Coroners Inquests and other Records

A guide to the surviving records of the Derbyshire Coroners.

It has been the duty of county coroners since 1194 to investigate the circumstances of unnatural, sudden, or suspicious deaths, and deaths in prison, with additional functions acquired over time.

There are two coroners for Derbyshire:

  • Derby and South Derbyshire, based in Derby
  • High Peak, Chesterfield and North Derbyshire (Hundred of Scarsdale), based in Chesterfield
Surviving records

Very few coroners’ records survive for Derbyshire until the mid-20th century.  Before then researchers are advised to look in local newspapers to discover more about deaths in Derbyshire.  The following coroners’ archives survive at Derbyshire Record Office:

Q/SS/1/1-38 Coroners’ Inquests, 1877-1890

From 1752 to 1860, coroners were required to file their inquests at the County Quarter Sessions. Until 1926 all inquests were held before a jury.  Only 38 examples of coroners’ inquests survive amongst the Quarter Sessions records.  It is believed that all other early inquest reports were pulped during the Second World War, meaning that the principal primary source in this area is the coroners’ expenses returns (see below).

These inquests give: date of inquest; name of deceased; the verdict; date of death; cause of death; name of coroner; names of jurors; and constable’s receipt.

Q/AF/8/1-41 Coroners’ expense claims, 1754-1869

Under the Act 25 Geo II c29 (1752) fees and travelling expenses were payable to coroners.  The claims submitted by the coroners usually giving place of inquest, name of victim, mileage and sometimes verdict.

DCC/RG/3 Coroners records, 20th century

  • Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner: Inquest files 1979-1994; post mortem reports 1979-1994; depositions file 1976-1979 (currently held under reference D3346).
  • High Peak Coroner: Registers of reported deaths 1954-1983; inquest notebooks 1964-1979; correspondence etc., other miscellaneous papers and files 1940s-1970s (currently held under reference D3682).
  • Chesterfield Coroner: Inquests and post mortum reports, 1976-1992; Records of deaths and Inquests, 1995-2000

D6144/UL Expenses Ledgers, 1832-1916

Amongst a large collection of business papers and client records from Robothams Solicitors are three ledgers of William and William Harvey Whiston who acted as Coroners for County.  The detail in the ledgers varies over time, but are similar to those in the Expense Claims that survive in the Quarter Sessions collection.

Access arrangements

Due to the highly sensitive information held in the coroners files, the records are not generally available for public consultation.  Please contact the relevant coroner directly if there is a specific inquest file that you require access to.

Further Reading
  • Jean A Cole and Colin D Rogers (1995) Coroners’ Inquest Records (Historical Association Short Guides to Records No. 46)
  • The National Archives guide to Coroners Inquests


8 thoughts on “Coroners Inquests and other Records

  1. Pingback: Local and Community History | Derbyshire Record Office

  2. Are there any surviving records for inquests for 1853 for Glossop Derbyshire? Particularly regarding Turnlee Paper Mill

    Thank you

  3. Hi.

    Wondering if you can help. So a newspaper cutting has advised that an inquest would be held into the deaths of some children, following an unused mine explosion. The newspaper article was written in 1938 stating this (Chesterfield) but it hasn’t mentioned a specific date. I’m right in saying that there’s no surviving records that I’d be able to search?

    • Dear Louise,
      First I must apologise that you have not received a reply from us, it seems the notification went astray.

      If you are still looking for information about this event, I would suggest trying the British Newspaper Archive ( in the first instance as there will undoubtedly be other reports that will give you a specific date and more information.

      However, as you say there aren’t surviving records for the Chesterfield Coroner covering 1938 so the newspaper reports may be the only information still available. As the incident may have occurred in a mine, we may have other records in our coal mining collections so do let us know if you find out any more information – for example we have various records relating to a mining disasters at Markham Colliery in 1937 and 1938, resulting in the deaths of 88 miners.


  4. Thank you. I thought so.I was just double checking the Killamarsh angle. The research guides you and your colleagues are posting are invaluable. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.