Over the last two weeks we have explored the how our legal system developed from early history to Anglo-Saxon codes and an attempt to unify legal system. The Anglo-Saxons introduced the first King’s Council, the Witan, and disseminated many central law codes however local traditions still took precedence in many areas. So how did the Norman’s change this?
After William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, he made a few changes to the legal system, perhaps the most significant being the separating of the lay and ecclesiastical courts, so that from this time on two distinct legal systems existed: state law and canon law.
Crime and misdemeanours were dealt with locally, the frankpledge replaced the tithing (although based on the same/similar principles) and Trial by Battle replace trial by Order.
The courts which were already in existence continued and thrived but under a more unified system and dealt with both criminal and civil matters, as well as the administration matters akin to local government today.
Lords grew in power through grants of sac and soc; they controlled the local administration of justice.
Many crimes and misdemeanours were dealt with at a local level by the manorial court Leet such as breach of the peace. In particular it was responsible for the effective working of the system of Frankpledge. Whilst this system began to decline from the 14th century, even up to the 16th century, some manors ‘clung on’ to jurisdiction in cases of petty theft, affray or drunkenness.
The regulating and administering the affairs of the manor was the responsibility of the Court Baron. It was this court which enforced local customs, dealt with minor civil disputes such as boundary disputes and debts, and the transfer of land and property rights, most commonly customary or copyhold land.
Manorial courts crossed jurisdiction with the Hundred Courts.
Over time, the principal functions of the hundred became the administration of law and the keeping of the peace. By the 12th century, the hundred court was held twelve times a year. This was later increased to fortnightly, although an ordinance of 1234 reduced the frequency to once every three weeks.
In some hundreds, courts were held at a fixed place; while in others, courts moved with each sitting to a different location. Many hundreds came into private hands, with the lordship of the hundred being attached to the principal manor of the area and becoming hereditary.
On a county basis, local justice was administered by the sheriff, the dominant law officer of the Crown, through his court also known as the Sheriff’s tourn. The court was held twice a year, within a month of Easter and within a month of Michaelmas. Every person who was a freeholder was expected to attend at least one of these courts annually. The court heard presentments (complaints) that involved felonies, larceny, arson, minor criminal cases and quarrels between neighbours.
The tourn was the bi-annual inspection of the hundreds of his shire made by the sheriff in medieval England. During it he would preside over the especially full meetings of the hundred court (more normally three-weekly) which met during the tourn at Easter and Michaelmas.
Curia Regis and General Eyre
Over the next century, criminal justice was gradually transferred to the Crown, starting with the Curia Regis – the Latin term meaning “royal council” or “king’s court” (replacing the Witan). The central governing body of the Kingdom of England.
However it was the Plantagenet who reigned England from 1154 to 1485, who truly transformed the English legal system.
Henry II, in 1166 sent out two judges from the Curia Regis to the Sheriff courts to align all the court with the King’s Central court, creating the General Eyre. These Royal judges went out “on circuit” at irregular intervals, to all the counties of England, except Durham and Chester where the royal jurisdiction. The aim was every seven years but in practice less frequently. They took the law of Westminster, both civil and criminal, everywhere with them, both in civil and in criminal cases.
The royal courts controlled them local customs, which were paid lip service, and often rejected as unreasonable or unproved: common law was presumed to apply everywhere until and unless a local custom could be proven.
Henry II also introduced the jury system doing away with the old systems of swearing on oath and trial by ordeal.
Richard I and Quarter Sessions
Sheriffs gradually acquired a reputation for dishonest practices and embezzlement. When Richard I returned from the Third crusade in 1195, he believe his sheriffs had abused their authority whilst he had been away so he commissioned knights from every shire, to assist in keeping the peace. Known keepers of the peace until 1327, when Edward III first referred to them as Justices of the Peace (JPs), they took over many cases previously heard by the Sheriffs.
The City of London sessions (the Old Bailey) were held in rooms specially hired for the purpose or in Newgate, the ‘notorious prison’ used to house prisoners from at least the end of the 12th century. The Old Bailey, named after the street besides the new prison, soon became popular as the scene of hanging of those sentenced to death. The last ‘beheading’ in the country took place outside the prison in 1820.
By the 13th century, three central courts—Exchequer, Common Pleas, and King’s Bench—applied the common law. Although the same law was applied in each court, they vied in offering better remedies to litigants in order to increase their fees.
Court of Exchequer
Originally oversaw the collection of taxes and dealt with any claims concerning Royal Revenue, but later became an equity court (see later). To bring a claim in the court of Exchequer, there had to be a real and genuine connection to royal revenue.
Court of Common Pleas
This court developed from the King’s Council to deal with claims concerning property and debt between individuals other than the crown.
Edward I (reigned 1272–1307)
Often known as “the English Justinian” introduced several statutes which an important influence on the law of the late Middle Ages. Edward’s civil statues amended unwritten common law and remained the basic statue law for centuries, albeit it often supplemented by specialist statute enacted to meet temporary problems.
Four statutes in particular where:
Statute of Westminster (1275) making jury trial compulsory in criminal cases and altered land law
The Statute of Gloucester (1278) limiting the jurisdiction of local courts and extended the scope of actions for damages.
Statute of Westminster (1285) bringing about four main changes: created and fixed the legal estate of fee tail or entail in land (previously a custom of landed gentry); it made land an asset from which judgement debts could be paid; it freed restrictions on appeals to high circuit courts; and it improved the law of administration of assets on death.
The Statute of 1290 or “Quia emptores terrarum” (“because sellers of lands”) stopped subinfeudation, that is the granting of new feudal rights by land holders other than the crown. Those holding freehold land as a result of subinfeudation would be able to deal with their property free of any interference from the original grantor.
In 1294 Edward I suspended the General Eyre replacing them with the Assizes although isolated Eyres did still continue until 1374.
From the 14th century specialist courts began to emerge as a result of a growing litigation culture and failure of traditional remedies being appropriate. These were the equity courts:
Court of Chancery – the oldest Equity court in the English legal system and remains a division of the High Court.
Court of Requests (1483 – 1640’s).
Court of Star Chambers (1485-1641).
Court of Augmentation (c.1530 -1554) which specifically dealt with disputes and royal revenue following the dissolution of the monasteries.
Court of Exchequer – which developed from the common law court of the same name.
Other specialist courts also developed such as (for more infomation see my blog from last year on the Central law courts:
High Court of Admiralty (to be covered in more detail in a later blog)
Court of Wards and Liveries which was developed by Henry VIII which most only administered a system of feudal dues but which also had responsibility for wardship and livery issues
The Privy Council also developed from the Curia Regis and was a legislative, judicial and administrative body, essentially an advisory court of the Crown
Following the introduction of poor laws Quarter Sessions became increasingly busy and over burdened. They no longer had sufficient time to deal with all the business in the quarterly sessions. From the 16th century therefore Justices began to meet between quarter session to deal with more minor criminal offences and conduct routine business. This could be by a single judge acting alone or two or more JP’s meeting together. These became known as the Petty Sessions.
And so, save for the introduction of Petty Sessions, by the end of the 14th century our legal system, which remained in place until 1875 for civil proceedings and 1971 for criminal proceedings was born!
Today it is often thought our legal system is out of date, but in reality our current legal system is in its infancy compared to what came before.
Next week I will consider what happened to the Ecclesiastical Courts following the division of State and Church law by William the Conqueror.
Last week we left off with the early course Anglo-Saxons who established a number of Kingdoms in England – Kent, Wessex, East Anglia, and Mercia – with overall ruler of England. Individual rulers established their own codes such King Aethelbert of Kent who issued his own codes between the years 597 and 602, being the oldest surviving written codes and was written in the vernacular so as to be accessible to all (who could read).
Aethelbert’s influence stretched across much of England, certainly as far North as the Humber giving him the status of a Bretwalda, a “chief King” who held supremacy over kingdoms other than his own. Having converted to Christianity following the arrival of Augustine in Canterbury he became the first Christian Anglo-Saxon King, and it was this influence and his relationship with Augustine which led to him establishing his codes most likely drafted by or with the help of Augustine himself. The codes were unlikely to be new and innovative but more likely old laws being set out in legislation which made then the King’s own laws, taking influence from the way Roman’s created law codes.
Monetary fines or payments where the prime penalty for feuds thus law enforcement was a major source of royal income. The aim of the early laws was largely to protect the church, religious values and establish and maintain stability. These fine or payments were based on a person’s monetary worth which varied according to status, with not just every person, but every part of a person having a financial worth – for example the loss of a big toe cost ten shillings; the severing of a foot fifty shillings; damaging genitalia was valued at 300 shillings or three ‘person prices, a ‘person price’ or leodgeld was the price paid for killing someone.
These financial penalties were set out in detail in Aethelbert’s code, listing injuries from top to toe. This was essentially Aethelbert legislating the ancient customs of the kingdom and the Anglo-Saxons. Injustices were brought by the injured party or their family not the Crown and this system of compensation rather than bloodshed was seen as a means of controlling feuds and restoring peace.
Such codes were not enacted alone, Aethelbert had a ‘council’ of influential and hist status men he consulted with including the Archbishop of Britain and the Bishop of Rochester.
Later Anglo-Saxon Kings of the C7th and C8th enacted their own codes in their own kingdoms. This increasing involvement of the Crown in the administration of justice the notion that crimes were against the King’s peace began to emerge bringing ever more severe penalties and the introduction of mutilation and execution as punishments.
Then in the late C8th and C9th came the Vikings, bringing with them Danelaw to their extensive settlements and the impact of Scandinavian law into the English Legal System. I the meantime Anglo-Saxon laws continued to evolve most notably in the late C9th by Alfred the Great.
He had a reputation as a wise and just King. Having become a Bretwalda himself over Wessex, Mercia, and London his people looked to him for intervention in disputes and his judgements were highly praised and admired, however his judgment was in such demand he delegated to ealdormen and reeves who were required to be wise and rather than legal experts.
His expanding kingdom required a harmonisation of legal practice, and this was central to his ambition for his people. Late in his reign, most likely around 890, Alfred introduced his own immense and resonant code of law of dombac. At the heart of his code was mediation and compensation with punishment being reserved largely to second and subsequent offences save for treachery against one’s lord or king which remained a capital offence although those accused of such parties could seek to clear themselves by and oath equivalent the lord or king’s “wergild”, or compensation. It was thought that even traitors would not take such an oath lightly. Alfred was praised for his laws and legal enforcement which spread peace across his kingdoms.
It was suggested, by William of Malmesbury (the foremost English historian of the 12th century) that the system which later became known as “Frankpledge” was first instigate by Alfred the Great, creating hundreds and tithings and under which every man was responsible for the behaviour of his neighbour.
Alfred was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward, who in turn was succeeded by his son, Aethelstan, who after conquering he last remaining Vikings in York, became the first King of England in 927 and following a defeat over the combined Scots and Viking forces in 937 at Brunanburh he became the first King of “All Britain”.
Aethelstan was determined to eradicate criminality and proclaimed several law codes over his entire realm. These codes brought increasingly severe penalties and punishments such as: stoning for male thieves with later punishment introduced of death followed by a public display of their corpse; female thieves would be burned. Conscience did however succumb when it came to younger offenders. Capital punishment was initially limited to those over the age of 12 years later increased to 15 years of age.
The last major influence on the law before the Norman invasion was King Canute (aka Cnut or Knut) who was a Danish King ruling from 1016 to 1035.
Whilst Canute had invaded and conquered England, he did not change the landscape, displace Anglo-Saxon nobles, or divide society, legislating for his Danish and English citizens without distinction and acknowledged differences between Danelaw, Wessex, and Mercia.
Canute’s codes were created to provide protection for the forests, raise revenue, eradiate heathens, discourage crime and protect life and property. Compensation was the main penalty for victim with fines due to the King for most offences. Subsequent offences would attract increasingly severe punishments such as mutilation punish the body as well as the soul.
How were laws enforced in these times?
It as the Anglo-Saxons who developed a network of courts, from the Manor and Village courts or “Folk Moots” to the Burhs (Borough) Hundred and Shire courts or “Moots” and the Royal Court known as “Witan” or “Witanagemot” where the King (either alone or with his Ealdormen) gave judgement in person.
Folk moot – “moot” meaning meeting.
These were essentially tribal councils.
Hundred moot and Shire Moot
The hundred-moot, the court of the hundred, was gradually restricted to lords, stewards, priests, reeves, and four men from each township. It also contained a body of twelve men who heard arguments, which committee later emerged as our petit jury. This court also enforced tithings, group of ten or twelves men responsible for the good behaviour of each other.
The shire-moot was attended by ealdormen, bishops, lords, and shire-reeves. In these courts precedence was given to the pleas of the Church, or kings, and complaints involving individuals, pleas known as “common pleas”.
There were no law enforcement officers/police officers at this time. Legal proceedings were usually started in two ways: accusation – the victim orally accusing someone; or by the frankpledge system whereby members of a tithing would present names of suspected criminals. Much depended on accusation and admission to denial.
If they made a decision of guilty then the lord would decide upon a punishment. If the folkmoot could not reach a decision the accused would then have to take a trial by ordeal.
Trial by Ordeal
The trial by ordeal system essentially passed the judgement of innocence or guilt over to God. In the Saxon period there were four main ordeals that a person could be put through to allow God to either protect them (if innocent) or forsake them (if guilty). They were:
1. Trial by Fire (or hot iron) in which the accused would hold a red-hot iron bar and then have their wounds dressed. If after 3 days their wounds were healing it was considered that God had protected them and they were innocent, if their wounds were infected God had forsaken them.
2. Trial by Hot water in which the accused would retrieve an object from the bottom of a pot of boiling water. Their wounds were then bound and inspected 3 days later.
3. Trial by Cold water in which the accused was thrown into a local pond or lake. The water represented purity, therefore the guilty would be rejected and would float; unfortunately, the innocent would be accepted into the pure water and could well drown.
4. Trial by sacrament (or blessed bread) was mainly used for the clergy and involved the accused praying that if they were guilty, they would choke on a slice of bread, they would then eat the bread and if they survived, they were innocent.
There was no separation of law and ecclesiastical courts until the time of William, which meant that most of the court business was of an ecclesiastical nature. The church accepted the system of compensation and compurgation, assigning various values to its own ranks and priests.
Its primary function was to advise the king on subjects such as promulgation of laws, judicial judgments, approval of charters transferring land, settlement of disputes, election of archbishops and bishops and other matters of major national importance. The witan also had to elect and approve the appointment of a new king. Its membership was composed of the most important noblemen, including ealdormen, thegns, and senior clergy.
There was no separate ecclesiastical legal system. Most routine ecclesiastical disputes, for example over tithes, marriages etc were dealt with in the Hundred courts, whilst Synods would deal with Church litigation.
In cases concerning land, charters, deeds, documents, and local knowledge would be relied upon but if these were not available the methods of oath or trail ordeal (as discussed above) would be employed. The acceptance of an oath made by an accused to his innocence depended on the individual. If the accused was a person of good reputation, then the oath itself may suffice, if however, they were not, his oath would be tested by compurgation that is the accused would also need to find a requisite number of witnesses prepared to provide statements as to his innocence given under oath.
There was however still no law of all England. Despite the development of law codes, regional variations continued with local customs often trumping these central law codes. However, the ground was set for the incoming Normans and a more unified legal system which I will take a look at in my next blog in this series.
Do you live in an old house and every wondered what stories it could tell you about its inhabitants and it surroundings? Do you live in a newer house and wonder what came before it? Was your house built on the footprint of an earlier one?
Ever wondered where your ancestors lived? What type of property they lived in? How did they come to live in the house they did? Who owned it before them? Does the house provide any links to your earlier ancestors?
I grew up in an old farm house, known as Weeland Farmhouse, Hensall in North Yorkshire (although I believe the name has now been changed to Hensall farmhouse) built in the early 18th century which l my parents bought when I was aged 4! Even though I was very young, I remember the small narrow staircase hidden away behind a wooden latched door in the old kitchen which I was always told had been the servants stairs to their quarters. My brother and I used to run up and down them. They never led anywhere by this time as above it was the bathroom and the old door at the top of the stairs had been blocked off by the bathroom floor. These photos are from abuot 1998.
As I child, I always imagined the house had originally been something like the old tv programme “Upstairs Downstairs” but I’m sure it wasn’t really! My parents lived there for 32 years (I lived there for 22 years) and spend all that time renovating it. Sadly the area is subject to mining subsidence which greatly devalued the property when they came to sell it (that was 13 years ago). Further modernisation has now be carried out by the current owners and the house is beyond all recognition to when I was growing up there, which in many ways I find very sad but there is no denying the property perhaps looks the best it ever has! Current images can be seen here: https://www.onthemarket.com/details/9688824/.
I must admit I left it too late to think about researching the history of the property whilst my parents owned it – at that stage I was single, no ties, working as a solicitor and only dabbling in my own family history. At the time they sold it I was also going off on a major sailing adventure – the Clipper Round the World Yacht race which changed my life forever not only did I meet my husband but for the first time ever in my then 38 years of life, I moved to live away from Yorkshire to the wooded county of Surrey! This in turn led to my change of career into professional genealogy.
There is however no wonder I have always had a fasination with old properties. Growing up in one, living through many years of its renovation had to have rubbed off on me! So when it came to buying a property in Malton, North Yorkshire, where I was working it was no suprise that I was drawn to the older properties! The first one I looked at funnily enough needed a lot of renovation! Alash however that one was just not to be – the sellers wanted too much for it in my opinion. So I bought the next best thing – a Grade II listed building which had already been renovated and modernised.
And whilst I may no longer live there, I simply can’t part with the house – I now rent it out (although sometimes I could do without all the joys and stressed that come with being a landlady of a old property!😂😍)
The property is a three storey mid terrace stone-built cottage which was once part of a Malton Manor (with the land on which it was built probably having previously being part of Old Malton Manor), part of which still exists today in the area and is still owned by the Fitzwilliam Estate.
The properrty was first listed as Grade II on the 10th June 1974 and is described along with the neighbouring property:
It is interesting that ther description begins “Probably two shops” because the front window certainly representative of the old shop style windows and my mum tells me she remembers passing by the properties when she was young on the way to the seaside and recalling them being shops! And looking at the census returns many of the occupiers in the street in the 19th century were tradesmen who may well have worked from home along with grocers and the like.
However, a map dated from 1730 shows properties along Old Maltongate
and a further map (found on the same website) with an associated “Particular of the Houses and Garths within the Burrow of New Malton” dated 1732 which lists the houses, occupiers and type of tenancy within the “Burrow” of New Malton” lists forty five occupiers of Old Maltongate of which fourteen were desribed as freeholders, suggesting my property was in existance at this time although of course, my house may have been built later that century on the site of an older property, only a deeper investigation into the estate record held at North Yorkshire County Record Office would help determine this (but living in Surrey this is proving difficult to undertake at present). The records they hold include:
Title deeds relating to Malton 1639-1945, New Malton 1568-1908, Old Malton 1710-1935;
Wills, settlements and mortgages 1828-1898;
Manorial records relating to Old Malton, New Malton manor courts 1730-1902;
Estate records including terriers valuations and surveys 1593-1870;
Rentals for Malton 1712-1902;
stewards’ and agents’ account books 1750-1924;
Malton estate accounts, vouchers and rentals 1750-1924 including Derwent Navigation accounts 1805-1855;
tenancy records 1750-1904;
building and repair records 1780-1903;
taxation records 1797-1913;
sales catalogues 1853-1953.
Enclosure records for Malton 1731-1775; Old Malton Moor, parliamentary enclosure 1790-1812;
Civil parish and borough records including rating and valuation in Old and New Malton 1822-1849;
Of course a lot of the history of the propery and its occupiers for the last 200 years can be established from census returns, electoral registers and the lovely pack of deeds I hold!
Abstract of Title from 1974
The Deed dated 1st January 1926 is a deed entered into between, on the one part “The Most Honourable Lawrence Marquis of Zetland and Sir Edward Wallis Duncan Ward Baronet G.B.E, H.C.B, K.C.V.C., of No.5 Wilbraham Place Sloane Street Chelsea late a Colonel in His Majesty’s Army” (“the trustees”) and on the other part, “The Right Honourable William Charles De Meuron Earl Fitzwilliam” (“Lord Fitzwilliam”).
What we learn from this deed is that at the time it was entered into, the property was settled land, settled “by the Will of the Right Honourable William Thomas Spencer Earl Fitzwilliam dated 2nd October 1895 except…….subsisting limitations of the settlement made by the said Will of the Right Honourable William Thomas Spencer Earl Fitzwilliam’s English and Irish Settled Estates” and that the property included in the deed (in England and Wales)“was vested in Lord Fitzwilliam as to freeholds in fee simple”. The deed also gave Lord Fitzwilliam the power to appoint new trustees.
So, we already have details of four individuals which are of genealogical importance. Firstly, the names, status (inc. previous occupation leading to army records) and addresses for the two trustees. Secondly, the full names and status of the two Fitzwilliam men and that Earl Fitzwilliam had property in England and Ireland. What it does not tell us is the family connection between Earl and Lord Fitzwilliam, one would assume they were father and son, but not necessarily, the terms of the settlement set out in the Will would need to be checked although other genealogical records, such as birth records and census records, could provide the necessary information. Unfortunately, there is no copy of the Will attached to the papers. We do know that the Will was dated 2nd October 1895 and therefore that Earl Fitzwilliam died sometime between 1895 and the making of the deed in 1926.
The next entry is dated 11th September 1928 “The said SIR EDWARD WILLIS DUNCAN WARD died on this day in Paris”. This information is ‘gold’ to the genealogist, not only does it give us the day this man died but where. This is invaluable when trying to search for his death record, particularly because when I searched for him on the Ancestry website there is no death record for him, although there are two records of his burial, one is a link from the Find a Grave website which stated he died in England, the other is a record of his burial which only provides his date of burial. Research in France may be required to find his record of death.
The next entry is the appointment of a new trustee on the 23rd November 1928, “CHARLES TULIN HENNAH of Richmond Yorkshire late a Colonel in His Majesty’s Army” so this again provides some genealogical information for this man – name, status and where he was from.
The next entry is dated 11th March 1929 “The said Lawrence Marquis of Zetland died on this day at Aske Richmond, Yorkshire” so again we have a date of death and place of death which will help to find or corroborate any death record, probate record and burial record.
The next entry is the appointment of another new trustee on the 20 March 1929, “SIR EDWARD SIMONS WARD Baronet of Berkley House Hay Hill London”. More genealogically invaluable information – name, status and address. Note the surname, Ward, and his location, London, it is likely this is a relative of the first trustee who died in 1928 (above). Further research, civil registration, census records, probate records etc, would confirm this.
The next entry is another death, this time of the recently appointed trustee, Sir Edward Simons Ward, on 21st July 1930 and again it provide his place of death “died at Meopham in the County of Kent”, perhaps he had other property in Kent where he was staying when he died? Or a relation? Another address to research for this man.
Interestingly after his death they appoint two trustees in his place on 1st August 1930 “JOHN NESTON DIGGLE D.S.O. of Wentworth in the County of York a Lieutenant Colonel in His Majesty’s Army and WADHAM HEATHCOTE DIGGLE D.S.O. of Eden House Malton in the County of York a Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)”. These two new trustees are no doubt related but further research (civil registration, army records etc) would confirm this. Given the second is retired, I suspect they are father and son but of course the further research would confirm their relationship. Their addresses would help the further research or confirm any research already conducted.
The next entry is interesting as it is a Resettlement by Supplemental Deed dated 19th April 1933, and is essentially a marriage settlement, whereby Lord Fitzwilliam, with the agreement of the trustees, settles part of the estate to “The Right Honourable William Henry Lawrence Peter Viscount Milton the son of Lord Fitzwilliam of the second part Olive Dorothea Plunkett of the third part….(being a Resettlement made on the intended marriage of the said Viscount Milton and the said Olive Dorothea Plunkett)”.
So, we now have information about the next generation of the Fitzwilliam family, Lord Fitzwilliam’s son, along with the name of his intended wife and starting date after which details of their marriage should be searched for.
Within the deed of resettlement there is also mention of a Deed of Disentail entered into on 27th December 1932 between Lord Fitzwilliam and Viscount Milton and Ralph Frederick Pawsey but there are no other details. This would suggest that Viscount Milton and Ralph Pawsey had a future interest in whatever property was the subject of that Deed which they have gave up. Ralph Pawsey is appointed a joint executor of the Will of Lord Fitzwilliam (1st August 1930) along with “The Right Honourable George Richard Baron Bingley….and Dermot Henry Doyne”. Unfortunately, no other information is provided for these three men at this stage so whilst this is a record of their existence there may be little genealogical value without further research.
Of further interest is the next entry dated 11th October 1933 in which Lord Fitzwilliam sells the settled land he had retained to his company “EARL FITZWILLIAM’S MALTON ESTATE COMPANY” in the sum of £349,998 by way of shares.
Lord Fitzwilliam then dies on 15th February 1943 and his Will and a Codicil dated 23rd August 1931 (which is mentioned in the Abstract but with no details) were proved in the Principal Probate Registry by “The Right Honourable George Richard Baron Bingley and Ralph Frederick Pawsey the survivors of the Executors”. So, we know where to where the Will was proved and when which will help in obtaining a copy. The Will is likely to be of important genealogical value, providing details of family members and relationships.
George Richard Baron Bingley then dies on 11th December 1947, no place of death is provided but these details would help trace or confirm his death. There is then a Deed of Appointment dated 5th April 1948, in which Ralph Pawsey, the remaining executor, appoints new trustees (there are no details of the deaths of the previous trustees or their retirement of appointment) including himself, “HUGH MYDDLETON PEACOCK of The Ferry Peterborough in the County of Northampton Esquire and ARTHUR RALPH KEEPING of Barnsley in the County of York Solicitor”. Again, this provides names, status and addresses/locations, all details which are vital to genealogists in tracing ancestors.
We next find out that Ralph Pawsey “died at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London” on 18th August 1953, further important information if he was an ancestor. Also regarding his death with have documented the proving of his Will on 7th December 1953 in the District Probate Registry at Wakefield (helpful information for obtaining a copy of his Will) with probate being granted to “Thomas Arthur Pawsey and Arthur Ralph Keeping both of Barnsley Yorkshire Solicitors”. This information is interesting as it is likely that Thomas is the son of Ralph and we know he was living in Barnsley so again great information for him if he was an ancestor, as too is the fact he was a solicitor working with Arthur, a trustee appointed in 1948 (above). This gives a lead into occupational records of solicitors.
Epitome of Title 1980
This is an Epitome of Title relating to 36, 38, 40, 42 and 44 Old Maltongate, Malton. This is a row of terraced cottages. In addition to the Abstract of Title from 1974, this Epitome includes:
Deed of Exchange dated 15 March 1968;
Conveyance dated 14 February 1975;
Conveyance dated 28 November 1979
The Deed of Exchange was entered into between Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company and the Earl Fitzwilliam’s Malton Estate Company to exchange land between the two estate companies, it does not name any individuals and there appears on the face of the deed to be no obvious relationship between the two companies or the individuals/families behind them. However, when we look at the signatures of the Directors for the two companies on the last page of the deed, the director of both companies is the same, it is very clearly the same signature. Reading some of the history about the Fitzwilliam Estate on their website, we learn that “Fitzwilliam Malton Estate (FME) is the trading name used by Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company for the company’s interests in Malton. Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland, grandson of the last Earl Fitzwilliam, and his son and heir, Tom Naylor-Leyland, look after the interests of this company” so the genealogist would be well advised to conduct research into the Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company. The deed does provide the company’s address to help with such research.
From local knowledge, previous research I have carried out and from the Fitzwilliam Estate website I know that in 1948 William Henry Lawrence Peter Viscount Milton (also known as Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam, the 8th Earl) died without a male heir, so the Estate was divided up to represent the interests of different parts of the family; and that the “Fitzwilliam Malton Estate is the freehold owner of much of the commercial heart of Malton and represents the family interests of Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland who, with his son Tom, is taking his family’s work for Malton into its fourth century”.
The Conveyance dated 19 February 1975 is between “Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company…(herein after called ‘the Vendor’) of the first part HUGH MYDDLETON PEACOCK of…. And ARTHUR RALPH KEEPING of…. (hereinafter called ‘the Trustees’) of the second part and RYEDALE DISTRICT COUNCIL of…”. This is the sale of the premises of 36 to 44 Old Maltongate to the local Council thus the property is no longer subject to the trust, the sum paid by the Council (£8,500) would vest in the trust in its place. In the circumstances this conveyance is of little genealogical value save in researching the history of the various properties rather than individuals.
The Council then sells the properties to Broadmanor Limited on 28 November 1979 for the sum of £11,000. Again the genealogical value here is in the history of the properties rather than individuals.
Conveyance and Mortgage Deed dated 1 July 1980
This is the first document relating solely to my property, number 38. It is the sale of the property by Broadmanor Limited to Lindsay Charnock and Gloria Charnock. Both documents provide the current address for the Charnock’s and the Mortgage deed confirms that Gloria Charnock is the wife of Lindsay. The property itself is also now known as “Lilac Cottage”.
Both documents contain the signatures of Mr and Mrs Charnock. Their signatures are witnessed by Malcolm A. Foggin Solicitors Clerk of 123 Welham Road, Norton, Malton. One may be mistaken in thinking this is the address of the solicitors he works for; however, I know this is his home address. I mention this because of my personal interest, in that I worked with Malcolm Foggin from 2005 until his retirement in 2008 and I know he spent his entire career working for the same firm of solicitors. No other information of genealogical value is provided.
Legal Charge dated 23 April 1987
This is of genealogical value to the extent that it is a further mortgage between Cedar Holdings Limited and Mr and Mrs Charnock and confirms they are still living at the address.
Conveyance dated 1st July 1988
Mr and Mrs Charnock sold the property on the 1st July 1988 to Clive Howard Thompson and Joanne Mary Burkill and their previous address is given. Their relationship status is not provided but the previous address for them both is the same, suggesting they are most likely an unmarried couple
Abstract of Title 1991
This 1991 abstract begins with the conveyance and mortgage from the purchase by Mr and Mrs Charnock from 1980. There is then further reference and further documents relating to the further mortgage they took out in 1987. A copy of the Credit Agreement itself is attached which provides further information on their names, in so far as we learn Mrs Charnock’s first names are Gloria Selina. This could be of vital importance to a genealogist in distinguishing between two people who may otherwise have the same name. We also learn from the agreement that their neighbour at number 40 is Marie Lockerbie, she has witnessed their signatures on the agreement.
We then have copy of the conveyance from 1988 (above) and a copy of the mortgage deed entered into by Clive Howard Thompson and Joanne Mary Burkill in 1988, which provide no extra information.
We then find my suggestion that Mr Thompson and Ms Burkill were an unmarried couple confirmed with a copy of their marriage certificate dated 1st July 1989. This if of course a vital piece of information for the genealogist, providing their ages, occupations, residence at the time of their marriage which interestingly is not given as 38 Old Maltongate which they had bought the year before. The certificate provides separate addressed for them both prior to marriage, Mr Thompson’s address being their previous address as given in the conveyance from 1988 and Ms Burkill’s a completely new address. Perhaps this is her parent’s address? Their father’s names and occupations are also provided.
The next document is then a further legal charge this time in their joint married names dated 2nd March 1990 which confirms they still live at the property.
Conveyance dated 8th July 1991
This is the sale of the property by Mr and Mrs Thompson to Mr and Mrs Bowes. With this conveyance (an abstract of title above) the property is registered at the Land Registry. The conveyance provides the names of all parties and their respective addresses prior to completion of the sale. No other information of genealogical value is provided.
Registered Land Documents
Following the property being registered, the records are minimal providing little in the way of genealogical value save for someone researching the history of the property and wanting to know who lived there. The ‘Official copy of the Register Entries’ provide the name(s) of the owners and information relating to the property itself with only one other owner between Mr and Mrs Bowes and myself.
There is of course so much more to research and learn about the property and its role in the local and social history of Malton and hopefully one day I will complete a full house history it (before I sell it).
WHilst I may not be able to research my own property at the moment for geographical reasons all this did spark my interest in house history to which I am now bringing my professional knowledge and skills to. A house history is far more than just the bricks and morter, it is the people, their families, their occupations and their lives along with the social and local history background whch makes up a complete house history (which as ever is all subject to the survival of records).
If you would like your house/property or an ancestors house/property resaerching, being is a house, pub, work place or other building, then pleae contact me to discuss further firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my contact page to book a zoom or telephone call.