Catalogue description Records of the Court of Augmentations and the Augmentation Office

Details of Division within E
Reference: Division within E
Title: Records of the Court of Augmentations and the Augmentation Office

Many of these are the records of the Courts of General Surveyors and Augmentations relating to revenues accruing to the Crown following the Dissolution of the monastries, colleges and chantries in the 1530s and 1540s. They include earlier records of these ecclesiastical institutions which also came to the Crown. Also included, however, are records relating to the administration of the Crown lands from the abolition of the Court of Augmentations in 1554 to the early nineteenth century: records of the Pipe Office, the auditors of the land revenue and of the various commissioners and trustees for the sale of Crown lands and fee-farm rents during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Finally there are a very few records of the Augmentation Office of the Exchequer in which these collections were deposited from 1554.

Records relating to the dissolution of the monasteries are in E 322, and of the colleges and chantries in E 301. Numerous original deeds are in E 303, E 313, E 326-E 330

Administrative and legal records of the Courts of General Surveyors and Augmentations are in E 314, E 315, E 321, E 323, E 325

Leases granted upon Crown lands, and associated documentation, are in E 299, E 300 and E 309-E 312; deeds of purchase and exchange are in E 305. Particulars for grants of Crown lands are in E 318 and E 319 and of concealed lands in E 302. Documents associated with the Commonwealth sales of Crown lands are in E 304, E 317 and E 320; and of fee-farm rents in E 307 and E 308. Accounts of sales of woods are in E 325. Particulars for grants of offices are in E 316

Records relating to the estates of the queens consort, and of their councils, are in E 298; those of the Duchy of Cornwall are in E 306

The only surviving records of the Augmentation Office itself will be found in E 324

There are some original finding aids in E 276

Date: c1200-1820
Separated material:

Some records of the Courts of General Surveyors and Augmentations are amongst those of the Office of the Auditors of Land Revenue: LR

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Court of Augmentations, 1536-1547

Court of Augmentations and Revenues of the Kings Crown, 1547-1554

Court of General Surveyors, 1542-1547

Exchequer, Augmentation Office, 1554-1833

Physical description: 34 series
Custodial history: Up to 1793 the records were kept in an 'antient and inconvenient brick building' adjoining the Court of the Exchequer in Westminster. They were removed from there to five rooms above the King's Bench Treasury in Westminster. They were stored, cleaned and listed at Carlton Ride prior to their transfer to the Public Record Office.
Publication note:

A more detailed discussion of the history and records of the Courts of Augmentations will be found in W C Richardson, History of the Court of Augmentations, 1536-1554 (Louisiana State University Press, 1961). See also J Youings, The Dissolution of the Monasteries (London, 1971).

Administrative / biographical background:

The policies which led to the establishment of the Court of the Augmentations and Revenues of the King's Crown in 1547 originated in the royal desire to appropriate directly income which might otherwise pass through the elaborate procedures of the Exchequer. By the third quarter of the fifteenth century the Crown found it useful to take a prerogative approach to the administration of Crown lands, without creating any permanent organisation to fulfil requirements; commissions of inquiry carried out surveys as and when required, and receipts were diverted piecemeal from the Exchequer to the Chamber of the Royal Household. Under Richard III it was proposed that 'the court of Exchequer be clearly dismissed and discharged from any meddling with any foreign livelihood in taking of accounts, as Wales, duchies of Cornwall, York, Norfolk, earldoms of Chester, March, Warwick, Salisbury and of all other lands being in the king's hands by reason of forfeiture'; Henry VII continued to use similar expedients, while from the first year of Henry VIII's reign there were statutes assigning certain revenues, including that of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the king's Household.

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