Catalogue description Records of the High Sheriff, Assizes

This record is held by Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service

Details of HSA
Reference: HSA
Title: Records of the High Sheriff, Assizes



Founder Chairman, County Records Office and Bedfordshire Historical Record Society first Archivist


Ignoramus Notes by Mr. G.D. Gilmore bill ignored by the grand jury, and never becomes an indictment and is never before the petty jury. This is not an acquittal, and another bill may be presented.


B.V. Billa vera The bill of indictment has been considered by the grand jury, who present the offence, and the bill thereupon ceases to be a bill (i.e., a draft) and becomes an indictment. The names on the back are witnesses.


Po se Ponit se super patriam: a plea of not guilty


Non cul Non culpabilis: verdict of not guilty


Nec re Nec recessit: (part of the verdict) 'did not fly for it'. This issue was put to the jury after verdict, as to resist arrest by flight would have caused a forfeiture.


Cogn Cognovit indicatmentum: a plea of guilty


Pet. li Petit librum: pleads benefit of clergy


Le Legit: reads the neck-verse


Caut Cauterizetur: to be branded on the thumb, to shew that the prisoner had had benefit of clergy, which barred that plea in another case


Re. pro transport [1678(W) 3. 42] by 31 Chas II c. 2 a felon might pray to be transported, and the court could agree. The statute belongs to 1679, but this roll is identified as W. 1678. Does this mean 1678-9 ? G.D.


The entry in this case properly is po. se quiet' de fr' do: cul pro bo. val vs re pro trasport'


Quiet' east quietus: acquitted


De fr' do: de fraccione domus: of house-breaking


Re (probably) remaneat (in prisona): to remain in prison pending transportation


Ca nul catalla nulla: he has no chattels, so there can be no forfeiture


Sus per coll suspendatur per collum: sentence of death


Quoad (as to) word to separate different findings as to persons jointly charged, and different pleas and verdicts to separate counts in one indictment


Homiscidium manslaughter


Flagel flagelletur: to be whipped


Nul. bo nulla bona: no goods - same as ca. nul.


Fin fecit finem: originally a compromise, whereby the defendant, while not admitting (protestando) that he was guilty, but not wishing to defend, was allowed to make an end of it by a payment to the Crown. Here (apparently) a fine imposed by the Court - quaere by consent


Ad val xd [HSA/1679W(3)[ ad valorem ?lands belong to the convict, worth 10d a year, which will be forfeit. In this roll they never seem to find terr' null' as you wd expect


Terr' null' no lands


Coroner's inquest [HSA/1680W(5)] A coroner's inquest should be a presentment. A finding by a coroner's jury is presented to a petty jury, as a true bill found by a grand jury is.


(8) And in every roll. These "remitted" actions were not commenced in Bedfordshire, removed (by certiorari, etc.) to Westminster, and remitted to Bedfordshire by procedendo. They were pleaded at Westminster to be tried there nisi prius there should be an assize. In practice the parties waited for an assize in order to have a jury of the country. Communis bancus Usually called the Court of Common Pleas (or the Common Place in some Acts and reports, which mistaken spelling retains the former pronunciation of ea. and final s.). The habeas corpora is a second writ to summon a jury. The first (venire facias juratores) was never executed, as it would have been returnable at Westminster. The second writ is chosen to avoid delay


Va. ob. [HSA/1682W(2)n.28] This must mean that the goods stolen are valued at ½d, and presumably this is also the meaning at 27 and ob.cit., since there is never a finding about land.


extr' [HSA/1683W(2)22] & ext' extrahitur: estreated, i.e., recognizance forfeit for non-appearance


[HSA/1683W(2)32] et al. B.V. only, with no plea or verdict. Probably the prosecutor did not appear. These always seem to be last of the indictments, as if they had been put back to the end of the criminal business to give the prosecutor time to appear.


Fiat extraccio : to be estreated, i.e. enforced (of a fine)


Com E.36 [HSA/1684W(3)42] I imagine this should be


Con(tra statutum) E. 36, whatever this was.


felon [HSA/1685S(1)14] felonie This seems to mean he is found guilty of felony (house-breaking), but not guilty of burglary. There should be two counts.


et del [HSA/1687S(1)11] deliberatur (to the hangman, to be branded). This looks more like a record than a sentence, as 'to be delivered' is implied, in cauterizetur, so I suggest -atur, not -etur, but del' may be part of the full form. They are not always consistent.


re & re in gaola [HSA/1688S(1)10] remaneat in gaola: to remain in gaol until his fine is paid


pet.1ar. petty larceny (seems not to be Latinized) The Latin should be parvum latrocinium, but I have seen the form petel.

Date: 1653-1688
Held by: Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

High Sheriff, Bedfordshire

Physical description: 54 Sub-fonds
Immediate source of acquisition:

The Accession No. of these files is 1100.


Some more documents of this series were presented by Dr. W.M. Palmer of Linton co. Cambs., found among the files for Cambs. which he had purchased from the same source. These are marked W.M.P. in the catalogue. Some endorsements in a modern hand and into seem to be due to him, and are therefore not entered below. The Accession No. of these additions is 1200.


Two documents, of which the Accession number is 1101, were presented by Col. H. Southam, Maybury Him, Woking, and are marked by S in the catalogue.


Twenty more documents were afterwards deposited by Dr. Palmer, of which the Accession Number is 1236


Further documents were received from Mr. W.N. Henman (acc. 1478), and others were purchased by public subscription from Quaritch (acc. 1859).

Custodial history:

The collection was purchased in the summer of 1934 by instalments, from Robert Rawley, then of Chertsey Road, Ashford Common, Middx., a dealer in old documents. He stated that he had bought them from a "waste paper merchant."


Some are documents made for the Sheriff in preparation for the Assize; some are submitted to the Assize by the Clerk of the Peace or Justices of the Peace. They are therefore, strictly speaking, Public Records. The attention of the Master of the Rolls and of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records was called to the fact that these documents were being sold in open market to various Counties and private purchasers; after careful consideration, the authorities seem to have decided not to insist upon their transference to public custody. The Deputy Keeper was able to trace that they had recently been removed from a house in King's Bench Walk in the Middle Temple.


These documents are therefore to be regarded as 'Unofficial Muniments', having been out of official custody for an unknown period.

  • Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, Bedfordshire
Administrative / biographical background:

These documents have been classed as H.S.A. (High Sheriff, Assizes), because the Sheriff was the County Officer, responsible for bringing together the Justices of the Peace, county and borough officials, prisoners, witnesses, and jurymen, under the writ of Venice facias which was addressed to him by the Royal Justices; and for executing the judgments of the Court after the Assizes.


They are clearly the files of Clerks of Assize on the old 'Norfolk Circuit', which included Beds. Bucks. Cambs. Hunts. Norf. Suff. Such files and other records of Assizes were usually retained by the Clerks of Assize, till 1911, when a mass of them was transferred to the Public Record Office from the different Circuits (see Ginseppe's Guide to P.R.O. i. 240-243).

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