Berkshire Feet of Fines 1307-1509
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Feet of Fines record the transfer of freehold land and were a secure means of ensuring good title to a property. Behind their creation lies an allegation (often fictitious) of a broken promise relating to the land that had been resolved by an agreement – a final concord or fine for short – made in the king’s court. The fine records the terms of the agreement to which the two parties had come to resolve the situation and these were written out three times so that each party received an identical copy, and the final part, the foot, was retained by the court as a central record of the transaction.
In volumes 23 and 24 Dr Margaret Yates provides abstracts of all the feet of fines in the files of the county of Berkshire and those that relate to lands there contained in the files for divers and various counties, amounting to 1,581 fines for the reigns of Edward II to Henry VII. In the Introduction there is both a discussion of the nature of the documents and their constituent features, and also an indication of their use as historical evidence revealing a wealth of information about Berkshire’s landowners and their properties.