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Guide reference: Legal Records Information 15
Last updated: 21 March 2007

1. Why use this guide?

This guide provides the key to records of criminal and civil trials held at assize courts in Wales since 1831 and until 1971. In 1971 assize courts were abolished and replaced by crown courts.

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

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

For information on Welsh trials from 1543-1830, consult the National Library of Wales website. Their Crime and Punishment database contains records of criminal trials as well as other information relating to criminals, punishment and crime in Wales.

2. Types of records for criminal trials and what they 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, usually annotated with plea, verdict and sentence and filed in large unwieldy bundles.

2.3 Depositions

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

Deposition files, especially those from the mid-20th century or later, may also contain items used as trial exhibits, including:

  • photographs
  • maps
  • appeal papers

2.4 Other records

The other records on criminal trials (see below) can sometimes include:

  • coroners' inquisitions
  • calendars of prisoners
  • jury lists
  • appeal information

3. Key to criminal trials records 1831-1971

You will need to browse these records by date, you cannot search by keyword. For more advice on how to browse, read catalogue search help.

County Crown & Gaol Books Indictments Depositions Other
Anglesey 1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
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
Breconshire 1841-1842
1844-1946
1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79
1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Caernarvonshire 1831-1938
1835-1983
1945-1951
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
Cardiganshire 1841-1842
1844-1946
1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79
1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Carmarthenshire 1841-1842
1844-1946
1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79
1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Denbighshire 1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
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
Flint 1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
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
Glamorganshire 1841-1842
1844-1946
1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79

1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Merionethshire 1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
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
Montgomeryshire 1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
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
Pembrokeshire 1841-1842
1844-1946 1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79
1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Radnor 1841-1842
1844-1946
1945-1951
ASSI 74
ASSI 76
ASSI 79
1834-1945
1945-1971
ASSI 71
ASSI 83
1837-1971
1945-1971
ASSI 72
ASSI 84
ASSI 73, ASSI 77

4. Types of records for civil trials and what they contain

4.1 Minute books

Civil actions started in the central courts were sent to the counties for a local jury trial by a process called nisi prius.  The assize judges recorded brief details, verdict and sentence for these trials in the minute books before sending the actions back to London.

4.2 Other records

Other records in civil trials can include:

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

5. Key to civil trials records 1843-1970

You will need to browse these records by date, you cannot search by keyword. For more advice on how to browse, read catalogue search help.

County Minute books  Other Records
Anglesey 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Breconshire 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Caernarvonshire 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Cardiganshire 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Carmarthenshire 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Denbighshire 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Flint 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Glamorganshire 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Merionethshire 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Montgomeryshire 1843-1924
1914-1926
1867-1912
1945-1970
ASSI 57
ASSI 58
ASSI 60
ASSI 78
ASSI 59, ASSI 63, ASSI 66, ASSI 67
Pembrokeshire 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77
Radnor 1846-1943
1945-1970
ASSI 75
ASSI 78
ASSI 73, ASSI 77

Guide reference: Legal Records Information 15

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