Catalogue description Duchy of Lancaster: Chancery: Inquisitions Post Mortem, Pleadings and Special Commissions

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Details of DL 7
Reference: DL 7
Title: Duchy of Lancaster: Chancery: Inquisitions Post Mortem, Pleadings and Special Commissions

This series consists largely of inquisitions post mortem taken either before the Escheator of the County Palatine of Lancaster or before special commissioners. Most of them relate to Lancashire.

Some of the inquisitions were returned into the chancery at Lancaster in the form of a traverse, where the heir disputed the facts as set out in the inquisition.

The series also includes records which reflect the attempts made by Henry VII and Henry VIII to revive the payment of various feudal aids throughout the Duchy, resulting in inquisitions, informations, common law proceedings, and proceedings before the Duchy Council. These documents come from all parts of the Duchy, though mostly from outside Lancashire.

Date: 1271-1973

Between 1800 and 1823 the documents in this series were cleaned, repaired and bound into their current arrangement.

Separated material:

Some inquisitions post mortem of the Duchy of Lancaster, dating from the late fourteenth century to the early sixteenth century, can be found in PL 4

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Not Public Record(s)
Language: English, French and Latin

Duchy of Lancaster, 1399-

Duchy of Lancaster, Chancery, 1351-

Physical description: 43 volume(s)
Physical condition: Some documents survive with seals attached.
Custodial history: In 1800 the Duchy of Lancaster reported to a Select Committee of the House of Commons that the Duchy had 2,400 inquisitions post mortem, dating from 1413 to 1642. In 1823 a calendar of these documents was published by the Record Commission. The preface to this reported that, upon further investigation, the number of inquisitions had increased to 3,569. Between 1800 and 1823 the documents were cleaned, repaired and bound into their current arrangement. These volumes then came into the Public Record Office with the main transfer of Duchy records in 1868.
Publication note:

A calendar of the inquisitions post mortem dating from 1413 to 1642 was published as Ducatus Lancastriae, i (Record Commission, 1823), pp 1-107. The inquisitions post mortem for the reign of James I have been printed in brief translation in Lancashire Inquisitions returned into the Chancery of the Duchy of Lancaster: Stuart Period, ed J P Rylands (3 vols, Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society, iii, xvi-xvii, 1879-1888).

Administrative / biographical background:

Inquisitions post mortem were held on the death of any tenant who held, or was believed to hold, land of the Duke of Lancaster or, from 1399, of the king as holder of the Duchy. If a local jury returned that the land was so held, then the duke/king was entitled to any feudal revenues due.

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