This is a volume of courts-martial records. There are many of these volumes, but it was the first one I asked for/looked at, at a point when the development in courts-martial proceedings and processes was going to be a larger part of my PhD thesis. (in the end, I didn’t even refer to these documents, but rather to the legislation where courts-martial- and more importantly- the Admiralty’s legal jurisdiction- was defined).
This volume covers from 12 August 1696 (the court-martial of Michael Cashall for deserting the Chichester) to 10 August 1697 (Captain John Writtle of the Brilliant, for embezzlement). I’m pretty sure that these are not *original* documents, but rather copies of originals- although I’m guessing they are contemporary.
Now, although this looks like it’s a single page- the records for a single court-martial indeed span several pages. They include a front page that describes who what where when and why (and names the members of the panel), and then subsequently will include depositions and other documents.
This is an example of a digital catalogue being put to its best use. The link to the volume in Kew’s catalogue is here, but it’s not merely a description of the volume as a whole- it also has an item-by-item description of what is contained within the volume. Whomever did that work should be congratulated. I wish I’d had an opportunity to use these documents more directly- they’re the kind of thing that are ripe for transcription and placement in a database.
Select photos (100 total) from this volume can be found at this link.