Appendix Three: Pipe Rolls of the Exchequer

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Pipe Rolls of the Exchequer are accounts of royal income arranged by county for each financial year. These are the earliest surviving series public records and are essentially continuous from 1155 onwards until the 19th Century.

A copy of each pipe roll - known as the Chancellor's Roll - was sent to the Chancery.  (The unusual name - officially it started out as the "Great Rolls of the Exchequer" and comes from the distinctive way in which the membranes were sewn together, which made them look like pieces of piping when rolled up)

The sheriff's accounts form the core of the early pipe rolls.  The sheriff was the king's representative in the county, and was responsible for collecting revenues from the royal estate and other sources.  The rolls also record some items of expenditure by the sheriff and include lists of lands formerly part of royal estate, which had been given to private individuals.  In addition, there are payment of feudal dues and taxes, "offerings" to the king in connection with legal disputes, record of penalties (amercements) imposed by the itinerant justices, and miscellaneous items such as enrolled charters.  As time went on and the volume of administration increased, some of these categories were removed into separate series of records (including in the 14th Century, the accounts of royal estates).


See Deputy Keeper of Records of Ireland for main article.