Cause papers relating to disputes over matrimony, defamation, tithes, probate, breach of faith by the clergy, and church rights heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York.
The Cause Papers is a searchable catalogue or listing of more than 14,000 cause papers relating to disputes over matrimony, defamation, tithes, probate, breach of faith by the clergy, and church rights heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York. The original records, held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, are the most extensive 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 Cause Papers is a catalogue; it lists papers for over 13,000 individual cases. A wealth of supporting information is also included. The importance of the material for social, economic, ecclesiastical and legal history has long been recognised, and the papers also contain extremely rich personal and place name data. At present the project only offers access to document images for the main series 1500–1799, and these texts are not searchable. For other periods copies of particular documents may be ordered directly from the relevant catalogue description and registered users also have the option to add abstracts for each case.
Data-entry utilised a customised XML schema. The schema –designed explicitly for the project –provided a controlled vocabulary to express each cause from the archive. This included detailed provision for individuals represented in the cause papers and for handling variant names. The schema also provided for an exceptionally high level of detail on locations associated with a particular cause or person.
The XML document was visualised using an XML editing tool called XMLmind. Each validated document (or form) was ingested into a relational database which formed the repository which is utilised by the publicly accessible website built in the final phase of the project.
The Cause Papers was a collaborative project between the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York and the Digital Humanities Institute at the University of Sheffield. Funding was provided by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. The Principal Investigator was Dr Philippa Hoskin and the Technical Officers were Katherine Rogers and Ed Mackenzie. The Cause papers was published by The Digital Humanities Institute. For further information, see the project's About this project page.
The Digital Humanities Institute
"Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York, 1300-1858" © University of Hertfordshire, University of London, University of Sheffield, 2011-2018; University of Sheffield 2019 (www.connectedhistories.org, version 1.0, 2 December 2021), https://www.connectedhistories.org/resources/bc/