A-Z of Genealogy – All about the K and L’s

This week I’m combining two letters, K and L, because words and phrases found in genealogy, family and house history research beginning with the letter K are few and far between!


KAVEL – a ballot by which the working places in a pit are fixed; or strips of tillage lands in common fields

KEEPER – a person who attends to the sick and dying in place of a relative

KENNIN/KENNINE – a measure equivalent to half a bushel or two pecks

KID – a bunch of twigs, brushwood or gorse used for burning; To Kid is to bind up in faggots

KIDELLA – Fish-trap

KINE – Cows, usually dairy cows

KING ALE – Church ale

KING’S EVIL – Scrofula, a disease of the lymphatic glands, once thought to be cured by a touch from the King’s or Queen’s hand

KIRKMASTER – Churchwarden

KLICKER – someone who stands outside a shop to entice customers in

KNIGHT SERVICE – MIlitary service which a Knight was bound to render to the lord of the manor or crown as a condition of holding his land under the feudal system

KNOBSTICK WEDDING – Wedding of a pregnant woman compelled by the Churchwarden and attended by them in state

KNOWLEDGE MONEY – a gift from tenants to a new Bishop of Abott

KNOWN LAND – unenclosed land marked out by stones or natural boundaries to indicate ownership

Interesting to see the old meaning of KID! Perhaps today’s meaning as a slang for child originates from children being used to make the bunches of twigs etc?


LADDER – a flight of shelves, particularly for storing cheese

LAIRSTALL/LEYSTALL – a graev inside a church

LAKE – a type of fine linen which shirts were formerly made from

LAMMAS LAND – common land, arable of meadow, which was occupied for part of the year but after crops were harvested the owner(s) were able to use as pasture land

LANDLOUPER – a person who flies from the country because of crime or debt

LANDMALE – Reserved rent/annual sum of money charged on a piece of land by the Lord who held in Fee

LAND TAX – Tax on land payable between 1693 and 1963

LANSCOT – an assessment of land for the maintenance of the church

LARCENCY – Petty Larceny (theft) and Grand Laceny (Stealing property worth more than 12 pence

LATH – Barn

LEA – measure of yarn, 300 yards

LEASEHOLD – land let out in a way which was not restricted or governed by the custom of the manor

LEGALIA – laws, customs

LEGALITER – lawfully, legally

LEGANTIA – legacy, bequest

LEGES – laws

LEGGER – a man emplyed by a canal owner to push boats through narrow tunnels

Legitime procreates – lawfully begotten

LEGITIMUS – law worthy, of legal status

Legare – To leave/bequeath

LETTERS PATENT – document under seal of the state granting some privilege or authority or exclusive right to use an invention or design

LIBER – book (noun), Free (adj)

LIBERE – freely

LIBERI – children

L/l LIBRA/UM – pound £

LICENTIA – permission, authority, licence

LIFTING MONDAY – aka Hocktide Monday, when it was custom for men, in couples, to pift up and kiss each woman they met

LIFTING TUESDAY – when women returned the above compliment to men

LIGEUS – bound by allegience

LIGHTERMAN – the operator of flat-bottomed type of barge known as a LIGHTER

LIGNUM – wood, timber, beam, post

LITTEN- Churchyard

LOQUELA – suit, action, plea (legal)

LOQUELOR – to plead, implead, to confer, discuss

LORD – feudal superior of a VASSAL, a Manorial Lord

LORD LIEUTENANT – the Crown’s direct county representative first introduced in the 1540’s, responsible for raising and managing county MILITIA

It’s always interesting to se how the meaning of words has evolved through the centuries.

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

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