Editorial introduction

Pages x-xii

Feet of Fines of the Tudor Period [Yorks]: Part 1, 1486-1571. Originally published by Yorkshire Archeological Society, Leeds, 1887.

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To the Topographer and Genealogist the search amongst the bundles of Feet of Fines is a lengthy and often a disappointing task, owing, in a measure, to the little information given in the Official Index at the Public Record Office. It is the experience of the writer that the Index has been carefully compiled, and contains but very few errors; we seldom, however, find more names mentioned than those of the plaintiff and deforciant who stand first in the cause, and but little information is given regarding the nature and situation of the property.

The object of this work is to place in the hands of those interested in the topography and genealogy of Yorkshire a complete index of the names of all places and persons in the Feet of Fines, for that county, during the period over which it extends, together with such information as will enable them to see at a glance how far it may be desirable to consult the original documents.

The compiler would impress upon the searcher that the work is intended to be used simply as an index or work of reference, and not as an abstract, though it approaches more nearly to the latter than to the former. He would also beg of him to be lenient as regards errors, to which a work of this nature is peculiarly liable. Allowance, he hopes, will be made for his own clerical errors, for those in the original documents and for the difficulties he was often placed in with regard to the faithful rendering of many names, owing to the peculiarities of the old court hand; in which it is almost needless here to say, the letters "i," "m," "n," and "u" are represented by so many strokes or minims, the latter letter also, as frequently as not, taking the place of "v;" making it impossible to avoid mistakes, even with a fair topographical knowledge and a tolerably extensive acquaintance with the names of the county families of that period ; and also having at hand the ever ready assistance of the officials of the Public Record Office and other experts working there, to all of whom he is under deep obligations, and desires here to thank.

He has only further to say that the Feet of Fines are generally in good condition. Here and there a bundle is missing, and in such cases he obtained his information from the Notes of Fines, and when these were not available, as happened for two or three terms, he made use of the De Banco Rolls, in which, however, the information is not so fully given, and occasionally some of the Fines are difficult or impossible to find, owing to omission or to entry on the Roll of some other term; at any rate, some few, a diligent and tedious search failed to bring to light. He trusts that when completed his work will be the means of assisting many in their topographical and genealogical pursuits, and of, perhaps, saving others many hours of what might otherwise have proved useless and unprofitable search.

The following description of the Records of Fines is given in the Second Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.—Appendix I., page 33.

No. 23. Description of the Records of Fines.

1st. The foundation of the Fine is the Writ of Covenant on which is indorsed the King's Silver, &c.,

2nd. It is followed by the Concord, signed by the parties, and either acknowledged in open Court, or before Commissioners. In the latter case there are annexed to it the—

3rd. Dedimus Potestatem, containing the names of Commissioners for taking the Fine, and the—

4th. Affidavit to verify the taking of the acknowledgments, &c.

5th. Note of the Fine.

The Note of the Fine is made out by the Chirographer from the Concord, and from which and the other proceedings he draws up the—

6th. Foot of the Fine.

The Foot and previous proceedings annexed, the Chirographer deposits with the Custos Brevium.

The Chirographer retains the Notes in his own possession, and files them in bundles, of each term ; putting on a separate piece of parchment the proclamations which he annexes to each bundle: and the Note of the Fine, with the proclamations, has always been given out for evidence.

7th. Foot and Indentures of Fine.

Then on a separate piece of parchment, follows the Foot of the Fine, and the two Indentures are engrossed, which, together with the above processes annexed, are sent to the Custos Brevium Office. The parchment is divided into three, the Foot is retained, and the Indentures given out to the parties.

A fine

If the parties, parcels, and date of the Fine only were required, they were obtained from the books kept at the King's Silver Office; but these Records are now partially destroyed and damaged by fire.

It was the practice to enter the whole proceedings from the Writ to the Foot in the Fine Roll of the Common Pleas, which must not be confounded with the Chancery Fine Roll: but these entries, being irregularly and not uniformly made, cannot be relied upon.

N.B.—The wavy lines in the example of Fines in the above description show the mode in which the several parts were separated and indented.—Ed.