Welcome to the Cause Papers Database, a searchable catalogue of more than 14,000 cause papers relating to cases heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York. The original records are held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, and are the most extensive records of their type in the United Kingdom. They offer an extremely valuable resource for family and local historians and scholars interested in social, ecclesiastical, economic and legal history.
The catalogue is designed to enhance access to the papers by presenting key information about each cause and by allowing users to search these details. The Basic and Advanced Search functions can be used to search for information about people and places involved in the cases and to refine searches by factors such as date and type of case. Alternatively, you can search quickly by using the keyword box at the top right of this page. The database can also be used to order copies of original documents.
By following the links at the top of the site, you can find out more about the cataloguing project and the historical background to the courts. You can also help us by contributing an abstract of the proceedings of a cause.
The project was managed by the Borthwick Institute for Archives and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Technical services were provided by HRI Digital at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield.