Feet of Fines
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A fine was a final concord (external link) or amicable agreement putting to an end litigation, either actual or fictitious, and acknowledging lands to be the rights of one of the parties. By the fourteenth century these final concords before the royal justices became the standard instrument for the transfer of land between freeholders. The proceedings were heard in various courts, most notably by justices in eyre, as well as in the central court of common pleas. For convenience of reference, the publications listed below include final concords from all courts, predominantly, though not exclusively from the eyres.

Records of fines occur as early as 1175. The earliest fine preserved in the National Archives (external link) dates from 1182, and the series is almost unbroken from the reign of Richard I to the year 1834. Fines were recorded in a series of four documents; the writ of covenant, the concord or actual agreement signed, the note of the fine which was a copy of the concord, and the foot and indentures of the fine made out in triplicate on the same piece of parchment and divided, the foot being retained by the court official, and the others given to the two parties. The feet of fines are arranged in the Public Record Office (external link) by county, while the concords and notes of fines are arranged chronologically.

Many of the final concords made in eyres have been printed in full or in abstract.
The printing of the final concords arranged by county was begun by J. Hunter for the Record Commission in 1935, (25) but only two volumes were published, covering Bedfordshire to Dorset. The work of publishing the early fines was then undertaken by the Pipe Roll Society (external link), and all the chronologically arranged fines down to 17 John have now been printed (Pipe Roll Society, vols.17, 20, 12, 24, n.s., 27 and 32).

The fines of many counties have also been published in full, or calendared by local societies. Several of the main examples have been listed below, but in addition, records have been published for the following counties: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devonshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Lancaster, Northumberland and Durham, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, and Wiltshire. In addition the online site, Medieval Genealogy maintains a database of searchable abstracts of feet of fines that presently covers the years 1360-1509. It includes a list of published editions, arranged by county, at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/fines/counties.shtml (external link)

A notable resource for feet of fines is the ongoing joint project of the National Archives and the University of Houston, entitled The Anglo-American Legal Tradition: Documents from Medieval and Early Modern England from the National Archives in London, developed by Robert C. Palmer. This database makes available digital images of feet of fines records from the National Archives. For a more detailed description, see the entry for Robert C. Palmer in the Online Data Bases section of this wiki, (9.1). The database can be accessed at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/ (external link)

25. Hunter, Joseph, ed. Fines, Sive Pedes Finium: Sive Finales Concordiae in Curia Domini Regis: Ab Anno Septimo Regni Regis Ricardi I. Ad Annum Decimum Sextum Regis Johannis, A.D. 1195-A.D. 1214. 2 Vols. London: Printed by G. Eyre and A. Spottiswoode, 1835-1844. Henry II (Hen 2) Richard I (Ric 1) John (John) Henry III (Hen 3) Edward I (Edw 1) Edward II (Edw 2) Edward III (Edw 3) Richard II (Ric 2) Henry IV (Hen 4) Henry V (Hen 5) Henry VI (Hen 6) Edward IV (Edw 4) Edward V (Edw 5) Richard III (Ric 3) Henry VII (Hen 7)

Created by admin. Last Modification: Wednesday 20 of February, 2008 17:32:04 PST by admin.

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