Monday, June 17, 2013
Medieval Genealogically-Relevant Definitions
Advowson: The right to appoint a priest to a local church.
Armiger: Right to heraldry.
Attained: The family titles could not be passed to the heirs.
Baron: A British nobleman of the lowest rank; William the Conqueror introduced “baron” as a rank into England to distinguish the men who had pledged their loyalty to him. [Previously, in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England, the king’s companions held the title of earls.] All who held their barony “in chief of the king” – directly from William and his successors – became alike barones regis (barons of the king), bound to perform a stipulated service, and welcome to attend his council. Before long, the greatest of the nobles, especially in the marches, such as the Earls of Chester or the Bishops of Durham, might refer to their own tenants as barons. There arose the practice of sending to each greater baron a special summons to the council that evolved into the House of Lords. Thus appeared a definite distinction, which eventually had the effect of restricting to the greater barons the rights and privileges of peerage. The King of England could create a new barony in one of two ways: by a writ of summons directing someone to Parliament, or by letters patent.
“By writ”: title was inheritable through male and female lines.
Commissioner of oyer and terminer: a French law name for a person “to hear and determine”, or judge according to law.
Duke: a nobleman of the highest hereditary rank below that of prince; the only English noble who is usually addressed by his title.
Earl: a British peer ranking below a marquess and above a viscount.
Escheats: Land or other property that falls to a lord within his manor by forfeiture or death.
Esquires: The king created esquires by putting the collar of SS and bestowing upon them a pair of silver spurs … The distinction of esquire was given to persons of fortune not attendant upon knights.
Fee: An estate, completely owned by a person, which can be sold or given as an inheritance by that person; an estate held by a lord to be given when service has been performed or homage paid.
Feoffment: a transfer of property that gave the new owner the right to sell the land as well as the right to pass it on to his heirs.
Gaol: ancient word for “jail”.
Hide: land that supported a family in the early medieval period; later used to define areas of land.
Inspeximus: The confirmation of a royal grant or charter.
K.B.: Knight banneret, a knight fighting under his own banner.
Knight of the Garter.: Knight of the Order of the Garter; founded by King Edward III.
Knight: The knight generally held his lands by military tenure; thus knight service was a military service, usually 40 days a year, normally expected by an overlord in exchange for each fief held by a knight. A knight fighting under another’s banner was called a knight bachelor. Knighthood was not hereditary.
Magna Carta Baron; a permanent commission of 25 Barons to monitor King John’s compliance with the magna Carta terms; the “security clause.”
Marquess: A nobleman ranking below a duke and above an earl or a count; means lord of the marches (borders), a title unknown in England before 1385.
Mesne lord: a feudal lord who was lord to his own tenants on land held from a superior lord.
Quitclaim: To relinquish, release, or transfer a title, claim, or interest to another.
Viscount: A nobleman ranking below an earl or count and above a baron.
Yoeman: A farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders.