UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

London Sheriffs' Court Records, 1320: Detailed Case Index

Title details

SN: 6574
Title: London Sheriffs' Court Records, 1320: Detailed Case Index
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-6574-1
Depositor: Stevens, M., University of London. Institute of Historical Research. Centre for Metropolitan History
Principal investigator(s): Davies, M., University of London. Institute of Historical Research. Centre for Metropolitan History
Data collector(s): Davies, M., University of London. Institute of Historical Research. Centre for Metropolitan History
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: RES-000-22-3343


The citation for this study is:

Davies, M. (2010). London Sheriffs? Court Records, 1320: Detailed Case Index. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 6574,

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Subject Categories

Community and urban studies - Society and culture
Economic history - History
Legal history - History
Local history - History
Social history - History
Urban history - History


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This data draws, from London's only surviving medieval Sheriffs' Court roll, on all court session dates, litigants' surnames (sometimes with occupation or location of residence), litigants' dispute types, and individual court roll entry types. It adds to the original data tagging of entries by case, so as that all entries pertaining to any one case may be collated and court process and procedure may be studied, and tagging of cases involving female litigants, so that female court usage may be studied. Only court roll entries for appointment of attorney have been excluded from data collection, as these were not explicitly part of the litigation process. The study of cases by writ-type, e.g. frequency of debt cases or debt cases involving women, also has potential socio-economic value. This data may prove of exceptional importance in the study of medieval women, due to the relative frequency with which female litigants, a typically under-represented group, are recorded as having appeared before the Sheriffs' Court.
Main Topics:
This data is a detailed index of entries and cases appearing on the City of London's only surviving medieval Sheriffs' Court roll; covering Trinity term, 1 July - 26 September, 1320. The Sheriffs' Court of London was the court of first resort for most medieval Londoners wishing to initiate a lawsuit in matters of trespass, debt, account, surety of peace ('de minis'), breach of contract and a variety of other principally 'civil' disputes. Although notably, property-ownership disputes, such as disseisin, were not heard in the Sheriffs' Court. The entries on the Sheriffs' Court roll pertain to cases at all stages of legal proceedings, from mesne process - the process of bringing a defendant before the court to join issue - to the pleading of cases before the court and ultimately to final process - whereby the judgments were executed. Original-document entries contain cursory to full details of the dispute (depending on the stage of legal proceedings), the litigants and sureties first and last names and, additionally, often persons occupation or location of residence.

The data deposited here is a '.tab' file export of a MsAccess table, listing, for each court roll entry [excepting appointments of attorney]: a full document reference (including document membrane number); the date of the court session a which the entry was recorded; the surname/s of the plaintiff/s and defendant/s; the writ-type (indicating what kind of case it was, e.g. debt/trespass/contract/etc.); the entry type (e.g. order to arrest/essoin/pleaded case/judgment/etc); an indication of whether the case involved a female litigant; and, where applicable, further notes about entry. Each entry in the deposited data also contains a unique entry ID number and metadata field with a 'Case' number, allowing the collation of entries pertaining to each of the more than 500 individual lawsuits, or 'cases', recorded on the roll.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 01 July 1320 - 26 September 1320
Dates of fieldwork: 01 February 2009 - 31 January 2010
Country: England
Geography: London
Spatial units: No spatial unit
Observation units: court cases
Kind of data: Textual data
Numeric data
Alpha/numeric data
Universe: Subnational
1588 summary entries of a court roll of London Sheriffs' Court Records, 1320
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
Number of units: 1588
Method of data collection: Transcription of existing materials; Compilation or synthesis of existing material
Weighting: No weighting conducted
Data sources: London Metropolitan Archive, CLA/025/CT/01/001

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 05 October 2010
Copyright: Copyright M. Davies
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Available to all users based in HE/FE institutions, for not-for-profit educational and research purposes only.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Study documentation (portable document format) guide.pdf 33
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_6574_Information.htm 20
READ File read6574.txt 1


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