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Glossary Information

A
A.A The abbreviation for the Allotment Association, which did the operational management of the allotments around town. Gradually, the term came to represent the allotments themselves, particularly those in the area near Park Road. People going from the south end of town to the Recreation Ground might opt to "go through the AA".
A.R.P Standard abbreviation for Acres - Roods - Poles (all three explained below) : the usual expression for the measurement of an area of land.
Abstract of Title Summary of prior ownership. Prepared when a property was about to be sold.
Acre A measure of land area: made up of 4 Roods or 160 Poles (see below for these terms). The metric equivalent is 0.4 hectares, i.e. there are 2.5 acres in a hectare. The rough equivalent of an acre would be a good-sized soccer pitch!
Advowson The right to present or nominate a clergyman to a church living such as a rectory, vicarage or deanery. An advowson is held by a patron, who may be an individual or an institution, clerical or secular. The patron presents the candidate to the appropriate Bishop for institution and induction, though the nomination may be refused. An advowson is a form  of property which may he bought, sold or given away and is subject to civil law.  An advowson appendant is one annexed to a manor or estate, an advowson in gross is in the gift of an individual.
Aletaster A manorial official who tested the quality and measurement of ale and beer within the manor. He was the forerunner of the Inspector of Weights & Measures. Quite often his responsibilities included the testing of the quality or weight of bread.
Allotment (1) a term which referred to land "allotted" - i.e. distributed - by the Enclosure Commissioners in exchange for rights and holdings held in the open-field system. It could also mean land given to a parish or manor official.

(2) part an area of land owned by a body like the local Council and leased to individuals or families for their use - usually cultivation. Until the building of Churchill Way and the extension of Queensway and Park Road, much of the area now bordered by Park Road, Trent Crescent, Queensway and Shakespeare Drive was given over for allotment use, as was the land now occupied by the Meadowside schools.

Assart A forest clearing; assarted land was where the trees and bushes had been grubbed up.
Assignment Transfer of a right, usually a lease, or mortgage.
Assize court Civil court, which sat in county towns once a year to try serious crimes, including theft, murder and rape.
B
Bailywick The jurisdiction of a bailiff.
Bargain & Sale Deed (usually 16th century) transferring property.
Baronet An hereditary title created in 1611, superior to that of a knight, but not of peerage rank. He is addressed as 'Sir' and after his surname the abbreviation 'Bart.' is used. His wife is addressed as Lady and his children as Mr, Miss or Mrs. See also Nobility.
Bart See - Baronet
Bordar A villein cottager and one of the lowest ranks in feudal society. He had some land for subsistence but he was obliged to perform agricultural and menial services for the lord free or for a fixed sum.
C
C The letter representing the Roman number 100. See - Roman Numerals
Chain Old measurement of length : 22 yards (about 20 metres). The equivalent is the traditional length between the stumps on a cricket pitch.
Chapel of Ease These were provided for the ease and comfort of those living some distance from the main parish church. Many served the dual purpose of Chantry Chapels and were served by the monasteries. Marriages and christenings as well as other services could be performed but few enjoyed the rights of sepulchra (burial). Many chapels of ease were abolished in 1547 by the Chantries Act.
Close A piece of land enclosed within hedges, fences or walls.
Common A piece of land subject to rights of common. See Common rights.
Common Rights Rights enjoyed by manorial tenants over the commons and open fields. Common rights varied from parish to parish and from manor to manor, but usually included rights of pasture (for cattle, sheep, and horses), pannage (for pigs), turbary (peat), estovers (wood), piscary (fish), or commons in the soil (sand, stone, gravel, etc.).
Commoner Anyone who enjoyed common rights.
Coppice A small wood consisting of underwood and small trees grown for the purpose of periodic cutting.
Copy of Court Roll Copy of entry on a roll of manor court proceedings, recording admission of a tenant to his holding, and serving as a title deed. See Copyhold
Copyhold Property held by copy of a court roll. Originally a tenure dependent upon custom and the lord's will, carrying obligations to perform certain services for the lord. The Black Death in the 14th century brought about a scarcity of labour and hastened the commutation of these feudal services to money payments. The tenant was protected not by national law but by title written on the manor court rolls, of which he was provided with a copy - hence the name of the tenure. When transferring the property the tenant first surrendered it to the lord who held the fee-simple, and then the new tenant was admitted on payment of a fine. Copyhold tenure was abolished in 1922. Alternatively called Tenancy by Copy and Tenancy by the Verge.
Cottager The tenant of a cottage, with or without a small piece of land.
Cottar A cottager, sometimes with a smallholding. He was obliged to labour on the lord's land either free or for a fixed sum.
Counterpart The second half of an indenture, precisely matching the first part; usually used for the second copy of a lease, signed by the tenant and retained by the grantor.
Covenant An agreement entered into by one of the parties to a deed; a covenant for production of title deeds is an agreement to produce deeds not being handed over to a purchaser.
Curtilage Yard or court associated with a dwelling house.
Cwt See Hundredweight
D
D (1) The letter denoting a penny in pre-decimal currency (see L.s.d). Sixpence would be written 6d.

(2) The letter representing the Roman number 500. See - Roman Numerals

Demesne A manor house with lands adjacent to it not let out to tenants: any estate in hand. Land of the manor held in the lord's own hands. The villein tenants, as part of their obligations in return for their own land holdings, had to work regularly on the demesne lands.
Drover One whose occupation it is to drive cattle or sheep.
Duke The first Dukedom in England was created in 1337 when the Black Prince was created Duke of Cornwall. The title then took precedence over other noble titles. His wife is known as a duchess, his eldest son takes his father's second title, and the younger children are addressed as Lord or Lady before their Christian names. The term Duke derives from the word dux, meaning leader of an army. See also - Nobility
E
Earl Before the Norman Conquest the Earl was the highest rank of nobility and acted as the king's representative in charge of a shire; subsequently the title denoted a dignity rather than a function. The wife of an earl is a countess but except on formal occasions he and his wife are addressed as Lord and Lady. His eldest son takes his father's second title, the younger sons are styled 'Honourable', and the daughters as Lady before their Christian names. See also - Nobility
Easement The right to use something (especially land) which is not one's own.
Ell A varying measure of length, originally taken from the arm; a measurement of cloth equivalent to 1.25 yards.
Enclosure The process by which common land and open fields, together with the Glebe lands of the church, were divided up into allotments and distributed amongst relevant claimants. The process was designed to make agriculture more efficient by replacing the open countryside that had been there since Norman times, and created the patchwork landscape with which we are familiar today.
Engrossment The drawing together of two or more holdings into one.
Entail The settlement of property so that it must descend to the owner's heirs in a specified fashion, and not be sold or otherwise dispersed. The current owner of entailed property is then a tenant for life.
Esquire Originally an attendant to a knight or lord and responsible for carrying shield and armour. The term later denoted a status above that of a Gentleman, but in the 19th century became merely a courtesy title.
Executor/Executrix The male/female person appointed to carry out the provisions of a will.
Eyre A itinerant court of justice.
F
Farthing A quarter of a pre-decimal penny. The last farthing was minted in 1956, and it ceased to be legal tender at the end of 1960.
Fee Land or freehold property which could be inherited.
Fee Simple A freehold estate which passes without restriction to the lawful heir.
Feoffee See - Trustee
Feoffment A simple grant of property. See also Joint Enfeoffment
Fine Entry Fine: sum of money paid for the granting of a lease or for admission to a copyhold tenement.
Florin The two-shilling coin of pre-decimal currency (see also L.s.d). It was minted from 1849 up to 1967, after which it was phased out and replaced by its direct decimal equivalent and replacement, the 10-pence coin. It ceased to be legal tender in 1993.
Franklin A free tenant, usually of the wealthier sort; the predecessor of the Yeoman.
Frankpledge In medieval England all householders were grouped into tithings of 10 or 12 householders. They had a mutual responsibility for the behaviour of everyone within their group and presenting wrong-doers to the manorial court leet. The right to ensure that everyone was included in such a grouping was termed a View of Frankpledge. The lord of the manor's right to all fines meted by such a court, (Royalty), was a considerable source of income.
Freehold Tenure in fee simple, i.e. absolute and unlimited, though possibly paying a fixed rent (a chief rent or fee-farm rent). A tenure which was not subject to the customs of the manor or the will of the lord and which could be disposed of without restriction. Alternatively called Frank Tenement or Freeland.
Furlong Measurement of length: 10 Chains (see above) or 220 yards (roughly 200 metres). A furlong was traditionally the length of a furrow on ploughed land. Eight furlongs made a mile, and the measurement is still a commonly used term in horse racing.
G
Gallon Unit measurement of volume, most commonly used for fuel such as petrol, paraffin, oil or diesel. It was made up of eight pints. The metric equivalent is about 4.5 litres.
Garden Fields A local term for Allotments
Garth An enclosure or yard: a garden.
Gentleman In this context, a well-born man above the rank of yeoman, usually entitled to bear a coat of arms. It was assumed that a Gentleman did not do manual work and the term gradually encompassed all those in the professions.
Glebe The land held by a clergyman. Land assigned to the incumbent of a parish as part of his benefice and the endowment of the church.
Gnomon The pin of a sundial whose shadow points to the hour.
Goshey or Go-shi Pronounced "go-shee" (emphasis on the first syllable). This was the local term for a go-kart. In the period prior to about 1960, they were commonly made from the large wheels of an old-fashioned pram being fixed to a plank of wood which had a pivoting wooden cross-piece at the front, allowing it to be steered easily by the feet or via a rope attached to each end of the crosspiece. The common source of the pram wheels was from old prams dumped at the tip. The axles and wheels could be easily removed.
Grange Cistercian monasteries of the 12th and 13th centuries acquired vast amounts of land from Norman magnates who were themselves preoccupied with eternal salvation. These lands were fragmented and difficult to administer from a central base therefore a system of outlying farms were set up (grangia) staffed by lay brethren. After the Black Death in the 14th century the recruitment of lay brethren became increasingly difficult and local peasant labour dried up. The granges became an embarrassment and were liable to be let to local landowners.
Grazier One who pastures cattle and rears them for market.
Guinea An amount the equivalent of a pound and a shilling. £1.1s.0d pre-decimal, £1.05 decimal. Half a guinea (the half-guinea) was ten shillings and sixpence. There was never guinea coinage. The amount could be could be written as '1g' or '1gn' or, in the plural, '3gs' or '3gns'.

It was considered a more gentlemanly amount than £1. You paid tradesmen (such as a carpenter) in pounds, but gentlemen (such as an artist) in guineas. It was a tradition in the legal profession that a barrister was paid in guineas but kept only the pounds, giving his clerk the shillings (they were all men then).

In the 1950s, many hotels and guest houses still quoted their weekly rates in guineas. The term still lives on in horse racing, with classic races like the Thousand Guineas and Two Thousand Guineas.

H
Half Crown More commonly, "half a crown" or "two and six". It was worth two shillings and six pence, or thirty pre-decimal pence. It was a popular and much-used coin, but had no convenient decimal equivalent, and ceased to be legal tender on January 1st 1970, in preparation for the introduction of decimal currency in 1971.
Hayward Originally a person who guarded the corn and farm-yard in the night-time, and gave warning by a horn in case of alarm from robbers. The term was afterwards applied to a person who looked after the cattle, and prevented them from breaking down the fences.
Headborow "Signifies him that is a chief of the Frankpledge, and that is the principal government of them within his own pledge". A constable.
Hide Measurement of area, made up of 4 Virgates (see below) - in reality the term was used to denote the area of land sufficient to support a family. The exact size varied according to locality and the quality of the land.
Higgler A bargainer.
Homestall A homestead: a farmyard.
Honor, Honour A group of Manors.
Hundred In England, etc.: A subdivision of a county or shire, having its own court. It was originally supposed to denote an area which contained a hundred families
Hundredweight A common measure of produce or retail weight. A hundredweight was made up of 8 stones or 112 pounds. 20 hundredweights made a ton. Sacks of potatoes were commonly sold by the "half-hundredweight" i.e. 4 stone/56 pound sacks. The usual abbreviation for hundredweight was "cwt".
Husbandman A tenant farmer.
I
Inclosure The older spelling of Enclosure.
Indenture A form of contract between 2 parties in which each kept a half cut along an indented line.
Ingrosser The conduct of those whose buy merchandise in large quantities, to obtain command of the market.
J
Jitty Local word for an alley or passageway, especially one between two blocks of houses.  A good traditional example which still exists is the alleyway connecting the middle of Alexandra Street with the middle of Spencer Street.
Joint Enfeoffment

The settlement of a property jointly on a man and his wife, a device which allowed a widow to escape paying an entry fee for the tenure on the death of her husband.

K
Keck The local term for cow parsley
Kerver Carver
L
L (1) An abbreviation for Librum (one pound in money - see L.s.d)

(2) The Roman letter for the number 50 (see - Roman Numerals)

Li Seen on sixteenth century Subsidy lists as an abbreviation for Librum - One pound in money, see L.s.d
L.s.d The system of currency before the decimal system coinage was introduced in February 1971. The letters are based on the Latin: Libra - Solidi - Denarii and stand for pounds, shillings and pence. 12 pennies (or pence) made a shilling (5p in decimal money); 20 shillings made a pound.
Lady Day The 25th day of March. One of the four Quarter Days.
Lawn Enclosed pasture within forest, originally to provide grazing and hay for deer.
Lease Grant of property to a tenant for a specified period, usually a term of years; types of lease include life lease: lease for the life of the tenant; three-life lease: lease until the deaths have occurred of three named people (with an upper limit of 99 years).
Leasehold Tenure by lease (see - Tenure), sometimes for a fixed number of years, or for a certain number of 'lives' recorded in the original lease. When one of the 'lives' died, a new name could be inserted into the lease on payment of a fee.
Letters Patent Royal grant, enrolled on the Patent Rolls.
Ley A lea, or pasture - land, often open field strips temporarily under grass.
M
M The letter representing the Roman number 1000. See - Roman Numerals.
Malster, Maltster One whose occupation it is to make malt.
Marquess The first Marquess was appointed in 1385. Except on formal occasions he and his wife are referred to as Lord and Lady, and their children as Lord and Lady before their Christian names. The term Marquess (Marquis in France ) is derived from those barons who held and guarded lands on the borders or marches of a kingdom. See also - Nobility
Messuage A dwelling house and its appurtenances i.e. outbuildings, garden and in some cases land.
Michaelmas The 29th day of September. One of the four Quarter Days.
Moiety Half of a property, often undivided moiety, when the shares of the two owners have not been marked out separately.
Moo The phrase "with other moo" means "with other men".
N
Nobility The five ranks of peerage in descending order of precedence are Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron (Lord).
NRO Northamptonshire Record Office.
Nuncupative A type of will made orally, and backed up by written witness testimony as to its validity.
O
Ounce A small unit of measure for weights. 16 ounces made a pound. 4 ounces thus weighed a quarter of a pound and this amount was commonly called "a quarter" and often used as a standard pricing measure for loose sweets sold out of large jars in sweetshops, e.g. mint humbugs might be advertised at "a shilling a quarter".
P
Pence A plural of penny, as in tuppence (two pence) and sixpence.
Penny (1) In pre-decimal currency, twelve pennies made a shilling, 240 - a pound. A single penny was written as 1d. See also L.s.d

(2) Post-decimalisation, the penny was written as 1p, and one hundred pennies made a pound.

Perambulation Beating the bounds: the district within which a person had the right of inspection - the established boundaries being usually walked round annually.
Perch Another term for a linear Pole
Perpresture An unlicensed inclosure or building, especially a new house within the forest.
Pightle A small enclosure; a croft.
Pint Unit of measurement for volume, most commonly used for liquids like milk, but also on occasion for things like seeds. eg a pint of peas. Eight pints made a gallon. The metric equivalent of a pint is 0.56 litres, and the half-litre (500ml) has largely replaced the pint in everyday life.

Free milk for schoolchildren was usually in bottles measuring 1/3 of a pint.

Planches The planks of a floor.
Pole A Pole was both a linear measurement and a measurement of area .

(1) As a linear measurement it was 5.5 yards (about 5 metres) and was also called a Rod or a Perch.

(2) As a measurement of area, a Square Pole (usually abbreviated to Pole) was 30.5 square yards. 40 (Square) Poles made a Rood; 160 made an Acre.

Pop (1) Short for "Popular", as in "Pop Music" - which then gave birth to the term "Pop Group". Until the 1960s, there was no such term as Pop Music, and even "Rock and Roll" was barely ten years old.

(2) An old local word - no longer in common use - for lemonade, as in "a bottle of pop". The term presumably arose from the drink's fizzy nature. See also Spruce.

Pound (1) Unit of currency still used today, but prior to 1971 it was made up of 20 Shillings, or 240 pre-decimal pence, rather than 100 pence as today. See L.s.d.

(2) A measurement of weight, equivalent to 454 grammes. The so-called "metric pound" is 500 grammes. A pound was made up of 16 ounces; 14 pounds made a stone; 112 pounds (8 stone) made a hundredweight. The common abbreviation for the pound weight was lb or lbs for the plural form. Loose sweets like toffees or mint humbugs were commonly priced and sold in measures of a quarter pound (also commonly called "a quarter") which was 4 ounces.

PRO Public Record Office (now called The National Archives).
Probate The establishment of the validity of a will in a church court, recorded in the grant of probate.
Purlieus Land deforested by Edward I but still subject to certain restrictions on hunting.
Q
Quarter A quarter part, especially of a measure of weight such as a peck, a stone or a pound. Most commonly used to refer to 4 ounces - a quarter of a pound - the standard general pricing measure for loose sweets.
Quarter Days

From mediaeval times in England there have been in the calendar four Quarter Days. Traditionally these have been days when accounts are settled, and were often the days when tenants had to pay the rent due on cottages, houses or farms. They were traditionally: 25th March (Lady Day), 24th June (Midsummer), 29th September (Michaelmas), 25th December (Christmas).

The modern quarter days now being adopted in England in some recent leases are: 1 January, 1 April, 1 July, 1 October

Quartern See Quarter
Quid Slang term for a pound (money). Still in everyday use.
Quitclaim Deed renouncing any possible right to a property.
Quitrent A rent paid in lieu of services. A fixed annual rent which released a tenant from feudal services to a manorial lord.
R
Recognizance A legal obligation entered into before a magistrate to do or not to do some particular act.
Regnal Year The current year of a king's reign, counting from his accession, used as the means of dating deeds until the mid-17th century.
Regrater One who buys and sells again in or near the same market, thus raising the price - once a criminal offence in England.
Revertion Also spelt Reversion. Grant of property (usually a lease) to start after some specified time or event, e.g. the termination of a previous lease.
Rod Another term for a linear Pole
Roman Numerals The Romans used a system of letters to represent numbers. I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000. Repeats of a letter indicate multiples of the equivalent number, thus III = 3, XX = 20, CC = 200. Dates and complex numbers are usually expressed in an array of letters representing thousands, hundreds, fifties, tens and units, as relevant. Thus 1763 in Roman numerals is MDCCLXIII; 1808 is MDCCCVIII; 235 is CCXXXV; 56 is LVI.

A letter indicating a smaller number than the letter following it, and placed apparently out of sequence before the larger figure, generally indicates that it should be subtracted from the following letter/figure. Thus IV = 4, XL = 40.

Rood A measure of land area: 40 square Poles or one quarter of an Acre
S
Seisin The freehold possession of land.
Sentence of A judgement; decision.
Shilling A unit of currency in the pre-decimal age (pre-February 1971). The modern equivalent is 5p. Twelve pence made a shilling, twenty shillings made a pound. The abbreviation for sums like twelve shillings and six pence was usually in the form 12/6 on price labels, notices, etc. The abbreviation for a round figure of shillings, like eight shillings, was 8/-
Spruce An old local word - no longer in common use - for lemonade or other fizzy drink, as in "a bottle of spruce". The origin of the term is not known.
Squire A common term for a lord of the manor, or a principal landowner.
Stone A measurement of weight, equivalent to just over 6 kilos. 14 pounds made a stone. It was used to measure arable root crops such as potatoes, swedes, turnips and kohl rabi. See also Pound and Hundredweight
Swanimote The local forest court responsible for judicial and administrative regulation of the forest.
T
Tail Usually used in the phrase "in tail male" - a ruling where only male descendants of the original tenant in tail can succeed to the land. If the male line dies out, the land goes to the person next entitled.
Tenancy at Will A tenure granted by the lord and at his disposal. It was mainly granted by the Crown to reward servants.
Tenement A formal description of any type of property, but particularly property including a building.
Tenure The form of right by which property is held.
Terrier A register of landed property, formerly including lists of vassals and tenants, with particulars of their holdings, services, and rents; a rent roll; in later use, a book in which the lands of a private person, or a corporation civil or ecclesiastical, are described by their site boundaries, acreages, etc. Also a tithingman, a deputy constable.
Third-Borough A constable. Lambarde says, "In some shires, where every third borrow hath a constable, there the officers of the other two be called thirdborows."
Tithe Tithes were typically a local tax of one tenth of the years product of land and labour. A tithe was levied on a parish basis to support the parish priest, maintain the fabric of the church and support the poor of the parish. It was originally a voluntary contribution and had its roots in the Anglo Saxon Frankpledge where groups of ten persons were largely responsible for each other within the group. It was made compulsory in 10th century  and was enforced both through the civil and ecclesiastical courts.

Tithes were divided into greater (rectorial) tithes, the product of the arable fields and value of stock, and lesser (vicarial) tithes, raised from labour and minor produce i.e. the day laborers and cottagers. Where the rector was not the incumbent he took a share of the greater tithes and his appointed vicar would have to survive on the lesser tithes supplemented by the glebe income and the freehold of the churchyard.

TNA The National Archive (formerly called The Public Records Office).
Ton The imperial measure of a ton was 2240 pounds or 20 hundredweight. The metric ton or "tonne" is 1000 kilos (about 2200 pounds).
Two and Six The common term for the half crown in pre-decimal currency. It was worth two shillings and six pence.
U
Uses The purpose for which property is held by a trustee, in a marriage or family settlement.
V
V The letter representing the Roman number 5. See - Roman Numerals.
Verderer A forest official who had charge of the vert and venison.
Vicar A clerk in holy orders appointed by a rector to administer a parish.
Villein A general term to describe an unfree tenant after the Norman Conquest. He held his land subject to a range of agricultural services and fines. He was above the status of a slave but was, excepting the Regardant Villein, usually annexed to the lord's person, in which case he was termed a Villein in Gross.

Neither he nor his daughter could marry without the lord's permission, nor could he bring a suit in the king's court, or acquire land that would not be taxed. Upon his death a heriot (fine) was paid by his heirs. In return he had a landholding and the right to graze a fixed number of cattle on the common pastures and to take hay from the common meadow. The loss of population resulting from the Black Death put the Villein into a better bargaining position and his tenure gradually became Copyhold.

Virgate See - Yardland
Viscount The first Viscount in the English nobility was created in 1440, but previously the term denoted a sheriff of a county acting as deputy to the Earl of the shire; the word derived from the Latin vicecomes. A Viscount and his wife are styled Lord and Lady. See also - Nobility
W
Walk A district of the forest under the oversight of the Keeper.
Waste Waste land - areas of uncultivated land outside closes, allotments, enclosures and common fields. A typical example would be roadside verges. Where enough space permitted, cottages were sometimes built there, and the tenants were said to be living "on the waste".
Woodward An officer appointed for the management and sale of Crown wood and timber
X
X The letter representing the Roman number 10. See - Roman Numerals
Y
Yard (1) Common measure of length: 36 inches or 3 feet (equivalent to c.91cm).

(2) A layout of cottages around a central point such as a well or pump. Yards like Wallis' Yard and Ambler's Yard were commonly found behind major roads and streets like the High Street. Most of the Yards in Burton had disappeared by 1960.

Yardland or Virgate An area of land (usually in common fields), conventionally of 32 acres, but in reality varying very much from place to place; holdings are often described by the number of yardlands they contain.
Yeoman A free tenant, usually a prominent farmer. As he worked with his hands he could not be styled a Gentleman but his status was above that of most other copyhold tenants. He was qualified to serve on juries and vote in county elections. The term was later more commonly used to mean a small or medium farmer.
Z


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