About the Pipe Rolls

The pipe rolls are the annual accounts of royal expenditure maintained by the Exchequer. They record expenditure on a county by county basis. The pipe rolls is the earliest series of public records and the rolls are now housed in The National Archives in Kew. The earliest pipe roll dates from 1129-1130, and they run in an almost unbroken series from 1155 until 1832.

The early pipe rolls were based on the sheriffs' accounts and are full of information about payments made by the Crown, payments made to the Crown, and debts owed. This can reveal a huge amount about the functioning and resources of medieval government, and how people in the localities interacted with it.

For more information about the pipe rolls, look at the description of the record series E 372 on The National Archives' catalogue and at The National Archives research guide.

The Pipe Roll Society has published editions of many of the pipe rolls - please see the publications page. Editions are available at a discounted rate for members of the Society; see joining details here.

The pipe rolls themselves can be seen at The National Archives. Please check its visitor information for details. 

 Page update June 2014.