The corporation of Shrewsbury: Introduction

Page 1

The Manuscripts of Shrewsbury and Coventry Corporations [Etc] Fourth Report, Appendix: Part X. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



The Corporation records of the ancient town of Shrewsbury have recently been the objects of unusual care and interest. For several years a local committee of clergy and laymen devoted themselves to the task of cleaning, sorting, and labelling an immense mass of papers which were found in utmost confusion and in most dirty condition, but which were then classified and placed in 75 tin boxes. Finally, a brief outline account of the work was printed, and Her Majesty's Historical Commissioners were invited to send an inspector to report upon the collection. The papers thus arranged come down to the year 1837, and, of course, include very many papers of ordinary character, quarter sessions' proceedings, tax assessments, and the like, not requiring examination, except for purely local purposes. But the exceptionally valuable character of the earlier records is seen in a series of gildmerchant rolls which begin in the time of King John, and in the bailiffs' accounts, beginning in that of Henry III., as well as in the series of Royal Charters and that of Subsidy Rolls. The registers of the proceedings of the Corporation are unfortunately very imperfect, and for all that relates to the Civil War and Commonwealth period, which it was hoped would be found to be specially illustrated, there is a blank, the register being lost. A portion of the records, particularly the bailiffs' accounts to the commencement of the 17th century, were carefully searched and largely used by Messrs. Owen and Blakeway in their excellent History of Shrewsbury, published in two quarto volumes in 1825, and their numerous extracts have, to avoid repetition, lessened the number of those which otherwise might have been given below. In the Archæological Journal for September 1894 there is a paper giving a general description of the records, by Rev. W. G. D. Fletcher, M.A.

The documents are classed in the following Report under these heads:—

I. Royal Charters.

II. Subsidy Rolls.

III. Gild-merchant Rolls.

IV. Registers.

V. Bailiffs' Accounts.

VI. Trained Bands.

VII. Courts.

VIII. Grammar School.

IX. Miscellaneous.