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Guide reference: Legal Records Information 14
Last updated: 28 June 2004

1. Why use this guide?

This guide provides the key to records of criminal trials held at assize courts in England since 1559 and until 1971. In 1971 assize courts were abolished and replaced by crown courts.

If you know which English county a trial was held in and when the trial took place, use the tables in this guide to determine which of The National Archives' record series to look within for records of the trial.

For more information about assize records, read our guide on Criminal trials in assize courts 1559-1971.

2. What information do the records contain?

Trial records consist of a variety of documents but rarely are there any that contain transcripts of evidence or details of the age of the accused.

2.1 Crown and gaol books

The best place to begin a search in the assize records is in the Crown and gaol books, also known as minute books or agenda books. These usually list:

  • names of the accused
  • charges against the accused
  • plea
  • verdict
  • sentence

2.2 Indictments

The indictments are the formal statement of the charge against the accused. They are filed in large unwieldy bundles and are usually annotated with:

  • plea
  • verdict
  • sentence

2.3 Depositions

Depositions, sometimes known as sessions papers, consist of pre-trial witness statements but have been heavily weeded and only depositions in capital cases, usually murder and riot, tend to survive.

Deposition files, especially those from the mid-twentieth century or later, may also contain items used as trial exhibits, including:

  • photographs
  • maps
  • appeal papers

2.4 Other records

Other records can include:

  • pleadings
  • statements of claim, defence and counterclaim
  • draft minutes of trials
  • correspondence of the assize clerks, mostly administrative
  • coroners' inquisitions
  • jury lists
  • financial business including fees and costs

3. Criminal trials at assize courts 1559-1971: key to the records

Search the following record series by date, using the advanced search option in our catalogue, or browse through them in our catalogue by clicking on the record series links below. For more information on whether to browse or search, see our Discovery help pages.

County Crown & Gaol Books Indictments Depositions Other
Bedfordshire 1863-1876
1734-1863
1876-1945
ASSI 32
ASSI 33
ASSI 11
1658-1698
1693-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1832-1876
1876-1971
ASSI 36
ASSI 13
ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 15, ASSI 90 
Berkshire 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1650-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 93, ASSI 89
Bucks 1863-1876
1734-1863
1876-1945
ASSI 32
ASSI 33  
ASSI 11
1642-1699
1695-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1832-1876
1876-1971
ASSI 36
ASSI 13
ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 15ASSI 90
Cambridgeshire 1902-1943
1863-1971
1734-1863
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
ASSI 33
1642-1699
1692-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1834-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Cheshire 1532-1831
1341-1659
1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
CHES 21
CHES 24
ASSI 61
ASSI 62
ASSI 79
1831-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 64
ASSI 83
1831-1944
1945-1971
ASSI 65
ASSI 84
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67, ASSI 91
Cornwall 1730-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 23
1801-1971 ASSI 25 1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Cumberland 1714-1873
1665-1810
ASSI 41
ASSI 42
1607-1876
1877-1971
ASSI 44
ASSI 51
1613-1876
1877-1971
ASSI 45  
ASSI 52
ASSI 43, ASSI 46, ASSI 47, ASSI 93
Derbs 1818-1945 ASSI 11 1868-1971
1662,67,87
ASSI 12
ASSI 80
1862-1971 ASSI 13 ASSI 15, ASSI 88 
Devon 1746-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 2 3
1801-1971 ASSI 25 1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Dorset 1746-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 23
1801-1971 ASSI 25 1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Durham 1770-1876
1753-1858
1858-1944
DURH 15
DURH 16
ASSI 41
1582-1877
1876-1971
DURH 17
ASSI 44
1843-1876
1877-1971
DURH 18
ASSI 45
DURH 19,
ASSI 46, ASSI 47, ASSI 87, ASSI 93
Essex 1734-1943
1826-1971
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
1559-1688
1689-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 35*
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1825-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
County Crown & Gaol Books Indictments Depositions Other
Glos 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1662-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4ASSI 9ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Hampshire 1746-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 23
1801-1971 ASSI 25 1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Herefordshire 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1627-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Hertfordshire 1734-1943
1826-1971
ASSI 31  
ASSI 32
1573-1688
1689-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 35
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1829-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Hunts 1902-1943
1863-1971
1734-1863
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
ASSI 33
1643-1698
1693-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1851-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Kent 1734-1943
1826-1971
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
1559-1688
1689-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 35
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1812-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Lancashire 1524-1843
1686-1877
PL 25
PL 28
1660-1867
1877-1971
PL 26
ASSI 51
1663-1867
1877-1971
PL 27
ASSI 52
PL 28
ASSI 46, ASSI 53, ASSI 93, ASSI 86 
Leics 1818-1864
1864-1875
1876-1945
ASSI 11
ASSI 32
ASSI 11
1653, 1656
1864-1875
1876-1971
ASSI 80
ASSI 35
ASSI 12
1862
1863-1875
1876-1971
ASSI 13
ASSI 36
ASSI 13
ASSI 15, ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 88
Lincolnshire 1818-1945 ASSI 11 1868-1971
1652-1679
ASSI 12
ASSI 80
1862-1971 ASSI 13 ASSI 15, ASSI 88 
London & Middlesex 1834-1949 CRIM 6 1834-1957
1833-1971
CRIM 4
CRIM 5
1839-1971
1923-1971
CRIM 1
CRIM 2
CRIM 7, CRIM 8, CRIM 9, CRIM 10, CRIM 11, CRIM 12, CRIM 13
Monm 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1666-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Norfolk 1902-1943
1863-1971
1734-1863
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
ASSI 33
1606-1699
1692-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94  
ASSI 95
1817-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Northants 1818-1864
1864-1876
1876-1945
ASSI 11
ASSI 32  
ASSI 11
1659-1660
1864-1675
1876-1971
ASSI 80
ASSI 95
ASSI 12
1862
1864-1875
1876-1971
ASSI 13
ASSI 36
ASSI 13
ASSI 15, ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 88
County Crown & Gaol Books Indictments Depositions Other
Northumberland 1714-1944
1665-1810
ASSI 41
ASSI 42
1607-1971 ASSI 44 1613-1971 ASSI 45 ASSI 43, ASSI 46, ASSI 47, ASSI 87, ASSI 93
Notts 1818-1945 ASSI 11 1868-1971
1663-4, 82
ASSI 12
ASSI 80
1862-1971 ASSI 13 ASSI 15, ASSI 88 
Oxford 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1661-1971
1688
ASSI 5
PRO 30/80
1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Rutland 1818-1864
1864-1876
1876-1945
ASSI 11
ASSI 32
ASSI 11
1667, 1685
1864-1875
1876-1971
ASSI 80
ASSI 95
ASSI 12
1862
1864-1873
1876-1971
ASSI 13
ASSI 36
ASSI 13
ASSI 15, ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 88 
Shropshire
(Salop)
1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1654-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Somerset 1730-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 23
1801-1971 ASSI 25 1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Staffs 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1662-1971
1662
ASSI 5
ASSI 80
1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Suffolk 1902-1943
1863-1971
1734-1863
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
ASSI 33
1653-1698
1689-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 16
ASSI 94
ASSI 95
1832-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Surrey 1734-1943
1826-1971
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
1559-1688
1689-1850
1851-
ASSI 35
ASSI 94
ASSI 95  
1820-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Sussex 1734-1943
1826-1971
ASSI 31
ASSI 32
1559-1688
1689-1850
1851-1971
ASSI 35
ASSI 94
ASSI 95  
1812-1971 ASSI 36 ASSI 34, ASSI 38, ASSI 39, ASSI 90
Warw 1818-1945 ASSI 11 1868-1971
1652, 1688
ASSI 12
ASSI 80
1862-1971 ASSI 13 ASSI 15, ASSI 88 
Westmor 1714-1873
1718-1810
ASSI 41
ASSI 42
1607-1876
1877-1971
ASSI 44
ASSI 51
1613-1876
1877-1971
ASSI 45
ASSI 52
ASSI 43, ASSI 46, ASSI 47, ASSI 53, ASSI 86, ASSI 93
Wilts 1746-1971
1670-1824
ASSI 21
ASSI 23
1729
1801-1971
ASSI 25
ASSI 25
1861-1971
1951-1953
ASSI 26
ASSI 82
ASSI 24, ASSI 30, ASSI 92 
Worcs 1657-1971
1847-1951
ASSI 2
ASSI 3
1662-1971 ASSI 5 1719-1971 ASSI 6 ASSI 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 10, ASSI 89, ASSI 93
Yorks** 1658-1811
1718-1863 1864-1876 1876-1944
ASSI 42  ASSI 41
ASSI 11  ASSI 41
1607-1863 1868-1875
1876-1971
ASSI 44  ASSI 12
ASSI 44
1613-1863 1868-1875  1876 1971
1877-1971
ASSI 45  ASSI 13  ASSI 45 
ASSI 52
ASSI 15, ASSI 43, ASSI 46, ASSI 47, ASSI 87, ASSI 93

* You can search by name and the term 'assize' for the calendars of Essex Assizes indictments in ASSI 35 (1558-1714) on the Essex Record Office catalogue.

** For Yorkshire there are two series of Crown & Gaol Books for the earlier period so you will need to check both.

Guide reference: Legal Records Information 14