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British government publications

PRO & National Archives

The National Archives combines the Public Record Office (PRO), Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO). The Public Record Office has been the repository of historic records of the government since 1838.

Major collections in the library

  • Public Record Office (PRO) publications (listed in sectional list 24), Ready Reference
    • Documents from the 13rd to the 20th century, in the formats of:
      • Transcript: full text of the document
      • Calendar: a precis, usually full enough to replace the original
      • List, Index and Catalogue
    • Among the more important documents found in this collection are:
      • Chancery: documents in sovereign granting of lands, liberties, privileges, announcement of royal acts, appointment to offices, licences and pardons, denizations of aliens and presentations to ecclesiatical benefices and etc.
      • Exchequer: contains a number of returns and lists about the holdings of feudal tenants, inquistions and assessments relating to Feudal Aids, recovering payments owing to the Crown and etc.
      • Curia Regis: contains judicial records which are valuable sources for the study of medieval English law.
      • foreign, domestic and colonial state papers
    • Search the library catalogue by individual title of this collection or use the Sectional List #24 for the call numbers annotated.
  • Rerum Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores (Rolls Series) (listed in Sectional List #24)
    • Also known as Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages.
    • Undertaken by the Master of Roll, "it contains the writings of most of the great medieval English chroniclers from 1066 onward, plus some public records, year books, calendars of State papers, patent and close rolls, and lists and indexes of public records."
    • Search the library catalogue by individual title of this collection or use the Sectional List #24 for the call numbers annotated.
  • Publications of the Record Commissioners (listed in Sectional List#24)
    • Before the Public Record Office was set up in 1838, official publication was undertaken by the Record Commission, first appointed in 1800 and renewed for the last time in 1831.
    • Search the library catalogue by individual title of this collection or use the Sectional List #24 for the call numbers annotated.
  • Publications of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (listed in Sectional list 17)
    • Historical documents (Reports and Calendars series) examined by the Commission. These documents can be found from
      • the Sessional Papers, enter "historical manuscripts" (in quotation) as a subject search in the HCPP database (only titles which was submitted as a command paper would be found from the Sessional Papers)
      • Search the text collection of the Internet Archives
      • Search the library catalogue for this collection by title or using Historical Manuscripts Commission as an author
      • Use the Sectional List #17 for the call numbers annotated and the command paper numbers included
    • The collection also includes:
      • a series of editions and catalogues of the papers of 19th century prime ministers
      • the Joint Publications series, which contains editons of a variety of documents of interest for local history
      • a series of Guides to sources for British history

Lists & indexes