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Definitions of Terms
During the course of historical research you will be encountering words or records that you will need to define to understand what is actually being stated or described, here below are some helpful explanations.
DIED WITHOUT ISSUE :-
Issue referred in legal terms to somebody's offspring, and to have died without issue simply meant there was no heir
We know the peppercorn as a small dried tropical berry that is ground to make pepper for use as a seasoning, it was also the term used for something insignificant: something that is very small or has little importance or value. So when you see the term Peppercorn Rent it is referring to a very small rent.
Today we think only of a rabbit habitat: a group of connected burrows where rabbits live and breed,
but it used to also refer to a crowded building or area: an area or building that is crowded or has a
It comes from the 14th century. Anglo-Norman warenne "enclosed area for breeding game"
man·or [ mánnər ] (plural man·ors)
mes·suage [ mésswij ]
moi·e·ty [ móy ətee ] (plural moi·e·ties)
So if someone gained a moiety of a property, they gained a part of a property.
war·rant [ wáwrənt ]
Used also in the feet of fines as a means to prevent a challenge over ownership of a property [ see below ]
A term used in the Christian church and the feet of fines, often when a manor and land contained a church the owner was given the Advowson which was the right of selecting a person to a church living or benefice i.e. the priest or vicar
DOWER and JOINTURE:-
In English law, dower was one third. However, in the early modern period, it was common for a wife to bar her right to dower in advance under a marriage settlement, under which she agreed to take instead a jointure, that is a particular interest in her husband's property, either a particular share, or a life interest in a particular part of the land, or an annuity. This was often part of an arrangement by which she gave up her property to her husband in exchange for her jointure, which would accordingly be greater than a third. Strictly dower was only available from land that her husband owned, but a life tenant under a settlement was often given power to appoint a jointure for his wife. The wife would retain her right to dower (if not barred by a settlement) even if her husband sold the property; however this right could be barred by a fictituous court proceeding known as levying a fine, by which she and her husband formally remitted their right to the property to the purchaser. The widow of a copyholder was usually provided for by the custom of the manor with freebench, an equivalent right to dower, but often (but not necessarily) a half, rather than a third.
A female is known by suffix Dowager when she no longer occupies the position she held during the marriage. For example, a widowed countess is called "Dowager Countess" (the next Earl's wife is then the Countess); Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was technically the Dowager Queen after the demise of George VI (though she was given the personal title "Queen Mother"),
(b) One against whom a fictitious action of fine was brought. [Obs.] Burrill.
Webster 1913 Dictionary edited by Patrick J. Cassidy
HIDE (unit) :-
Webster 1913 Dictionary
A legally binding arrangement between parties:
The transfer of a title, right, or claim to another.
To relinquish a claim to; surrender by deed.
LICENTIA CONCORDANDI, estates, conveyancing, practice:-
plaintiff or cognizee in a fine
A written instrument given as evidence of agreement, transfer, or contract; a deed.
TOURN The sheriff's turn, or court.
GARTH \Garth\ (g[aum]rth), n. [Icel. gar[eth]r yard. See
A clapper clapping in a garth To scare the fowl from fruit. --Tennyson.
2. A dam or weir for catching fish.
DISTRAIN To seize and hold (property) to compel payment or
reparation, as of debts.
To seize the property of (a person) in order to compel
payment of debts; distress.
FEET OF FINES:-
The feet of fines first came into existence in the late 1100's as a means of settling disputes and legal actions. At first only the two disputing parties were given copies of the final agreement, but in 1195 it was decided a third copy would be produced and retained by the court. This third copy as it was realised became an assurance to the disputing parties that no one could in later years produce a false copy of the original agreement and challenge the agreement because the court still held a copy of the original document. The original agreement would be written three times on one single piece of parchment, two copies side by side and one copy at the foot of the parchment. The three copies would be cut from the single parchment, the two top copies for the disputing parties, and the copy at the foot of the parchment would be retained by the court, hence the name FEET OF FINES!
It did not take that long for the landholders of the time to savvy the legal assurances within the feet of fines, and how beneficial and legally binding those assurances would be in the buying and selling of property.
Up to this time the sale of property was done by charter a system which had loopholes that enabled any ensuing agreement to be challenged.
To have this sale of property put before the feet of fines one had to be in dispute, so this was simply overcome by the two parties of a property sale inventing a dispute, the buyer would become the plaintiff and the seller would become the deforciant in most cases. This method would take up a lot more time than the charter method, it also cost quite a bit more to sell property this way as several fines would be levied in the hearing of one dispute, but it gave both parties security. It also gave the buyer the assurance of obtaining a warrent from the seller preventing any future claims from members of the sellers family, or any other interested party.
Another feature of conveying property through the feet of fines was that the wives of both parties could be named and participate in the proceedings, which added the extra security of wives being unable to claim a dower on the property should her husband die. Neither could the fine be challenged on the grounds of a women being coerced by her husband.
It should be noted that there were genuine disputes settled also.
The sum recorded as a fine did not represent the amount of money that was actually exchanged between the two parties.
The dates of the fines recorded are from the return days and the actual date of the fine would be within approx 8 days after any particular return day. These return days were the set dates for business within the court of common pleas which were given a religious title as in the following examples
1552—EASTER TERM, 6 EDWARD VI.
1516—MICHAELMAS TERM, 8 HENRY VIII
1508—MICHAELMAS TERM, 24 HENRY VII.
These fines were abolished with Statute 3 and 4, Will. IV., c. 74, on the 31st December, 1833
The above is just a brief explanation of what the feet of fines actually were, there are more in depth explanations on the web but I think the above explanation serves the purpose here on these pages.
Though a person or person owned properties within the area they may not have been resident in said properties, often properties were sublet to tenants.
Source: Answers. com
Source: Webster 1913 Dictionary edited by Patrick J. Cassidy
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