Catalogue description Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: The Caption of Seisin of the Duchy of Cornwall

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Details of E 120
Reference: E 120
Title: Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: The Caption of Seisin of the Duchy of Cornwall

This series consists of the Caption of Seisin of the Cornish possessions of the Duchy of Cornwall, taken on behalf of Edward, eldest son of Edward III, in May 1337.

The purpose of the document was for seisin to be taken of the Cornish lands, knights' fees, jurisdictions, assets and privileges with which the duke was endowed.

The caption comprises surveys of the manors, knights' fees and castles of the duchy, and of other Cornish revenues belonging to the duchy, such as the shrievalty of Cornwall and the profits of the Stannary courts. Included are the names, holdings, rents and services of the free tenants; the free conventionaries, that is the free tenants holding under the assession system; the unfree conventionaries who held at will; and those who held in villeinage.

Borough surveys include claims to liberties, copies of charters and, in some instances, lists of burgesses. The last section of the document deals with the farms of the ports, levied by the duke's haveners and assessed according to the number of fishing boats each port supported, and including too the profits of court and rents and fines of stallholders, prises of wine, and wreck of the sea.

Date: 1337

The document consists of twenty-nine rotuli of parchment of unequal size, bound Exchequer-wise at the head. Each ends in a triangular tail, the dorse of which was used, as necessary, to indicate the continuation on a following rotulus of the text of an individual record of caption.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: Latin
Physical description: 1 roll(s)
Custodial history: It is clear from inventories that, by at least the end of the sixteenth century, the records of the King's Remembrancer included many Duchy of Cornwall records, although they might more logically have been placed with those of the Augmentations Office or the General Surveyors.
Publication note:

An edition of the text, with apparatus, is in The Caption of Seisin of the Duchy of Cornwall 1337, ed P L Hull (Devon and Cornwall Record Society, new series, xvii, 1971) For a detailed study of the estate, see J Hatcher, Rural Economy and Society in the Duchy of Cornwall 1300-1500 (Cambridge, 1970)

Administrative / biographical background:

Edward of Woodstock, later known as the Black Prince, was created Duke of Cornwall in March 1337. The lands of the new duchy were largely those of the earldom of Cornwall which had returned to the possession of the Crown on the death of the last earl, John of Eltham, in 1336.

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