Catalogue description Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Memoranda Rolls and Enrolment Books

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Details of E 159
Reference: E 159
Title: Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Memoranda Rolls and Enrolment Books

This series consists of rolls recording memoranda made in the Exchequer.

Each roll covers a year, consisting of four terms, and is divided into different sections. The contents of the two parallel series, one kept by the King's Remembrancer and the other by the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, reflect the differing functions of the two offices, which were defined by the Exchequer ordinances of 1323. From this time, the rolls of the King's Remembrancer included the following 13 sections, some of which had existed earlier as far back as about 1270:

  • (1) Adventus vicecomitum, recording the arrival of the sheriffs and other officials, such as escheators, with their proffers at Michaelmas and Easter;
  • (2) Dies dati vicecomitibus, dates of days assigned for the hearing of their accounts;
  • (3) Commissiones et littere patentes, enrolments of commissions and letters patent;
  • (4) Littere patentes et scripta recognita, enrolments of private deeds
  • (5) Brevia directa baronibus, enrolments of writs sent to the Treasurer and barons of the Exchequer, often to grant a discharge of a specific demand for payment;
  • (6) Recorda, varied enrolments, mainly of decisions about liabilities for payments and general memoranda;
  • (7) Fines, manucapciones, redditus, affidaciones et visores, notes of fines, mainprises, renders, affidavits and viewers;
  • (8) Presentaciones, attornati, dies dati et respectus, presentations of officials, appointments of attorneys, days given for appearance, and respites from rendering account;
  • (9) Recogniciones, private recognisances of debt enrolled for a fee;
  • (10) Brevia irretornabilia, enrolments of writs not requiring a return, concerned with matters such as the provisioning of castles or the royal household, or the payment of wages;
  • (11) Brevia retornabilia, enrolments of writs which did require a return, intended to bring before the Exchequer a debt to the Crown, such as customs or lay subsidies;
  • (12) Status et visus compotorum, notes resulting from preliminary 'views' or final audit of accounts rendered by sheriffs or other officials;
  • (13) Precepta super compotum, notes of orders made to sheriffs during the hearing of their accounts.

Until about 1300 the rolls also included pleadings in the Exchequer of Pleas, before they were all recorded in separate series of plea rolls (E 13). When equity jurisdiction developed in the Exchequer in the later 16th century, some of the records, especially copies of informations, fines and decrees, were entered in the rolls.

Much of the later contents of the rolls, in the dominant Recorda or 'Common Business' section, concerned revenue proceedings in the Exchequer. From the 16th century the number of sections diminished, with ultimately the Recorda only remaining by the time the Exchequer ceased to be an accounting department in 1833. The rolls continued to record legal business and conveyances after the rolls of the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer ceased when the office was abolished. They are continued from 1927 by the enrolment books of the remembrancer, recording conveyances and associated plans.

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: 1218-1994

When they were fully developed, the rolls were made up by joining together at the end of the year all the individual rotuli. Each was headed with the term, the regnal year, and the section of the memoranda roll to which it belonged. They were joined by a cord through holes made at the head.

Related material:

Originals of enrolled deeds to which the Commissioners of Works were a party are in:

A parallel series of memoranda rolls is in: E 368

See also the Special Collections, Ancient Petitions, in: SC 8




Separated material:

The two earliest Exchequer memoranda rolls, from the reign of King John, are in E 370

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English, French and Latin
Physical description: 811 roll(s)
Publication note:

An outline of the development of the rolls is provided by J Conway Davies, 'The memoranda rolls of the Exchequer to 1307', in Studies presented to Sir Hilary Jenkinson (1957), pp 97-154 Also useful is J F Willard, 'The memoranda rolls and the remembrancers, 1282-1350', in Essays in Medieval History presented to T F Tout, ed A G Little and F M Powicke (1925), pp 215-29 See also D Crook, 'The early remembrancers of the Exchequer', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, liii (1980), pp 11-23

Unpublished finding aids:

A variety of means of reference to the rolls exist for particular periods, the main one being the agenda books, from 1543 to 1884 (IND 1/17051-17079/2; IND 1/6724-6732), the last two of which are called 'indexes to enrolments. For the period 1272-1680 the repertory rolls give the county, a brief note of the entry, and the rotulus number (IND 1/7031-7051).

Administrative / biographical background:

Memoranda began to be kept by the Exchequer from the 12th century, by order of the treasurer, so that particular action could be taken on an account. It is likely that they were considered ephemeral documents until the early years of the reign of Henry III (1216-72).

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