No 10. Medieval Property Transactions in Rutland: Abstracts of Feet of Fines 1197-1509, edited by Bridget Wells-Furby (2013)


Abstracts of all 355 Feet of Fines for Rutland surviving in the National Archives. Discursive introduction covering the form and content of feet of fines, how they relate the Rutland's Victoria County History, and their use as historical sources, including a review of the part played by women in the fines, their relationship to the county's political geography, and their purpose. Fully indexed and with a glossary. Illustrations of some of the fines.(108pp).

In the National Archives there are 355 documents, known as Feet of Fines, which record such transactions for Rutland alone, and it is these that the author, Bridget Wells-Furby, has summarised and discusses in this book. These medieval Feet of Fines were used originally in the late 12th century to resolve legal disputes over land, and this was quickly adopted as the most secure was of transferring property. The same legal terminology continued long after that background became a mere fiction. The ‘final concord’ or ‘fine’ recording each transaction was copied in triplicate by clerks of the king’s court; each party kept one part while the third part, the ‘foot’, was retained by the court,¬ hence the name by which they are known today. By no means all such transactions were so recorded, but these ‘feet’ survive in large numbers as an unparalleled record of land transfers.

The fines are an important source for manorial histories and genealogical studies, but they also record the transfer of smaller freeholdings which did not amount to manors, and help to shed light on lower ranks of society. Some of the Rutland fines include important topographical information on land holdings and other assets such as mills, fisheries, and church advowsons; a few record names of tenants as well as those of the parties involved and the justices who heard each case.

The edition provides an English summary of each fine, with full indexes of the names of people and places, and of subjects. There is also a glossary. The introduction explains the format of the fines, and discusses some of the ways they may be used. It shows the part played by women in the fines, the relationship of the fines to the manorial and political geography of the county, with examples of how and to what end the fines were used by contemporaries. There are also reproductions of some of the original documents..

About the author Bridget Wells-Furby is an independent scholar specialising in the social and economic history of fourteenth-century England.


Supplied by: Rutland Local History & Record Society

Format: Book

Product Ref: RLH-48