THE Records of the Notts. Quarter Sessions begin on the 9th January, 1603-1604, in the first year of the reign of King James I. They consist of Order or Minute Books, and of Sessions Rolls or Files.

The Sessions Order or Minute Books are as follows :

Vol. I.—1st to 5th, James I. (9th January, 1603-1604 to 9th October, 1607). Parchment cover. In good condition. (The plate below includes a photograph of a page of this book.)

Vol. 2.—5th to 8th, James I. (11th January, 1607-1608, to 19th December, 1610). Parchment cover. In good condition.

Vol. 3.—8th to 11th, James I. (7th January, 1610-1611, to 8th October, 1613). Parchment cover. Some loose leaves.

Vol. 4.—11th to 14th, James I. (10th January, 1613-1614, to 12th April, 1616). Parchment cover. In good condition.

Vol. 5.—14th to 17th, James I. (12th April, 1616, to 8th October, 1619). No cover. Some loose leaves; otherwise in good condition.

Vol. 6.—17th to 20th, James I. (10th January, 1619-1620, to 19th October, 1622). Parchment cover. In good condition.

Vol. 7.—21st, James I. to 1st, Charles I. (21st April, 1623, to 13th January, 1625-1626. This book has evidently been kept in a damp place. Portions of the leaves have become rotten and decayed, and have broken away.

Vol. 8.—2nd to 5th, Charles I. (17th April, 1626, to 9th October, 1629). In parchment cover, with strap and buckle. In good preservation, but some of the leaves at the end of the book have had their corners torn off.

Vol. 9.—5th to 10th Charles I. (January, 1629-1630, to 10th October, 1634). In parchment cover. In good preservation, but a few leaves are missing in the early portion of the book.

Vol. 10.—10th to 13th, Charles I. (12th January, 1634-1635, to 6th October, 1637). The cover of this book has been torn off, but otherwise the book is complete and in good preservation.

Vol. 11.—13th to 16th, Charles I. (8th January, 1637-1638, to October, 1640). Parchment bound. In good preservation, but a page has been torn out at the end of the book.

Vol. 12.—16th to 18th, Charles I. (from 11th January, 1640-1641, to 7th October, 1642), when the following entry appears:

"Here the warres between the King and Parliament began and interrupted all legall proceedings." (See plate below.)

The Records begin again on the 4th October, 1652, and continue to 14th April, 1654. This book is well bound in calf-covered boards, and is in good preservation.

Vol. 13.—10th July, 1654, to 11th April, 1659, when the records of the Sessions suddenly break off; in fact an entry is commenced and is not completed.

The Records begin again on 1st October, 1660 (12th Charles II.) and continue till 11th January, 1660-1661 (12th Charles II.) This book is in parchment cover. There are some loose leaves, but otherwise it is in good condition.

Up to this date the records were well and carefully kept, but from this date to the end of the century they are imperfect.

There are no records at all between 11th January, 1660-1661 (12th Charles II.) and 27th April, 1674 (26th Charles II.). Volume 13 is only partly used, the latter portion of it consisting of a number of pages unwritten upon.

Vol. 14.—A rough Minute Book from 26th Charles II. (1674) to the end of the reign of James II. in 1688. The parchment cover is torn off, and the book is in a dilapidated condition.

Vol. 15.—A similar rough Minute Book from 1689 to 1698. This is in a parchment cover and is also in a dilapidated condition. The early leaves are missing.

Vol. 16.—Book of Indictments from 28th Charles II. (1676), 6th William and Mary (1694). In Latin and written in small court hand. Parchment cover. Some loose leaves.

Vol. 17.—Book of Indictments from 6th William and Mary (1694) to end of the century and afterwards.

Vol. 18.—Book of Recognisances, 1667 to 1692. Parchment cover. In good condition.

Vol. 19.—Book of Recognisances from 1692 to 1695. Parchment cover. Book only partly used.

The entries in the books until 1642 were made in Latin. During the time of the Commonwealth, viz., from 1652 to 1659, they were in English. At the Restoration the Latin entries recommenced, but certain orders of the Court not relating to purely criminal business were made in English. The later volumes Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19, are in Latin, but the rough Minute Books (volumes 14 and 15) are partly in Latin and partly in English.

Facsimile of a Page in the First Sessions Book, 4 Jas. i. See above.]

Facsimile of Entry in Sessions Book at Outbreak of Civil War. See above.]


The only Sessions Rolls in existence relating to the seventeenth century are a few dated in 1676, 1680, 1689, 1693-4 and 1698. These Rolls (or "Bundels" as they are sometimes called) contain original documents enrolled at Quarter Sessions. It was the practice, after the Sessions, to thread the documents together with a piece of string, or tape, roll them up in pieces of parchment, and tie them round tightly with string. The Rolls were then thrown on to a shelf. Till now they have never been opened since the day they were originally tied up.

There are a large number of Rolls that have accumulated since the year 1700, but those of an earlier date, unfortunately, with few exceptions, are lost.


The General Sessions each Quarter were held at the three towns of Nottingham, Newark and East Retford. The Sessions at Newark and East Retford were held by adjournment, as they are at the present day, and frequently they are so described in the Records. The present practice of holding adjourned Sessions at Newark and East Retford alternately must have commenced some time in the nineteenth century.

Special or adjourned Sessions were also held, from time to time, at other places, viz.: at Gringley Parva, in 1604; at Rolston, in 1604 (evidently on account of the plague at Newark); at Laneham, in 160; at Hawkesworth, in 1606; at North Leverton, in 1611; at Burton Joyce, in 1611 (on account of the plague at Nottingham); at Calverton, in 1614; at Tuxford, in 1616; at Gunthorpe, in 1621, 1625, 1629, 1631, and 1641; at Paplewick, in 1623, 1632, 1655, 1657; at Bingham, in 1622 and 1656; at Southwell, in 1630; at Elkesley, in 1642; at Cotgrave, in 1655; at Barnbie, or Barnby in the Moore, in 1657, 1689, 1692 and 1694; at Codgrave, in 1657; at Mansfield, in 1657 and 1689; at Hazleford Ferry, in 1674; at Screaveton, in 1674 and 1680; at Carleton on Trent, in 1683 and 1686; at Welbeck, in 1685; at Kelham, in 1688; and at Haughton, in 1689.

Where the Sessions were held in these different towns is not mentioned; but after 1674 it is recorded that the Sessions at Nottingham were held at the "Shire Hall alias King's Hall at Nottingham." In 1677 a private Sessions was ordered to be held "at Davilles at East Retford."

On the 10th October, 1653, some inconvenience was apparently caused through a non attendance of Justices, and an Order was made on that day "that in regard this Sessions at Nottingham, by ye default of ye Justices, was not holden at the usual time appoynted by law, and that the countrey had not timely notice thereof, therefore all Recognisances of such persons as appeared not, be respited till next Sessions and all issues &c. of Jurors and Constables for not appearing be spared."

Note.—Volumes 14 and 15 appear to consist of loose sheets, tied together in parchment covers.