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Glossary of Terms found in or concerning wills and other historical documents
In the 18th century and (especially) earlier, various alternative spellings will be found.

Absolute/absolutely :Without any conditions

Administration : The management and distribution of the estate of the deceased; The authority to do so, granted by a court. Where no will had been made or a will was deemed to be invalid, Letters of Administration were issued by the court, appointing one or more people (usually next-of-kin) to administer the deceased's estate

Acre : A measure of land area; 640 acres = 1 square mile. An acre is approximately 4,124 square metres or 0.4 hectares

Ad valorem : A tax based on the value of real estate or personal property (Latin for "according to value")

Admittance : Entrance given or permitted

Admon : Abbreviation of 'Administration'

Admors : Abbreviation of 'Administrators'

Aletaster : A manorial official who tested the quality and measurement of ale and beer sold within the manor. Quite often his responsibilities included also the testing of the quality or weight of bread

Alien : To transfer property from one person to another

Amerce : To punish by a fine imposed arbitrarily at the discretion of the court (from Old French à merci 'at the mercy'

Amercement : Penalty applied at the discretion of a court or other authority, as contrasted with a penalty predetermined by statute

Animus testandi : Latin term meaning 'an intention to make a testament or will'

Anno Domini : Latin for 'Year of the Lord' - often abbreviated to AD

Anno Salutis : Latin for 'Year of the salvation' - a dating style used up until the eighteenth century which, like Anno Domini, dates years from the birth of Jesus.

Annuity : An annual income or payment of a fixed amount from an investment of capital which is, usually, not repayable

Annunciation : Feast day, 25th March in the Roman Catholic church, commemorates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God  aka 'Lady Day'

Appoint : To specify

Appurtenance : A right or benefit belonging to a property (e.g. the right to fish in the river at the bottom of the garden or to draw water from a well; a garage in a nearby block)

Appurts : Abbreviation of Appurtenances

Arable : Land being or capable of being tilled for the production of crops

Arrearages : Payments (or the amount of payments) in arrears

Assign(s) : Person(s) to whom any property or right is made over

Assurance : Conveyancing; The act of transferring property title from one person to another

Backside : A yard at the back part of, or behind a house, and belonging thereto

Banker : A cloth or covering tapestry for a form or bench

Begotten : Fathered

Behoof : Use, benefit, advantage

Bequeath : To leave property in a will (strictly, personal estate) - see Devise

Bequest : An item or sum of money left in a will

Borough English : An ancient Anglo-Saxon custom by which the youngest son inherited the land

Brickburner : A person who tended to a kiln in which clay bricks were fired

Brook : A small natural stream of fresh water

Bushel : A dry measure equal to 8 gallons (approximately 36 Litres)

Calaber : A kind of fur

Cambric : A finely woven white linen or cotton fabric

Camlet : A thin material originally made of camel's hair

Capcase : A chest or trunk

Caterfoil : Quatrefoil - an ornamental design of four lobes or leaves as used in architectural tracery, resembling a flower or clover leaf

Chafing dish : A dish or pan for cooking on the table, traditionally heated by hot coals

Chattels : Property other than freehold. Distinguished into chattels - real (leasehold interests) and chattels - personal (personal movables eg plate, china, cattle)

Churchwarden : A parish officer responsible for keeping the church and representing the people in parochial matters

Cob irons : Frames to hold a roasting spit at different heights from the fire to help control the roasting of meat

Codicil : A supplement to a will, usually defining additional bequests or making small changes

Commissary : A deputy; An officer representing a bishop

Commission : Delegation of authority; the act of issuing letters of administration.

Commodity : Advantage; benefit

Common : A tract of land, usually in a centrally located spot, belonging to or used by a community as a whole

Common Field : Under the open field system, each manor or village had two or three large fields, usually several hundred acres each, which were divided into many narrow strips of land. These strips were cultivated by individual families of peasant farmers

Common Recovery : A legal proceeding in England that enabled lawyers to convert an entailed estate (a form of land ownership also called a fee tail) into absolute ownership, fee simple. This was accomplished through the use of a series of collusive legal procedures, some parts of which were fictional and others unenforceable (and therefore null).

Comon : Abbreviation of 'Commission'

Compounded : Settled (a debt, for example) by agreeing on an amount less than the claim

Constable : An officer appointed by the manor or parish with a wide range of duties which varied over the centuries. They included:
      Supervision of Watch and Ward as specified by the Statute of Winchester 1285
      Upkeep of the stocks, lock-up, etc.
      Inspection of alehouses and suppression of gaming-houses
      Apprenticing of pauper children
      Supervision and removal of itinerant strangers and beggars
      Collection of county rates and taxes
      Maintenance of parish arms and training of the militia
      Convening of parish meetings
      Care of the parish bull
      Representation of parishioners who did not attend church regularly
      Assistance at shipwrecks in the vicinity
      Apprehension and detention of suspected criminals and arrest of escaped prisoners
      Suppression of riots and unlawful assemblies
      Compilation of juror's lists
      Collection of child maintenance from fathers of illegitimate children.

Copyhold : Property and/or land held, subject to the custom of a manor. When transferring the property the tenant first surrendered it to the lord of the manor who held the fee simple, and then the new tenant was admitted on payment of a fine. The term comes from the fact that both the Court and the Tenant had a copy of the Indenture (see Indenture) detailing the Tenant's admission to the property (see Leasehold, Freehold)

Cordwainer : A shoemaker or worker in (originally, cordovan) leather

Court Baron : An English manorial court dating from the Middle Ages, with no jurisdictional franchise, its chief business being to administer the "custom of the manor" and to admit fresh tenants who had acquired copyholds by inheritance or purchase

Court Leet : An English manorial court dealing with petty offences such as common nuisances or public affray, the breaking the Assize of Bread and Ale and with the maintenance of highways and ditches

Court Roll : Rolls of parchment on which the proceedings of the Court are recorded

Covenant : A formal agreement under seal; To grant or promise by covenant

Coverlet : aka Coverlid; A bedspread or bedquilt that does not cover the pillow

Covert : Being married (women) and therefore protected by one's husband

Coverture : The condition of a married woman as legally under the protection of her husband (until the Married Woman's Property Act of 1882, married women could not, by law, own property; before this they and their possessions were considered as possessions of the husband - fortunately we live in more enlightened times)

Croft : A small plot of ground adjacent to a house and used as a kitchen garden or for pasture

Cum Membris : Latin for 'with members' - following a place-name, it indicates that that place, together with other hamlets or villages, formed a single ecclesiastical parish

Curtilage : A court or area of land attached to and including a dwelling-house; Messuage

Custom : The laws of a manor court; A common tradition or usage so long established that it has the force or validity of law

Deed : An instrument (usually a document) comprehending the terms of a contract and the evidence of its due execution

Defeazance : From the French defaire 'to undo', is a collateral deed made at the same time with a feoffment or other conveyance containing certain conditions upon the performance of which the estate then created may be defeated or totally undone. The difference between a condition and a defeazance is that the condition is inserted in the deed and a defeazance is usually a deed by itself relating to another deed

Devise : Property left in a will; or the act of leaving property in a will (strictly, real estate) - see Bequeath

Devisee : Person to whom property is left in a will (strictly, real estate)

Diaper : A pattern composed of small, regularly repeated geometric motifs, usually diamonds or lozenges; A white cotton or linen fabric having such a pattern

Dirge : A traditional ecclesiastical office (a cycle of prayers) of the Roman Catholic Church that is sung or recited for the repose of the soul of a deceased person

Discovert : (of a woman) not under the protection of a spouse; being a widow, spinster, or divorcée

Distrain : To seize goods for debt, especially non-payment of rent

Distress : Goods seized for debt, especially non-payment of rent

Disusance : Discontinuance of a usage or practice

Dornix : Dornix originated in the Dutch town of Doornijk in the 15th century and was a coarse cloth made from a combination of wool and linen. It was used on beds, hangings, curtains and for similar purposes.

Doublet : A tight-fitting garment for the upper body, worn with 'Hose'

Dower : Property to be enjoyed by a widow after her husband's death (see Jointure, Thirds); Property that a woman brings to her husband in marriage (also Dowry)

Earsh : Dialect word used in South and West England to describe a stubble field in which a grain crop i.e. wheat, barley or rye - had been harvested, leaving stubble or short stalks

Easement : The right one landowner has been granted of making limited use of his neighbour's land, as the right of access to water, right of way, etc., at no charge.

Easter Term : See Law Terms

Edifices : Buildings

Enceinte : Latin meaning 'with child'; pregnant

Encroachment : Entry to another's property without right or permission

Enfranchisement (of copyhold): The conversion of a copyhold estate into a freehold

Equity of Redemption : The right of a homeowner with a mortgage (a mortgagor) to reclaim the property after it has been forfeited. Redemption can be accomplished by paying the entire amount of the debt, interest, and court costs of the foreclosing lender.

Escheat : Reversion of property to the state in the absence of legal heirs or claimants

Esquire : In medieval times, a candidate for knighthood who served a knight as an attendant and a shield bearer; An English country gentleman; Later a title of respect, usually abbreviated Esq., placed after a man's name

Essoin : An excuse for not appearing in an English law court at the appointed time (also appears as 'Essoign' & 'Esoign')

Estate : Property, especially a landed property (see Real estate, Personal estate); A person's assets and liabilities taken collectively

Ewe : A female sheep

Execution : Performance of what is required to give validity to any legal instrument, as by signing and sealing; The discharge of a duty

Executor/Executrix : Person charged with carrying out the wishes of the testator (executrix if female)

Exors : Abbreviation of Executors

Expectancy : The position of being entitled to possession of any property at a future time by virtue of reversion, remainder or death

Fealty : The fidelity owed by a vassal to his feudal lord; The oath of such fidelity.

Fee : Inheritance of a freehold estate

Fee Simple : Absolute inheritance, immediate and without restrictions

Fee Tail : Inheritance of an entailed estate, which may descend only to a certain class of heirs e.g. eldest sons

Feeding : The privilege or right of grazing

Feme Covert : A married woman [from Anglo-French: a covered woman, one protected by marriage]

Feoffee : Person who holds land for the use of another explanation

Feoffment : Transfer of land from one person to another where the land is held subject to a fee or service explanation

Fiduciary : Person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.

Fine : A sum of money paid on particular occasions e.g. on inheriting a copyhold property

Firkin : A small cask (a quarter barrel) containing 9 gallons (approximately 41 Litres)

Fishing : A place for catching fish

Flaxen : Linen

Flock : A tuft of wool

Flockbed : A bed (mattress) stuffed with wool

Foregift : A premium paid by a tenant for the renewal of a lease (see Fine, Premium)

Fowling piece : A shotgun for shooting birds or small animals

Frankpledge : A system from Anglo-Saxon times whereby each village was divided into tithings - associations of 10 households responsible for each other's behaviour. At a Manorial Court, a 'View of Frankpledge' regulated the working of the tithings.

Freebench : A widow's right to dower out of her late husband's Copyhold lands (see Copyhold, Dower)

Freehold : A property and/or land held free of duty except to the monarch (see Leasehold, Copyhold)

Freesuitor : A freeholder who attends a manor court

Fustian : A coarse twilled cotton fabric (e.g. corduroy, moleskin, velveteen)

Gardeviance : A chest, trunk, pannier or basket

Garnish : A service or set usually consisting of 12 platters, 12 dishes and 12 saucers

Gentleman : A man of independent means who does not need to have a wage-paying job

Groat : Traditional name of an English silver coin worth four pence; the name has also been applied to various Irish, Scottish and mainland European coins

Guinea : A sum of money equal to one pound and one shilling; Originally a gold coin whose value fluctuated with the market price of gold, the one pound and one shilling value was the market value at the time the value was fixed; Still used as a unit of price for e.g. racehorses

Hayward : An official who supervised the repair of manor or parish fences, looked after the common stock of animals and impounded stray cattle

Headborough : The chief of a frankpledge, tithing, or decennary, consisting of ten families; see Tythingman

Heifer : A young female bovine (cow) over one year old that has not produced a calf; once she produces a calf she automatically becomes a cow

Heir/Heiress : Person to whom property will come into possession upon the death of the current holder (heiress if female)

Hereditament : Any property that may be passed to an heir/heiress

Heredits : Abbreviation of Hereditaments

Hereinafter : Later in this document

Hereinbefore : Earlier in this document

Heriot : Fine due to the Lord of the Manor (e.g. the best beast) upon the death of a tenant

Hilary Term : See Law Terms

Holland : Originally a fine linen, first made in Holland in the Netherlands; now a coarse unbleached linen fabric

Homage : Service given to Lord of the Manor (see Fealty)

Hose : Close-fitting breeches, worn on the legs, usually with a 'doublet'

Hundred : An administrative division of an English county

Husbandman : A farmer who breeds or raises livestock

Husslements : Minor household goods of little value

Impeachment (of waste): An accusation or charge; A life tenant who is granted an estate "without impeachment of waste" may not be sued for destruction or loss, however they may not commit acts of flagrant destruction inconsistent with the fruitful use of the land

Imprimis : Latin for 'especially' - often used to introduce the commending of the soul to God or the first bequest

Impropriate : To place ecclesiastical (church) property in the hands of a layman; Description of property so devolved.

Impropriator : A layman who holds possession of the lands of the church or an ecclesiastical living.

Incumbrance : A charge against property (as a lien or mortgage)

Indenture : A written contract under seal (so called because the two copies of the document had their edges cut or indented exactly alike so as to correspond with one another)

Inter alia : Latin for "among other things"

Intestate : Having died without leaving a valid will

Inventory : A list and valuation of all the deceased's movable goods (usually room by room) - more common before the mid 18th century

Issue : All living decendants - children, grandchildren etc. Legally adopted children and grandchildren are included, unless the will expressly excludes them. Does not include step-children

Jerkin : A short coat or a waistcoat

Jesyne : Childbirth; also the period after childbirth before the mother might appear in church or the temple  also spelled 'Gesin'

John the Baptist (feast of) : Feast day, 24 June, commemorates the birth of John the Baptist

Joint tenants : Two or more people who own a property together. The joint tenants do not own distinct shares in the property; if one of them dies, the others will continue to own the entire property. Only the last tenant to die can pass the property on in their will (see Tenants in Common)

Jointure : Property (land or tenements) settled on a woman at marriage to be enjoyed after her husband's death; Like Dower

Kersey : A kind of coarse woollen cloth that was an important component of the textile trade in medieval England, named from the village of Kersey, Suffolk

Kilderkin : A cask (a half barrel) containing 18 gallons (approximately 82 Litres)

Kirtle : A woman's gown or outer petticoat

Kyne : An archaic term for the plural form 'cows'

Land : The ground, the buildings built on it, the subsoil below the ground, property fixed to the ground, and the airspace above the ground necessary for its ordinary use

Latten : A brass or similar alloy

Law Terms : Many documents, particularly official documents, are dated by reference to a law term. These emerged because there were certain times of the year during which legal business could not take place and cases would have to be suspended. As a result, it was generally preferred to pursue legal matters at times when they could be fairly continuous. There were four main periods when this was possible, and these developed to become the law terms - Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter and Trinity.
        Michaelmas term runs from the 1st of October to the 21st of December.
        Hilary term runs from the 11th of January to the Wednesday before Easter Sunday.
        Easter term runs from the second Tuesday after Easter Sunday, and ends on the Friday before Whit Sunday.
        Finally, Trinity term runs from the second Tuesday after Whit Sunday and ends on the 31st of July.

Lease : A contract granting use or occupation of property during a specified period in exchange for a specified rent or other form of payment

Leasehold : Property and/or land held, subject to the terms of a contract, for a specified period of time (see Freehold, Copyhold)

Leasores: See Lessor

Leat (also lete or leet ): An artificial trench or channel that conveys water to a mill wheel or millpond;  A millstream

Leet: A Court Leet - a court of record held annually by the Steward of a hundred, lordship or manor

Legacy : Personal property left in a will (i.e. other than a house or land)

Lessee : One to whom a lease is granted (see Lease)

Lessor : One who grants a lease (see Lease)

Liberty : A right to engage in certain actions without control or interference by a government or other power

Licenced Victualler : The owner and/or manager of a public house or inn

Lien : A claim upon a part of another's property that arises because of an unpaid debt related to that property and that operates as an encumbrance on the property until the debt is satisfied; The right to hold another's property as security for a debt owed.

Limit : To specify

Lockram : A coarse, rough-textured linen cloth - from Locronan, the Breton town where it is said to have originated

Manor : The district over which the court of the Lord of the manor had authority

Mark : The mark was a currency or unit of account in many nations.  It was a measure of weight mainly for gold and silver, commonly used throughout Western Europe.  In England the mark never appeared as a coin but was only a unit of account. It was apparently introduced in the 10th century by the Danes. It was initially equivalent to 100 pence, but after the Norman Conquest (1066), it was worth 160 pence (13 shillings and 4 pence), two-thirds of a pound sterling.

Mead/Meadow : A limited, relatively flat tract of grassland, either in its natural state or used as pasture or for growing hay

Mead Silver : A Tithe payment, which rather than being paid in produce was paid on the area of land under cultivation (e.g. 1d per acre). This seems to be a colloquial term used in Surrey

Messuage : Dwelling and offices (eg barns, sheds) together with the adjoining lands

Michaelmas : Feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, 29th September (8th November in Eastern Orthodox churches); also, see Law Terms

Moiety : One of two parts; Half

Mortgage : The grant of an estate or other immovable property in fee as security for the payment of money, to be voided on the discharge of the debt or loan

Muslin : A fine plain-weave cotton fabric

Nativity : Feast day, 25th December, aka Christmas, commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ or 8th September commemorating the birth of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Next Friend : In common law, 'next friend' is a phrase used to refer to a person who represents another person who is under disability or otherwise unable to maintain a suit on their own behalf and who does not have a legal guardian. Prior to the Married Women's Property Act of 1882, in British law it was also usual for a married woman to sue by a next friend.

Nuncupative : Spoken; A will declared orally before witnesses rather than written, usually by a testator on his/her deathbed

Nugatory : Invalid; lacking legal force.

Overplus : Surplus

Overseer : Person appointed to oversee the execution of a will - someone to give help and advice but with no legal powers

Ox : A castrated male bovine (see Steer) used for draft work (pl Oxen); historically, female bovine (cows) have occasionally been used for this purpose

Parcel : A plot of land, usually a division of a larger area

Parthlette : A ruff or band worn round the neck

Pasture : Grass or other vegetation eaten as food by grazing animals; Ground on which such vegetation grows, especially that which is set aside for use by domestic grazing animals

Pennings : Fee for moorings for barges

Perch : A measure of land; 1 Perch = 5½ yards (5.077 metres). Also known as a Rod or Pole. 160 square perches = 1 acre

Perquisite : An extra profit; privilege, or allowance in addition to a main income; Something regarded or claimed as an exclusive right by virtue of one's social position or rank

Personal Estate : Property of the Testator, other than real estate

Peruke : A wig

Pillowbere or Pillowcoat : A old term for a pillow-case or pillow-slip

Placebo : In the Roman Catholic Church, the service or office of vespers for the dead (see Dirge)

Plat : A small piece of land; a plot

Posenett : A small pot

Pound : English unit of currency; A public enclosure for the confinement of stray dogs or livestock

Premium : A sum paid in addition to interest, wages etc. (see Fine, Foregift)

Presents : Writings

Primogeniture : The practice (introduced by the Normans) of conferring land on the eldest son without subdivision, thereby leaving an estate intact for centuries

Probate : Proof, before a competent court, that a written paper purporting to be the will of a person who has died is indeed his lawful act and granting the executor(s) the right to carry out its terms

Proper Person : Acting on your own behalf, without the assistance of an attorney; From the Latin, 'in propria persona'.

Proviso : A clause in a document or contract that embodies a condition or stipulation

Purpresture : An illegal enclosure or encroachment (on public or common land)

Quarter : A measure of grain equal to approximately eight bushels (approx 288 litres); One fourth of a hundredweight - 28 pounds. [also many other meanings]

Quarter days : The four days throughout the year on which rents were traditionally due and payable: Lady Day aka The Annunciation of the (Blessed) Virgin Mary (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September), Christmas (25th December)

Quatrefoil : An ornamental design of four lobes or leaves as used in architectural tracery, resembling a flower or clover leaf

Quit Rent : A rent paid by a freeholder or copyholder in lieu of services that might otherwise have been required

Rack rent : Rent at the maximum obtainable annual value

Raile : A garment of fine linen worn around the neck

Relict : Another term for widow; A widow who has not remarried

Remainder : Interest in an estate to come into effect after a certain other event happens e.g. inheritance by heirs after the death of their widowed mother (similar to reversion)

Residue : The remainder of an estate after all legacies and bequests have been given and once all debts, taxes and expenses have been paid

Respite(d) : To grant an interval of rest or relief

Reversion : Future possession of any property after some particular event (similar to remainder)

Revoke : Annull, repeal or reverse; to legally cancel a will

Riverage : Fees for moorings for or passage of barges

Rod : '... by the Rod' refers to a public ceremony in which the steward of the manor gave the tenant a rod as a symbol of the transfer (of copyhold land and premises).

Rod : A measure of land; 1 Rod = a square 5½ yards (5.077 metres) on each side. Also known as a Pole or Perch. 160 square rods = 1 acre

Rood : A measure of land area; 40 square rods = 1 rood, 4 roods = 1 acre.

Row : A line of trees typically edging a field (as opposed to a hedge or hedgerow)

Ruffle : A strip of frilled or closely pleated fabric used for trimming or decoration

Russelles : A kind of satin

Sad (coloured) : Sombre, dark or dull in colour

Seizin : Possession (of land under freehold or copyhold); see Feoffment

Sentence : A judgement about a disputed will given at the conclusion of litigation

Several : Separate; distinct

Singular : Particular; specific

Sole : Single, unmarried

Slophose : A kind of long loose breeches

Sparver : Canopy

Standerd : A large chest, used for plate, jewels, and sometimes for linen

Steer : A castrated male bovine - usually raised for meat (see Ox); An uncastrated male is a bull, for breeding

Steward : One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs. The Steward of a Manor was the chief agent of the Lord for its management, usually presiding over the Court and keeping the records.

Stilo Anglie : Latin for 'English Style' - after the Catholic church (and much of Western Europe) adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1582, England persisted with the Julian Calendar (with the year starting on 25th March) until 1752

Stirpes : Family or generation; describes the way a bequest is to be divided among a person's issue. Most people want bequests to their children to be divided equally among the children. A per stirpes distribution does this, and it also governs what happens if any child has died. If a child has died, his (or her) share is divided among his issue if he has any issue. For example, presume that you have three children and that your will provides for a bequest to your children per stirpes. If all three children survive you, each would get one third of the property. If, however, one has died, his one third share would be divided among his children if he had any, or if he had no living issue his one third share would pass to his two siblings

Suit of Court : The attendance which a tenant was obliged to give at the Lord's Manor Court

Tail : Inheritance only to a certain class of heirs e.g. males (see Fee, Fee Simple, Fee Tail)

Teg : A sheep in its second year or before its first shearing.

Temporal estate : Possessions that one has during one's lifetime (also referred to as worldly estate)

Tenant : A person who holds, occupies, or possesses land or property by any kind of right or title, esp from a landlord under a lease

Tenants at will : A tenancy at will arises when a tenant occupies a property, with landlord consent, indefinitely, on the basis that either party can end the arrangement by giving immediate notice at any time

Tenants in common : Two or more people who own a property together. Each has a distinct share and can pass it to someone on their death (see Joint Tenants)

Tenement : A dwelling or habitation (or part of) occupied by one family

Testament : Legal document disposing of a person's personal estate, usually combined with a Will; A writing or decree appointing an executor

Tenths : See Tithes

Testator/Testatrix : Person making and leaving a will (testatrix if female)

Thirds : Ecclesiastical law provided that at least one-third of a man's personal property should go to his widow (as her dower) and one-third should pass to his children (see Dower, Jointure)

Tick : A mattress case; Ticking - the linen material of which they were made - see Tyke

Time Immemorial : Time before legal memory - a property or benefit has been enjoyed for so long that its owner does not have to prove how they came to own it. In English law, in 1275, by the first Statute of Westminster, the time of memory was limited to the reign of Richard I (Richard the Lionheart), beginning 6 July 1189; In 1832, time immemorial was re-defined as "Time whereof the Memory of Man runneth not to the contrary." The plan of dating legal memory from a fixed time was abandoned; instead, it was held that rights which had been enjoyed for twenty years (or as against the Crown thirty years) should not be impeached merely by proving that they had not been enjoyed before.

Tithes : A right to part of the produce of, lands, the stocks upon lands, and the personal industry of the inhabitants of a parish. The ancient system consisted of three tithes: Praedial Tithes which were calculated on income from produce (crops, wood, etc), Personal Tithes assessed on income derived from labour and Mixed Tithes which were calculated from a combination of stock and labour.  The tithes, theoretically a tenth part of the income, went towards the upkeep of the incumbent of the parish church.  This was straightforward where the Rector was also the incumbent but where a Vicar had been appointed to be in charge of the parish, the tithes were divided between the Rector (Great Tithes) and the Vicar (Small Tithes).  Under the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, tithes could be commuted to a rent-charge.  Tithes were extinguished by the Tithe Act of 1936.

Tithing : An administrative division (of land) consisting of ten householders; a sub-division (originally a tenth) of a hundred

Title : The legal basis of the ownership of property, encompassing real and personal property and intangible and tangible interests therein.

Trencher : A plate or platter (usually large & wooden).

Trental : In the Roman Catholic Church, either an office and mass for the dead on the thirtieth day after death or burial or a series of thirty requiem masses (i.e. one a day for thirty days).

Trinity Term : See Law Terms

Trussing : A travelling bed

Trust : An arrangement, usually established by a written document, to provide for the management and disposition of assets. It normally involves three parties: the person who establishes the trust (sometimes called a donor, grantor or trustor), one or more trustees and one or more beneficiaries

Trustee : Person to whom the management of property is entrusted for the benefit of others

Tuffet : A low stool or footstool

Tup : A male sheep, a ram

Turf house : A house or shed formed of turf.

Tythingman : Originally the spokesman for a tithing, in later centuries the Deputy Constable

Tyke : Scottish word for a mattress case or the linen material of which they were made (alt sp Tike) - see Tick

Valance : An ornamental drapery hung across the top edge of a bed, canopy or window, to hide structural detail

Verder : A type of tapestry

Verge : A rod, wand, or staff carried as an emblem of authority or office; The rod held by a feudal tenant while swearing fealty to a lord; see Rod

Vespers : Chiefly in the Roman Catholic Church, the sixth of the seven canonical hours of the divine office, originally fixed for the early evening and now often made a public service on Sundays and major feast days (see Dirge, Placebo)

Vested : Present and absolute right; not conditional

Videlicet : Latin term meaning "namely"

(Licenced) Victualler : The owner and/or manager of a public house or inn; a person providing or selling food or other provisions

Viz : Abbreviation of the latin videlicet meaning "namely" (also written 'Vizt')

Waste : The common uncultivated land or heathland; Destruction or reduction in value

Wether : A castrated male sheep

Will : Legal document disposing of a person's real estate

Xpian : An abbreviation of 'Christian'

Yelt : A young sow

Yeoman : A farmer who cultivates his own land, on a commercial (rather than a subsistence) basis