How to look for records of... Criminal court cases: assize courts 1559-1971

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

  • Some

1. Why use this guide?

Use this guide for advice on how to find records of criminal trials held at the assize courts in England, from 1559 to 1971, and Wales, from 1831 to 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.

Assize courts tended to deal with the more serious criminal offences, although this was not always the case. Cases heard by assize courts typically included homicide, theft, rape and assault among other crimes.

Up to 1733 most assize court records are in Latin.

2. What were assize courts?

Assize courts were the foundation, along with the courts of quarter sessions, of the criminal court system in England and Wales up until 1971. Based in the main county towns in England and Wales, cases were only heard at the courts twice yearly, when judges from the higher courts in London visited and presided over cases.

Often known simply as ‘the assizes’, the courts originally dealt predominantly with property disputes, but their remit soon widened to include criminal cases as well as cases passed on from the central Westminster courts. By about the mid-13th century the courts were dealing with cases of:

  • homicide
  • theft (stolen goods were often under-valued as worth less than 12d to avoid making it a capital offence)
  • highway robbery
  • rape
  • assault
  • coining
  • forgery
  • witchcraft
  • trespass
  • vagrancy
  • recusancy
  • infanticide

Assize courts also heard civil cases, the records of which are covered in our civil assizes guide.

2.1 The timetable

For much of their history the assize courts sat twice yearly, for Lent and Summer assizes. Typically, Lent assizes, also referred to as Spring assizes, were heard in March/April and Summer assizes in July/August, although there could be variations. By the 19th century and into the 20th century the courts sat more regularly, with Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter assizes.

2.2 Judges’ circuits

England and Wales were divided into judicial circuits, each circuit making up the areas covered by the visiting judges. Up until 1876 there were six circuits. They were:

 

A typescript table showing the judges' circuits with scheduled dates for the Autumn assizes in 1909. As shown in the image, there were seven circuits at this time.

The judges’ circuits with scheduled dates for the Autumn assizes in 1909. As shown in the image, there were seven circuits at this time (catalogue reference ASSI 2/49).

3. Record types and the information they contain

Not all assize records have survived as the assize clerks sometimes destroyed them when they ran out of space. Earlier records are less likely to have been kept than later ones.

In terms of information about people, assize records, most commonly, give details of the accused. Typically this includes the name, occupation and place of abode of the accused, but some or all of this information can be unreliable as aliases were often used and other false details were given. The place of abode mentioned is often where the crime took place rather than where the accused lived.

3.1 Crown and gaol books (aka minute books or agenda 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

There may be a separate series of minute books for offences such as the failure of local communities to keep local roads and bridges in a good state of repair. These kinds of ‘public office’ offences were considered criminal offences.

3.2 Indictments

These are the formal statements of the charge against the accused, usually annotated with plea, verdict and sentence.

Indictments were filed in large unwieldy bundles together with other related records, depending on the period and the circuit. Bundled in with indictment records you may also find details of jury panels, coroners’ inquisitions, examinations and depositions, gaol calendars, trial minutes, commissions, presentments of non-criminal offences and recognizances (which give names, parishes of residence and occupation and are usually far more accurate than those given on the indictments themselves).

Each indictment usually gives:

  • name of the defendant together with any aliases
  • his or her occupation
  • a parish of residence
  • the date of the alleged offence (by regnal year)
  • details of the alleged offence, together with the name of the victim
  • a list of prosecution witnesses

The details of the defendant should be treated with caution, especially before the late 19th century. The defendant’s occupation was normally given as ‘labourer’ and the parish of residence is invariably the parish in which the alleged offence took place. The alleged offence is defined by lengthy and formal phrases and some, especially in cases of serious misdemeanour, such as perjury or libel, are several membranes long.

Until 1916, assize indictments were either handwritten or partly printed and partly written on parchment. After 1916 all indictments were prepared using standard, usually pre-printed, forms. These give the jurisdiction and venue, the name of the defendant, the plea, a summary statement of the charge or charges and particulars of the charges.

3.3 Depositions and examinations

Depositions, sometimes known as sessions papers, consist of pre-trial witness statements. However, the survival rate for these records is relatively poor and those that do survive have been heavily weeded. Only depositions in capital 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

3.4 Transcripts

Transcripts of what was actually said in court do not normally survive with the records held at The National Archives. A collection of contemporary pamphlet accounts of what was said in court during mostly celebrated trials for the period 1660-1908 is available on microfiche in the reading rooms at The National Archives.

The Old Bailey Online website provides detailed proceedings (although not complete transcripts of what was said) for trials at the London central criminal court.

3.5 Other records

Other assize 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
  • estreats (records of fines and forfeits)

4. How to search for records

As most assize court records remain available only in their original paper or parchment form (copies are not available online), to search for them and see them you will need to visit us at our building in Kew. Alternatively, if you can establish the record series and document references within the series, you can use our record copying service to have copies sent to you for a charge. Either way, you will need to follow these steps to locate records:

Step 1: Establish where and when the trial took place

If you do not know the date or at least the year of a trial and the county in which the trial took place, you may find your search hits a dead end very quickly. Consult our criminal court cases overview guide for advice on using newspapers, criminal registers and calendars to try to establish these facts.

Step 2: Decide which type of record to look for

Usually, the best place to begin a search in the assize records is the crown and gaol books. To decide which kind of record will be most useful for your research see the information on record types in section 3.

Step 3: Identify the record series

All assize court records at The National Archives are identified by the department code ASSI. You will also need a series number (each circuit has its own set of series) to narrow your search. To find the right record series refer to the keys in the appendices of this guide. For English counties use Appendix 1; for Welsh counties use Appendix 2.

By searching or browsing the right series you will hopefully find a piece number that covers the records of the trial in question. Once you have the piece number you can view the original records in person at The National Archives in Kew or pay for copies to be sent to you.

There are some other scattered records outside of the ASSI department at The National Archives which relate to criminal trials at assize courts. There are also records and accounts of trials elsewhere, in other archives and libraries.

5.1 Transcripts held by government departments and other courts

There are court transcripts for some trials among Court of Appeal, Director of Public Prosecutions or Treasury Solicitor and Home Office records. There are sometimes additional notes which can provide insight into a trial. The following record series are the best place to start if you are looking for court transcripts:

  • Treasury Solicitor and Director of Public Prosecutions: Transcripts of Proceedings in Selected Criminal Trials (1846-1958) in DPP 4
  • Treasury Solicitor: Transcripts of Proceedings (1812-1963) in TS 36
  • Court of Criminal Appeal and Supreme Court of Judicature, Court of Appeal, Criminal Division: Case Papers (1945-1993) in J 82

5.2 Records of payments and expenses, c.1715-1832

Payments and expenses incurred by sheriffs in the punishment of prisoners were often recorded. These records can include lists of prisoners tried or transported, accounts for maintenance in prison or expenses for carrying out an execution. They provide a useful alternative for the many missing assize records from this period.

You cannot search these records by keyword. Instead, click on the links below to browse through the records by year ranges:

  • Sheriff’s assize vouchers are held in a subseries of E 389and consist of pieces E 389/241 to E 389/257, covering the period 1715-1832. To use this series effectively you will need to refer to the E 389 paper list in the reading rooms at Kew.
  • Payments to sheriffs which refer to individual prisoners are in T 90/146-170, covering the period 1733-1822
  • Entry books of warrants of payments for the period 1676-1839 are in T 53/1-68.

5.3 Judicial reviews at the Court of King’s Bench

The Court of King’s Bench would sometimes direct an assize court to send the records of a trial for review, a process known as certiorari. There are copies of indictments within the records of writs of certiorari in KB 9.

For more advice on records of the King’s Bench, see King’s Bench 1675-1875 research guide.

5.4 Miscellaneous DPP, HO and PCOM records

The following National Archives departments contain records of various kinds related to trials held at the assize courts:

Use the catalogue advanced search to search by department code, years and the keyword ‘assize’ alongside any of these other keyword types:

  • names of defendants/convicts
  • description of crime (for example, burglary, robbery, murder, manslaughter and so on)
  • county or city where trial took place
  • dates of the trial (try different date formats, but mostly DD + name of month + YYYY – for example 25 May 1950).

Appendix 1: Key to records of criminal cases in the English assizes 1559-1971

Click on the links in the table to search or browse through the respective series in our catalogue. See section 4 for detailed advice on how to search. For advice on whether to browse or search, see our Discovery help pages.

Of the pre-19th century depositions that have survived, most are from northern counties. Of the pre-19th century Midland circuit records, most that survive are from after 1818.

Bristol assize records prior to 1832 are held by Bristol Record Office.

In 1830 the palatinate of Chester (Cheshire) joined the assizes court system. Durham and Lancaster (Lancashire) merged into the assizes system in 1876. Prior to these years you will need to consult the Palatinate of Chester court records, the Palatinate of Durham court records or the Palatinate of Lancaster court records.

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 15, ASSI 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
1831-1938
1835-1883
1945-1951
CHES 21
ASSI 61
ASSI 62
ASSI 79
1341-1659
1831-1945
1945-1971
CHES 24
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 23
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 4, ASSI 9, ASSI 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.

Appendix 2: Key to records of criminal cases in the Welsh assizes 1831-1971

Click on the links in the table to search or browse through the respective series in our catalogue. See section 4 for detailed advice on how to search. For advice on whether to browse or search, see our Discovery help pages.

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

Appendix 3: Latin abbreviations still used in the records after 1733

Until 1733 (with the exception of the period of the interregnum), records were written in Latin and in distinctive legal scripts. The annotations on indictments are often in Latin abbreviations which remained in use even after 1733.

Latin abbreviation Full Latin version English translation
ca null catalla nulla no goods/chattels to forfeit
cog ind cognovit indictamentum confessed to the indictment
cul culpabilis guilty
ign ignoramus we do not know, that is, no case to answer
non cul nec re non culpabilis nec retraxit not guilty and did not flee
po se ponit se super patriam puts himself on the country (that is, opts for jury trial and pleads not guilty)
sus suspendatur let him be hanged

Appendix 4: Further reading

J S Cockburn’s publications are invaluable guides to assize records. His history of assizes is particularly valuable, with sage advice on the pitfalls of taking the records at face value.

J S Cockburn, A History of English Assizes, 1558-1714 (1972)

J S Cockburn, Calendars of Assize Records (various publications covering the home circuits)

L Knafla, Kent at Law 1602 (1994)

D T Hawkings, Criminal Ancestors (2009) – also covers assizes and related records