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Early‐modern assize records as historical evidence1

Early‐modern assize records as historical evidence1 J. S. Cockburn University of Maryland with 3 plates After many years of neglect, early-modern legal records have been receiving recently an unprecedented amount of attention. Although appreciation of their value has not invariably extended to an examination of the documents themselves, several studies in progress and a t least two already published lean heavily on material drawn, more or less systematically, from the records of local and central courts.2 Each of these studies gives considerable prominence to assize records, partly, perhaps, because the court's local connections recommend it as the natural complement to quarter sessions and local ecclesiastical courts, and partly , no doubt, because the earlier assize records are more accessible and markedly less voluminous than comparable sources from the courts at Westminster.3 But perhaps the decisive attraction of early- modern assize records to a generation inclined to both quantification and sociological analysis lies in the fact that they include - in the shape of criminal indictments - a large bank of quantifiable information on the habits , albeit the ba d habits , of provincial society. The mere existence in quantity of such data—sequential and substantially complete - for a period notoriously short of reliabl e http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Society of Archivists Taylor & Francis

Early‐modern assize records as historical evidence1

Journal of the Society of Archivists , Volume 5 (4): 17 – Oct 1, 1975

Early‐modern assize records as historical evidence1

Journal of the Society of Archivists , Volume 5 (4): 17 – Oct 1, 1975

Abstract

J. S. Cockburn University of Maryland with 3 plates After many years of neglect, early-modern legal records have been receiving recently an unprecedented amount of attention. Although appreciation of their value has not invariably extended to an examination of the documents themselves, several studies in progress and a t least two already published lean heavily on material drawn, more or less systematically, from the records of local and central courts.2 Each of these studies gives considerable prominence to assize records, partly, perhaps, because the court's local connections recommend it as the natural complement to quarter sessions and local ecclesiastical courts, and partly , no doubt, because the earlier assize records are more accessible and markedly less voluminous than comparable sources from the courts at Westminster.3 But perhaps the decisive attraction of early- modern assize records to a generation inclined to both quantification and sociological analysis lies in the fact that they include - in the shape of criminal indictments - a large bank of quantifiable information on the habits , albeit the ba d habits , of provincial society. The mere existence in quantity of such data—sequential and substantially complete - for a period notoriously short of reliabl e

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References (20)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
0037-9816
eISSN
1465-3907
DOI
10.1080/00379817509514051
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

J. S. Cockburn University of Maryland with 3 plates After many years of neglect, early-modern legal records have been receiving recently an unprecedented amount of attention. Although appreciation of their value has not invariably extended to an examination of the documents themselves, several studies in progress and a t least two already published lean heavily on material drawn, more or less systematically, from the records of local and central courts.2 Each of these studies gives considerable prominence to assize records, partly, perhaps, because the court's local connections recommend it as the natural complement to quarter sessions and local ecclesiastical courts, and partly , no doubt, because the earlier assize records are more accessible and markedly less voluminous than comparable sources from the courts at Westminster.3 But perhaps the decisive attraction of early- modern assize records to a generation inclined to both quantification and sociological analysis lies in the fact that they include - in the shape of criminal indictments - a large bank of quantifiable information on the habits , albeit the ba d habits , of provincial society. The mere existence in quantity of such data—sequential and substantially complete - for a period notoriously short of reliabl e

Journal

Journal of the Society of ArchivistsTaylor & Francis

Published: Oct 1, 1975

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