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Words and Phrases
Words or PhraseDescription
Archdeacon's Transcripts A copy of all the previous years' entries in the parish register which was passed to the Archdeacon. This copy runs annually from Easter to Easter.
Banns Marriages can take place if a licence has been issued by the local Bishop or after banns have been read. Banns are notices which are read out in church for three Sundays before a marriage. They are read in the home parish of the bride and groom and call on anyone who knows of good reason why the marriage should not take place, to declare it. If no objection is raised then the marriage can proceed.
Bishop's Transcripts Similar to Archdeacon's Transcripts except that they are copies made for the Bishop.
Burial in Wool Acts Two Acts of Parliament in 1667 and 1678, required that the dead had to be buried in a 'shirt, shift, sheet or shroud' made of wool. This was an early example of the state trying to protect its industry. A person had to swear an affidavit that the burial had taken place according to the law and fines were levied on anyone connected with an illegal burial. The Act was widely ignored after the 1680's, but remained in force until 1814.
Carucate See under 'Hide'
Census Return A census was first recorded in England and Wales in 1801. Early returns were just concerned with numbers and not names, so only a few of them survive which record households. The census is taken every 10 years, and from 1841 personal information was recorded. The 1841 census does not record exact ages for adults, or exact birthplaces. The 1851 census does contain this information and so is of far greater use. GRO indices
Hearth Tax By 1662, King Charles II was in debt. Parliament authorized the collection of a new tax, the receipts from which were paid directly to the crown. This was really unpopular, not only with the opposition in Parliament, but with the population generally. The tax was collected at the rate of 1 shilling for each hearth in a property. This was payable twice a year, at Michaelmas (25 Sept) and Lady Day (25 Mar). There were exemptions for the poor. Hearth Tax Returns for Norfolk have been transcribed for Michaelmas 1664 and Lady Day 1666. It is useful for historians to have such a wide-ranging survey of households, even if a good deal of tax evasion occurred by under-declaring the number of hearths in a house.
Hide The amount of land required to support a Freeman and his extended family and which could be ploughed by a team of oxen in one year. This varied quite a lot according to whether the land was good or poor, hilly or flat, but was very roughly 160 acres. In Norfolk, the area was more often known as a Carucate.
Hundred From the 10th century onwards, shires were divided into smaller areas for administration. These units were known as Hundreds. The name possibly originated from an area of one hundred Hides or Carucates. A Reeve was appointed to run a Hundred on behalf of the Sheriff (Shire Reeve) and he exerted his authority through a Hundred Court. Hundreds declined in importance with the forming of Poor Law Unions and Registration Districts and became effectively redundant with the Local Government Act of 1894 which created District Councils.
Money Until 1972, British Money was based on the following: 12 Pence = 1 Shilling 20 Shillings = 1 Pound Early Subsidies and assessments also frequently refer to a Mark. A Mark was the equivalent of two thirds of a Pound so making it worth 13 Shillings and 4 Pence. On this Archive website, the abbreviations Pd (Pound), S (Shilling) d (Pence) and Mk (Mark) are used.
Muster In days before the introduction of professional armies; Kings and Lords still liked to engage themselves in warfare. To raise an army, a muster would be called. All able bodied men between 16 and 60 were required to attend and persons selected from them to go to war.
Parish Register An order of 1538 required each parish to record baptisms, marriages and burials and to store them in a secure coffer. (The Parish Chest). These records were made weekly on loose sheets of paper or parchment. In 1598 the instruction was amended so that all the loose sheets had to be copied into a bound parchment register. Particular attention had to be paid to all those entries recorded since the accession of Elizabeth I. Copies were made annually and sent to the Archdeacon or Bishop. At first, all the entries tended to be recorded en masse. Separate sections of the register were often later used to record different events. This has ultimately led to separate registers of Baptism, Marriage, Burial and Banns
Subsidy A Tax return. People were assessed as to their general wealth. It was basically split into two sections, Income calculated on their land holdings and the capital value of their Goods. They were liable to pay tax on whichever produced most income for the Crown. Tax on land was at the rate of 4 shillings in the Pound, land holdings under 20 shillings did not count. Goods (also referred to as Goods and Cattle) were taxed at 2 shillings 8 pence in the pound and tax was payable on Goods worth 3 Pounds or more. There was widespread tax evasion by trying to get the value of land or goods under-declared.
Valuation An assessment made of the wealth of individuals which led to them being taxed (see also under 'subsidy')


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