Warrants sent into Chancery to secure the issue of a writ de excommunicato capiendo under the great seal.
The significations informed the king that a certain person or persons had remained obdurately excommunicate for over forty days, and requested the aid of the secular arm. They were mostly issued by bishops, but also by archdeacons, deans and abbots, and the writs were drawn up by the cursitors.
Significations sometimes identify the excommunicate by reference to his father, his occupation or status, or the parish, place or county of his residence. The nature of the contumacy committed might be specified; the names of the judge or lawyers involved in the case might be mentioned.
Among the offences signified to Chancery, the non-payment of tenths is perhaps the most common, followed by matrimonial and testamentary cases, fornication, adultery, perjury and defamation. Cases of assault on clerks, sacrilege, necromancy, and suspicion of heresy are also included.
As well as significations of excommunication, the series also contains some certifications of absolution sent to Chancery by the bishop, requesting the supercession of an excommunicate's arrest.