Examples and case studies


Translation: I can translate all documents that were written in Latin until the 18th century, when Latin ceased to be used for legal documentation.

Examples of translations of Latin documents:

  • KB 9/619 Part 2 no 303: Coroner’s inquest, dated 4 Jul 1567, into the death of Margery, late the wife of Richard Horton alias Wever of Stratford upon Avon, who was found to have hung herself with a cord. One of the jurors is John Shakysper, quite possibly the father of William Shakespeare.
  • KB 9/755 Part 2 no. 381: Coroner’s inquest, dated 4 Jul 1615, into the death of Richard Jenden of Dorking, Surrey. The document is notable for one of the jurors being William Mullins, who was a few years later a passenger on the Mayflower.
  • KB 9/420: Coroner’s inquest into the death of David Jones, rector of Hanworth, Midd, 22 Nov 1498. He was found to have been murdered by John Russell after being struck with a club.
  • E 315/235 f. 13: Rental of the manor of Ravenstonedale, Westm, taken after the dissolution of the monasteries at the time when it was granted to the archbishop of York, showing the names of tenants, the size of the lands each tenant held and the rents they were paying.
  • C 142/259/59: Translation of the inquisition post mortem of William Fleyminge, dated 4 Sep 1600, showing him to have held lands in Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire, including the manor of Coniston.
  • CP 40/909 (239f): This is a translation of an entry from the Court of Common Pleas in about 1488-89, in which Alexander Blakhalle of Bix, Oxon, yeoman, is accused of stealing a horse from Reynold Asshe and assaulting Reynold’s servant.
  • C 66/745 mm. 33-38: This contains a translation of a grant in the patent rolls to John Foster and Richard Marden of the manors of Wellow and Romsey Infra, Hants, dated 17 Dec 1544.
  • E 179/87/152. Translation of the list of taxpayers within the parish of Tintagel in 1543. This contains about 100 names, probably the majority of the householders within the aforesaid parish.
  • CP 25/2/279/8JASITRIN: Translation of a final concord in 1610 between William Avery and John Jule, querents, and John Hender, deforciant, concerning lands in Cornwall. The querents are purchasing the lands from the deforciant for the sum of £60.

Transcription: I can transcribe all English documents up to the 19th century. We try and keep as closely as possible to the format of the original document.

Examples of English documents:

  • PROB 11/27: Transcription of the will of John Underhill, canon of St Stephen’s chapel, Westminster, proved on 1 Jun 1538.
  • C 3/418/62: Transcription of a Chancery suit between Matthew Warner, embroiderer, and Richard Lowe, ship’s master [later master of the Ark], concerning the transportation of goods to Virginia in about 1630.
  • DL 1/241/25: Transcription of a pleading from the court of the Duchy of Lancaster dated in about 1610 between William Wilcockson of Wirksworth, Derb, tanner, and William Wetton concerning lands within the manor of Duffield, Derb.
  • SP 12/52: Transcription of the musters for the parish of Tintagel in 1569, listing the men able to serve and their arms.

Summaries: As regards documents, which are long, and for which full transcriptions or translations are not required, I can summarise these, extracting the main points of information, such as people, places and subject matter.

Examples of document summaries:

  • STAC 3/1/67: Summary of a suit brought by John Warcop against Lancelot Loder and others concerning the alleged abduction and rape of Anne Warcop, widow, the orator’s mother, at Smardale, Westm, in 1552.
  • C 10/40/51 and C 22/763/5: Summary of the pleadings and depositions in a suit between members of the Branthwaite family concerning the right to property at Low Carlingill in the parish of Orton, Westm. The documents show that the dispute was caused by William Branthwaite going to America and dying there, and hence his wife and daughter in America claimed the right to his supposed property back in England.
  • C 54/4838 no. 5 and C 54/4970 no. 11: Summaries of two entries from the close rolls showing the conveyance of the manor of West Wycombe, Bucks, to the Sir Samuel Dashwood in 1698, and the subsequent conveyance to Sir Francis Dashwood in 1706.

Document lists: I can also produce spreadsheets or word documents with lists of documents in summary form. This can be especially useful for a researcher who is looking for specific information or general patterns from a large number of documents.

Examples of document lists:

1. Manorial documents:

  • West Wycombe manor: I went through the manorial court books held at the Buckinghamshire Centre for Local Studies and summarised the entries concerning property transfers from 1600 to 1900 in a spreadsheet. Therefore, using the tithe map and other old maps of the manor of West Wycombe, I was then able to trace the history of most copyhold properties back to 1600. Then I went through the Winchester Pipe Rolls held at the Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and compiled a similar spreadsheet for the period from the 13th century to about 1550. This enabled me to trace back the history of several properties right back to the 13th century, and also explore the impact of the Black Death on this community. An example of such a list is a file containing a list of rents in default due to the pestilence for the manor of West Wycombe in Winchester pipe roll 108 dated about 1356. This lists up to 40 tenements within the manor, which were failing to pay the rents, presumably because the tenants had died during the Black Death in 1348 to 1349.
  • Westmorland manors: I have compiled spreadsheets showing transfers of properties for various Westmorland manors in the Lowther and Hothfield collections at the Cumbria Record Offices. This has revealed patterns of settlement from the 16th century to the 20th century.

2. King’s Bench indictments (KB 9):

  • I searched through the class KB 9 for any documents such as indictments or coroners’ inquests concerning Cumberland and Westmorland between 1435 and 1545. The main information was then listed in a spreadsheet under the following heading: reference, county, date, where the document was taken, the type of document, the name of the deceased, the name of the first offender, the number of offenders, the nature of the offence and where the offence took place. I found almost 450 documents.
  • I also searched through the same class for references to the surnames Shakespeare and Hathaway in Warwickshire in the 16th century. A similar spreadsheet was produced with over 50 entries.

3. Feet of fines (CP 25/2):

  • Surname searches: I searched through the indexes of the feet of fines at The National Archives for references to the surname Blackall in Oxfordshire during the period 1500 to 1800 and compiled a spreadsheet with about 100 entries. This helped to trace the origins of this surname in Oxfordshire.
  • Place-name searches: I conducted a similar search for references to Orton, Kirkby Stephen and Ravenstonedale in Westmorland and compiled the results in a spreadsheet.

4. Taxation records (E 179):

  • Surname searches: A search was undertaken for references to the surname Howland in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire taxation records in the 16th century. A few references were found to Howland, but other references were found which suggested that the surname was originally known as Howlin. Very early 16th century documents suggested that the place of origin for this surname in Cambridgeshire was Horningsea.
  • Place-name searches: Searches were undertaken for any documents relating to Kirkby Ireleth in Lancashire between the 13th century and 17th century. Particularly long lists of the inhabitants were found for the years 1523 and 1543, as well as for the hearth tax in the 1660s and 1670s.

5. Chancery documents:

  • Lowe surname search: I searched the Chancery catalogues and indexes for references to the surname Lowe in relation to families of that name in Ipswich and London. This included a thorough search of such documents during the reign of Charles I (the catalogues for this period not being very detailed). I found a handful of documents that related to the Lowe family that emigrated to America in the 17th century, which cast new light on their life before they left England.
  • Chancery decree search: I searched the indexes (IND 1) for any references to Chancery decrees in a specific lawsuit Hull v Howe in the years 1678 and 1679. I found about 8 entries, which we then able to match up to entries in the books of decrees in C 33. These provided me with information about the progress of this suit and the outcome thereof.

6. Duchy of Cornwall Assession Rolls:

  • Avery surname search: I searched through all surviving Assession Rolls for the manor of Tintagel from the 14th century to the 19th century for references to the surname Avery. Having found references in nearly all these rolls, revealing where members of this family had held property in Cornwall during the centuries, I was able to trace the family back to the 14th century.
  • Manaton surname: I conducted a similar search in the assession rolls for the manor of Stoke Climsland, Corn, and managed to trace this family back to the same period.

7. Close rolls (C 54):

  • Hildersham surname search: I searched through the indexes to the close rolls for references to the surname Hildersham in the 16th and early 17th centuries. I found over 20 references, including some to the renowned Puritan Arthur Hildersham.
  • Lord Wharton search: I searched through 16th century indexes and found many references to Lord Wharton. This enabled me to locate various documents concerning his properties in Westmorland.

8. Port books (E 190):

  • Ship search: I searched the port books of London in the 1630s for references to a ship called the Ark, which sailed for Virginia, America, in the 17th century, for any other information about its activities. I found several references which showed that it was transporting tobacco and beaver skins from Virginia to England.
  • Person search: I looked through port books for London and Harwich for references to Christopher Jones, master of the Mayflower, and found some previously undiscovered references.

9. Tithe apportionments (IR 29):

  • I have compiled the information from tithe apportionments in spreadsheets for various locations, such as Mallerstang, Tebay and Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland. The information includes names of owners and occupiers, field names and field sizes, which can be matched up to the tithe maps.

 Catalogue searches at The National Archives:

  • Surname searches: I searched through TNA catalogues for the surname Scandrett and found a large number of references, mainly in Herefordshire, which helped trace back the origins of this surname. I then transcribed or summarised a lot of these documents.
  • Local history: I searched through the calendars, indexes, catalogues and other published works at The National Archives for references to West Wycombe, and compiled a list of documents for conducting research into the history of this location.
  • Manor search: I searched through catalogues and indexes for any references to the manor of Castle Donington, Leics, and compiled a list of TNA documents, finding references in the Duchy of Lancaster records, the patent rolls and close rolls.

 Manorial documents searches:

  • Surname searches: I searched through all the surviving documents for the manor of Little Snoring, Norf, at the Norfolk Record Office, for references to the surname Chappell. Using the references found, I concluded that a particular branch of the Chappell family of America were most probably descended from the Chappells of Little Snoring.
  • Property search: I searched through the West Wycombe manorial records and Winchester Pipe Rolls to try and trace the history of Booker Farm otherwise known as Dormers, Bucks. I was able to trace its origins back to the 13th century and show that it was owned by the Dormer family in the earliest records. Showing that the farm originally consisted of one virgate or yardland, the documents showed how the occupant died at the time of the Black Death, but that the farm was enlarged in the 15th century with lands that had been abandoned after the Black Death, and subsequently became the largest farm at Booker by the 19th century.