Catalogue description Justices of Gaol Delivery: Gaol Delivery Rolls and Files

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Details of JUST 3
Reference: JUST 3
Title: Justices of Gaol Delivery: Gaol Delivery Rolls and Files

Gaol delivery rolls and files for the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Most of the rolls and files either include deliveries for a single county or, especially from the fourteenth century onwards, for a whole circuit consisting of a number of counties. Some files were formerly in KB 9. The rolls include records of pleadings, with some calendars of prisoners and copies of commissions. The files also include calendars, and a variety of items such as original commissions, jury panels, lists of justices of the peace and local officials, coroners' inquests and records of abjurations of the realm, appeals, sheriffs' inquisitions, lists of pledges for good behaviour, copies of pardons and writs of non molestatis in support of them, warrants of attorney, and various other kinds of writs and letters. During the fifteenth century the circuit clerks ceased to compile gaol delivery rolls or return gaol delivery files to the Exchequer, and so these records virtually cease for nearly a century, until 1559.

The series includes material relating to sessions held between 1351 and 1361 when Henry, Duke of Lancaster, exercised powers of the Palatinate of Lancaster but which were separated from the Palatinate's series of rolls (PL 25 and PL 26)

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: 1271-1476

The first section (JUST 3/1-84) comprises records relating to particular individual counties, and is arranged alphabetically by order of county and in chronological order within counties; the second (JUST 3/85-221) consists of records relating to groups of counties, arranged in chronological order; the third (JUST 3/222-226) is a random sequence of records identified and added since the original arrangment was made at the end of the nineteenth century.

Related material:

Records of gaol deliveries by the Court of King's Bench are in:

KB 27

Separated material:

For the same period, a few misplaced gaol delivery rolls, and records of early gaol deliveries by justices in eyre, of oyer and terminer and of assize, are in JUST 1

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: French and Latin

Justices of Gaol Delivery, 1166-1971

Physical description: 823 files and rolls
Custodial history: These rolls and files were handed in to the Exchequer by the justices or their clerks. They remained there until they were transferred from the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey, which had become the central repository, to the PRO soon after the abolition of the Exchequer.
Publication note:

An almost complete version of the list of JUST 3, with indexes, has been published in List of Various Common Law Records, List and Indexes, Supplementary Series, I (1970) A number of gaol delivery rolls have been printed or calendared, including early ones for Wiltshire in Wiltshire Record Society, vol. XXXIII, for Kent in Kent Archaeological Society, Records Branch, vol. XIII, and for Norfolk in Norfolk Record Society, vol. XLIV

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