Calendar of Assize Records (1558-1685)
The records of the Clerks of Assize reflect the work of the Assize Justices under their civil and criminal commissions, but the bulk of the surviving records relate to their criminal jurisdiction. Originally the assizes mainly dealt with property disputes, but from 1559 assize judges handled the more serious criminal offences such as: homicide; infanticide; theft; highway robbery; rape; assault; coining; forgery; witchcraft; trespass; infanticide; vagrancy; recusancy. The Library holds volumes for the English counties of Sussex, Hertfordshire, Essex and Surrey for the period 1558-1625, and for Kent for the years 1558-1685. The documents are arranged in the order which reflects as closely as possible the order of proceedings at assizes but whenever practical, all documents relating to a particular case are brought together in one entry. The series also includes a useful introductory volume which explains the history, role and organisation of the assizes.