The structure of dispute records
If we look at the charters that record disputes for which formal public action was pursued, we can see that those charters take many different forms. Some are long, and some short; some give considerable detail about procedure, while some simply record outcomes; some appear to quote the words of principal actors verbatim, but others use a very distant third-person narrative; some mention court proceedings in passing, and some focus fully upon them. Since the form of the record has a bearing on its value as evidence, the range of forms needs to be established and the attributes of each form described. The purpose of this chapter is to do that.