Chancery Records – England and Wales – 1386 to 1875

Chancery Records – England and Wales

The Golding family first appears in English Chancery records in 1388 when William Goldyng (Golding) of Kent, England got himself in a legal situation.

67 different Goldings have records on file from the era of the Chancery Court system. The English also established Chancery Courts in some U.S. colonies — those records also now reside in London.

The Chancery Court handled civil disputes for all of England and Wales. Its records are now held at the National Archives of the UK and begin in the late 14th century (1386, William Goldyng was an early participant in the system). In 1875 this court became the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice.

I have an index of all records should you be looking for a particular Golding. Several still have unpaid double-parked carriage fines so be careful what you go looking for.


I am not sure of what William Goldyng’s (Golding) actual legal problems were.

HOWEVER, the Goldings were extremely wealthy landlords — owners of what was called ‘The Hundred‘ under the Old English tenement system.

In a tenement system, all land was considered owned by the King or the Queen. To be a landlord meant that you paid rent to the king/queen of the moment for the right to administer and to possess lands. You collected rents from those that lived on the land. If you made more than you were assessed then you kept that portion.

King Richard II decided in 1388 that for this privilege then you were also responsible for taking care of the poor that were unable to work.

Assessed rent was due to the king/queen regardless of whether you had collected it or not. The Exchequer would assess your lands and that is what you had to pay. // This would later bankrupt the Goldings late in the reign of Elizabeth I when Arthur Golding inherited lands and tenements from his father John Golding — but due to a Catch-22 was forbidden to collect rents because he had fallen too far behind in paying his rents. John Golding had had two marriages and tried to finesse his Will so that the families of both wives were taken care of … but Arthur’s half-sister was having none of that. Her scheming caused the fall of the Goldings from a life of wealth and privilege, and it didn’t help that Arthur may have been less than a good manager; his interests were academic, not in being a landlord.

In 1388, the Statute of Cambridge (12 Rich.II c.7) introduced regulations restricting the movements of all labourers and beggars. Each county “Hundred” became responsible for relieving its own “impotent poor” — those who, because of age or infirmity, were incapable of work. Servants wishing to move out of their own Hundred needed a letter of authority from the “good man of the Hundred” — the local Justice of the Peace — or risked being put in the stocks. Following this Act, beggars could pretend neither to be labourers (who needed permission to wander), nor to be invalids (who were also forbidden to wander). The 1388 Act is often regarded as the first English poor law. However, lack of enforcement limited its impact and effect. (Wikipedia)


A hundred is a geographic division formerly used in England, Wales, South Australia and some parts of the United States, to divide a larger region into smaller administrative divisions.

The term has fallen into general disuse, except for legal documentation. The name “hundred” is derived from the number one hundred; it may once have referred to an area liable to provide for a hundred men under arms, or containing roughly a hundred homesteads. (Wikipedia)

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