Abstracts of the Inquisitiones Post Mortem, Vol. 3

Abstracts of the Inquisitiones Post Mortem, Vol. 3

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Excerpt from Abstracts of the Inquisitiones Post Mortem, Vol. 3: Relating to Mottingbamshire; 1937

The Thoroton Society issued a volume of Notts. Inquisitions for a later period, 1485 to 1546, in 1905 ;and in 1914 one for the earliest period extant, 1279 to 1321. The present volume continues the latter to 1350, and it is hoped that the work can go on in a series of volumes until it joins up with that first printed.

No other single class of records contains so much information for local history in the 14th and 15th centuries as the Inquisitiones Post Mortem and their fellows called "ad quod damnum" and those classified as "chancery" and "miscellaneous."

Although entitled Notts. Inquisitiones Post Mortem, all classes are included in the present abstracts, thus providing as rich a mine of new material as possible, in which Nottinghamshire students may delve the ore each specially seeks. For not only genealogy is served, but topography, ecclesiology, agricultural history, economics, feudal tenures, jurisdictions and customs, village history and even natural history are illumined by the bright metal of information which he will refine from the ores he can quarry hereout.

In passing, readers may be reminded that Inquisitions "post mortem" were the enquiries made on the death of a feudal tenant to find what land he held, by what tenure or service he held it, and who was his heir. Inquisitions "ad quod damnum" had to find what damage, if any, would be suffered by the Crown if a landowner was allowed to alienate his lands for such purposes as endowing a chantry, effecting a marriage settlement, or other objects, or by a sale under one disguise or another.

It must be remembered that by proclamation of King William I after the Conquest the whole land of England, then forfeit by the sword, was declared the property of the sovereign - hence reversion to him by escheat, until Lord Birkenhead's revolutionary Real Property Act of 1926 - and that land could not be "sold" outright without the interests of the Crown as to rents and services being safeguarded - hence the Inquisitions "ad quod damnum"; nor could it be bequeathed by will, like chattels and personal property - hence the Inquisitions "post mortem" - to find and record who was the heir and by what services or chief rents the land was held.

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