References to medieval London and Londoners can also be found in many publications of national records, such as those of the royal Chancery and Exchequer. This page lists some of the series with especially numerous references to medieval Londoners.
Calendar of the Patent Rolls, 1232-1578, 70 vols (London, 1891-1982). See also Rotuli litterarum patentium in turri Londoniensi asservati, 1201-1216, ed. T. D. Hardy (London, 1835), in Latin; Letters Patent of the Reign of Henry IIII, 2 vols. (London, 1901-03) in Latin for 1216-32. The royal Chancery kept a record of all letters it sent out to which the Great Seal was attached; these lacked signatory witnesses and were open (hence ‘patent’). About 2,900 rolls survive from the period 1201-1640. They include copies of royal grants of land, money, offices, licenses and monopolies, pardons for felonies, and ecclesiastical appointments. Private persons could also pay to have documents enrolled for a fee. Hundreds of Londoners are listed in each volume. For the digitized (and searchable) volumes available on many different sites, see the Medieval English Genealogy page for Chancery Rolls or the cochoit page. Images of the original rolls (TNA C66 and C67) from c. 1237 onwards are available on the AALT website.
Calendar of Close Rolls 1272-1509, 47 vols. (London, 1892-1963). See also Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri Londinensi asservati, 1204-1227, 2 vols. (London, 1833-44), in Latin; and Close Rolls of the Reign of Henry III, 1227-1272, 15 vols. (London, 1902-1975), in Latin. These voluminous rolls (c. 3300 before 1640) contain specific instructions sealed with the Great Seal and sent mainly to sheriffs and royal escheators in letters folded (hence ‘closed’). They deal with a very diverse range of matters, including purveyance, feudal aids and service, duels, custody of idiots, royal properties (including those in London), repair of bridges and roads, the impressment of troops and ships, the observance of treaties, safe conducts for merchants, orders dealing with the Staple and overseas trade, and taxation. From the mid-fifteenth century, the business included here began to decrease as other means were used to authenticate royal administrative correspondence. Private deeds, especially land conveyances were increasingly enrolled on the dorses for a fee, although they are not included in most publications of the documents, though hundreds of Londoners can be found these volumes. For the digitized (and searchable) volumes available on many different sites, see the Medieval English Genealogy page for Chancery Rolls or the cochoit page. They are also available on BHO: Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III, Henry VII, Images of the original rolls (TNA C54 and C55) are available on the AALT website.
Calendar of Fine Rolls, 22 vols. (London, 1911-62); and Rotuli de oblatis et finibus, ed. T. D. Hardy (London, 1835). See also Calendar of the Fine Rolls of the Reign of Henry III, ed. P. Dryburgh and B. Hartland, 3 vols (Woodbridge, 2007-09); and the Henry III Fine Rolls Project which makes available searchable translations of the rolls for 1216-72, as well as images of the originals; those for 1216-48 are published as: Calendar of the Fine Rolls of the Reign of Henry III, ed. P. Dryburgh and B. Hartland, 3 vols. (Woodbridge, 2007-09) with a fourth volume to 1242-48 forthcoming. The Fine Rolls (TNA C60) survive from 1199 and were also known as the Oblata Rolls, which refers to the ‘offerings’ or promises to pay the Crown or justiciar for a wide variety of privileges and favors, such as the delivery of goods to executors, setting terms to repay debts to the crown, collecting fines for releasing prisoners, granting wardships and marriages, assignment of dower, and appointments of county or crown officials who were liable to account to the Exchequer. Up to the reign of Edward I, they include many notices of common law writs. After 1300 the rolls include separate lists of ‘grossi fines,’ especially for charters and confirmations or licenses and pardons for land transfers. For the digitized (and searchable) volumes available on many different sites, see the Medieval English Genealogy page for Chancery Rolls or the cochoit page.
Calendar of the Liberate Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, 6 vols. (London, 1916-64) covers 1226 to 1272 with English summaries; vol 1 is on archive.org, vols. 2-4 are on Haithi Trust; see also the Medieval English Genealogy page for Chancery Rolls. For earlier rolls (in Latin), see Rotuli de Liberate ac de misis et praestitis, regnante Johanne, ed. T. D. Hardy (London, 1844) on archive.org. These rolls record Chancery writs ordering the Exchequer to pay pensions, salaries, and stipends, as well as payments for purchases and other debts of the crown and royal household. They also include orders for allowances to reimburse royal officials for expenses they incurred or payments they made for royal building projects. They are especially full for the reign of Henry III; thereafter they become more abbreviated and are enrolled on the close rolls. Images of some of the rolls (TNA C62) are on AALT.
Curia Regis Rolls, 1194 to 1272: a catch-all term for the records of two early common law courts: pleas coram regem (the court that originally travelled with the king) and the Bench (later the Court of Common Pleas), which convened in Westminster. The courts of the itinerant justices are also included for the reigns of Richard and John; for the later London eyre rolls and their contents, see Law: The Eyre Courts in London). The Curia Regis pleas include civil litigation over property, debts, account, and trespass. Property disputes initiated by a writ of assize were especially numerous and tended to involve wealthy property owners who could afford to pay for the writ and see the case through the courts. The first three volumes are in abbreviated Latin record type on archive.org: Three Rolls of the King’s Court of the Reign of King Richard the First, A.D. 1194-1195, ed. F. W. Maitland, Pipe Roll Society, 14 (1891); Rotuli Curiae Regis…volume 1. From the Sixth Year of King Richard I to the Accession of King John [1194-1199], and volume 2, [1199-1200], ed. F. Palgrave, Record Commission (1835). See also Pleas before the King or His Justices, 1198-1212, ed. D. M. Stenton, 4 vols., Selden Society 67, 68, 83, 84 (1948-67) for selected cases in facing page Latin and English translation, with an extensive introduction. The main series of Latin transcripts starts with Curia Regis Rolls of the Reigns of Richard I and John, ed. C. T. Flower (London, 1922) on Haithi Trust. The series continues in Curia Regis Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office…, 20 vols. [ 1201-50] (London, 1922-2006).
A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds in the Public Record Office, ed. H. C. Maxwell Whyte, 5 vols. (London, 1890-1915), Vol. 1: A.1 – A.1819 (Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer); B.1 – B.1798 (Court of Augmentations); C.1 – C.1780 (Court of Chancery); vol. 2: A.1820 – A.3836 (Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer), B.1799-B.3870 (Court of Augmentations), C.1781 – C.2915 (Court of Chancery); vol. 3: A.3837 – A.6122 (Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer), B.3871 – B.4232 (Court of Augmentations), C.2916 – C.3764 (Court of Chancery), D.1 – D.1330 (Queen’s Remembrancer’s Department); vol. 4: A.6123 – A.10426 (Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer); vol. 5: A.10427 – A.13672 (Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer); vol. 6: C.3765 – A.8060 (Court of Chancery) . Gives English abstracts of medieval (mostly Latin) of the twelfth to sixteenth century, deposited in various PRO (now TNA) Exchequer and Chancery classes. London material can be located by searching the index of places in each volume (they also contain indices of names and subjects). On archive.org; also on Haithi Trust, Google Books, and BHO
The AALT is a massive project that aims to digitize medieval and early-modern English legal records at The National Archives and make the images freely available online; most of the records are from Chancery, but the pipe rolls and some other accounts from Exchequer are also included. Run by Robert Palmer at the University of Houston Law School, the site currently contains many millions of images of records dating from 1217 to 1800. These are the original records, so users need to have some experience reading medieval Latin handwriting and coping with the many abbreviations that Latin legal records employ. They will also need to use the TNA Discovery catalogue to locate the records they want to use. The medieval record classes that contain London material are: C 1, C 33, C 54 [1509-1540], C 60 [1529-1573], C 62, C 66 [1237-1281], C 78, CP 21, CP 25 [to 1509], CP 40, E 9, E 13, E 101, E 123, E 124, E 126, E 159, E 361, E 364, E 368, E 372, JUST 1, JUST 2 [to 1483], JUST 3 [to 1483], KB 9 [to 1560], KB 21, KB 26, KB 27, KB 29, LR 1, REQ 1 and SP 12 [to 1580]. The site Wiki (WAALT) contains lists of (only a few at this time) documents that mention London officials, London documents, and London court records, with links to the relevant images. There are also very useful indices for medieval CP40 records, which are organized by plaintiff but which has a location field that allows users to easily find cases involving Londoners.