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Volume XLI, The Earliest Final Concords from Hertfordshire: A Calendar of Feet of Fines from the reigns of King Richard I and King John, edited D. P. Johnson

From 1195, the royal courts began to produce records of agreements – or final concords – made before the king and his justices. The text of each concord was written out three times on a single piece of parchment. The first two copies, transcribed onto the upper two thirds of the sheet of parchment, were given to the parties to the concord. The third copy was written at the bottom (‘foot’) of the sheet and subsequently retained by the court. This volume provides a detailed calendar (English summary) of the earliest surviving Hertfordshire feet of fines now preserved at The National Archives. Whilst the original Latin texts of Hertfordshire concords from the reign of Richard I have previously been published, they have never before been available in English. The Hertfordshire concords from the reign of King John have never before appeared in print.

Most often, these settlements involve land transactions, but there are also a significant number of cases relating to ‘dower’ (the life-share of a husband’s property allowed to a widow after her husband’s death) and a smaller number concerning other subjects such as advowsons (the right to present a new incumbent to an ecclesiastical benefice). This volume therefore reflects a wide range of different aspects of life during this period.

Some of the cases included in this volume involved figures of national significance; but the majority relate to men and women who are otherwise unknown to historians. The detailed nature of these documents means that they often contain a great deal of information on particular individuals and localities not found elsewhere.

The volume contains an introduction to the texts, setting them in context and explaining the nature of the system by which they were produced. Particular concords are also annotated with further references and notes which provide more background information on specific cases.

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