Discussion:
Pigs
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c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-02 20:09:51 UTC
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Do English medieval records give any indication of 'breeds' of pigs? I realise that 'breed' is probably a wrong concept, at least in modern-day terms, but maybe by colour or other descriptions.

Chris Dickinson
Vance Mead
2020-03-03 06:33:15 UTC
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I've seen horses particularly described and references to mastiffs and spaniels, but I can't remember seeing any precise description of pigs.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-03 11:43:28 UTC
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Post by Vance Mead
I've seen horses particularly described and references to mastiffs and spaniels, but I can't remember seeing any precise description of pigs.
Thanks, Vince.

My reason for asking is that I came across a bequest to a servant in a 1617 will of [in modern Engish] "a white two year old youngest of seven whites'. I was a bit suprised as I can't remember seeing anything before that described a pig by colour or proto-breed, and intend to check through my probate inventories for others that I may have missed. Hence, my thought that perhaps the records of an earlier age might turn up some more examples. I suppose that another source would be illuminated manuscripts.

As you imply, descriptions of more valuable animals are more common.

Chris
Ian Goddard
2020-03-03 12:04:58 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
I suppose that another source would be illuminated manuscripts.
Or mentions in the Paston letters?

Ian
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-03 12:12:03 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Vance Mead
I've seen horses particularly described and references to mastiffs and spaniels, but I can't remember seeing any precise description of pigs.
Thanks, Vince.
My reason for asking is that I came across a bequest to a servant in a 1617 will of [in modern Engish] "a white two year old youngest of seven whites'. I was a bit suprised as I can't remember seeing anything before that described a pig by colour or proto-breed, and intend to check through my probate inventories for others that I may have missed. Hence, my thought that perhaps the records of an earlier age might turn up some more examples. I suppose that another source would be illuminated manuscripts.
As you imply, descriptions of more valuable animals are more common.
Chris
Sorry, that was meant to be Vance!
Wibs
2020-03-04 09:44:26 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Vance Mead
I've seen horses particularly described and references to mastiffs and spaniels, but I can't remember seeing any precise description of pigs.
Thanks, Vince.
My reason for asking is that I came across a bequest to a servant in a 1617 will of [in modern Engish] "a white two year old youngest of seven whites'. I was a bit suprised as I can't remember seeing anything before that described a pig by colour or proto-breed, and intend to check through my probate inventories for others that I may have missed. Hence, my thought that perhaps the records of an earlier age might turn up some more examples. I suppose that another source would be illuminated manuscripts.
As you imply, descriptions of more valuable animals are more common.
Chris
I have transcribed hundreds of probate inventories, and it is quite common for all manner of livestock to be described by colour or some other distinguishing characteristic, simply to identify which pig, horse or sheep is being willed.

Wibs
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-04 10:54:00 UTC
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Post by Wibs
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Vance Mead
I've seen horses particularly described and references to mastiffs and spaniels, but I can't remember seeing any precise description of pigs.
Thanks, Vince.
My reason for asking is that I came across a bequest to a servant in a 1617 will of [in modern Engish] "a white two year old youngest of seven whites'. I was a bit suprised as I can't remember seeing anything before that described a pig by colour or proto-breed, and intend to check through my probate inventories for others that I may have missed. Hence, my thought that perhaps the records of an earlier age might turn up some more examples. I suppose that another source would be illuminated manuscripts.
As you imply, descriptions of more valuable animals are more common.
Chris
I have transcribed hundreds of probate inventories, and it is quite common for all manner of livestock to be described by colour or some other distinguishing characteristic, simply to identify which pig, horse or sheep is being willed.
Wibs
I can't say that I've seen many detailed descriptions actually in probate inventories, but in wills, yes.

Unfortunately, in this case the will wasa written in 1617 (possibly because one of his sone died in 1616) and he seems not to have died until the famine and plague of 1623, so it's not possible to compare the will description of 'whites' with the farm inventory, His 1623 inventory has for animals the normal brief descriptions:

6 oxen & kine and bull
6 young beasts and two heifers
two oxen more
one nag
one nag more
one more
60 sheep
16 sheep more
hens and one cock
geese

No piga at all. This might reflect the famine, with beasts being killled off.

But I shall check other probate inventories of the period. Though I've read a vast number of probate inventories, I don't usually transcribe or annotate the farm stock, unless something looks especially interesting or unusual. Also, only a small proportion are late sixteneenth or early seventeenth century.

I suspect that there might be quite significant regional variations in how animals and objects were recorded in inventories. I'm only familiar with Cumberland ones.
wjhonson
2020-03-04 18:43:39 UTC
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What was the point of saying one nag, one nag more, one more....

Why not just say three nags?
Matt A
2020-03-04 19:40:07 UTC
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Because instead of making it convenient for the rest of us, they want to nag us with boring addition.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-04 20:23:18 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
What was the point of saying one nag, one nag more, one more....
Why not just say three nags?
Ha, very good question.

I would think that this is partly because of plague. The prizers wanted to get out of there very quickly, and so just wrote down what they saw, without collating the material.

I've also not fully passed on the facts, as that each description is accompanied by a valuation .. so the nags were:

one nag ... 53s 4d
one nag more ... 26s 4d
one more ... 40s

I think that separate sheep listings are different because these may be subject to 'heafing' or hefting':

https://dictionary.thelaw.com/sheep-heaves/
http://www.cumbriacommoners.org.uk/files/mervyn_edwards_lake_district_fell_shepherds_final_jan_2018.pdf
[see the penultimate paragraph on page 3]


Chris
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-04 20:26:41 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
What was the point of saying one nag, one nag more, one more....
Why not just say three nags?
Ha, very good question.
I would think that this is partly because of plague. The prizers wanted to get out of there very quickly, and so just wrote down what they saw, without collating the material.
one nag ... 53s 4d
one nag more ... 26s 4d
one more ... 40s
https://dictionary.thelaw.com/sheep-heaves/
http://www.cumbriacommoners.org.uk/files/mervyn_edwards_lake_district_fell_shepherds_final_jan_2018.pdf
[see the penultimate paragraph on page 3]
Chris
[see the penultimate paragraph on page 3]

Oops, page 6.
wjhonson
2020-03-05 18:29:52 UTC
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I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.

I've seen inventories like this where they then said

One nag 40s sold to John Hamm

One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-05 19:08:43 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).

The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.

Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.

Chris
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-05 19:21:33 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
My apologies if this has spiralled out of the scope of a medieval group. I would be interested in any contrast with medieval probate procedures.
Ian Goddard
2020-03-05 19:43:49 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
women too performed this role
I've just come across a case where the daughter was named executrix and
refused the role. Her mother had to step in.

Ian
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-05 20:14:29 UTC
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Post by Ian Goddard
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
women too performed this role
I've just come across a case where the daughter was named executrix and
refused the role. Her mother had to step in.
Ian
The obligstions were onerous, both financially and physically/mentally.
wjhonson
2020-03-09 23:53:21 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
What I'm saying is: first the inventory, *then* the sale

Goods and lands sold to pay the debts of the deceased when the administrator could not.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-10 12:08:24 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
What I'm saying is: first the inventory, *then* the sale
Goods and lands sold to pay the debts of the deceased when the administrator could not.
Bear in mind that my comments below are largely about rural yeomen customary tenements, not major ancient freeholds.


I'm not sure how useful a probate inventory would be in the circumstance of a land sale. After all, the value of customary land wasn't listed, only the farm stock and fixtures and fittings.


Certainly, though, a listing of debts, owed and owing, was useful. I've never quite understood how non-literate communities kept such lists - through the local parson or attorney perhaps? Whatever, the probate inventory would have drawn a line under them for accounting purposes. Of course, legacies didn't always get paid, merely added on to the heir's debt to his siblings in a later inventory.

Probate inventories by c1700 in Whitehaven did perhaps serve a different purpose. These were often of relatively young men who died at sea, and the inventories would list the value of their merchandise and the value of their ship shares. As well as wages owed by the Government for escort or transport hiring during the wars with France.


Chris
wjhonson
2020-03-10 19:05:02 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
What I'm saying is: first the inventory, *then* the sale
Goods and lands sold to pay the debts of the deceased when the administrator could not.
Bear in mind that my comments below are largely about rural yeomen customary tenements, not major ancient freeholds.
I'm not sure how useful a probate inventory would be in the circumstance of a land sale. After all, the value of customary land wasn't listed, only the farm stock and fixtures and fittings.
Certainly, though, a listing of debts, owed and owing, was useful. I've never quite understood how non-literate communities kept such lists - through the local parson or attorney perhaps? Whatever, the probate inventory would have drawn a line under them for accounting purposes. Of course, legacies didn't always get paid, merely added on to the heir's debt to his siblings in a later inventory.
Probate inventories by c1700 in Whitehaven did perhaps serve a different purpose. These were often of relatively young men who died at sea, and the inventories would list the value of their merchandise and the value of their ship shares. As well as wages owed by the Government for escort or transport hiring during the wars with France.
Chris
I would say that a "list of debts" was not kept by anyone at all.

Typically you should find an instruction like, "anyone owed money by the deceased should bring their papers to court" and then those papers are entered as evidence of what was owned to whom at that time, not earlier.

I suppose the idea is that a righteous person, as everyone was, would not just make up a debt....

I've scrolled through at least twelve miles of papers of these sort in my time.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-10 19:44:31 UTC
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Post by wjhonson
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
What I'm saying is: first the inventory, *then* the sale
Goods and lands sold to pay the debts of the deceased when the administrator could not.
Bear in mind that my comments below are largely about rural yeomen customary tenements, not major ancient freeholds.
I'm not sure how useful a probate inventory would be in the circumstance of a land sale. After all, the value of customary land wasn't listed, only the farm stock and fixtures and fittings.
Certainly, though, a listing of debts, owed and owing, was useful. I've never quite understood how non-literate communities kept such lists - through the local parson or attorney perhaps? Whatever, the probate inventory would have drawn a line under them for accounting purposes. Of course, legacies didn't always get paid, merely added on to the heir's debt to his siblings in a later inventory.
Probate inventories by c1700 in Whitehaven did perhaps serve a different purpose. These were often of relatively young men who died at sea, and the inventories would list the value of their merchandise and the value of their ship shares. As well as wages owed by the Government for escort or transport hiring during the wars with France.
Chris
I would say that a "list of debts" was not kept by anyone at all.
Typically you should find an instruction like, "anyone owed money by the deceased should bring their papers to court" and then those papers are entered as evidence of what was owned to whom at that time, not earlier.
I suppose the idea is that a righteous person, as everyone was, would not just make up a debt....
I've scrolled through at least twelve miles of papers of these sort in my time.
You may be right. This is on a par with the more modern practice of making similar announcements in 'The Times' or whatever.

My puzzle is perhaps deeper than that. Probate inventories, though this depended on parish and time of year, were often made on the day of death or mostly within a week. Sometimes, after being drawn up, they list an additional debt that comes to light. They don't always list funeral expenses, which suggests to me that they were drawn up before burial when funeral expenses weren't known.

So the question still remains for me about how those debts were remembered and recorded.

Chris
wjhonson
2020-03-11 17:37:06 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by wjhonson
I suppose, now seeing the evalautions that this is related to the selling off of the estate.
I've seen inventories like this where they then said
One nag 40s sold to John Hamm
One person might buy one nag, and one person might buy a "bundle of clothes" or "pots and pans" without breaking them up in one pot, one pot, another pot.
Sale? No, this is a probate inventory where the personal effects were valued after the decease of the individual. This was part of the administration of the estate. It's pretty similar to the process in England today where the executors might arrange for a valuation of jewellery and funishings (in the modern context, to determine the value of the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes).
The customary tenement as such would not be valued, unlike today where the house is often the main item of interest.
Back in 1623, the inventory had a different purpose. Partly it was about recording debts to and from the deceased. But it was also about setting the potential bond penalty if the person administrating the estate after grant of probate failed in her/his duties as defined by the attached 'obligation'. In that case, that person, and usually two 'bondsmen' (women too performed this role), would have to pay the bond penalty, which was normally fixed at two or three times the value of the inventory. In this case, the penalty was £400.
Chris
What I'm saying is: first the inventory, *then* the sale
Goods and lands sold to pay the debts of the deceased when the administrator could not.
Bear in mind that my comments below are largely about rural yeomen customary tenements, not major ancient freeholds.
I'm not sure how useful a probate inventory would be in the circumstance of a land sale. After all, the value of customary land wasn't listed, only the farm stock and fixtures and fittings.
Certainly, though, a listing of debts, owed and owing, was useful. I've never quite understood how non-literate communities kept such lists - through the local parson or attorney perhaps? Whatever, the probate inventory would have drawn a line under them for accounting purposes. Of course, legacies didn't always get paid, merely added on to the heir's debt to his siblings in a later inventory.
Probate inventories by c1700 in Whitehaven did perhaps serve a different purpose. These were often of relatively young men who died at sea, and the inventories would list the value of their merchandise and the value of their ship shares. As well as wages owed by the Government for escort or transport hiring during the wars with France.
Chris
I would say that a "list of debts" was not kept by anyone at all.
Typically you should find an instruction like, "anyone owed money by the deceased should bring their papers to court" and then those papers are entered as evidence of what was owned to whom at that time, not earlier.
I suppose the idea is that a righteous person, as everyone was, would not just make up a debt....
I've scrolled through at least twelve miles of papers of these sort in my time.
You may be right. This is on a par with the more modern practice of making similar announcements in 'The Times' or whatever.
My puzzle is perhaps deeper than that. Probate inventories, though this depended on parish and time of year, were often made on the day of death or mostly within a week. Sometimes, after being drawn up, they list an additional debt that comes to light. They don't always list funeral expenses, which suggests to me that they were drawn up before burial when funeral expenses weren't known.
So the question still remains for me about how those debts were remembered and recorded.
Chris
If you live in a smallish village you *know* when someone has died. Particularly if they owe you a debt.

So in many cases where one person owes another a debt there is no need to advertise, for that person to show up at court.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-12 11:06:22 UTC
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On Wednesday, 11 March 2020 17:37:09 UTC, wjhonson wrote:
<snip>
Post by wjhonson
So in many cases where one person owes another a debt there is no need to advertise, for that person to show up at court.
Thank you for the conversation.

Chris

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