Catalogue description Chancery Files, Tower and Rolls Chapel Series, Cancelled Letters Patent

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Details of C 266
Reference: C 266
Title: Chancery Files, Tower and Rolls Chapel Series, Cancelled Letters Patent

This series consists of drafts, copies and unissued letters patent as well as letters returned for cancellation.

Also included are a number of strays from other file series, not all of which lie within the Chancery group. The earliest files contain the greatest number of strays. For example, during the reign of Edward I a large number of cancelled letters concerning loans made by foreign merchants to the Crown were filed. Another file of Edward I is composed entirely of letters patent granting pardons, often for persons involved in the Scottish wars. Most still have the great seal attached, and many are not enrolled, suggesting that they were never collected from Chancery.

Under Edward II and Edward III, many letters patent for alienations in mortmain were returned for cancellation (often decades later) once the religious house had acquired lands to the stated value, or had been otherwise compensated by the Crown. Other files concern Edward III's manipulations of the revenue from duties on wool and fells, many of the documents being concerned with allowances to be made to collectors, farmers and others on customs dues.

The fifteenth-century files may include some dormant warrants ensuring the issue of great seal writs into the Exchequer for the payment of annuities. From the reign of Henry VII to that of Charles I, the majority of the documents are cancelled letters patent, many of which also bear endorsements noting their enrolment in one of the offices of the Exchequer. Late files include a few council warrants, and there is also a returned commission of inquiry into an act of piracy.

The latest documents in the series are mostly exemplifications of proceedings in Kings Bench or Common Pleas. The final file contains letters patent issued by the sons, daughters and wives of kings, rather than by the monarch himself. Several were ultimately delivered into Chancery and cancelled in return for new grants under the great seal.

Most of these records were formerly included in C 202

Date: c1154-c1901
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 82 file(s)

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