Place:Liberty of the Rolls, London, England

Watchers
NameLiberty of the Rolls
Alt namesSt. Thomas in the Liberty of the Rollssource: Family History Library Catalog
The Rollssource: Vision of Britain
TypeParish
Coordinates51.514977°N 0.11122°W
Located inLondon, England     (1889 - 1965)
Also located inSt. Dunstan in the West, London, England     ( - 1866)
London, England     (1889 - 1965)
Greater London, England     (1965 - present)
See alsoSt. Dunstan in the West, London, Englandparish in which the Liberty was located until 1866
Westminster, London, Englandborough in which part of the liberty was located 1889-1965
Westminster (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough covering the area since 1965
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The Liberty of the Rolls was a liberty, and civil parish from 1866, in the metropolitan area of London, England.

It consisted of the part of the ancient parish of St Dunstan in the West that was in the Ossulstone Hundred of Middlesex, the rest was within the City of London. It became a separate civil parish in 1866.

Named perhaps after the ancient Rolls House on Chancery Lane where the rolls of the Court of Chancery of England were kept, or perhaps, like other parishes, the chapel. The site of the house and chapel became the nucleus of the original Public Record Office, now the Maugham Library and Provost's Lodgings of King's College London.

It was grouped into the Strand District in 1855 when it came within the area of responsibility of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

In 1889 the parish became part of the County of London and in 1900 it became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. It was abolished as a civil parish in 1922. However, its boundary could be readily seen as that area of Westminster which was the conjunction between the City of London and the Metropolitan Borough of Holborn (and later the London Borough of Camden). This apparent territorial anomaly disappeared in 1994 when the Boundary Commission altered the border to place all of the area east of Chancery Lane into the City [of London].

The Liberty of the Rolls was part of the Strand Registration District from 1837 until 1913 when the Registration District was abolished in favour of St. Martin Registration District.

A map showing the civil parishes of Westminster as they appeared in 1870. Based on the Ordnance Survey Town Plan of London (1871-76) at 1:1056 scale.

The small liberties on the east are, in order from the top:

  • the Liberty of the Rolls (shown in grey)
  • St. Clement Danes (marked in pink with two detached portions:one above the others, the second the westermost of the small liberties)
  • St. Mary le Strand (marked in pink)
  • the Precinct of the Savoy (marked in pink)

The square between Westminster St. Margaret and Westminster St. John the Evangelist is the precinct of Westminster Abbey (the Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter)

Map credit: Doc77can - Own work CC BY-SA 3.0 "Westminster Civil Parish Map 1870" by Doc77can - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



The Penny Cyclopaedia in 1843 describes the boundaries as:
"formed on the southern and chief part of the eastern side by the left bank of the river Thames. The boundary leaves the river about midway between Waterloo bridge and Hungerford market, and with a little deviation follows the course of the Strand eastward to Temple Bar, being separated from the river in this part by what is termed the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster and by the western part of the Temple. The boundary turns northward from Temple Bar up Shire Lane, and then runs in an irregular line westward, keeping to the south of Lincoln’s Inn Fields till it reaches Drury Lane: it then turns north-westward up Drury Lane to Castle Street, and again turn westward and then northward runs by Castle Street, West Street, and Crown Street, Soho, to the eastern end of Oxford Street. The northern boundary runs in a very direct line westward along Oxford Street and the north side of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, making a small detour in one place, so as to include St. George’s burying-ground, to the northern end of the Serpentine river. From this point the western boundary follows the course of the Serpentine and of a stream which runs from its south-eastern extremity, now for the most part covered over, west of Kinnerton Street (which runs at the back of Wilton Crescent), Lowndes Street, Chesham Street, Westbourn Street, and the Commercial Road, to the Thames just in front of Chelsea Hospital."

Middlesex Research Tips

Parts of Middlesex were absorbed into London in 1889 (Inner London), and some in 1965 (Outer London). Depending on the specific location and the year being investigated it may be necessary to check London records as well as those of Middlesex.

  • See wiki.familysearch.org under "Middlesex" for key information about the jurisdictions and records of Middlesex, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • The Victoria History of the County of Middlesex is a series of volumes available online through British History Online. The volumes were written over the past hundred or so years by a number of authors and cover various sections of Middlesex. A list of the volumes and what each contains can be found under the source Victoria History of the County of Middlesex
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI has a separate page for Middlesex references.
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • Registration Districts in Middlesex and Registration Districts in London, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.

Greater London Research Tips

  • See wiki.familysearch.org under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Liberty of the Rolls. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.