It's only mine because it holds my suitcase.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Musings on a piece of vellum

The Kirkby IndentureI picked this up last weekend and have been researching it off and on since. And by researching I mean "trying to read it." I'm not sure I'm doing terribly well.

It starts, "This Indenture of Defeazance made this seventh day of September in the Four and Twentieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second," but my reading comprehension kinda goes downhill from there.

What I have worked out is this: It's a defeasance, which would release the parties involved from an earlier contract. The agreement is between Richard Kirkby, 18th lord of Kirkby, Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace, and his daughter Agnes (spinster). It pertains to a gift of 300 pounds given in trust to Richard by his wife's father, David Murray (According to "The Antiquities of Furness", David was a servant at the court of Charles I) as part of his last will and testament in 1658.

Richard was bankrupted in the first civil war, even losing his estate (but rewarded well by Charles 2 after the Restoration). It seems, however, he had no way to repay Agnes her three hundred pounds plus interest (566 pounds now). This document seems to nullify the debt, possibly in exchange for something already provided.Something to do with Boulton? A manor?

Whatever it actually says, it's a fascinating look into 17th century British history, and you can play along at home! I posted a great big version here.


  1. Very cool. Nice find. I think the only way to really be able to understand any historical era is to read the literature from that time, whether it be legalese, artistic, governmental, or whatever.