Feet of Fines
Feet of fines started at the time of Richard I and continued to about 1830, and were essentially deeds transferring land. Mutual agreements put an end (finis) to contentious suits in the royal court. It also became a means of efficiently and safely transferring of land. Originally three copies of the transfer were made on one sheet of paper, top left for the querents, top right for the deforciants and the bottom (the foot) portion to remain with the court. The portions were then separated with uneven or jagged cuts to prevent forgeries. They are arranged by county, giving land transfers, sometimes names of relatives and locations. Sometimes fractions of property (1/3, 2/3, etc.) can reveal property given by will or administration, showing relationship to others mentioned in the feet of fines. A keyword search of ‘Feet of Fines’ in your family history library can produce a list of county records in England. Also, many records are now on the internet so a search for the same on your favorite search tool can yield results.
Querents were usually the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred to.
Deforciants were the party of a person or persons to whom the property was transferred from.
Word of the Week:
Hoffens = Feet