Court of Wards

Scope and Content

Manuscript volume containing transcripts of documents relating to the Court of Wards, [1620], namely a selection of decrees from 1553 made by John Hare, headed 'Le Court des Gards', dated [12 Jul] 1581; reports of cases of the Court of Wards, dated 1605-1610; 'Instructions for the Master of our Wards and Liveryes', [by James Ley, 1st Earl of Marlborough, dated [Dec, 1618]; an account [by William Rastell] of procedure in the Court of Wards, with a table of fees and a table of contents, dated [1622].

Administrative / Biographical History

The Court of Wards was established in 1540 (in 1542, as Wards and Liveries) to deal with monies owed to the king by virtue of his position as a feudal lord; it was also empowered to protect certain rights of marriage and wardship. The Court of Wards and Liveries remained separate from the Exchequer until it was abolished in 1660.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

From the Library of the London Institution.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Manuscript folio. Bound in quarter-morocco.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Smith as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Related Material

Another version of [William Rastell's] account may be found in the British Library, London (Ref: Harl.MS.1323).


For other copies of these transcripts, see H E Bell, Introduction to the history and records of the Court of Wards (Cambridge, 1953). The instructions to the Master of the Wards and Liveries were printed as A learned treatise concerning wards and liveries (1641).

Corporate Names