Quarter Session Records

The records

  • Minute books including names of jurors; highway act proceedings; fines; orders; appeals; costs; later including bonds and legal aid certificates.
  • Sessions book including declarations of officers; lists of jurors; names of defendants; pleas, acquittals and sentences; payments to coroners; slaughterhouse licences and stopping up streets orders; appointments of visitors to county asylum; appeals against poor rate payments.
  • calendars of prisoners giving name, age and trade of prisoner; whether prisoner could read or write (to 1917); name and address of committing magistrate; date of warrant; date prisoner received into custody; offence; when tried and before whom; verdict; previous convictions; sentence or court order. The calendars are indexed for each session.
  • indictments - formal accusations.
  • recognisances - bonds to ensure appearance of defendants, prosecutors or witnesses.
  • depositions - examinations and statements of defendants and witnesses.
  • recorders’ notebooks include notes on proceedings (very abbreviated and often illegible).

Dates covered

  • Sessions Books, 1880 - 1895 (QS/1)
  • Minute books, 1918 - 1971 (QS/2)
  • Recorder's Notebooks, 1920 - 1971 (QS/3)
  • Calendars of prisoners, 1880 - 1971 (QS/4)
  • Indictments, 1880 - 1971 (QS/5)
  • Recognisances and Depositions 1889 - 1971 (QS/6)
  • Masonic Lodge returns, 1917 - 1967 (QS/7)
  • Appeals, 1885 - 1970 (QS/8)
  • Appeals Returns, 1894 - 1915 (QS/9)
  • Order of the Court, 1910 - 1971 (QS/10)
  • Legal Aid Awards, 1968 - 1970 (QS/11)
  • Recognisances, 1933 - 1938 (QS/12)
  • Rating Appeals, 1875 - 1936 (QS/13)
  • Probation Orders, 1913 - 1933 (QS/14)
  • Maintenance (Bastardy) Orders, 1924 (QS/15)
  • Road Closing Orders, 1953 - 1971 (QS/16)
  • Case Costs, 1927 - 1935 (QS/17)
  • Miscellaneous papers and correspondence, 1919 - 1949, 1961 (QS/18)
  • Oddments, 1885 - 1919 (QS/19)
  • Coroners Affidavits, 1881 - 1907 (QS/20)

Location of records

Sheffield Archives, 52 Shoreham Street.

Order documents

Not all archive material is stored onsite and we may require notice of the items you wish to see. Please contact us to confirm when we can retrieve items for you.

Please note that access to some records may be restricted under the Data Protection Act and may also be subject to exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact us for further details.

Contact us on archives@sheffield.gov.uk to find out more, book in advance or order archival materials.


We can normally supply copies for private study purposes, subject to the usual copyright and Data Protection restrictions. Please contact us for further details.

You can search for individuals in Sheffield’s prison calendars and other court records on Find My Past.

Quarter Sessions

Sheffield did not have a separate court of Quarter Sessions until September 1880.

Before then Sheffield was covered by the West Riding of Yorkshire Quarter Sessions.

The court records are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service Headquarters, Registry of Deeds, Newstead Road, Wakefield WF1 2DE.

See also Guide to the Quarter Sessions Records of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1637 – 1971 by Brian Barber (West Yorkshire Archive Joint Committee, 1984) available at both Sheffield Local Studies Library (ref. 929.3s) and Sheffield Archives (ref. WYAS/ RO Guide).

Court orders, Sessions rolls and indictments

For the late 16th / early 17th century have been published in the Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series volumes 3 and 54 (available at Sheffield Local Studies Library (ref. 942.74).

For areas formerly in Derbyshire, the records of the Derbyshire Quarter Sessions are available at Derbyshire Record Office, New Street, Matlock, DE4 3AG (Correspondence Address: County Hall, Matlock, DE4 3AG).


Paper and parchment.

Contact the Archives and Local Studies Library

First Floor, Central Library
Surrey Street
S1 1XZ
0114 203 9395 (Sat, Mon, Tues)
0114 273 4753 (Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat)

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