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State Papers Medieval and Other Records: PRO Class SC1

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Introduction: State Papers Medieval and Other Records: PRO Class SC1(Ancient Correspondence, 1175-1538): Parts 1 and 2

Introduction: StatePapers Medieval and Other Records: PRO Class SC1 (Ancient Correspondence,1175-1538): Parts 1 and 2


The class of Ancient Correspondence from the Public RecordOffice is one of the so-called artificial PRO classes. The collection had beenformed at various times in the 18th century as an attempt to separate the mostvaluable of the records at the Tower of London from the great bulk of formaland ephemeral documents. Originally it was entitled Royal Letters since itsnucleus was the collection of Royal Letters and State Papers, John Richard III.However, its contents were considerably changed over the years and the presentclass of Ancient Correspondence comprises a body of medieval documentationwhich is truly analogous in breadth and depth to the later State Papers OfficeCollections.


PRO Class SC1, Ancient Correspondence, 1175-1538 isreproduced in its entirely over two parts. Part One includes Volumes 1 32 andPart Two continues with Volumes 33 64.


Spanning the reigns of King John to King Henry VIII, itincludes the correspondence of kings, bishops, Popes, knights, noblemen, royalservants and Lord Chancellors. Amongst topics covered are diplomatic relationsbetween Britain and France, the political struggles between king and barons,ecclesiastical elections, the siege of castles, the packing of wool, trading,escapes from imprisonment, the protection of lepers, enclosures, the keeping ofservants and falcons, and even the slowness of letters in transit.


Although many of the documents are undated, they are broadlyarranged chronologically, grouped primarily under the reigns to which theyappear to belong, and then subdivided under the correspondence of the king, hissuccessive chancellors, and miscellaneous correspondence.