|TOWER of London. Office of Records. ||112
These English Records preserved here, were for some Time accompanied with the
Treasure of those of Scotland. For Oliver Cromwell, after he had beaten the
their own Nation, seized all the Publick Registers, Records and Rolls of that
and sent them up to the Tower: Where they lay for some Years, till King Charles
Restoration. And pity it was they continued not there longer, since being sent
that King's Order, to be laid up in the Castle of Edinburgh, they most unhappily
perished, together with the Ship that carried them, being cast away near Holy
Scotch Records brought to the Tower.
This Office is kept open, and Attendance constantly given here, from the Hour of
a Clock to the One, every Day in the Week; except in the Months of December,
January, and February; and in them, from Eight till One: Saving on Sundays,
Publick Fasting and Thanksgiving Days, and Times of great Pestilence.
Attendance given at this Office.
The Chief Officer, or Keeper of these Records now, is Richard Topham, Esq; who
succeeded William Petyt, of the Inner Temple, Esq; and sometime Treasurer there:
Who, as he was a very Learned Antiquary himself, so he encouraged and assisted
others studious of Antiquity. And I must gratefully here remember, that he
allowed me Access to these Records. His Clerk, and Deputy in this Office, was
George Holmes, my very good Friend, and very assistant to me in this Work, as
as in others; communicating to me divers Records for my Purpose: And is now also
Deputy to the present Keeper, Mr. Topham.
The present Keeper of the Records.
W. Petyt, Esq;
The good Orders made for this Office, (whereof there was a Table hanging up)
"That the Deputy and Clerks should duly and diligently attend in the Office,
the Times aforesaid; and give their best Attendance and Expedition, to all
resorting thither, in their Searches, in Copying and Examining Records. That
should not procure or suffer any Books, Writs, Rolls, Memorandums, or Records to
embezzled, falsified, corrupted, razed, blotted, torn or defaced: Nor carry, or
of them to be carried out of the Office; unless by special Order of the Queen,
Chancellor, or Master of the Rolls, or of her Majesty's Judges, Barons of her
Exchequer, or her Learned Council at Law, or some other great Officers of State,
her Majesty's Service upon special Occasions. Special Entry to be made in a
that Purpose, of any particular Book, Writ, Roll or Record sent out; of the
sent for it, and that carried it out of the Office; the Day of the Month when
and when returned: To be subscribed by the Clerk who carried and returned it;
brought back without Delay, when done with. Every Book, Writ, Roll, &c.
out of its Classis, or Place, by reason of any Search, Examination or
Transcript, to be
returned to its proper Place immediately after made use of. That if any
Schedule be unstitched or torn off, to be new stitched, or fastened again by the
All Books, Bundles of Writs, Rolls and Records, to be diligently inspected once
Quarter of the Year, to see if any be missing or misplaced. No Person to be
tipple, or take Tobacco in the Office. No Fee to be taken from any Person for a
who thro' Ignorance desires to search any Book or Record not kept in the Office.
Fee for Searches, Copies, or Examinations of Records, other than the ancient
the Office. A particular
Entry to be duly made of all Searches, Copies, and Examination of Records, and
Fees taken for the same. No clandestine Searches, and Examinations and Copies
made, concealed, or not entred by the Deputy, or any Clerk. No Person to peruse
Record in private, but only publickly in the Office. The first Comer to be
and dispatched without Delay, or Preference given to another that comes after.
Rooms in the Office to be kept clean, and swept once or more every Week; and the
Writs and Records therein preserved from Cobwebs, Dust, Filth and Putrefaction;
the outward Doors duly locked every Night, for the Preservation of the Records.
Deputy and Clerks to spend their vacant Time in the Office, in making exact
and Tables to the Records for Publick Good; and in reducing the loose Records in
Office and White Tower Chapel, that are useful, into Order and Bundles, as the
of the Office shall direct them. Every Deputy and Clerk of the Office, before
Admission, voluntarily to make and subscribe such an Oath, before the Master of
Office, as is suitable to his Trust."
Orders of this Office.
We shall now take some Review of this Office of the Records, kept in the Tower,
respect to the Antiquity thereof.
K. Edward III. speaks of this Office as
There is an Ancient Record of 34. Edward III. wherein mention is made by the
King Edward III. de quadam Domo infra Turrim suam London, in qua Rotulos &
memoranda Cancellariæ, tam de tempore Progenitorum nostrorum, quondam
Regum Angliæ, quàm nostro, pro salva & secura Custodia
Memorand. prædictorum, reponi fecimus: i.e.
"Of a certain House within
Tower of London; wherein he caused to be laid up the Rolls, and other memorable
Matters of the Chancery, as well from the Time of his Progenitors, heretofore
England, as in his own, for the safe and secure Custody of the said Rolls and
K. Edward, in that Record, mentioned Rolls reposited in the Tower in the Time of
Predecessors. We can go as far back as Edward I. In the Thirty third Year of
Reign is a Roll, having these Words; Scrutentur Rotuli de Scotia, quæ sunt
Custodia apud Turrim London. Which Mr. Holmes shewed me.
33. Edw. I. Anno 1304.
The Place then where these Records were kept, was a certain House; which House
afterwards called a Tower; that undoubtedly now is called Wakefield's Tower.
The Place where the Records anciently were
In the Record above specified, it is said to be in a certain House.
In another Record of King Henry VI. mention is made of a Little House. Johannes
Malpas habuit Officium Custodis Armaturæ infra Turrim London. unà
cum una parva Domo tunc vacant. infra dictam Turrim, juxta Turrim infra quam
Cancellariæ Regis continentur.
An. 14. H. VI.
In this House, there was a Chamber called the White Chamber, contiguous to a
called the White Hall: Where one Robert de Hoton, by a special Order from King
Edward III. in the first Year of his Reign, arrayed and set in order the
Writings and Muniments, in Two Chests. The same King gave Order to the Clerk of
his Works within the Tower, to see to the Reparation of the Defects of this
well to the Roof, as the Doors, Windows, &c. There were other Places where
past Rolls and Instruments were kept: As in the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery
Inn, and in
An. 36. E. III.