Files containing the court's copies or 'feet' of normally tripartite indentures recording agreements called final concords, or 'fines' for short. They were separately recorded agreements to terminate disputes about property brought before the king's court. In the earlier part of the period such agreements were often recorded on the plea rolls as an alternative.
The practice of keeping feet of fines in the records of the king's court began in 1195; the series includes a few earlier final concords made there before feet of fines began to be kept. The earliest of them dates from 1182, and many come from the archives of religious houses, some of whose records came to be included among the public records after the Dissolution.
The bulk of the feet of fines were made in the Bench or Common Bench, later the Court of Common Pleas, by an official called the chirographer, but until about 1272 the majority were made in general eyres held in the counties, while a few were made before justices of assize until about 1240, and before the court coram rege, later the court of King's Bench, until about 1271.
Note: Abstracts of feet of fines are searchable in the Medieval Genealogy website.
Digital images of some of the records in this series are available through the Anglo-American Legal Tradition website. Please note that The National Archives is not responsible for this website or its content.
Indexes to and calendars of the feet of fines were being made as early as the seventeenth century, as their interest for genealogical and topographical purposes was realised. A number were compiled by or for Le Neve or his predecessor Arthur Agard, and are now in IND 1/17106 , IND 1/17111, IND 1/17120, IND 1/17135, IND 1/17139- IND 1/17148, IND 1/17150 - IND 1/17152, IND 1/17155 - IND 1/17161, IND 1/17164 - IND 1/17166, IND 1/17169 - IND 1/17172 and IND 1/17178. These can be useful for some counties, but they are far from comprehensive and do not give modern references.