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Pipe Rolls

or Great Rolls of the Pipe. The series of Great Rolls of the Exchequer, beginning 2 Henry II., and continued to 1834, when the Pipe Office was abolished. These rolls are now in the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane.

“Take, for instance the Pipe Rolls, that magnificent series of documents on which, from the middle of the 12th century until well on in the 19th, we have a perfect account of the Crown revenue, rendered by the sheriffs of the different countries.” —Notes and Queries, June 3, 1893, p. 421.

Office of the Clerk of the Pipe.
A very ancient office in the Court of Exchequer, where leases of Crown lands, sheriffs' accounts, etc., were made out. It existed in the reign of Henry II., and was abolished in the reign of William IV. Lord Bacon says, “The office is so called because the whole receipt of the court is finally conveyed into it by means of divers small pipes or quills, as water into a cistern.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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