1. The Calendar

1.1. The structure and form of entries

The guiding principle in editing the Fine Rolls of Henry III has been to make them as intelligible as possible to as wide an audience as possible. To that end, they have been translated into English and all identifiable place names have been given in their modern form. At the same time, we have attempted to maintain the essential structure and layout of the rolls and of the individual items of business recorded on them. Each fine roll covers a regnal year, so those of Henry III run from 28 October (the date of his first coronation) to 27 October. The rolls are formed of individual membranes sewn end to end. 1 We have, for the most part, maintained the numbers given to the membranes in the Record Commission’s edition of excerpts from the fine rolls published in 1835–36. 2 This means that, as with other printed Chancery rolls, the rolls are numbered backwards chronologically with the membrane at the end of the roll being given the number one. (The reason for this is that the last membrane is the first that one reaches when unfurling the roll.) The commencement of each new membrane is indicated in this edition.

In the original rolls each new entry is clearly distinguished by a paragraph mark (¶). We have given a separate number to each of these entries, working chronologically through the roll so that ‘1’ is the number given to the earliest entry and so onwards. A new sequence of entry numbers begins for each roll. It should be noted that entries with separate paragraph marks on the roll, and thus given their own numbers in this edition, may nonetheless, be closely associated with each other, for example where the rolls paragraph off each of the sheriffs to whom the same order has been sent. Occasionally, as in the roll for 1218–19 – which may in any case be a duplicate – where these repeat orders are not separately paragraphed we have distinguished them with an alphabetical suffix – nos. 23a, 23b, 23c, 23d. Groups of people and/or places have been rendered in list form in the translation to mirror their layout in the roll. The most obvious are pledges for a person making fine. 3 Those commissioners appointed in each county to resume the king’s demesne lands in September 1221 are grouped together in small lists as they are in the roll. 4 Similarly, the individual royal lands tallaged in March 1223 are grouped by county as in the original roll. 5 Essentially, the aim is to re-produce the layout of the manuscript as closely as possible. In the edition each number is placed beside the entry.

1.2. The Dorse

Each membrane of vellum (sheepskin) used in compiling the Fine Rolls has two sides upon which information can be written. The vast majority of entries is written on the face of the membrane – the side which the reader is met with when unfurling the roll – but, on occasion, important details can be found on the reverse side, otherwise known as the ‘dorse’. While in many other Chancery rolls the dorse is regularly employed, it is comparatively rare to find material on the dorse of the Fine Rolls. 6 Nevertheless, all surviving, legible information is included in our text, the dorse membranes being listed after those on the face of the corresponding membrane.

1.3. Marginalia

When compiling the rolls, the scribes placed notes in the left-hand margin to indicate something about the content of each entry. (In the early rolls it was usually just the county which it concerned). 7 For reasons of space, we have not placed these marginalia in the margins. Instead they have been rendered in italics at the start of the first line of the entry after its place and date.

1.4. The witness, place and date clause

In the rolls, the records of fines usually include summaries of related writs, for example those addressed to sheriffs ordering them to take security for payment. These writs have concluding clauses stating who was the witness and when and where he did the witnessing: ‘Teste H. de Burg’, justiciario nostro, apud Oxon’ xviij die Aprilis, Witnessed by H. de Burgh, our justiciar, at Oxford on 18 April.’ 8 Such clauses are standard to all writs and thus also appear on those unrelated to fines which increasingly appear on the rolls. This makes it possible to know when and where both the fines and the other business on the roll were transacted. For ease of use, in line with other Chancery roll calendars, we have positioned the date and place information at the very start of each entry before the marginal notes. The entry quoted above thus begins in translation:

18 April. Oxford. Northamptonshire.

Oxford here is the place where the writ was witnessed and Northamptonshire is the marginal note indicating the county it concerned. 9 Most writs, as summarised in the roll, omitted the date of the regnal year, and this edition does not include it even when it appears. However, the regnal year appears at the top of each page of the translation. Above that for the page with the 18 April entry is thus ‘3 Henry III (1218–1219)’, which shows the entry’s date is 18 April 1219. The name of the witness himself we have left at the end of the entry, thus that for 18 April concludes ‘Witness H. de Burgh, justiciar’. Down to his resignation in April 1219, most writs were attested by the regent, William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, the king himself only being nine years of age on his accession. Thereafter, between April 1219 and December 1223 the most usual attestor is the justiciar, Hubert de Burgh. (The 18 April 1219 writ is in fact the first in the sequence). In December 1223, as a result of his partial assumption of power, the king himself becomes the usual witness, with the writs concluding ‘Teste me ipso, Witness myself’ or (if they were couched in the third person) ‘Teste Rege, Witness the King.’ 10 From this point onwards in the translation, to avoid otiose repetition, the name of the witness is omitted unless it is someone other than the king. 11

1.5. “Witness as above”/“No Date”

Where more than one writ was witnessed on the same day, the usual practice on the roll was to give the witness, place and date clause of the first writ and conclude each subsequent writ with the words ‘Witness as above, Teste ut supra.’ 12 Historians have always assumed that ‘witness as above’ refers not just to the witness but also to the date and place of issue, although sometimes when there are long lists of writs ‘witnessed as above’, as happens particularly in the later rolls, it may be doubted whether they have all really been issued on the same day. In the translation, again to avoid repetition and in line with other calendars, we have omitted the ‘witness as above’ clause, and left the entry without indication of its place and date of issue. It is up to the reader to look back and deduce these from the date and place of issue of the last dated writ. There remains a number of entries where there is no direct indication at all of date, for example those which record fines without any accompanying writ. 13 These are indicated by the words “No date” being placed at the beginning of the entry. As the material on the rolls increases in volume and scope, by far the greatest number of these entries are fines for the purchase of writs (for example of pone 14 ) to initiate and further legal actions.

1.6. Authorisation notes

Significant numbers of writs on the rolls, after the witness, place and date clause, have a note indicating, in various combinations, on whose authority and in whose presence they were issued. These authorisation notes have been fully recorded and are placed where they occur at the end of the entry. 15 Thus a writ witnessed by the justiciar Hubert de Burgh at Westminster on 22 July 1219 concludes with the statement that it was ‘per ipsum justiciarium coram domino Wintoniensis’. In these clauses ‘per’ and ‘coram’ are standard and we have translated them as ‘by’ and ‘in the presence of’. The passage thus reads ‘By the same justiciar. In the presence of the bishop of Winchester [Peter des Roches]’. 16

1.7. The Originalia Rolls

At periodic intervals the Chancery clerks drew up separate membranes of entries specifically extracted from the fine rolls because they contained information vital to the Exchequer in its processing of accounts. Such entries most often either detailed fines and proffers and informed the Exchequer from whom debts were to be exacted, relayed instructions for the pardon, respite or attermination of debts, or commanded officials concerning Crown or escheated seigniorial estates, in the management of which the Exchequer had an interest. These separate membranes were individually conveyed to the Exchequer where they were annotated in stages as debts were summoned and/or enrolled in the main roll of account, or entries dealt with in a number of other ways, and then united to form annual rolls. Occasionally, membranes containing amercements from judicial proceedings sent directly into the Exchequer were attached to them too. The originalia rolls, then, as these documents were known, allow some of the processes of royal fiscal managment to be viewed in detail, thereby supplementing the contents of the fine rolls; since although only two Originalia Rolls have survived for the first eighteen regnal years (those for 1226–27 and 1232–33), they survive in almost annual sequence from the twentieth year of Henry’s reign (1235–36). 17 In three years, moreover, originalia rolls stand for fine rolls which have not survived (1236–37, 1237–38, 1239–40). 18

1.7.1. Translation

From a technical, editorial viewpoint the fine and originalia rolls have been treated as distinct entities, each having its own identifier and mark-up rules within the overall mark-up framework. This produces separate electronic editions of each fine and originalia roll that will ultimately be searchable on the project website and have been transformed into print output. Where both rolls survive for any year these two editions, which have been structured identically, are merged to form a single full translation of each fine roll with all corresponding entries in the originalia roll displayed, whether simply as annotations to the fine roll entry or as full entries supplying new material not found in the fine roll. Where, moreover, an originalia roll stands for a missing fine roll, the display is almost identical, all entries listed in the normal way but with the originalia roll annotations added in the margin as if they were fine roll entries. Since it cannot be discerned in such rolls which entries did not appear in the fine roll, all entries are listed there as if they did. Structure

Each collated translation of corresponding fine and originalia rolls follows the same basic structure previously employed in the first two volumes. If the originalia roll does not contain new entries not found in the fine roll, all entries are listed in chronological sequence as they appear on the fine roll, membrane by membrane, under the main fine roll heading – ‘C 60/35, Fine Roll 20 Henry III (28 October 1235 – 27 October 1236)’. In the majority of cases where the originalia roll supplies new information these are listed in a separate section at the end of the fine roll translation under the originalia roll heading (‘E 371/3, Originalia Roll 20 Henry III (28 October 1235 – 27 October 1236’). They also follow on in consecutive numeric sequence from the final fine roll entry. So, if the last listed fine roll entry is no. 499, the first new originalia roll entry will be numbered 500, and so on. Footnotes link these new originalia roll entries to the fine roll entry after which they would have slotted in chronologically had they been enrolled on the fine roll. 19 Marginal annotations

One of the key assumptions made in the edition is that, unless stated, ALL entries in the fine roll can be found reflected in some manner in the corresponding originalia roll. While many entries in the originalia rolls are heavily abridged and contain the barest information necessary for the Exchequer, by far the most frequent divergence between the two rolls is the series of annotations entered in the margin in the originalia rolls. It appears that soon after its arrival in the Exchequer, each originalia roll membrane would be annotated ‘S’’ beside those entries which had been written into the summons, by which the sheriffs would be informed from whom they should exact debts. 20 At an indeterminate point soon thereafter, once the debts to be collected had been entered onto the Pipe Roll, the Exchequer’s primary roll of account, the annotation ‘i R’’ (‘in Rotulo’, ‘in the Roll’) would be entered beside the relevant entries to signify this. In order to show which entries are so annotated, in this edition either ‘S’’, ‘in the Roll’ or both are entered in square brackets on the line below the main text of the relevant entry. 21

These, of course, are not the only marginal annotations found in the originalia rolls but all are entered in square brackets in the same position. Some signify that those looking for fuller details of the entry should search in another roll, often the enrolled account of individual officials or ministers, i.e. ‘[in the roll of the escheators]’, ‘[in the roll of the eyre]’. 22 Others refer to other originalia rolls (‘[in another originalia roll]’), a particular Pipe Roll (‘[in the Roll of the twenty-sixth year]’) 23 or a specific section of the Pipe Roll (‘[in the Roll under Essex]’). 24 Two other main marginal annotation types – ‘done/fcm’’, ‘finished/finitum 25 – reveal the actions taken upon entries in the fine roll and that, in effect, nothing more needed to be undertaken. 26

It is to be assumed, finally, that entries in the translation which contain neither new information nor marginal annotations are indeed in the originalia roll but are unannotated. Furthermore, entries in the fine roll which are not reflected in the originalia roll are expressed with a footnote thus: ‘This entry is not in the originalia roll.’ Footnotes

Information about the originalia rolls themselves and material which either modifiies the meaning, date or validity of fine roll entries is also highlighted by a separate set of footnotes. To avoid confusion with editorial notes about the fine roll entries, which are numeric, footnotes relating to the originalia rolls are alphabetical and are listed below any numeric, fine roll footnotes but without footnote markers in the text. General notes concern the current state of preservation and legibility of the originalia rolls and, if necessary, the cancellation of fine roll entries made only in the originalia rolls. 27 More specific notes might supply, among other things, a date for an entry undated in the fine roll, additions or cancellations of text, or the notes on the dorse of the originalia confirming delivery of that membrane into the Exchequer. New entries

There are, as mentioned above, numerous entries in the originalia rolls which do NOT appear in the corresponding fine roll. These are translated in full in the edition with any marginal heading. All new entries are listed after the final fine roll entry and are numbered consecutively from that final entry. Any marginal annotation is, however, placed before the body of the entry after any date or place taken from the witness clause, while footnotes are numeric as they count as normal, full entries.

1.7.2. Indexes

All people, places and subjects in originalia roll entries that are not recorded in the corresponding fine roll, whether in modifications to the fine roll text in or wholly new entries, are indexed under the fine roll entry number in which they occur. No special numbering system for originalia roll entries, even for those which stand for fine rolls, is being used. So, for example, the first entry in the originalia roll for 1236–37, Henry’s twenty-first regnal year (E 371/4), appears in the index as 21/1. In the case of marginal annotations, occurrences of persons, places or subjects in the index will be found in the set of ‘originalia’ footnotes following the numeric fine roll footnotes in the text of the translation.

2. The Translation

The text of the calendar is more or less a direct (if not always literal) translation from the Latin of every entry on every roll. Unlike previous HMSO calendars of the Chancery rolls series published from around the turn of the twentieth century, all the information in every entry has been included and the sequence in which the information is given generally follows that in the manuscript. 28 In this way, for example, the terms for repayment of debts, omitted in other calendars, have been included here. Formulaic structures, moreover, have been rendered in as consistent a way as possible and a wide selection can be found in the Standard Practices section. However, when drafting the edition, it became clear that it might be necessary to alter the structure of some entries to prevent them appearing stilted in modern English. For example, where an entry runs:

Et mandatum est P. de Rivall’ quod de tercia parte manerii de Horneby cum pertinentiis plenam saisinam habere faciat eidem Olive cui Rex eam assignavit nomine dotis’.

it is probably better to render this as follows:

‘Order to P. de Rivallis to cause the same Olive to have full seisin of the third part of the manor of Hornby with appurtenances, which the king assigned to her in the name of dower’.

rather than:

‘Order to P. de Rivallis that, concerning the third part of the manor of Hornby with appurtenances, he is to cause the same Olive to have full seisin of that which the king assigned to her in the name of dower’.

This restructuring made most sense in long, convoluted entries granting respite of debt, where ‘permit … to have respite’ comes long after mention of the demand which is being respited.

2.2. The royal ‘We’

Similarly, although the Fine Rolls are written in a variety of registers, for the sake of consistency the translation is couched in the impersonal third person. So, for example, ‘concessimus’ is rendered ‘The king has granted …’ rather than ‘We have granted …’ Furthermore, the injunctive ‘capias’ or ‘teneas’ are not rendered in the second person as in the text, but as ‘he is to take’ and ‘he is to hold’. The main exception to this strategy is the few letters patent or charters drafted verbatim onto the rolls, where the original register is retained.

2.3. Cancellations, Corrections and Interlineations

Throughout the Fine Rolls there are hundreds of amendments made by the scribes to their text. Most often, this involved simple correction of information: erroneous text or text to be revised was usually crossed out 29 and new text inserted above it. Frequently, additional text was simply added above the line in what the editors call ‘interlineations’. The project editorial team made an early decision not to record minor spelling mistakes or additions and subtractions that had no bearing on the meaning or import of the entry. However, any, important, meaningful scribal changes have been indicated. These include modifications to personal names, revision of the terms of a debt repayment, and the appointment of one commissioner as substitute for another, and the deletion of the whole or part of an entry, for example because it was entered in a different form later in the roll, 30 or, less frequently, because the fine had not ultimately been paid, the writs had not been delivered, or a pardon had subsequently been issued. 31 The explanations for such ‘cancellations’ are usually recorded in the margin of the roll and these have been treated in the translation as other marginalia. However, we have recorded the fact of cancellation in a footnote to the entry.

2.4. Editorial notes

These usually appear as footnotes, and occur throughout our text. We have adopted the suggestion made by Dr Roy Hunnisett, a member of the project’s International Advisory Committee, that footnotes should be placed at the end of each entry, not at the foot of every page.

On occasion, where the Latin text contains an apparent error or a striking or unusual phrase we have offered a translation and provided the Latin original in round brackets. If, however, the scribe appears to have missed an important, obvious word or the editors can supply a reading of illegible text either from the duplicate roll or another source, such additions and assertions are indicated by square brackets. 32 Three dots within square brackets indicate illegible or missing text.

2.5. The duplicate rolls

Between 1217–1218 and 1226–1227 there are seven (possibly eight) surviving, duplicate fine rolls together with a fragment of a eighth. Overwhelmingly, these rolls record identical information to the ‘master’ from which they were copied, but where they diverge in terms of additional information, cancellations, or significant variants these differences have been indicated. 33

2.6. The originalia rolls

For the years 1236–7, 1237–8 and 1239–1240 an originalia roll stands for a missing fine roll. The display is almost identical, all entries listed in the normal way but with the originalia roll annotations added in the margin as if they were fine roll entries. Since it cannot be discerned in such rolls which entries did not appear in the fine roll, all entries are listed there as if they did.


See the Introduction to Rolls for a fuller discussion of the form of the rolls. Back to context...
Excerpta e Rotulis Finium in Turri Londinensi asservatis Henrico Tertio Rege A.D. 1216–1272, 2 vols., ed. C. Roberts (Record Comm., 1835–36). Back to context...
See, for example, CFR 1216–17, nos. 22–24. Back to context...
CFR 1220–21, nos. 347–52. Back to context...
CFR 1222–23, no. 105. Back to context...
The most common material is lists of pledges and the records of tallages. See for example CFR 1221–22, no. 34; 1222–23, no. 105 Back to context...
For more on the development of this system with regard to the fine rolls, see the Introduction to Rolls. Back to context...
CFR 1218–19, no. 233. Back to context...
CFR 1218–19, no. 233. Months are abbreviated, i.e. ‘Oct.’, ‘Nov.’, ‘Dec.’ Back to context...
See Carpenter, Minority, pp. 129–31, 321; CFR 1223–24, no. 53. The change took place in the Close Rolls on 10 December but, due to an absence of letters, only appears on the Fine Rolls on 27 December: CFR 1223–24, no. 45. Back to context...
See, for example, CFR 1223–24, nos. 179–81, 183. Back to context...
It is unlikely that the fine rolls kept a ‘running record’ where each promise of payment or order dispatched was entered one after the other at the time they were made; they were more probably drawn up piecemeal when a number of fines had been made to/before the king or his ministers on one day or over a longer, indeterminate period and the details recorded on documents which now do not survive and then written up together on the roll. Back to context...
Originally none of the fines were dated; see the ‘Introduction to Rolls’. Back to context...
Purchasers sought the transfer of their suit from a lower, often the shire, court to either the special eyres of justices touring the country or to the Bench at Westminster. Back to context...
Such notes were omitted from the printed Excerpta volumes. Back to context...
CFR 1218–19, no. 346. Back to context...
The exceptions are 1242–43, 1245–47 and 1252–53. Back to context...
For a fuller discussion of the origin and function of the originalia rolls, see Originalia Rolls, 11 and 17 Henry III in CFR 1224–1234, pp. x–xxiv. Back to context...
See, for example, CFR 1235–36, no. 579, which links with no. 254. Back to context...
This abbreviation should probably be translated as either ‘Summoned’ or ‘Summons’ but it has been decided to leave it untranslated in this edition. Back to context...
CFR 1235–36, no. 202. Back to context...
CFR 1235–36, nos. 70, 90. Back to context...
CFR 1235–36, no. 68. Back to context...
CFR 1235–36, no. 51. Back to context...
CFR 1238–39, no. 183. Back to context...
See ‘Originalia Rolls, 11 and 17 Henry III’, pp. 22–23. For analysis of the annotation ‘in the compendium roll’ see ‘Originalia Rolls, 11 and 17 Henry III’, pp. 23–24. Back to context...
See, for example, CFR 1235–36, nos. 1, 31. This, however, is not presently the case for the rolls for 1226–27 and 1232–33. Back to context...
The HMSO Calendar of Patent Rolls from 1232 omitted most of the judicial commissions on the dorse of membranes. The Calendar of Charter Rolls from 1227 onwards omitted the witnesses, a terrible omission now remedied by the List and Index Society: The royal charter witness lists of Henry III (1226–1272) from the charter rolls in the Public Record Office, 2 vols., ed. M. Morris (Kew: List & Index Society 291–92: Kew, 2001). Back to context...
On a handful of occasions changes are indicated by a number of dots beneath the individual word to be amended, a process known as ‘expunction’. Back to context...
Where an entry refers to letters patent or close, we have systematically footnoted the relevant entries in the printed calendars. Back to context...
See, for example, CFR 1223–24, nos. 366, 394, 416, 421. Back to context...
See the list of pledges in CFR 1216–17, no. 24, which have been supplied from the Memoranda Roll. Back to context...
For the duplicate rolls, see the Introduction to Rolls. Back to context...