Catalogue description Exchequer: Pipe Office: Recusant Rolls (Chancellor's Series)

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Details of E 376
Reference: E 376
Title: Exchequer: Pipe Office: Recusant Rolls (Chancellor's Series)

Documents created by the Controller of the Pipe in the Pipe Office of the Exchequer, recording the fines and amercements of recusants who refused to conform to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England.

They are arranged under counties and contain, first, the Crown farms (consisting of lands seized for recusancy), setting out the name of the recusant, the rent due to the Crown, a brief description of the lands, their date of seizure with the name of the commissioner who executed it, reference to the Memoranda Roll record of its authorisation, name of the Crown's lessee (if any), arrears of payment, total debt, note of payments made; next, but not invariably, records of the seizure of goods and chattels, giving the recusant's name, the amount of his forfeiture, and sometimes a mention of the particular articles seized; thirdly, the sheriff's charge and final audit; lastly, enrolments of any new convictions certified to the Exchequer. These estreats of convictions state the recusant's name and address, period of recusancy, date of conviction, and amount of the debt involved.

Documents are dated by the regnal year given at the head of the roll. However, estreats of convictions on the recusant rolls can originate later than this given date

Date: 1591-1691
Related material:

A duplicate of this series, drawn up by the Clerk of the Pipe, is in E 377

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 63 roll(s)
Physical condition: Many of the early rolls in this series are unfit for production or fragmentary.
Publication note:

For more information, see 'Exchequer, Recusant Rolls.' in Recusant History 16, no 3 (1983) pp 367–76

Administrative / biographical background:

All persons refusing to conform to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England were subject under the 1581 'Act to retain the Queen's Majesty's subjects in their due obedience' (23 Eliz. I, c.1) to a penalty of £20 a month for refusal to attend Church of England services. 'Recusancy', as this refusal was called, came under Exchequer cognisance, and the Pipe Rolls begin to contain accounts for the fines levied by sheriffs. Under this Act by Stat. 28-29 Eliz. I, c. 6, non-payment of the fine was to be followed by process out of the Exchequer to seize the recusant's goods and two-thirds of his lands until he conformed; and such seizures are recorded in the Pipe Rolls until 1592. when a separate series of rolls were instituted in the Pipe Office to record proceedings against recusants.

The form of proceeding against recusants remained fairly constant until 1691. It was adopted during the Interregnum against those who refused the Oath of Abjuration prescribed by the Long Parliament in 1643. Protestant Dissenters were included among the persons convicted, particularly in the latter years of the reign of Charles II, when several Quakers were prosecuted in this way.

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