Welcome to the Cause Papers

Welcome to the Cause Papers Database, a searchable database of more than 15,000 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 on our Heslington West campus, 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.

On this site you can view original images of the papers. Whilst our site is searchable by the reference number of the paper, it is not currently searchable by keyword, person or place. The cause papers have previously been indexed, and you can conduct a full search of that index data on the Humanities Research Institute portal (The Cause Papers). This will help you identify the reference numbers you need for your research.

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