Catalogue description Court of Common Pleas: Recovery Rolls

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Details of CP 43
Reference: CP 43
Title: Court of Common Pleas: Recovery Rolls

This series is an offshoot from the main series of plea rolls of the Court of Common Pleas, created in 1583 to contain the enrolments effecting the collusive legal procedure called the common recovery, but also including non-collusive proceedings to recover land by writ of right.

The recovery rolls also took from the main series the warrants of attorney in recoveries, the section of the roll for the enrolment of deeds, and the recording of the payment of king's or queen's silver for licence to levy final concords. They continue in unbroken series until 1838, four years after the abolition of recoveries, when their remaining business returned to the main series and the recovery rolls came to an end. They did not decline in size to the same extent as the plea rolls. From 1762 they include enclosure awards, which appear in far greater numbers than they do in any of the other series of enrolments in which they are found.

After fines and recoveries were abolished in 1834, the series ends with two rolls continuing the entries of pleas of land by writ of right, payments for licences to concord, and sections for the enrolment of deeds and writings acknowledged down to Michaelmas 1837; after that, those entries reverted to the plea rolls.

Date: 1583-1837

Most of the contents of each roll consists of common recoveries, each signed by whichever of the three prothonotaries was handling the cases it contained, and arranged in small blocks for each prothonotary. Interspersed with them in the main body of the roll are rotuli of fines for licences to concord, often also arranged in blocks, all 'signed' by the individual currently holding the office of the king's silver. Included among the recoveries are entries relating to other pleas of land, including returns to writs of certiorari.

At the end of the roll there is a section for 'charters, writings and protections acknowledged and allowed', which consisted mainly of enrolled deeds and recognisances, and a much shorter sequence of warrants of attorney, recording the appointment of attorneys in pleas of land, giving brief details of the parties and the county involved.

The separation of the writs relating to recoveries from the main series of files of the court (CP 52) into a separate series of files (CP 56) took place rather earlier, about 1562.

Related material:

Contemporary repertories from 1583 to 1835 are in IND 1/17183-17216. From 1583 they are in the same order as the recoveries in the rolls, but from 1705 (IND 1/17191) they are alphabetically by county and then in entry order. Their format varies, but they consistently give the county, names of the parties, and the number of the rotulus on which the recovery is enrolled. There are separate indexes to the enrolled deeds in CP 73/1, from 1555 to 1629; and in IND 1/16943-16949, which ends in 1836.

Alienation Office entry books recording the issue of writs of entry intended for use in conveying land by common recovery are in A 9

Other enclosure records are in Division within MAF

King's Silver Books are in CP 34

See also CP 40

Enclosure awards also occur on the plea rolls of the Exchequer in E 13

Recoveries for Wales are now in the National Library of Wales. They were formerly in WALE 3

There are separate indexes to the enrolled deeds in CP 73/1

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 1004 roll(s)
Unpublished finding aids:

A composite index of enclosure awards in several different series is available.

Administrative / biographical background:

Throughout their active life the rolls were, confusingly, generally known as 'plea rolls', because they included pleas of land (their headings actually began 'Placita terre...' from the very first roll), while the main series, which we now call plea rolls (CP 40), were known as 'common rolls', because they did not contain pleas of land, only personal and mixed actions.

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