A – Z of Genealogy – All about the C’s

This week it’s all about words and phrases found in genealogy, family and house history research beginning with the letter C.

CADDOWS – Bedding or blankets

CALENDAR – Catelogue of documents, with summaries of their contents

CALIVER – Light type of muskt

CAMPIPARS – to pay rent of land with a propertion of the crop

CAMPUS – (Latin) field, open field

CANON – Cleric possession a prebend for his support in a Catherdral or collegite church

CANON LAW – Law of the Church

CAPIAS – (Latin) writ/warrant for arrest


CAP MONEY – fine levied on a township and paid by the constable for bearch of the 1571 Act outlawing the wearing of woollen caps on Sundays and Holy Days

CAR. – Low unenclosed land, subject to flooding

CARR. – common land, especially marchy land

CARRE. – Hollow place which is moist and boggy/ a wood of alder or other trees in such a place

CARRIAGE – water-course, a meadow drain

CARTA – (Latin) Charter, deed

CARTULARY – Collection of Charters relating to a particular estate

CARUCUTE/CARACUTE – measure of land, as much as could be ploughed by one plough and eight oxen in a year (amount varies dependant on the type of soil)

CATALLUMCATELLUM – (Latin) Chattell, cattle

CATMALLISON – Cupboard round or near a chmney where dried beef and provisions were stored

CAUSEY – Causeway/path

CAZZONS – dung of cattle, dried and used as fuel

CELEBS – bachelor, unmarried

CENSUS – a count, which names and varying personal details, of every resident in the country taken every 10 years since 1801 (in the UK)

CESS. – Rate, tax or assessment

CHADFARTHING – Farthing paid as part of the Easter dues to hallow the font for christenings

CHAIN – a unit of measurment specifially length, being 66 feet or 22 yards

CHAISE MAYREZ – cart of transporting fresh fish

CHAMBER – any room in a property except the hall and kitchen

CHANCERY (COURT OF) – Court of the Lord Chancellor established in the 15th century to provide remedies in civil law cases not covered by the courts of common law

CHANTRY – Endowed Chapel

CHAPLAIN – Preist of a Chapel

CHARWOMAN – Cleaner or domestic worker usually employed by the house (as oppsed to a ‘live in’ domestic servant)

CHATTELS – Moveable goods and belonings including animals

CHATTLE LEASE – Leasehold farm or holding

CHEMINAGE – Toll charged on roads in royal forests during the calving season

CHEVAGE – Annual payment of the Lord of the Manor by each non-free tenant

CHIRCHELOFE – Bread given on Christmas day in Church to the poor

CHURCH RATE – tax imposed by the church on parishioners to pay of the upkeep of the church

CHURCHWARDEN – annually elected representative of parishioners responsible for the upkeep of the church

CIRCUMQUAQUE – (Latin) on all sides

CITATIO – (Latin) summons, citation (legal)

CITRA – (Latin) on this side, apart from, except, before, since

CIVIL REGISTRATION – the legal obligation to register of births, marriages and deaths since 1 July 1837 (in England and Wales)

CLAUSUM / CLAUSURA – (Latin) close, enclosure; right to enclose

CLERKS OF THE PEACE – responsible for record keeping in the Quarter Session courts

CLOSE – piece of land which is hedged, fenced or walled (known toady as a field)

CLOSE ROLLS – mandates, letters, writs etc of a private nature written to individuals in the Sovereign’s name which were folded or closed and sealed on the outside with the Great Seal

COFFER – wooden box or chest used for storing clothes and other valuable items, including money

COGNATUS – (Latin) kinsman, relative

CONATE – from the same maternal origin, related by blood or birth on the mother’s side

COMBE – Corn measure for four bushels or one sack

COMMON FINE – Fine payable to the Lord of the Manor

COMMON LAND – Manorial wasteland or land over which tenants had common rights to graze cattle etc;

COMMON OF TURBARY – Commonw right of cutting turf or other fuel

COMITATAS – (Latin) County

COMPOTUS/M – (Latin) account

COMPURGATION – Practice of acquiting an accused person on the oath of 12 or more persons testifying to the truth of his statement

CONSISTORY COURT – Court of the Bishop

COOCH HANDED – left handed

COPYHOLD – Manorial tenure when lend is held by copy of the manorial court roll

CORDWAINER – shoe maker

CORN RENT – cash annuity whose value depended on the price of corn locally

CORSELET – Body armour

COTTAGER – owner/occupier of a tenement which also had a croft, acommon right and a little land usually nor more than 8 or 10 acres

COURT BARON – Manorial court usually held three weekly to state the customs of the manor, to deal with and record deaths of tenants, surrenders of copyhold and leasehold property, admissions to such property, enforce payment of fines, heriots and other dues owed and performance of other services owed to the Lord of the Manor

COURT LEET – Manorial court usually held half yearly to deal with petty offences and civil affairs, incorporated the view of frankpledge under which the inhabitants of tithings where held responsible for any breaches within their tithing (a tithing being a group of 10 or 12 householders who were responsible for vouching for the good behaviour of their fellow members over the age of 14 years)

CROFT – piece of enclosed land for tillage or pasture, usually arable close to a house

CURTILAGE – court, yard or ground attached to or enclosed within a house

CUSTOMAL – written details of the custom so a Manor

I would love to hear what obscure words and phrases you have found in your research – sarah@spfhhistory.co.uk

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