Conveyance: Communication of ideas, etc, document effecting transference of property, carriage, vehicle.
Copyhold: A type of ownership of land in England, evidenced by a copy of the manor roll establishing
the title. An estate held under such ownership.
Curtilage: the enclosed area immediately surrounding a house or dwelling.
D.C.W.: Dean and Canons of Windsor (qv)
D.S.: Dean of Sarum (usually relating to wills).
Dean & Canons of Windsor: A number of properties originally belonged to the D.C.W.
Devise: To assign or transmit (property) by will. The act of disposing of property by will. A will or
clause in a will disposing of property. The property so disposed of. Devisee: One to whom a devise is made.
Easements: Right of way or similar right over another's ground. Supplementary building, shed, etc.
Ecclesiastical Visitations: Archdeacons were supposed to visit their archdeaconries once a year, and bishops their dioceses every three years. The
Visitor would send out a Citation Mandate to all incumbents, who read it out in church, calling upon them and the church officials to appear before him at a date and place named. The latter would be
a church either in a central position or in the most important town. At about the same time he would issue his Visitation Articles, listing the subjects into which he wished to enquire. These would
include the church, the living, the clergy, hospitals, the parish, the parishioners and the ecclesiastical officers. All those people summoned would be required to obtain a copy of the Articles
The Archdeacon arrived with his Register, bringing his Call Book and Fees Book to record attendances, absences and fees collected. The visited included the clergy,
churchwardens, parish clerks, schoolmasters, surgeons and midwives, unless excused. The clergy brought their Letters of Orders proving their right to their cures (spiritual charges), with
dispensations when they held more than one living. The parish clerks, schoolmasters, surgeons and midwives, brought their licences. The clergy and churchwardens had certain fees to pay.
The clergy and churchwardens then handed in their presentments, reporting on the conduct of their parishioners since the last Visitation and answering the points in the
Visitation Articles. Executors and administrators of people who had lately died were also required to come and prove the wills, or take administration, a function that at other times was performed at
the relevant ecclesiastical court. The presentments were discussed and some verdicts given on the spot; the Visitation ended with the Archdeacon's Charge, an address delivered during a service in
After the visitation, the Archdeacon issued, through his Registrar's office, a number of Injunctions setting out in detail, in numbered paragraphs, his orders for the
amendment of any faults revealed. Among these were penances imposed, together with a certificate to be signed by the incumbent and a churchwarden that the penance had been performed. After the mid
sixteenth century, the penance was normally just a Declaration Penance, which was a confession to be read publicly, usually in church, reciting the offence and expressing penitence. Sometimes the
incumbent or churchwardens would give a certificate that the offender was of a sufficiently good general character - or perhaps social standing - to be allowed to perform his penance privately.
Other documents kept by the Registrar for permanent reference included the "detecta" and "comperta" volumes, containing copies of all the presentments with a few brief
additional notes; copies of Citation Mandates, summoning the more serious offenders to appear before the Archdeacon's Court; and the Act Book, recording the action taken against them there. This
last overlaps the records of the court. Exhibitions list the licences and other documents produced in court.
Though visitations began in the tenth century, the records are only numerous from the reign of Elizabeth I. Bishops' three-yearly visitations are similar to those of
Archdeacons, but less numerous. The presentments are usually written in English and the originals sometimes survive on single sheets of paper. They are full of human interest, naming and reporting on
the most important parish functionaries. People who neglected or refused to receive Holy Communion (Recusants) were presented; they might be Protestant nonconformists or Roman Catholics. The state of
the church might also be given in some detail, mentioning any 'popish monuments of superstition' such as candlesticks, a crucifix, handbells or banner cloths. Rogationtide perambulations of
the parish are sometimes mentioned, with the boundaries described. Non-payment of tithe is always mentioned. The morals of the parishioners form the largest subject of the presentments. Not even the
parson was exempt from presentment.
Edifice: Building, especially large one.
Fee simple and fee tail: an estate of inheritance in land, either absolute and without limitation to
any particular class of heirs (fee simple) or limited to a particular class of heirs (fee tail).
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Feet of fine: A foot of fine is the record of an agreement, also called a final concord or fine that
resolved a dispute, real or pretended, commonly about the ownership of land. One of the parties to the dispute purchased a writ to bring the dispute into the king's court, thereby becoming the
plaintiff, but before the suit came to judgement the parties sought permission to reach an agreement (or concord). When the agreement had been approved by the court it was written out three times on
a single sheet of parchment, the first two head to head on the upper two thirds of the sheet and the third across the lower third to form the foot of fine. The parchment was cut into three
with indented lines, the fit of the three parts being a test of authenticity. The two upper parts were given to the parties to the agreement and the third, the foot, was retained by the court.
The approval of the agreement by the king's court and the permanence of the record gave the final concord an authority and fixity which a private agreement could not attain, so that the
procedure was increasingly used in the conveyance and settlement of land. The files of feet now preserved in the Public Record Office provide an incomparable record of landed property and its owners
from the twelfth century to the nineteenth.
Feoffment: A grant of lands as a fee. The historical method of granting a freehold estate in land by
actual delivery of possession originally by livery of seisin (see below).
was an English institution in which units (often referred to as a tithing) of ten households were bound together and held responsible for one another's conduct. All men over 12 years of age were joined in groups of approximately ten households. This unit, under a leader known as the chief-pledge or tithing-man, was then responsible for producing any man of that tithing suspected of a crime. The system originated in Anglo-Saxon times, but continued into the Norman period. In modern times, "frankpledge" was superseded by "tithing".
Free suitor: A person who makes a petition or request. A person who sues in court; a plaintiff; a petitioner.
Freehold: An estate in land, inherited or held for life. A form of tenure by which an estate is held in
fee simple, fee tail, or for life.
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Garner: Storehouse for corn, granary.
Glass Tax: The glass tax was introduced in Great Britain in 1746, during the reign of King George II. Glass was at that time sold by weight,
and manufacturers responded by producing smaller, more highly decorated objects, often with hollow stems, known today as "Excise glasses". In 1780, the government granted Ireland free trade
in glass without taxation, resulting in the establishment of new glassworks in Cork and Waterford. In 1825, the tax in Ireland was restored, and gradually the industry declined, until the glass tax
was abolished by Sir Robert Peel's government in 1845.
A contemporary account in The Lancet ("The Duty on Glass", The Lancet 1: 214–215, 22 February 1845) described the
glass tax as an "absurd impost on light": "In a hygienic point of view, the enormous tax on glass, amounting to more than three hundred per cent on its value, is one of the most cruel a
Government could inflict on the nation ... The deficiency of light in town habitations, in a great measure caused by the enormous cost of glass, is universally admitted to be one of the
principal causes of the unhealthiness of cities ..."
See also Brick Tax, Coal Tax, Hearth Tax, Window Tax.
Gregorian Calendar: This was the calendar introduced in 1752, when New Year's Day changed from 25th March to 1st January. Prior to this, the calendar was the Julian
Hearth Tax: The Hearth Tax was imposed by Parliament in 1662 to support the Royal Household of King Charles II. It was repealed by William
and Mary in 1689.
Follow this link for the Museum section covering the Hearth Tax. See also Brick Tax, Coal Tax, Window Tax.
Hide: A unit of land measurement used in the Domesday book – roughly equivalent to 60 to 120 old
acres (15-30 modern acres, 6 to 12 hectares) or more, depending upon local usage.
Hundred: A hundred was the division of a shire for administrative, military and judicial purposes under the common law. Originally, when introduced by the Saxons
between 613 and 1017, a hundred had enough land to sustain approximately one hundred households headed by a hundred-man or hundred eolder. He was responsible for administration, justice, and
supplying military troops, as well as leading its forces. The office was not hereditary, but by the 10th century the office was selected from among a few outstanding families. In England,
specifically, it has been suggested that 'hundred' referred to the amount of land sufficient to sustain one hundred families, defined as the land covered by one hundred "hides".
All hundreds were divided into tithings, which contained ten households. Below that, the basic unit of land was called the hide, which was enough land to support
one family and varied in size from 60 to 120 old acres, or 15 to 30 modern acres (6 to 12 ha) depending on the quality and fertility of the land.
Above the hundred was the shire under the control of a shire-reeve (or sheriff). Hundred boundaries were independent of both parish and county boundaries, although often
aligned, meaning that a hundred could be split between counties (usually only a fraction), or a parish could be split between hundreds.
Over time, the principal functions of the hundred became the administration of law and the keeping of the peace. By the twelfth century the hundred court was held twelve
times a year. This was later increased to being held fortnightly, although an ordinance of 1234 reduced the frequency to once every three weeks. In some hundreds, courts were held at a fixed place;
while in others, courts moved with each sitting to a different location. The main duties of the hundred court were the maintenance of the frankpledge system. Where the hundred was under the
jurisdiction of the crown, the chief magistrate was a sheriff. However, many hundreds were in private hands, with the lordship of the hundred being attached to the principal manor of the area and
becoming hereditary. Where a hundred was under a lord, a steward was appointed in place of a sheriff. The importance of the hundred courts declined from the seventeenth century.
Indenture: Indented document. Any sealed agreement or contract, especially that which binds an apprentice to his master.
Innholder normally implies ownership; as distinct from innkeeper which implies management.
Indenture: a deed or agreement executed in two or more copies with edges correspondingly indented as a
means of identification.
Julian Calendar: This was the calendar in use in England prior to 1752. It was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.
Livery of seisin: an ancient ceremony for conveyance of land by the symbolic transfer of a relevant
item (as a key, twig, or turf) or by symbolic entry of the grantee called also investiture
Mantua: A woman's garment (like a loose robe) of the 17th and 18th centuries consisting of a bodice
and full skirt cut from a single length of fabric, with the skirt designed to part in front to reveal a contrasting underskirt.[Alteration (influenced by Mantua in Italy), of manteau.]
Messuage: a dwelling house with its adjacent buildings and the lands appropriated to the use of the
household. (1350-1400: Medieval English from Anglo-French misreading (n taken as u) of Old French mesnage (ménage – dwelling house, ultimately from Latin mansion = habitation,,
Obit: (Obsolete) a Requiem mass (said or sung in a chantry chapel for example).
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Priory of St. John the Baptist: a priory established on the "island" in what is now known as Bridge
Street in 1232. It lasted for over 300 years until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1548. The ex-Priory property was granted by Henry VIII to Sir John Thynne
of Longleat, who later leased them to various tenants. When Sir John Thynne died, the Priory properties reverted back to the Crown, and were purchased by Anthony Hidden
- Lord of the Manor of Hidden cum Eddington. In 1740 a new road incorporating two bridges was built for easier access to town from Charnham Street, replacing old road in front of the Tannery (stood to rear of Riverside house) and the ford (by Forge Cottage). Several properties in that part of Bridge Street are associated with the old Priory, e.g. Chapel barn, Great Priory House and Little Priory House. Click here for more on the Priory of St John the Baptist.
Quit rent: rent (usually a small sum) paid by a freeholder or copyholder in lieu of services that might
otherwise have been required. (from Medieval English quite (=free) + rent). In Hungerford these came to be a rent paid to the Portrieve yearly for use of Common Rights etc. Most central Hungerford
property owners were able to pay nominal quit rents under their burgage tenure arrangements (qv). However, we have quit rent rolls for only the manor of Hungerford properties, and not for the manor
of Hungerford Engleford. Quit rents were abolished in the early 20th century.
Seisin: Legal possession of land, as a freehold estate. The act or an instance of taking legal
possession of land. Property thus possessed.
Tenant: One that pays rent to use or occupy land, a building, or other property owned by another. Law.
One who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or sometimes personal property by any kind of title. (Middle English, from Old French, from present participle of tenir, to hold, from Latin tenere.)
Tenure: Kind of right or title by which property is held.
Terrier: A book or document in which are described the site, boundaries, acreage, tenants etc. of
certain lands. (Origin 1470-80; from Medieval French, short for register terrier – register of land)
The English land division called the tithing was one tenth of a hundred, or equal to ten (Scandinavian: ten = ti, assembly = thing ). Hungerford Parish contains the Town Tithing, Sanden Fee Tithing, Eddington Tithing and Charnham Street Tithing.
Allied to this concept was a local administrative unit also called a tithing, with essentially legal responsibilities, exercised by a "tithingman" or "headborough". Both meanings originated in Anglo-Saxon times, through arrangements for the management of estates, taxation and criminal law, for example in the procedure known as "view of frankpledge (qv)." They continued in use until modern times.
A unit of land area measurement used in medieval England, representing about 30 acres, the amount of land that a team of two oxen could plough in a single annual season. It was equivalent to a quarter of a hide. See also Carucate.
The Window Tax was introduced under the Act of Making Good the Deficiency of the Clipped Money in 1696 under King William III and was designed to impose tax relative to the prosperity of the taxpayer, but without the controversy that then surrounded the idea of income tax.
When it was introduced, it consisted of two parts: a flat-rate house tax of 2 shillings per house and a variable tax for the number of windows above ten windows.
Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid a total of four shillings, and those above twenty windows paid eight shillings. The number of windows that incurred tax was changed to seven in
1766 and eight in 1825. The flat-rate tax was changed to a variable rate, dependent on the property value, in 1778. People who were ineligible for church or poor rates, for reasons of poverty, were
exempt from the window tax. Window tax was relatively unintrusive and easy to assess. However, the tax was unpopular, because it was seen by some as a tax on "light and air". The tax was
not repealed until 1851, when it was replaced by House Duty. See also Brick Tax, Coal Tax, Glass Tax, Hearth Tax.
Yeoman: A member of the former class of small (lesser) freeholders, below the gentry, who cultivated
his own land, early admitted in England to political rights. Often implies some form of self-employment. (Origin: 1300-1500 Medieval English yeman, yoman, probably reduced forms of yengman, yongman,
yungman, with similar sense (young man).
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