Catalogue description Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Entry Books of Decrees and Orders, Series I

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Details of E 123
Reference: E 123
Title: Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Entry Books of Decrees and Orders, Series I

This series consists of entry books of decrees and orders in equity and revenue causes heard on the King's Remembrancer's side of the Exchequer.

A decree was the final sentence of the court. It could either be final, in which the judgement was absolute, or interlocutory, where the judgement was to stand unless a party could show good cause against it, or where a jury was to try the facts or a report was required. Orders were often procedural: giving days for appearance; authorising the issue of commissions to take the answers of defendants or the deposition of witnesses; or for the taxing of costs. Some were of general reference to the conduct of the court or the collection of the revenue, and might be adopted as a rule of the court.

Both decrees and orders were drawn up by the clerks in court in the King's Remembrancer's Office. They were then signed by one of the sworn clerks. The books of decrees and orders illustrate well the growing bureaucratic complexity of the court. For some periods, the books were maintained in two parallel series. Rehearings and appeals were not permitted before the decree was drawn up and entered.

All entries are dated, and some indicate the parties to the suit and the names of the sworn clerks acting for each party. Some entries are also annotated to show further process. Every decree and order should exist in both original draft and registered copy, but the series is incomplete.

By no means all suits reached determination, and although the entry books should in most cases include orders for any suit which came to issue, in some suits a final order or decree will be absent. Some disputes, particularly those concerning common lands and customary rights, proved recurrent despite reaching an apparent conclusion. Neither circumstance is unusual, and the ambiguities of litigation in equity are common to all the equity courts.

Digital images of some of the records in this series are available through the Anglo-American Legal Tradition website. Please note that The National Archives is not responsible for this website or its content.

Date: 1559-1606
Related material:

In 1736 Henry Ord, one of the sworn clerks, compiled a two volume index to Exchequer decrees from the reign of Henry VIII to that of James I: British Library, Add MSS 8984, 8985 ; British Library, Add MSS 21277-21280

The series is continued in E 124

See: IND 1/16897

Hutton Wood's index appears to be an earlier attempt, in about 1794, to publish Martin's work: IND 1/17050

Between 1801 and 1804 two other clerks of the Office, George Vanderzee and William Kirkby, compiled indexes to almost the entire series of volumes which now form E 123

Original finding aids are in E 501

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English and Latin
Physical description: 29 volume(s)

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