Sessions rolls

Scope and Content

The sessions rolls comprise the documents accumulated at each meeting of the court. The more common items are:

Writs of venire facias ordering the sheriff to summon the juries and officials before the justices.

Nomina ministrorum: lists of persons summoned to attend the sessions, giving the names of the stewards and owners of lordships within the county; the mayors of Holt and (from 1858) Wrexham, the aldermen and bailiffs of the boroughs of Holt and Denbigh, and the aldermen of Ruthin; the coroners of Holt and Denbigh, and the county coroner; and the bailiffs and high constables of each hundred.

Lists of grand and petty juries.

Recognizances of persons bound over to keep the peace or to appear before the court (or, occasionally, at the Great Sessions), usually to answer a charge, to prosecute, or to give evidence. See also Process book (QSD/SP), Recognizance book (QSD/SB), Order books (QSD/SO), and Minute books (QSD/SM).

Presentments by the grand jury, high constables of hundreds, or by Individual justices, of roads and bridges and county buildings (e.g. county or shire halls, houses of correction, and gaol) out of repair, and other nuisances. See also Order books (QSD/SO).

Indictments, generally by the grand jury, for assault, larceny, felony and other misdemeanours.

Depositions: examinations of defendants and informations of witnesses, often giving interesting circumstantial details.

They relate to bastardy offences as well as criminal matters. From 1855 they were filed separately as Depositions (QSD/SD), although these survive from 1866 only.

Sacrament certificates required under the Test Act, 1673 (25 Chas.II, c.2), by persons holding public office. The certificate, signed by a minister and churchwardens, records that the person had received holy communion according to the rites of the established church.

Dissenting meeting house certificates, registering places of worship, under the Toleration Act (I Wm. & Mary, c.18), 1688.

Bills and estimates for work on county bridges, the gaol, county or shire halls and other properties; bills for work done by the clerk of the peace; coroners' bills of expenses for taking inquisitions, often giving the name of the deceased and the verdict; bills from constables for conveying vagrants, transporting felons, and other expenses. From the mid- eighteenth century these were filed separately as Bills and vouchers (QSD/FA/5).

Removal orders for conveying paupers, with examinations, notices of appeal, bills for removal expenses, for relieving and transporting vagrants, and other related papers. Many documents are to be found in Treasurer's bills and vouchers (QSD/FA/5). Appeals by parishes against removal orders are recorded in the Order books (QSD/SO/1).

Petitions from destitute persons for relief, and from destitute prisoners in gaol; from parishioners for the repair of roads and bridges; and from Individuals for payments to be made to them, etc.

Returns of persons qualified to serve as high constables of hundreds, prisoners in the county gaol, the local militia, and of the price of corn in Denbigh, Llangollen, Llanrwst, Ruthin and Wrexham markets. See also Treasurer's bills and vouchers (QSD/FA/5).

Money orders: orders for payment of money; later to be found in Treasurer's bills and vouchers (QSD/FA/5).

Certificates by justices of the completion of work on bridges and parish highways.

Convictions before justices out of sessions. See also Conviction papers (QSD/SQ).