Catalogue description Chancery: Unknown Masters' Exhibits

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Details of C 114
Reference: C 114
Title: Chancery: Unknown Masters' Exhibits

The documents in this series consist of private papers of all kinds, delivered into the court of Chancery by plaintiffs and defendants as evidence in their suits.

Most of the papers were delivered back to their owners, but those that remain form a major source for social, economic and business history. Some of the collections contain intimate correspondence, and family papers, including diaries and wills; others include estate papers and accounts covering several centuries.

Business, professional and trade papers are very well represented. There are important holdings relating to the army, individual artists, the book and newspaper trades, the building trades, charities, chemists, churchwardens accounts, the cloth trades, coachmakers, collieries and the coal trade, the diamond, gold and silver trades, hospitals, mining, naval officers and seamen, prize agents, privateers, schools, shipping, the slave trade, street lighting, undertakers, waterworks, and the wine trade.

There is also a considerable amount of material relating to the East India Company, India, the West Indies and North America, and foreign trade.

In addition, this series contains the business records of the merchant, Charles Marescoe, which relate to trade between Sweden, England, Europe and the Levant.

Date: 1566-1841
Related material:

The main series of Million Bank documents is C 46

Separated material:

Interrogatories and depositions formerly in this series are now in C 127

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: Dutch, English, French and Latin
Physical description: 208 bundle(s)
Restrictions on use: These documents can only be seen under supervision
Publication note:

An important part of this series has been analysed (and 500 of the 10,500 letters printed) in Markets and Merchants of the Late Seventeenth Century: The Marescoe-David Letters, 1668-1680, ed H Roseveare (Oxford, 1987).

Unpublished finding aids:

An index to the Chancery Masters over time is filed with the paper list.

Administrative / biographical background:

The documents were handed on by each master to his successor, until reclaimed. The exhibits in this series have become detached from any record of the master concerned.

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