This glossary explains some of the terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions of archive documents.

Terms used in archive documents:

TermMeaning
Abstract of titleSummary of previous ownership and transactions concerning a property, usually prepared when a property is to be sold. (.*)
Accession recordA brief record of a collection of archives, giving details of dates, size, contents and depositor, created as soon as the collection is deposited, but before it is catalogued.
AdvowsonThe right of patronage of a church, with the right to nominate a clergyman of a parish (recognized in English law until 1898) .
AnnuityAnnual payment to a person (often grant) .
AppurtenancesA right or privilege belonging to a property.
AssignmentTransfer of a right or interest in a property, usually of a lease or mortgage.
Assignment of term in trust to attend the inheritanceAssignment of the residue of a term in a mortgage to a trustee, after the mortgage has been paid off.
Bargain and saleDeed transferring property.
BondAgreement to pay a sum of money if certain conditions are not met (often to pay a lesser sum of money or perform certain covenants in a deed).
CatalogueDescription of a collection of archives, giving details of creator, date, size, contents and other data, arranged hierarchically.
CodicilAdditional clause in a will.
CollectionAn entity of archival documents emanating from one source with a logical identity.
ConsiderationPurchase money for an interest in property.
ConveyanceDocument effecting a property transfer.
CopyholdLand held by possession of a copy made by the steward of a manor from the court-roll of the manor.
CordwainerA specialist shoemaker or leatherworker.
CovenantAgreement entered into by party to a deed.
CurtilageThe enclosed land around a house or other building.
CustumalManorial survey which consists of a list of the manor's tenants with the customs under which each held his house and lands.
DeedLegal document documenting transfer of title from one party to another.
DemesnePart of the manor held by the lord and not let out to tenants.
DowerEntitlement of a widow to a proportion of her late husband’s property.
Easter (date)The Sunday following the first full moon on or after the 21st March.
Easter (term)A legal term in the English calendar, usually beginning 17 days after Easter and ending 3-5 weeks later.
EnfeoffmentDeed by which a person acquired land.
EntailSettlement of a property stating that it must descend in a particular fashion (usually through heirs male) and may not be sold or otherwise disposed of.
EssoinExcuse for not attending manorial court.
ExecutorMan appointed in a will to carry out the provisions of the will.
ExecutrixWoman appointed in a will to carry out the provisions of the will.
Extent (1)A manorial survey that has a valuation attached to every property (usually dating from 13-14th century).
Extent (2)Size of a unit of description within a collection.
Final concordOfficial record of a collusive court case, often used as a form of title insurance when a property is to be sold. Usually accompanies private deeds relating to the transaction. (Also called fine or final agreement).
GavelkindSystem of inheritance peculiar to Kent after 1066, by which property is divided between all sons or heirs.
Gregorian CalenderCalendar adopted in Great Britain and Ireland in 1752, which made 1st January the 1st day of the year, as opposed to Lady Day. Therefore all documents dated between 1 January and 24 March before 1752 have been dual dated, for example 1 January 1701[/2].
HeriotPayment to the Lord of the Manor on the death of a tenant, usually his best beast.
HilaryA legal term in the English calendar, usually beginning on 20th January.
IndemnityProtection against future loss.
IndentureDeed between 2 or more parties, with top indented.
JointureFinancial provision made for a woman after the death of her husband. Usually created within her marriage settlement.
Lease and releaseForm of deed in two parts, used for transferring an interest in property. The lease is usually for a year (occasionally for 6 months), with an annual rent of a peppercorn. This places the purchaser in possession as tenant. The release allows the previous owner to release their interest in the property and contains the terms of the deed. The form is usually used for conveyances, but also sometimes for mortgages and marriage settlements.
Lease for a yearSee lease and release.
Letters patentA royal grant of property or right, enrolled on the patent rolls.
ManorAdministrative unit of land over which the lord of a manor had authority.
MessuageProperty or dwelling house.
Michaelmas (date)29th September.
Michaelmas (term)A term in the legal calendar (usually from 6 October-25 November) or 29th September (as a date).
MoietyHalf share in a property.
MortgageA conditional conveyance of property as security for the repayment of a loan.
Power of attorneyA legal document authorizing someone to act as the grantor's agent.
ProbateA judicial certificate saying that a will is genuine and conferring on the executors the power to administer the estate.
QuitclaimDeed renouncing a person’s right to property.
RecognisanceA bond.
ReliefSum paid by an incoming freehold manorial tenant for his right to take over the tenement.
RentalManorial document listing tenants and rents payable.
SeizenOwnership or possession of freehold property.
Statute stapleA strong form of a bond.
SurveyDescription of a manor consisting of descriptions of boundaries, customs and a rent roll.
Tenant for lifeCurrent owner of entailed property.
Tenant in tailPerson expected to inherit entailed land on death of the current owner (usually the eldest son).
Tenant to the precipePerson to whom property is transferred for the purpose of suffering a recovery.
TerrierManorial document consisting of a topographical description of land.
TrinityA term in the English legal calendar running from the octave of Trinity to 8 July.
TrusteeA person holding property on another’s behalf.
WharfingerOwner of a wharf.

Abbreviations used in archive catalogue entries:

AbbreviationFullMeaning
BPSBromley Philanthropic Society
c.CircaAbout, we only have a rough date.
CKSCentre for Kentish StudiesNow named: Kent History and Library Centre.
ff or fFolio
flFlourishMeans to be alive or active at this date, but we do not know the dates for their birth or death.
GLC or G.L.C.Greater London Council
LBB or L.B.B.London Borough of Bromley
LCC or L.C.C.London County Council
Ms or MSManuscriptHandwritten
ODASOrpington and District Archaeological Society
ODC or O.D.C.Orpington District Council
p.a.Per annumAnnually
pp or pPagesTells you the number of pages in the document.
ts or TSTypescript
£ s d

£ - pounds

S – shillings (20 to a pound)

P – pence (12 to a shilling)

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