The originalia rolls, a form of 'estreat' or extract of fines from another account, are linked to the fine rolls (C 60), the pipe rolls (E 372), and the memoranda rolls (E 159 and E 368), and concern the Exchequer procedure for the collection of fines which had fallen due in the Chancery.
From the late 12th century, payments, in money or kind, which were offered to the king by way of oblation or 'fine' were entered on rolls kept by the Chancery. These were known as the fine or oblata rolls, and are now in C 60. Such payments were incurred when charters and grants were renewed or passed, and when lands, offices, wardships, exemptions, liberties, privileges or other royal favours were granted. In order that the Exchequer might have a note of the relevant sums to be collected, at intervals throughout the year the Chancery clerks would copy those items from the fine roll which were thought likely to be of interest to the Exchequer. These notes were made up into a rotulus originalis, or 'original roll' (later known as the 'originalia roll'), and sent to the Exchequer. Often it is possible to trace the course of the collection of a single debt from the fine roll to the originalia roll, and from there onto the pipe roll and memoranda rolls.
Over time, the content of the originalia rolls changed, and estreats from the patent rolls began to be enrolled. These contain details of various judicial commissions, including those of sewers, gaol delivery, oyer and terminer, and commissions of the peace. For these legal commissions the originalia rolls provide a more complete enrolment than can be found on the patent rolls. They also include details of inquisitions post mortem, sales of land, lists of sheriffs and escheators, subsidy acts and commissions, and details of the appointment and commissions of customs collectors. By the reign of George III (1760-1820) the rolls had become formulaic and include only enrolments of letters patent concerned with the granting of various government posts.