Catalogue description Court of Star Chamber: Bonds

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Details of STAC 13
Reference: STAC 13
Title: Court of Star Chamber: Bonds

This series consists mostly of bonds, in standard form, given by defendants in causes to be heard before the Court of Star Chamber during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The series also includes stray bonds to abide arbitration, or to prosecute bills, which date from the reign of Henry VIII.

Date: 1516-1603
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 20 file(s)
Physical condition: Originally the bonds were filed on a 'string' or parchment thong. However, only two survive in their original state. The remaining files have either been strung in modern times in an uncritical arrangement, or are loosely tied in bundles.
Administrative / biographical background:

A defendant was bound to continue to appear before the court until his or her contempt of the original summons by subpoena had been purged: that is, until the conclusion of litigation, or until the court gave licence to depart.

Bonds were signed by the person being bound, and sealed. Most were countersigned at the head by the council's clerk or underclerk. Many files contain a series of bonds in which the general wording is in one hand but the variables are inserted in one or more hands. It is clear that, as for other formulaic documents, batches of blank bonds were written in advance and used as required.

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