Catalogue description Chancery: Inquisitions Post Mortem, Series I, Henry III

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Details of C 132
Reference: C 132
Title: Chancery: Inquisitions Post Mortem, Series I, Henry III

Inquisitions conducted before juries and normally presided over by a local crown official (a sheriff in most cases until the mid-1240s, but from the later years of Henry III's reign almost invariably an escheator).

They were held following the issue of a chancery writ of diem clausit extremum, requiring a return of the value and terms of tenure of an estate held by a lately deceased tenant-in-chief of the crown, and of the identity and age of any heir, heiress or co-heiress to such an estate.

The purpose was to ensure the correct identification and evaluation of all properties which ought to be in the king's hands by reason of escheat (or lack of an heir) or by right of wardship or marriage (of heirs less than twenty-one and heiresses less than fourteen years old). Associated with them were certain ancillary inquisitions, such as those charged with assigning dower to widows or producing detailed extents of estates.

The jury's findings were returned into Chancery, usually attached to the writ, endorsed with a note of its execution, and occasionally accompanied by other material of an evidential or administrative nature.

Date: c1216-c1272

Each file is usually made up of the documentation of inquisitions post mortem following the deaths of about twenty persons. The actual number of inquisitions in each file is likely to be rather greater than twenty, given that a tenant might well have held lands in more than one county, in which case separate inquisitions were required to be conducted in each shire concerned. The series is arranged, as far as possible, in chronological order.

Related material:

Accounts submitted to the Exchequer by the escheators are in E 136

Separated material:

Copies of inquisitions post mortem sent to the Exchequer are in E 149

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: Latin
Physical description: 47 file(s)
Custodial history: The records in this series were formerly housed in the Tower of London.
Publication note:

Calendared and indexed in Calendar of inquisitions post mortem and other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, I (HMSO, 1904). The calendar omits the names of escheators and jurors, and extents, though mentioned, are not given in any detail.

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