Court Depositions

Court Depositions of South West England, 1500-1700 is a digital edition of 80 fully transcribed depositions relating to 20 cases heard in the church courts and Quarter Sessions between 1556 and 1694 across Devon, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The original records are held in the Devon Heritage Centre, Hampshire Record Office, Somerset Heritage Centre and Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. These depositions or witness statements relate to a range of crimes and offences tried in these two types of courts, from defamation to theft and are rich in detail of social, economic, political and religious life in early modern England. As manuscript archival sources and written in secretary hand, few of these records are accessible to historians online or in published manuscript form. This digital edition is therefore an extremely valuable resource, providing access to a selection of depositions from the abundance of church court and Quarter Sessions material available in local records offices for the early modern period. It is an essential source for students of the early modern period, and for local and family historians, palaeographers and others with a general interest in early modern society. This digital edition has been prepared as part of the Leverhulme-funded project Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700 undertaken at the University of Exeter between 2013 and 2018.