Catalogue description Registrar of the High Court of Delegates: Processes

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Details of DEL 1
Reference: DEL 1
Title: Registrar of the High Court of Delegates: Processes

Copies of proceedings in civilian courts in connection with the hearing by the High Court of Delegates of appeals from their sentences. The majority of the appeals relate to testamentary and matrimonial causes from the ecclesiastical courts, and to maritime causes from the High Court of Admiralty.

The appeals from ecclesiastical courts include processes relating to such matters as clerical discipline, income, rights, and disputes over tithes, church rates, defamation and pews. Appeals from the Court of Chivalry and from the courts of the chancellors of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge are rare.

The series contains all the surviving processes but does not cover every cause which came before the court. Only nine processes survive for the period before 1650. Survival is patchy for the rest of the seventeenth century but the eighteenth century is well covered and the period from about 1800 is almost complete.

Date: 1609-1834

DEL 1/1-736 are arranged by former references; these numbers were in use at the time of binding and (for DEL 1/1-712) also included in DEL 11/12. Where one volume covers two or more causes, these original numbers (which form a single numerical sequence) have been used as item numbers.

Related material:

For further lists and indexes see DEL 11

Processes in ecclesiastical and Admiralty causes heard by the successor of the High Court of Delegates, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, to 1880, are in PCAP 1

There is a process produced in an appeal to the High Court of Delegates from the High Court of Admiralty in SP 16/508

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin

High Court of Delegates, 1533-1833

Physical description: 747 volume(s)
Custodial history: The majority of the records which now form the series DEL 1 to DEL 8 were transferred to the Public Record Office at various dates between 1863 and 1923. They came from the registry of the High Court of Admiralty and its successor, the Admiralty registry of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court. The documents in DEL 1/1 -736 were bound in 1853 at the direction of H C Rothery when he became their custodian as Registrar of the High Court of Admiralty, and rebound shortly before their transfer to the Public Record Office.
Publication note:

The binding of the volumes in 1853 and subsequently is referred to in H C Rothery, Return of all appeals in causes of doctrine or discipline made to the High Court of Delegates from its erection by the 25 Hen 8, c 19, AD 1533, until its abolition by the 2 & 3 Will IV, c 92, 1832 (Sessional Papers, House of Commons, 1867-1868). The former reference given is the reference number used in [Jesse Addams], A catalogue of processes in the registry of the High Court of Delegates from 1609 to 1823 (London, [1823]).

Administrative / biographical background:

Processes were usually authenticated copies of proceedings in the lower courts from which appeal was made and were delivered to the judges-delegate in the early procedural stage of each cause. The first document in the process would be a copy of the monition to the lower court to transmit all its acts and exhibits relating to the cause in question. Transcripts of acts of court, and of such documents as allegations of promoters, answers of defendants, depositions of witnesses, and other exhibits would follow. Additional exhibits might include the texts of such documents as agreements, contracts and freight lists in maritime causes, disputed wills in testamentary causes, personal letters in matrimonial causes, and title deeds and vestry minutes in causes relating to ecclesiastical property. The process would be authenticated by the registrar of the lower court.

Two terms used to define types of causes require further explanation:

Office of the judge causes were sometimes begun by the judge in his own name, and sometimes initiated by another. Some of these causes came to the High Court of Delegates on appeal, others arose out of other litigation pending before the Court, such as causes relating to contempt. The majority of the office of the judge causes relate to matters of clerical conduct.

In a cause involving jacitation of marriage the promoter sought to prosecute the defendant for claiming that the promoter of the cause had contracted a marriage, usually with the defendant.

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