England Land Records Glossary P to T (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Land and Property Records including Manorial Documents and Maps  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Glossary (cont.)[edit | edit source]

Parish An ecclesiastical division of land with a mother Anglican church (and perhaps subsidiary chapels-of-ease), run by a vestry and from which the incumbent could claim tithes for support.In 1894 civil parishes were instituted and the new parish councils took over administration of some business.
Parish constable Manorial court appointee; forerunner of policeman
Parliamentary Enclosure Enclosures done by act of parliament when the land-owners could not agree amongst themselves. The new fields typically had straight edges and the landscape acquired a more rectangular aspect.
Parliamentary Survey Surveys of the nature and value of crown, bishops' and dean and chapter lands and perquisites taken during the Inter-regnum period prior to their sale for the benefit of the Commonwealth.
Partition Division of a property between two or more interested parties
Patent Rolls Records housed at TNA dealing with borough charters, grants of land and privileges, presentation to benefices, alienation, wardship and the appointment of officers. 1201-1920.
Patrimony An estate coming from a father or ancestor
Peculiar An area within an archdeaconry but outside his jurisdiction, and usually that of the bishop as well. There were over 200 of them.
Peppercorn rent A very low one just to acknowledge ownership by the person to whom the peppercorn is paid. A pepper-berry was almost valueless.
Perch Area of land being 1/40th of a rood; roughly 30 square yards. Also called a pole or rod.
Personalty The personal property bequeathed by testament, not necessarily to the principal heir of the estate.
Pinfold Small enclosure, usually walled, wherein stray animals were impounded until claimed (for a fee)
Pipe Rolls Accounts rendered by county sheriffs to the Exchequer including details of rent and farm, from which the succession of tenants-in-chief can be traced. So called because when rolled they resemble pipes. Include the Black Book of the Exchequer (Liber Niger Scaccarii) a survey of England conducted in 1166. 1120-1831 and a number have been published by the Pipe Roll society.
Pie Powder Court Market courts from pieds poudreux = dusty feet.
Plea Rolls Records of actions brought under the Common Law
Plight A holding of land
Pole Area of land being 1/40th of a rood; roughly 30 square yards. Also called a perch or rod.
Portmote Port court
Pound Another term for pinfold
Premises (a) First part of a deed which gives the date and names of the [parties]

(b) House or building with appurtenances and grounds

Primer Seisin The right of the crown to one full year's profit of the estate of an of-age heir of a tenant-in-chief.
Primogeniture Inheritance by eldest son
Purpresture Illegal encroachment on crown lands, could be punished by forfeiture of encroacher's land, but usually just noted and a rental levied.
Quality book Record of survey of quality and quantity of land during the process of enclosure.
Quarter Eight bushels capacity, often used for grain.
Quarter Days The 4 days of the year when rent was due: Lady Day 25th March, Midsummer 6th July until 1752 then 24th June; Michaelmas 29th September; and Christmas 25th December.
Querent Purchaser in a Final Accord
Quicksets Young hawthorn plants used for hedging.
Quit claim A deed renouncing any right to a property.
Quit rent A fixed annual rent releasing a manorial or burgage (copyhold) tenant from all service to his lord.
Rack rent A very high rent, nearly the full annual value of the land.
Rack-rent The highest yearly rent that a tenement will fetch, or at least two-thirds of this.
Rape A subdivision of the county of Sussex
Rates Taxes, hence rateable value
Recital The repetition of a previous transaction bearing on the present deed; it came immediately after the date and names of the parties and commenced, Whereas.....
Recognizance Bond
Recoverer Purchaser in a Common Recovery
Recovery Rolls Enrolled records of common recoveries
Redemption of Land Tax A large lump sum payment to end annual payment of land tax.
Regnal year Method of dating by the year of the monarch's reign e.g. IV Geo 6
Regrant Term used in manor court when a lord gives back land to the heirs of a deceased tenant, normally after payment of a fee such as a relief.
Relief The fee paid to the lord by an incoming tenant to succeed to his inheritance. The fee varied with the size of the estate and was regulated by Magna Carta (1215), but abolished in 1661.
Remainder Entitlement to an estate after another ownership or tenancy. A future interest in property. Can refer to land in a will or personalty in a testament
Rent Payment due for use of property; a chief rent or quit rent is a fixed rent due from a freehold property; a fee-farm or reserved rent is similar, set up on the sale of property by a grant in fee farm. See also rack rent.
Rental a register of rents due
Reserved rent Rent set up on the sale of property by a grant in fee farm.
Respited Reprieved or forgiven e.g. fealty respited.
Return of Owners of Land 1871-1876 listings of holders of one acre or more of land arranged by county and derived primarily from rate books.
Reversion The granting of a property sometimes following the termination of a former lease.
Reversionary Interes A future interest in a lease
Ridings A Viking word meaning a third used from the time of the Danelaw to divide Yorkshire into three parts, East, North and West. Lindsey, the northern part of Lincolnshire was also formerly divided into North, South and West Ridings.
Right of estover To collect wood for fuel or building
Right of pannage To allow pigs to feed on fallen acorns and beech mast in woods
Right of pasture To graze sheep or cattle on common pasture
Right of piscary To fish, usually from the river bank
Right of soil Mineral rights, usually retained by the lord of the manor
Right of turbary To dig peat or turf from wastes to use as fuel
Right of warren To hunt rabbits, usually retained by the lord of the manor
Rod (a) see perch, an area of land.

(b) By the rod - a manorial custom of grasping a stick when transferring land

Roll Document consisting of a number of membranes sewn together then rolled up.
Rood Land area of 1/4 acre, or forty perches
Scite Site of a former cottage or homestead, now derelict and perhaps grazed
Seisin or seizin Possession (rather than ownership) of land. When granting land at first an incoming tenant was seised in law then a symbolic gift, such as a lump of turf from the land, was given him so he was now seised in deed and the grant was now valid. Dispossession was known as disseisin.
Serjeanty a tenure given in exchange for a variety of different services to the lord, such as gamekeeper, physician, tailor.
Settlement Transfer of property to trustees for a particular purpose, for example a marriage or family settlement. Not to be confused with pauper settlements under the Poor Law.
Severalty Method of holding land where each farmer alone occupies his own land, and can make decisions on agriculture independent of the manor court.
Sheep gate/gait Right to graze sheep on common pasture
Sign manual Hand written signature
Socage A free tenure with no military obligations and which could be alienated by the tenant and inherited without restriction (primogeniture being common mode), but the heir paid a fee to enter the land. There were two kinds: free socage where the services were honourable and fixed; and villain socage with humbler fixed services. Abolished in 1660.
Soiled land Land converted from freehold to copyhold tenure
Soke An administrative division of a county formerly in the Danelaw
Stint The maximum number of animals allowed to graze on the common pasture.
Strict settlement Entailing family estates
Sub-infeud Grant a fee to a favoured subtenant.
Surrender Return of a copyhold or leased property to the lord of the manor or lessor.
Survivorship Lease for lives
Swainmote Forest court which met three times a year to arrange pannage of forest. See Rights
TDR Tithe Documents register at TNA
Tenancy at will A tenure granted by the lord and at his disposal, usually to reward crown servants.
Tenancy by copy Copyhold tenant
Tenancy by the verge Copyhold tenant
Tenant for life The current holder of entailed land
Tenant in common Shared ownership whilst alive, with heirs inheriting respective shares (see joint tenants)
Tenant in tail Next heir to an entail.
Tenant-in-chief One who held land directly from the king; also known as tenant-in-capite.
Tenement Any holding of land with at least one building; a roweless (roofless) tenement was one with no building on it.
Tenure The nature of the title to land or property e.g. copyhold, freehold, knight service, leasehold.
Termor A tenant for a term of years
Terre tenant A lord of the manor or freeholder in actual occupation of the land, as distinct from his superior lord.
Terrier Detailed list of all a farmer's lands in the open fields.
Time immemorial Also Time out of mind; beyond legal memory i.e. before 1189.
Tied cottage One that is tied to a job. If the husband died or was fired, then the family had to move out.
Tithe Agreement A tithe commutation agreed on by all parties.
Tithe apportionments The book accompanying the tithe survey which listed the names of the owners and occupiers.
Tithe Award A tithe commutation adjudicated by the commissioners.
Tithe commutation The process whereby tithes paid in kind were made payable in money
Tithe maps The map produced when tithes were commuted to monetary payments
Tithe owner The person or organization that received tithes on a certain piece of land.
Tithe rent charge Annual payments in lieu of tithes, also called corn rents as they were based on the price of corn (wheat)
Title The means by which the owner of land has the just possession of his property.
Title deed Legal document providing evidence of title to land or property, necessary when a transfer of ownership is made.
Toft A farmstead with some land
Township A village or manor with a self-contained farming system


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Land and Property Records including Manorial Documents and Maps offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.