This series contains diverse documents which are concerned with the administration and management of the lands, possessions and revenues of aliens and alien priories.
During peacetime the Crown often imposed fines on or raised subsidies from the priories; during periods of warfare, however, their lands and possessions were normally seized and placed in the hands of royal keepers.
Most of the aliens affected were European merchants resident in England. The alien priories were dependencies of French houses, run by French clergy. About 90 were dissolved in 1414 by Henry V. Others bought charters of denization from the Crown and became dependencies of English houses instead.
There are three main types of records: property-related documents which list lands and possessions, such as extents, inquisitions and indentures; financial documents which detail debts, fines, subsidies, receipts of revenues collected, and receipts for payments made; administrative and legal records, most of which are writs along with some certificates of mainprise; and other miscellaneous documents. These include inventories and memoranda concerning the possessions of alien priories, and petitions. Most were apparently compiled as a result of royal directives.