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“ 6th. The premises are then mentioned. They are described shortly in the body of the grant by their measured or estimated quantity of land, and the name of the place where they were situate. Some general words then follow, often very like those annexed to the description of premises in our modern conveyances.
“ 7th. The nature of the tenure is then subjoined, whether for life or lives, or in perpetuity, or whether any reversion is to ensue.
“ Sth. The services from which the land is liberated, and those to which it is to continue subject, are then expressed.
“ 9th. Some exhortations are then inserted to others, not to disturb the donation, and some imprecations on those who attempt such disturbance.
“ 10th. The date, the place of signature if a royal grant, and the witnesses, usually conclude it. The date is sometimes in the beginning (a).”
Use of crosses
VIII. Although seals were in use among the instead of seals. Anglo-Saxons, probably for impressing the wax which
closed their epistles (6), yet they did not employ them for authenticating their charters, but used only the sign of the cross; which was accounted the most solemn mode of confirmation, and a sure amulet against wrong-doers, according to the old verse, “Per Crucis hoc signum, fugit hinc procul omne malignum (c).” Thus Edgar concludes his charter to
(a) Turner's Anglo-Saxons, (c) Spelman's English Works, ii. 570.
() Palgrave, P. 2, 215.
Crowland Abbey, dated 966:—“I Edgar, monarch of all Albion, have confirmed this deed with the sign of the Holy Cross, + ." Dunstan does the like:—“I Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, have fortified this deed with the sign of the Holy Cross, which we set up in triumph over our enemies + ." Then the rest of the bishops and nobles subscribe in like manner with crosses. Again, in King Edgar's char ter of the sanctuary at Westminster, dated 968:—“I Dunstan, though a sinner, yet Archbishop of Canterbury, have sealed this liberty or privilege with the joyful sign of the cross + (a).” Some Saxon kings, however, as Edward the Confessor, and perhaps Edgar, used both seals and crosses; but the usage did not possess the uniformity and constancy of a legal custom (6).
IX. Important as were the ultimate consequences Anglo-Norman. of the Norman conquest both to our laws and literature, yet the alterations produced in the forms of conveyancing did not immediately follow that event, but rather resulted from those progressive changes which terminated in a general fusion of laws. Hume, Blackstone, and most other modern writers (c), Language of
Anglo-Norman have given currency to the opinion, that an imme- laws, charters, diate change ensued in the language of our laws, state.
and acts of
(a) Spelman, p. 235.
view, x. 272, art. xii. by the (6) Ibid. p. 236; Palgrave, late Dr. Thomas Young. This P. 2, 216; and see Ellis's In- valuable article is incorporated trod. to Dom. B. i. 40, note. into the new edition of the En
(c) Hume, i. 230; Bla. Com. cyclopædia Britannica, art. Lanii. 317, iv. 415; Turner's Mid- guage, vol. xiii. dle Ages, v. 422; Quarterly Re
charters, and acts of state; and that, conformably to the ordinance of the Crown, they were henceforward expressed in the French tongue. Daines Barrington, in his observations on the statute De Scaccario, 51 Hen. III., first pointed out the groundlessness of this opinion; and Luders, in his masterly tract “ On the Use of the French Language in our Ancient Laws and Acts of State,” has supported the same view with great learning and research. This last able writer doubts whether any such ordinance as is ascribed to the Conqueror was ever given (a): it rests on the authority of a doubtful reading of a passage in the history of Ingulfus- a work whose authenticity was questioned by Dr. Hickes (6), and which a distinguished living critic conceives to be a forgery of Richard II.'s time (c). Certain it is, however, that although the French language was spoken by the superior classes of society from the Conquest to the reign of Edward III. (d), yet, until the time of King John, all records, acts of state, laws, writs, and charters both of sovereigns and subjects, (with one doubtful exception) (e), are either in Latin or Saxon (f). I need hardly remark that Domesday Book, the most important publication of William's reign, and which was completed in 1086, is in the former language (a). Latin, indeed, was employed by the Normans for these purposes in their own country; and it would have been strange, as Mr. Luders remarks, if, in England, they had adopted a language neither conformable to their own native usage, nor that of the people whom they had subdued (6). Soon after 1270, French, however, was brought into common use; it was employed in private letters, and in
rope, i. 37.
(a) Luders's Tracts, vi. but evidently a mere repetition of (6) Præf. ad Thesaurus, p. 29. the laws of Edward the Confes(c) Hallam's Literature of Eu- Both Ritson, (Dissertation
on Romance, p. 66), and Luders, (d) Ibid. i. 63; Turner's Mid- (p. 377), suppose them to have dle Ages, v. 441. Henry's Hist. been originally written in Saxon, viii. 391.
and afterwards translated into (e) I allude to the laws of French. William the Conqueror, in the (1) Luders's Tracts, p. 342; history of England ascribed to Barrington's Observationson AnIngulfus. They are in French, cient Statutes, p. 54. As to the
grammar schools boys construed their Latin lessons into that tongue (c). During the reigns of Edward III., Richard II., Henry IV., and Henry V., and perhaps much earlier, conveyances were usually in the French language (d). In the reign of Henry VI. they were often in English, but more commonly in Latin (a). Both these languages continued to be used indiscriminately until the reign of James I., when the Latin was almost wholly superseded by the English (b).
language of acts of parliament, a Dom-boc, which cannot be reconfull and accurate account is given ciled with Ellis's opinion. in the Introduction to the Statutes (6) Luders's Tracts, p. 349. at large, edited under the Record (c) Hallam's Literature of EuCommission, chap. iv. sect. 2. rope, i. 63. Of law proceedings, see Luders, (d) I have counted in Madox's passim, and Mr. Amos's notes to Formulare one French instrument Fortescue, p. 179, and Blackstone of the reign of Edward II., eight and Reeve.
of Edward III., ten of Richard (a) Sir Henry Ellis, in his II., seven of Henry IV., and three useful Introd. to Dom. B. i. 12, of Henry V. Sir John Caventakes occasion to remark that the dish, who was Chief Justice in Dom-boc of Alfred, which is not Richard II.'s reign, begins his extant, was in reality a code of will in Latin, but the rest is in laws, and not a survey of the French," quia lingua Gallica King's dominions, as is commonly amicis meis et mihi plus est cogsupposed. Sir Martin Wright, nata et majis communis et nota however, has quoted a passage in quam lingua Latina," &c.— Rughis Tenures, p. 57, note, from gle's Memoir of the Cavendish Ingulfus, who had the family, in the Archæologia, xi. 55.
Charters in the X. About the reign of Henry III. or Edward I. reign of Henry III.
the Forms of Conveyancing began to assume a very
methodical composition (c), which has in great meaChirographum. sure continued to the present day. A charter was
often called “chirographum,” originally, perhaps, from the meaning of the word-hand-writing, and afterwards from the usage (which obtained also among the Anglo-Saxons) (d) of writing it in capitals either at the top or bottom of the deed, of which there were often two copies on the same piece of parchment. Duplicates, however, were made only when there were two or more parties interested in the deed; so that when the parchment, with the word “chirogra
(a) Madox's Form. contains it is said, that in the reign of five English instruments of the Henry VI. the English language, reign of Henry VI., six of Ed- which had been partially introward IV., one of Richard III., duced in the time of his predenine of Henry VII., and eight of cessor, was generally adopted. Henry VIII, I may add, that the (6) The Boke of Instruments, Proceedings and Ordinances of published in 1543, contains more Privy Council, edited by Sir Har- Latin forms than English; but ris Nicolas, under the direction of in West's Symbolæography, which the Record Commission, begin appeared in 1594, there are more with the 10 Richard II., and from English than Latin. that time until the 15 Henry VI. (c) Spelman's English Works, are chiefly in French. After- p. 236; Madox, Form. Diss. P. wards the English appears to 5. have been commonly used. See (d) Madox, Form. pp. 176, also Calendars of Proceedings in 238, 421. Chancery, vol. i. preface, where