Peter Brown Family History

PM Inquistion of John Feldwick 1592

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Inquisition Post Mortem for John Feldwyk(e) the original of which is held in the National Archives under ref: C/142/233/46. Provided by Chris Allen (Chris & Norma Allen [cfallen23@tiscali.co.uk])

Inquisitions were held after the death of major land owners and were originally an aspect of the feudal tenures of the early Middle Ages.  The aim of the Inquisition, following the death of John Feldwyke, was for a jury to enquire into how much land and property he owned held of the Queen on the day he died, how much he held of other people, how much it was worth annually, who and how old his heir was, who had occupied his land and property since his death and taken the revenues, how and by what title.

The whole document is a translation from the Latin.

On 16th February 1591/92 a writ was issued, directed to the Escheator of Sussex, to summon a 15 man jury to enquire into the estates of John Feldwyke and an Inquisition Post Mortem was held on 3rd April 1592.

As can be seen, the family name is variously spelt throughout the document as Feldwyke, Feldwyk, Feldwike and Feldwik.

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Delivered to the court on the 14th day of June in the said year by the Escheator

An indented inquisition taken in the City of Chichester in the said county on the third day of April in the 34th year of the reign of Lady Elizabeth, by the grace of God Queen of England, France, Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc,  before John Comber, esquire, Escheator of our Lady the Queen in the aforesaid county, by virtue of a writ of our Lady the Queen of mandamus sent after the death of John Feldwyke to the said Escheator,  and annexed to this inquisition, by the oaths of Robert Sherlock, Henry Butler, Anthony Mory, Richard Stronge, George Sergent, Thomas Collyns, Thomas Smith, Thomas Mason, John Goobett, John Judd, John Page, John Awcoke, Edward Hull, John Gunwyn, Robert Jemmand who say on their oaths that the said John Feldwike named in this writ on the day he died was seised in demesne as of a fee, of and in one messuage, one barn and certain acres of land and tenements with appurtenances, containing by estimation forty acres, called Feldwickes, lying and being in the parishes of West Hoathly and Ardingly in the said county; and of and in one other parcel of land with appurtenances in West Hoathly aforesaid, containing by estimation thirty acres of land called Nichols otherwise Homewoodes.  And being thus seised, died seised of such estate. 

Furthermore the jurors say on their said oaths that the said messuage, barn, lands and tenements aforesaid with appurtenances called Feldwykes are held, and on the day the said John Feldwik died, were held of a certain Francis Carew, knight, as of his manor of Plumpton Buskage in the said county by fealty, but by what other services the said jurors know not.  And they are worth annually from all profits, less deductions, 27s 4d.  And that the said other parcel of land with appurtenances called Nichols otherwise Homwoodes are held, and on the day on which the said John Feldwyke died, were held of our said Lady the Queen in free socage in chief by fealty only, but not by knight’s service.  And they are worth annually from all profits, less deductions, 16s 8d.  And that the said John Feldwike named in this writ died on the first day of January in the 33rd year of the reign of our Lady the present Queen [1591]. 

And that William Feldwyke, on the day of the taking of this inquisition 30 years of age or more, is the son and next heir of the said John Feldwyke.  And that the said William Feldwyke has taken and received the profits and perquisites of two parts of the said tenements [being divided into three parts] as the son and heir of the said John Feldwike, from the day of the death of the said John until the day of the taking of this inquisition. 
And that Thomsina Chalonor, widow, late the wife and relict of the said John Feldwyk, still surviving and living, took and received the profits and perquisites of one third part of the said tenements with appurtenances, remaining from the said tenements, from the time of the death of the said John Feldwyk until the day of the taking of this inquisition, as her dower by endowment from the said John Feldwyk, late her husband.  The said jurors upon their said oaths say further that the said John Feldwyke on the day he died held no other or further lands or tenements of the Queen nor of any other person or persons in the said county in his demesne or in tenant service as far as they know.
In witness of which to one part of this inquisition, remaining in the keeping of the said Escheator, both the Escheator and the Jurors have put their seals, and to the other part remaining in the keeping of the said jurors, the said Escheator has put his seal, on the day and year first abovementioned.

Some definitions:

Appurtenances. Rights belonging to a property.
Demesne (pronounced de-mean). A manor house with adjacent lands not let out to tenants; any land estate.
Dower. Property settled on a woman at marriage to be enjoyed after her husband’s death.
Escheator. An official who watched over escheats which were property that fell to a feudal lord or to the state for want of an heir, or by forfeiture.
Feodory/Feudory. Holding lands or power by feudal tenure.
Fee. A grant of land for feudal service: feudal tenure.
Hereditaments. Any property that may pass to an heir.
Messuage (pronounced messwidge). A mansion house and grounds.
Seized or Seised. In legal possession of.
Socage. Tenure of lands by service which is fixed and determined.
Tenement. Anything held, or that may be held, by a tenant.
Tenure. Holding or period of holding.
Tithe. Originally the tenth part of the produce of land and stock payable to the Church. A rent-charge in commutation of this.