The records in this series consist of pleadings in equity cases initiated in the court of Chancery, filed in all six divisions of the Six Clerks Office. They are catalogued by suit title alone, and are searchable at that level.
We are happy to accept better descriptions from users of these records: please address any such amendments to Dr Amanda Bevan at The National Archives.
Some suits comprise the plaintiff's bill of complaint only, as the suit stopped there, but most include the defendant's answer and other documents in the process, including the plaintiffs's replication to the answer, are also filed in many cases. Country depositions are included, but not town depositions which will be in C 24 if they exist.
If a suit had more than one defendant, it may have been catalogued under more than one title. Henry Smith v Elizabeth Jones and William Brown may be called both Smith v Jones and Smith v Brown.
The type of document is indicated in abbreviated form, usually in a string such as b, r, r, r, deps - meaning bill, three answers, depositions:
- b. = bill.
- r. = answer.
- rep. = replication.
- deps. = depositions.
- afft. = affidavit.
- exam. = examination.
The bill gives the plaintiff's name, rank in life, occupation and place of residence. Many contain very valuable data on individuals and families.
Matters in dispute include inheritance, lands, trusts, mortgages, debts and marriage settlements and many more subjects besides.