bailiff Local official or agent.
borough A term (from the Old English burh) used to denote a place with urban characteristics and therefore likely to contain commercial institutions, including a market. The term originally indicated the defended character of the place but acquired additional connotations, including the distinctive legal customs, taxation rates and rights to representation enjoyed by the inhabitants of towns in contrast to those of the countryside. The privileged inhabitants of towns were known as burgesses. Not all settlements which functioned economically or socially as towns were recognised as boroughs.
burghal hidageA record of defended places established under royal authority in southern England and the Midlands during the late ninth and early tenth centuries. Many of these places were later thriving towns.
calendar A published summary in English of the contents of a document or a series of documents. For example, the charter rolls are the manuscript record of charters granted by the king; they are written in Latin in a contemporary hand. The calendar of the charter rolls is a summary of their contents with some information, such as the witness lists, left out.
charter Document recording a grant. A royal charter is distinguished from other forms of royal instrument as it has a witness list and notifies specific groups of the royal act.
confirmation A charter which reiterates the terms of a previous grant and perhaps grants additional rights. In the Gazetteer, most confirmations are made by the king.
curia regis Literally the kings court, this was a royal court which progressed in circuits around the country. The cases which were brought before the court are useful as they occasionally contain information regarding markets and fairs.
demesne Land retained by a lord for his own use; royal demesne was the land retained by the king.
Domesday Book Detailed survey of England, conducted in 1086 on the order of King William I.
escheat Reversion of a holding to a lord, or ultimately to the Crown. This often happened if there was an absence of legitimate heirs.
eyreA circuit (composed of several counties) by royal judges who were known as justices-in-eyre. Eyres were not held every year. A phrase like ‘at the eyre of 1244’ denotes business conducted on the circuit in that year.
fair A trading institution held annually. In medieval England and Wales, a fair was held on a set date, normally associated with the feast of a particular saint. A fair might last only a single day or over a number of days, ranging from two or three days to a week or more.
feast An annual religious festival, often a saint’s day, on which fairs were held.
feet of fines Also known as final concords, this was a means of settling a dispute, commonly with the purpose of conveying real property. The 'foot' was the copy of the agreement filed centrally, the others being kept by the two parties.
fine In the context of the Gazetteer, this was a payment to the Crown in return for a royal grant. The fines proffered each year were recorded on the Fine Rolls; some were also noted on the Pipe Rolls.
Formerly Prescriptive Description used in the Gazetteer for a prescriptive market or fair which was subsequently formalised in a charter.
grantee The person or institution who received a grant.
grantor The person or institution who made a grant.
inquisition post mortem When a tenant who held directly from the king died, an inquest was held to determine the nature and extent of his estates. The inquest was conducted by means of sworn testimony. The findings of these inquisitions post mortem often include information regarding markets and fairs.
Lay Subsidy of 1334 The tax levied in 1334 was novel in that it replaced the previous system of direct tax on the wealth of individuals by a ‘fixed quota’ system in which every community agreed upon the sum it was to pay. Rural areas paid a fifteenth of their assessed wealth, whilst boroughs paid a tenth.
letters close A means of sending a royal instruction, often to a member of the administration. The letter was closed, that is, folded and sealed, so that its contents remained private. In the context of the Gazetteer, letters close are usually instructions by the king to a sheriff, ordering him to establish, publicise or close a market or fair in his county. During the minority of King Henry III (1216–1227), grants of markets and fairs were made by letter close, as the king was under age and therefore could not issue charters in hereditary right.
letters patent A means of sending a royal instruction: an open letter, with the seal attached to the bottom. In the context of the Gazetteer, letters patent were occasionally used to record royal grants of markets and fairs. The use of letters patent for such grants often occurs during exceptional circumstances, for example when the king was overseas on campaign. However, from 1517 onwards, all grants which had previously been made using royal charters were made with letters patent.
mandate An order; in the Gazetteer, it is usually an order from the king to a royal official such as a sheriff.
market A trading institution held weekly. At most places in medieval England and Wales a market was held on a set day, once a week. The larger towns had several markets on several days a week.
minorityPeriod when an individual was under age (i.e. less than 21) and therefore could not possess or control his or her inheritance. A royal minority occurred when the king was succeeded by an heir (usually) under 21. For example, in 1216 King John was succeeded by Henry III, who was only 9 years old. During a minority, the heir and his or her estates were normally under the control of an appointed guardian.
morrow The day after a feast.
nova oblata Meaning new offerings, this was a heading on the Pipe Roll under which new fines were recorded. A fine enrolled under this heading had been paid for a recent charter or grant. The amount owed by the grantee is sometimes recorded, for example 5 marks for a charter.
octave The eighth day after a feast (the feast day itself is counted).
palfreyA horse used for everyday riding (as opposed to a war horse). Late twelfth and thirteenth century fines were often expressed as ‘5 marks or a palfrey’.
Pipe Roll Name given to the Great Roll of the Exchequer on account of its shape when rolled up. Records of the audit of the annual accounts of the sheriff of each county made in the Exchequer. In the context of the Gazetteer, these are useful as they often record the fine made by a grantee in return for a charter.
prescriptive A prescriptive market or fair was held by custom (i.e. it was not set up by a grant or charter). They were usually the oldest markets and fairs.
quo warranto In the context of the Gazetteer, this refers to a series of enquiries held by royal judges who were sent on circuits around the country, chiefly in the reigns of King Edward I and King Edward II (1272–1327). In an attempt to assert royal rights, the justices attempted to discover by what right (quo warranto) individuals or institutions were holding markets and fairs.
replevyTo restore, following confiscation.
sheriff Principal agent of the Crown responsible for the administration and finances of a specific county.
vigilThe eve, or day before, a feast.