The Fifteenth-Century Inquisitions Post Mortem

The Fifteenth-Century Inquisitions Post Mortem

A Companion

Edited by Michael Hicks


Boydell Press



Essays offering a guide to a vital source for our knowledge of medieval England.
The Inquisitions Post Mortem (IPMs) at the National Archives have been described as the single most important source for the study of landed society in later medieval England. Inquisitions were local enquiries into the lands held by people of some status, in order to discover whatever income and rights were due to the crown on their death, and provide details both of the lands themselves and whoever held them. This book explores in detail for the first time the potential of IPMs as sources for economic, social and political history over the long fifteenth century, the period covered by this Companion. It looks at how they were made, how they were used, and their "accuracy", and develops our understanding of a source that is too often taken for granted; it answers questions such as what they sought to do, how they were compiled, and how reliable they are, while also exploring how they can best be used for economic, demographic, place-name, estate and other kinds of study.

Michael Hicks is Professor of Medieval History, University of Winchester.

Contributors: Michael Hicks, Christine Carpenter, Kate Parkin, Christopher Dyer, Matthew Holford, Margaret Yates, L.R. Poos, J. Oeppen, R.M. Smith, Sean Cunningham, Claire Noble, Matthew Holford, Oliver Padel.


May 2012
3 line illustrations
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843837121
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, LAW060000, HIS015000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Introduction - Michael Hicks
Crossing Generations: Dower, Jointure and Courtesy - Michael Hicks
The Lesser Landowners and the Inquisitions Post Mortem - Christine Carpenter
Tales of Idiots, Signifying Something: Evidence of Process in the Inquisitions Post Mortem - Kate Parkin
The Value of Fifteenth-Century Inquisitions Post Mortem for Economic and Social History - Christopher Dyer
'Notoriously Unreliable': The Valuations and Extents - Matthew Holford
The Descriptions of Land found in the Inquisitions Post Mortem and Feet of Fines. A Case Study of Berkshire - Margaret Yates
Correcting Josiah Russell's Measurements of Late Medieval Mortality using Inquisitions Post Mortem -
A Great Historical Enterprise: The Public Record Office and the Making of the Calendars of Inquisitions Post Mortem - Sean Cunningham
Writs and the Inquisitions Post Mortem: How the Crown managed the System - Claire Noble
'Thrifty Men of the Country'? The Jurors and their Role - Matthew Holford
Place-names and Calendaring Practices - Oliver J. Padel


An extremely valuable and useful companion. HISTORY, July 2013

An indispensable introduction and guide. NORTHERN HISTORY, L, no. 2, September 2013

This is a valuable collection likely to be widely used and referred to. The social and economic historian, as well as his political and administrative colleague, will find a tremendous amount to interest them here. THE RICARDIAN

Provides a fascinating and detailed insight into this series of under-used medieval records. (It) is rigorous in its academic quality, and an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable read. It highlights the enormous potential of these records for historians and genealogists alike, and will prove an essential companion to those intending to utilise these records in their future research. LOCAL POPULATION STUDIES

Illustrates very successfully the wide-ranging historical value of the inquisitions and the benefits of their availability in calendared form. REVIEWS IN HISTORY

Also by Author