Duchy of Lancaster records

Scope and Content

including Papal Bull, dispensation by Gregory X for the marriage of Edmund (Crouchback) Earl of Lancaster 1275, Honour of Pontefract records including Castle Bailiff's accounts 1375-1376, Minister's accounts 1375-1376, Feodary's accounts 1375-1376, Survey of the Honour 1548 (ref WYL115/DL/9), Receiver's account 1573-1574, the above are thought to be 'strays' from the Duchy records held at Pontefract Castle;

Administrative / Biographical History

The items listed here must be considered as 'strays', since they evidently at one time formed part of the central records of the Duchy of Lancaster housed at Pontefract Castle. The Duchy was formed by the amalgamation of the Leicester honour of the de Montforts and the Lancaster estates granted by Henry III to Edmund Crounchback, his younger son. To this vast estate came by the marriage in 1311 of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster to Alice de Lacy, the Earldom of Lincoln and the great Yorkshire estates of the de Lacies centred on the Honour of Pontefract. Thomas of Lancaster was executed in 1322 for his part in the rebellion against Edward II, his estates were forfeited to the Crown. Royal clerks were sent out to inventory the records at Pontefract and Tutbury (Calender Patent Rolls 16 Edward II, p191). The inventory appears in The National Archives (Miscellanea (Duchy of Lancaster), DL41/1/132 and DL41/1/133) and includes, besides several central accounts of Henry de Lacy and Earl Thomas (now The National Archives Min.Acc. 1/1-3) "certain court rolls and rolls of the household that can no longer be traced" (see Professor J.F.Baldwin: "The Household Administration of Henry Lacy and Thomas of Lancaster". E.H.R., XLII (1927), p195). The charters and rolls were not at this time moved from Pontefract, except the central accounts. On the restoration of the house of Lancaster in 1328 Pontefract again became one of the principle castles of the Duchy, together with Tutbury, Leicester, Kenilworth, Bolingbroke and Donington. But under John of Gaunt (2nd Duke, 1362-1399) the Savoy Palace in Holborn was chosen as the centre of administration and records for the Duchy (excluding the palatinate of Lancaster) were centralised here about 1378. In 1381 the revolt under Wat Tyler singled out the Savoy as an object for vengenace and it was burnt down. Most of the material prior to this date was therefore destroyed and it was a lucky chance that some few central archives remained at Pontefract whence they passed, presumably in error, with Court Rolls of Barwick in Elmete, member of the Honour of Pontefract, into the possession of the Gascoignes by a grant of James I in 1607, as part of his sale of crown lands. ( Sir William Gascoigne was deputy steward at Knaresborough in the time of Richard III (R.Horrox Richard III, p.20)). The records listed here as WYL115/DL/1-3 may be identified as those mentioned in the 1322 inventory together with others from the Pontefract archives prior to 1607. These three items were transferred to the Duchy of Lancaster in 1956 and hence to the then Public Record Office in 1968, and are now listed at The National Archives in class DL.