Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 COR/DOL

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1884-1932

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 13.67 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Coroner for the Jurisdiction of the Liberty of the Duchy of Lancaster


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Duchy of Lancaster comprised areas in Middlesex, Surrey and Hertfordshire as well as the Precinct of Savoy.

The coronership is an ancient county office concerned originally with pleas of the crown within the county. By 1689 the Coroner's duties had been reduced to the holding of inquests in cases of death under circumstances of suspicion and committing to trial persons against whom verdicts of murder or manslaughter had been returned by the inquest jury. Coroners were also empowered to hold inquests over 'treasure trove' and wrecks.

Under an Act of 1752 (26 Geo II c29) coroners were paid 20/- for every inquisition held and 9d for every mile travelled to view a body. These fees were paid out of the County rates by order of the justices. Coroners returned accounts of inquests held, usually in the form of a list, giving also the mileage travelled and total sum due, which were approved for payment, in Middlesex, by an Accounts Committee. Sometimes inquisitions and witnesses' depositions were returned instead of or in addition to the account.

Coroners were elected by county freeholders (except in certain liberties) and held the office for life. By the Local Government Act 1888 the power to appoint Coroners was transferred to the new County Councils.

Counties were usually divided into districts with a Coroner assigned to each. Sometimes, however, Coroners did act in the district of another Coroner. Coroner's districts changed in size and extent over time, often due to increased population and changes in local government boundaries.

Middlesex: From the 18th century the ancient county of Middlesex was divided into two main Coroner's districts - the Western and the Eastern. There were in addition two liberties having their own Coroner: the City and Liberty of Westminster, and the Liberty of the Duchy of Lancaster.

In 1862 a new district was formed, the Central District, by taking 23 parishes and liberties from the Western District. The Western District was further reduced in size in 1892, losing four parishes to the new County of London, and again in 1915 when six parishes were transferred to the Central District.

This Central District formed in 1862 was greatly reduced in size in 1892 by the transfer of most of its area to the new County of London. The situation was partly reversed in 1915 when it received six parishes from the Western District of Middlesex. The Central District vanished entirely in 1926 when it was amalgamated with the Eastern District of Middlesex.

The Eastern District of Middlesex remained intact until 1888 when it was divided into two separate districts - the South Eastern and the North Eastern Districts. Very shortly afterwards, in 1892, both districts were transferred to the new County of London, apart from the parishes of Wood Green and Tottenham. These were then formed into a new Eastern District of Middlesex which absorbed the Central District in 1926.

The City and Liberty of Westminster was a franchise Coroner's District and remained separate with its own Coroner until 1930, when it was merged with the Central District of the County of London.

The Liberty of the Duchy of Lancaster was likewise a franchise Coroner's District with two parts in Middlesex: the Liberty of the Savoy, and Edmonton with Enfield. In 1889 the Liberty of the Savoy was transferred to the County of London where it joined the Duchy of Lancaster (Clapham) remaining as a franchise district until 1930 when Clapham was merged with the Southern District of the County of London, and the Savoy with Westminster in the Central District. The Edmonton and Enfield part of the Duchy of Lancaster in Middlesex remained separate until 1932 when it was merged with the Eastern District of Middlesex.

London: The County of London was formed in 1889. At first there was no change to the existing Middlesex Coroners Districts now included, in part, within the new County. However, in 1892 the County was finally divided into districts which took in the former Middlesex parishes plus some from the former counties of Surrey and Kent. The new districts were: Eastern; Western; South Western; North Eastern; Central; Southern; Penge; South Eastern; and four franchise districts: Westminster; Duchy of Lancaster (Savoy/Clapham); Tower Liberty and Borough of Southwark.

In 1894 there were minor boundary changes to the Eastern, North Eastern and Central Districts. In 1900 Penge was transferred to Kent. 1912 saw further boundary changes between districts.

In 1930 the districts were reduced to six: Western; Eastern; Southern; Central; Northern; South Eastern; plus Southwark and Tower Liberty. In 1940 this was reduced to five, absorbing the franchise districts: Western; Northern; Eastern; South Western and South Eastern. In 1943 four districts were formed: Western, Southern; Eastern; Northern. These were reduced in 1956 to Western, Northern, Southern.

For a guide on how to use Coroners' Records and information about access to confidential records please see the hard copy guide in the Information Area or consult a member of staff.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Duchy of Lancaster Coroner's District, comprising case papers, 1884-1932.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Case papers arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Papers received directly from the Coroner.


DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2009 to February 2010

Coroners | Legal profession personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Coroners courts | Courts | Administration of justice
Coroners records | Documents | Information sources
Court records | Records (documents) | Records and correspondence | Information sources
Legal history | Law
Legal procedure | Administration of justice
Legal systems | Law

Personal names

Corporate names
Coroner for the Jurisdiction of the Liberty of the Duchy of Lancaster

Hertfordshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Middlesex | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Surrey | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe