MUNICIPAL RECORDS OF SHREWSBURY.
The Corporation records of the ancient town of Shrewsbury have
recently been the objects of unusual care and interest. For several
years a local committee of clergy and laymen devoted themselves to the
task of cleaning, sorting, and labelling an immense mass of papers
which were found in utmost confusion and in most dirty condition, but
which were then classified and placed in 75 tin boxes. Finally, a brief
outline account of the work was printed, and Her Majesty's Historical
Commissioners were invited to send an inspector to report upon the
collection. The papers thus arranged come down to the year 1837, and,
of course, include very many papers of ordinary character, quarter
sessions' proceedings, tax assessments, and the like, not requiring
examination, except for purely local purposes. But the exceptionally
valuable character of the earlier records is seen in a series of gildmerchant rolls which begin in the time of King John, and in the bailiffs'
accounts, beginning in that of Henry III., as well as in the series of Royal
Charters and that of Subsidy Rolls. The registers of the proceedings
of the Corporation are unfortunately very imperfect, and for all that
relates to the Civil War and Commonwealth period, which it was hoped
would be found to be specially illustrated, there is a blank, the register
being lost. A portion of the records, particularly the bailiffs' accounts
to the commencement of the 17th century, were carefully searched and
largely used by Messrs. Owen and Blakeway in their excellent History
of Shrewsbury, published in two quarto volumes in 1825, and their
numerous extracts have, to avoid repetition, lessened the number of
those which otherwise might have been given below. In the
Archæological Journal for September 1894 there is a paper giving a
general description of the records, by Rev. W. G. D. Fletcher, M.A.
The documents are classed in the following Report under these
I. Royal Charters.
II. Subsidy Rolls.
III. Gild-merchant Rolls.
V. Bailiffs' Accounts.
VI. Trained Bands.
VIII. Grammar School.