Catalogue description Assizes: Western Circuit: Indictment Files

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Details of ASSI 25
Reference: ASSI 25
Title: Assizes: Western Circuit: Indictment Files

This series contains Western Circuit Indictment Files and, particularly in pre-1816 indictments, some related papers.

These documents run in a virtually unbroken sequence from 1801 to 1963 Until 1830 the documents in this series are split between misdemeanours and felonies. The sequence is complete from 1801 to 1963, except that Summer 1833 and Lent 1838 are wanting. Felony files are accompanied by gaol calendars (listing prisoners and when, why and by whom committed to custody), calendars of prisoners tried (listing defendants, the charges against them, verdict and sentence), and occasional writs. Misdemeanour files often include grand jury lists.

After 1916, as a result of the Indictments Act 1915 (5 & 6 Geo V, c 90), indictments are typed or handwritten on standard (often pre-printed forms) using continuation sheets where necessary, and signed by the clerk of assize. They give the jurisdiction and venue of the trial, the name of the defendant, plea, a summary statement of the charge and particulars of the charge. They are usually annotated on the top right hand corner with verdict and sentence. Unlike modern indictments on other circuits they rarely give the name of the presiding judge. They are endorsed with a list of witnesses and (until 1933) with the signature of the foreman of the grand jury. Until about 1950 they are also endorsed with the name of the prosecutor, the names of prosecution counsel and the solicitor for the prosecution.

After 1916, the indictments are often accompanied by other documents. These may include: certificates from the clerk to the committing justices of the peace of an admission of guilt; original police charge sheets; statements of outstanding charges; notices of intention to prove previous convictions; statements of other offences to be taken into consideration; probation orders; recognizances; notices concerning appeals. During the 1940s the accompanying documents also regularly include calendars of prisoners to be tried, listing the jurisdiction, venue, the name of the presiding judge, date of trial, high sheriff, under sheriff, clerk of assize, the name of the defendant, his/her age and occupation, the date and place of committal for trial, the date of imprisonment on remand and the substance of the charge.

Date: 1729-1971

Felonies and misdemeanours are filed separately until Lent 1829, when they are amalgamated under county (from ASSI 25/21/1 until the last piece ASSI 25/287).

Until about 1816 the indictments are arranged in rolled files.

After about 1816 the indictments are arranged in bundles and are rarely accompanied by other documents.

Related material:

For criminal depositions and case papers see:


Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 287 bundles and files
Access conditions: Subject to closure for periods up to 100 years

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