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Fine Rolls (Medieval)

Nature of Source

Records of fines (financial payments or offerings) made to the Crown and records of appointments of Crown officials kept by the Court of Chancery. Payments were made to the Crown for charters, writs, privileges, licences to marry, grants of land, granting of markets and fairs, granting of tolls and customs, permission to trade and pardons or release from custody. Fine Rolls also covered areas such as occupying inherited land. Wherever the Crown had some financial interest in a matter, the payment was recorded on the Fine Rolls. They also record the appointment of an escheator to oversee an Inquisition Post Mortem (IPM) which took place on the death of Tenant-in-Chief to establish the rightful heirs. The rolls should include a summary of the IPM.

The earliest Rolls are known as Oblata Rolls. Court of Chancery records were also kept on Charter Rolls, Close Rolls and Patent Rolls.

Also see
Charter Rolls
Close Rolls
Court of Chancery
Patent Rolls

Where Found

The National Archives (C 60, Chancery: Fine Rolls)

Period Covered

1199 - 1648

Genealogical Value

Names, family relationships, land held, addresses

Further References

Chambers, Paul. Medieval Genealogy: How to Find Your Medieval Ancestors: The History Press, 2005

Garrett, R.E.F. Chancery and Other Legal Proceedings: Pinhorns, 1968

Hardy, Thomas Duffus, Sir. (ed.). Close Rolls, Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum, 1204-1227, 2 vols: Record Commission, 1833

Calendar of the Fine Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office, 22 vols: H.M.S.O., 1911-1962 (Covers 1272-1509. Search The Bibliography of British and Irish History for further details of each volume)


Edited and fully-indexed volumes of the calendars covering 1216-1242 in the Reign of Henry III are published by Boydell & Brewer

Websites (Medieval English Genealogy: Guide to Fine Rolls)
(Henry III Fine Rolls Project 1216-1272: Introduction to Rolls) (Henry III Fine Rolls Project 1216-1272: Fine of the Month, commentary on material of particular interest in the Rolls)
Bibliography of British and Irish History (Catalogue subscription site describing books and articles about British and Irish history produced by a partnership between the Royal Historical Society, the Institute of Historical Research and Brepols Publishers. The catalogue includes the Guide to Record Societies and their Publications (Texts and Calendars) published by the Royal Historical Society which is a guide to transcriptions, calendars and indexes published by the individual participating record societies. A list of participating societies is available here) (Medieval Ages Legal Records And Genealogy) (Links to online access to published calendars of Charter, Close, Fine and Patent rolls) (Medieval Glossary) (Foundation for Medieval Genealogy : The Foundation was established in 2001 by a group of British genealogists and historians with a special interest in the medieval period. The Library Catalogue provides a bibliographic catalogue of secondary source material for medieval genealogy and heraldry) (The Middle English Compendium. The site offers access to and interconnectivity between three major Middle English electronic resources: an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary, a HyperBibliography of Middle English prose and verse, based on the MED bibliographies, and a Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, as well as links to an associated network of electronic resources) (Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online [MEMSO]: The database contains a large repository of state papers, chronicles, accounts and correspondence from the archives of Britain, Ireland and continental Europe)

Online Databases

The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE) (An online database that aims to register every recorded individual who lived in Anglo-Saxon England from late sixth to the end of the eleventh century. The database is a collaboration between King's College, London and the University of Cambridge and include sources such as chronicles, saints' lives, charters, inscriptions and coins) (Henry III Fine Rolls Project 1216-1272: Online: Access to transcribed, indexed rolls with English translations and with full search facilities. Digital images of the rolls are also available. Printed volumes of the same translation with full indexes are published by Boydell and Brewer)
British History Online
(Calendars of Close Rolls, Patent Rolls, Fine Rolls. The site consists of a digital library of British historical sources developed by Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust. The site is free to use with a search facility linking users to full transcripts of various sources. The contents of British History Online can also be searched at Connected Histories together with a number of other databases) (University of Sheffield: Lands of the Normans in England, 1204-1244: The database contains details of over 2,000 individual documents collected from over 100 historical sources. Nearly 3,000 different people and places appear in the database, and there are over 13,500 links describing the relationships between these people and places including. For a full list of historical sources see here)