Star Chamber, that the council courts were no longer to entertain litigation to the derogation of the common law, under Edward VI the balance of disputes still tended towards civil rather than criminal business, in which questions of title were predominant.

Other grounds for litigation included debt, fraud, breach of contract, disputes over easements and leases, interruption or diversion of water courses, manorial customs and rights, including disputes over vert and venison, and testamentary and tithe disputes. A significant number of cases arose from enclosure: both new enclosure, interruption of customary rights, and forcible action to break down hedges or to seize sheep. Religious differences leading to acts of violence, and disputes over ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as well as questions of title concerning ex-monastic land of a type more commonly heard before the Court of Augmentations, mark the growing impact of the Reformation. Crown cases included those brought by the king's almoner for the goods of suicides. Municipal and trade disputes remained an important area for conciliar justice. Several disputes also concerned customs offences, including breach of recent proclamation or statute.

Records and procedure in Star Chamber under Edward VI were, apart from the increasing sophistication in sifting petitions to be heard before the board, essentially those that operated in the latter years of Henry VIII.

Date: c1485-c1603
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 10 bundle(s)

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