Catalogue description Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Proceedings on Statute Staple

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of C 228
Reference: C 228
Title: Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Proceedings on Statute Staple

Writs of capias et extendi facias for the recovery of debts sealed under recognizance of statute staple, together with extents (valuations), mainly taken by sheriffs, of the lands and goods of debtors.

Extents sometimes include a valuation of movable goods as well as of lands, particularly if the value of the land alone was insufficient to cover the debt.

There are also some writs de liberacione, instructing sheriffs to give the creditor possession.

Date: 1603-1775
Related material:

Earlier extents for debts are in:

C 131

Recognizances of statute staple are in C 152

C 239

Enrolments of recognizances are in LC 4

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 35 bundle(s)
Publication note:

Two documents from this series are printed (with translations) in Select cases concerning the Law Merchant, iii, ed H Hall (Selden Society, xlix, 1932).

Administrative / biographical background:

By the Statute of the Staple of 1353 the mayor and constables of the staple, in each town in which a staple of wools or other merchandise was established, were empowered to take and seal recognizances or obligations of debts.

On default of payment, the mayor might imprison the debtor and attach his goods, to be afterwards sold for the satisfaction of the creditor. If, however, the debtor was not to be found within the limits of the staple in question, the recognizance was to be certified into Chancery, from which court process was to issue.

By the seventeenth century most debts were certified into Chancery by the clerk of the recognizances. The creditor informed the clerk of the date of his recognizance. The clerk confirmed the date from his records and made out a certificate of the facts revealed.

The creditor then took the original recognizance (C 152) and the certificate (C 241) to the clerk of the Crown in Chancery who, on sight of the documents, furnished the creditor with a writ of capias et extendi facias. Finally, the creditor delivered this writ to the sheriff of the county in which the lands of the debtor lay.

On receiving the writ, the sheriff was required to imprison the debtor (although this was rarely done) and then, by seizing the debtor's property and valuing it by means of an inquest, make an extent. The sheriff conducted the extent with the aid of a jury of at least twelve men chosen from a local village or town. It was attached to the writ, along with the sheriff's reply, and the writ was returned to Chancery.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research