This series consists of documents created in the course of three surveys of the chantries and similar religious institutions in 1546 and 1548, as part of the process of their dissolution into the king's hands. A few cognate documents from other years are also included.
In February 1546 and February 1548 commissioners in each shrievalty were required to discover and certify into the Court of Augmentations the landholdings of those institutions which were being dissolved. Any lands which had been unlawfully sold were seized into the king's hands.
The certificates give the number and names of all chantries, colleges, hospitals, free chapels, fraternities, brotherhoods, guilds, stipendiary priests, obits and money given for lights, the purposes for which they were founded, the parish in which they were located and how far they were from the parish church. They provide information about the lands, income and expenditure of the chantries and the value of any ornaments, jewels, plate and goods and chattels belonging to them. Finally, details were provided of any chantries which had been dissolved or obtained by any person without the king's licence.
After the dissolution took effect, a third commission was issued in June 1548, establishing a central authority for the allocation of pensions to the incumbents, stipendiary priests and poor people who had depended on the various intercessory institutions for their livelihood. Local officials of the Court of Augmentations collected information on these people, and certified it to the commissioners.