[ANSTHRLD] looking for historic info

Tim McDaniel tmcd at panix.com
Thu May 15 21:57:11 PDT 2003

On Thu, 15 May 2003, Diane Rudin <serena1570 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  Just about everything written in period was written in law-French, a
> hopelessly corrupted form of Latin.

"Latin"?!  God's teeth and toenails,

    Note per Treby, C.J., on the margin of his copy of Dyer's Reports,
    quoted in Curiosities of the Law Reporters.]

        Richardson C. J. de C. B., at Salisbury in summer 1631 fuit
        assault per prisoner condemne pur felony, que puis son
        condemnation ject un brickbat a le dit justice que narrowly
        mist. Et pur ceo immediately fuit indictment drawn pur Noy
        enver le prisoner, et son dexter menus ampute et fixe al
        gibbet, sur que loy mesme immediatement hange in presence de

looks more like LATIN to you?!  Unless you're calling *French* a
"hopelessly corrupted form of Latin", and while I appreciate the slam,
that cannot be called accurate at all.

<http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~law/threads/lwfrench.html> is a posting
asking about sources on Law French on the Legal History Discussion

> > I'm trying to research how grants of titles and lands were
> > originated,
> From the king.

Tsk, tsk.  Also subinfeudation in earlier periods.  I would
particularly expect knight's fees on church lands to be the church's

> > and how hereditary titles pass down.
> From father to eldest son, unless something weird is involved

like no legitimate sons, which frequently happened (consider Mowbray,
consider the original Lancastrians).  Given that <large> percent of
all noble families died out each century (which meant that ALL
legitimate descendants of the original holder were gone), that wasn't
that uncommon.  The "remainder" has to be considered for each fee,
whether to the heir male of his body or to the heir general of his
body.  [*] I believe baronies by writ, done in older times, have a
remainder to the heir general.  Which is why some old baronies are
hopelessly in abeyance, because a previous holder died leaving only
daughters, and until the legitimate lines of all but one die out (or
until the crown cuts the Gordon knot and says to one descendant, "tag,
you're it"), they stay in limbo.

[*] Or occasionally not.  There's an earl of Devon today because the
original clerk in 1553 left off the "de suo corpore" part of "sibi et
heredibus suis masculis de suo corpore in perpetuum".  A clerk of
Parliament, from a collateral line of the Courtenays of Powderham,
discovered this, got his cousin an earldom, and when the cousin
o.s.p., inherited the earldom himself.

> If you didn't inherit, you had to go out and get a job just like
> every other free person.  Maybe that's why the English never went on
> a "kill all the nobles" spree.

The nobility didn't do too well in the Commonwealth, but they weren't
actually massacred.  (Then again, neither were the French nobles,
despite the propaganda.  The Tsar massacred more Poles in one day in
Warsaw than all those executed during the entire French Revolution.

> My guess, based on a quick scan of OED definitions, is that the
> first son's title was one rank below his father's.

Modern practice is that his title is the second-ranking title of his
father, but it's just a courtesy -- he's not actually a peer and has
none of the privileges.

> Of course, until he reached his majority, the lands that went along
> with that title were administered by his father as well.

After his majority, the lands that went along with that title were
administered by his father as well.  I strongly suspect Dad would have
had to get an act of Parliament passed to accelerate the succession
(declare the earl of Arundel legally dead, although that earl was the
quite living duke of Norfolk).

> Off the top of my head, I can't think of a situation in period where
> a noble title did *not* have lands attached.

But by late period, probably not strongly associated with your title,
I suspect.  York et al was notably Lancastrian in the middle of the
Wars of the Roses, for example.  "Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who
owned large estates in Carmarthenshire, was a strong opponent of
Charles I."  Warwick the Kingmaker's marriage to the Beauchamp heiress
got him his title, but also "vast estates in the midland, southern
England, and South Wales"; his father, Salisbury, inherited estates in
Yorkshire that came with the earldom of Westmorland, and married to
get states in south-central England.  (_Edward IV_, Charles Ross)

Daniel de Lincolia
Tim McDaniel (home); Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com; work is tmcd at us.ibm.com.

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