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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 134  2014  page 271

A History of the Ecclesiastical Courts of the Diocese of Canterbury, 1566-86, based on the
   Cause papers bound within the Volume MS.F.4.12. By Karen Rushton

hands that produced them. For example, there are at least twenty records clearly in the same hand all of which are for cases appearing before the same official, Stephen Lakes. Four different officials feature as judges for the courts and Lakes accounts for just under half of the entries. The solid link between certain officials and the production of the records indicates that they were produced by the court and not a proctor, who would have submitted records before all the officials presiding over the court. Similar links can be made between other entries, for example there are only two entries for cases before one official, Vincent Denne, but both are in the same hand.
   The officials presiding over the Consistory Court were known as Commissaries-general, with the examples mentioned thus far (Denne and Lakes) both holding this office. By consulting the Archbishops’ Registers held at Lambeth Palace Library it is possible to track the careers of some of these men, as they would have held other offices before becoming Commissary-general. In this instance the Registers show some of the officials featured in MS.F.4.12 being admitted to the Court of Arches as advocates (a formally educated lawyer, holding a higher office than a proctor). The ability to track the careers of these men on their way to this office means that we can be fairly certain in ruling out the possibility of William Persivall being a Commissary-general due to the lack of mention of his name.24 Of further note is the way in which the presiding official, or judge, was introduced at the beginning of each record helping us to also rule out the possibility of Persivall having presided over the Court of the Archdeacon. A university education focusing on the study of civil law would also be a requirement for a gentleman wishing to hold such a high office. Whilst the names of the judges mentioned in MS.F.4.12 can be found within the published lists of the alumni of both Oxford and Cambridge University, no such entry can be found for a William Persivall.25
   Proctors working at this time tended not to have a formal university education making the possibility of Persivall having been a proctor a real one. However, in Entry 4 of MS.F.4.12, a John Edwardes is mentioned by name as being the proctor representing one of the parties. This particular record stands out amongst the others as it is written in the first person from the perspective of Edwardes making entreaties to the judge on behalf of his client. Nevertheless, the fact that the name of a proctor is mentioned at all and that it is not William Persivall tends to suggest that he wasn’t a proctor either as there seems little logical reason for him to keep another proctor’s records.
   Suggestions are made in the catalogues of diocesan administrative records held at the Borthwick Institute in York that official and private papers were found stored together with no attempt at separation.26 Therefore it is quite possible that some private papers of court officials,

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