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Quaker Family History Society

QFHS Wills


Last Updated 3 August 2021

Glossary
General Terms

Act of Parliament

In Quaker documents it refers to the Act of 1695 which allowed Quakers to declare and affirm rather than swear an oath. Quakers and didn’t need to swear to tell the truth only on a particular occasion.  (See also declared and affirmed).Quakers said that they spoke the truth all the time and didn’t need to swear to tell the truth only on a particular occasion.  (See also declared and affirmed)

Affidavit 

a written statement as to the truth of the contents

Affirmant

a person, especially a Quaker, who affirmed to the truth of something

Affirmed

a statement made in public.  Quakers declared and affirmed in legal matters, as they refused to use oaths.

Ale

a drink brewed from water, malted barley and a mixture of herbs.  The brewing process killed off the germs found in the water and was drunk by men, women and children.  . Normally the mixture was made three times from the same mixture decreasing in alcoholic strength each time.

Alienation

transfer of the title or property to another person

Andirons or Firedogs

Two upright and horizontal Iron bars used to support logs in a fireplace (see also Brandirons and Cobirons)  

Annoque Domini (Latin)

In the Year of Our Lord

Annuity

annual payment

Anticipation

payment of an annuity in advance

Apiece

each

Appurtances

the rights attached to a property, such as rights of way, grazing rights, or agreements relating to manorial land

Arable Land

land used for growing crops

Assigns

any person who was acting in place of the owner or had been granted legal rights by the real owner

Backsides

rear of the property, or outhouses and yard at the rear of a property

Beasts

normally cattle

Behoof

benefit, advantage or use

Bequest (see Devise)

a gift of personal property made in a will

Betwixt

between two people or items

Bolster

a long thick pillow, normally used underneath other pillows

Bond

a written contract between the bond holder and others guaranteeing that they will carry out the obligation made in the contract 

Brandirons

an iron grid or trivet for supporting cooking pots over an open fire  (see also Andirons and Cobirons)

Butt

a barrel containing around 126 gallons of liquid

Camera Obscura

the forerunner of a modern camera, an image of an external object is projected through a lens onto a surfaceopposite

Cattels and Chattels

any moveable personal property or effects

Caveat

a warning of specific stipulations or conditions

Caveat emptor

buyer beware

Chaldron

a dry measure of coal or grain around 34 bushels

Chamber

room, often a bedroom

Charger

large flat serving dish often made of pewter

Close

enclosed field

Cobirons

iron bars put over a fire to support a spit. (see also Andirons and Brandirons)

Codicil

an addition in writing made to a will and witnessed.

Coffer

wooden chest for holding clothes, papers, money or valuables

Conveyance

the legal transfer of property from one person to another

Copper

large vessel made of copper, used for storing hot or cold water

Copyhold

property or land rented from the owner, normally the Manor in which the land lay, and the transaction was recorded in the Court Rolls.  The land reverted back to the owner on the death of the copyholder, and the Manor would normally admit the heir or heirs named in the will to take over the same land on payment of a fine.

Court Baron

a court set up by the Lord of the Manor or his steward to deal with Manorial business, including admitting new tenants, resolving disputes, etc.

Cousin German

a first cousin, the term “cousin” was often used for other relatives in the past

Coverlid

a coverlet or bedspread

Coverture

the legal process where a married woman’s rights were absorbed into those of her husband

Declared

to openly or publically announce (see also Affirmed and Act of Parliament)

Deed

a document or contract which gave the holder the right to a Property

Destrain

to seize a property in order to recover money owing

Devise (see bequest)

a gift of actual property made in a will

Dower  or Thirds

the right of a wife to claim on the death of her husband one third of his land and property for her lifetime, often replaced by a bequest in the will.

Dumb Waiter

a small portable table or stand

Executor

man or sometimes a woman who was appointed to carry  out a will and named in that will

Executrix

woman who was appointed to carry out a will and named in that will

Expectancy

the possibility of future enjoyment on property or effects  which were expected to be inherited

Featherbed

a mattress stuffed with feathers

Fee Simple

Unconditional inheritance

Flock mattress

a mattress stuffed with wool rather than feathers

Freebench

a right of a widow to retain control of some of her deceased husband’s estate

Freehold

land actually owned by a person

Gig

a light carriage with two wheels, normally pulled by asingle horse or pony

Guardian

a person appointed to take care of another, often a child or children under the age of 21

Heifer

young cow

Hereditament

a property able to be passed on

Herring Hang

a building used for smoking or storing herrings

Holden

held or kept

Holland

linen cloth

Joyned or Joynted

wooden furniture made by a joiner with mortice and tenon joints and wooden pegs

Imprimis (Latin)

in the first place

Indenture

a legal written agreement or contract

Indifferent persons

impartial people

Interlined

word or words inserted between the lines of a document

Intestate

someone who died without leaving a will

Inventory

a list of personal and household goods left by the person who had died, including their value

Issue of his/her body

children

Joint Tenants

two or more people who owned the same property or land.  The survivor of them would inherit the entire estate. (see also Tenants in Common)

Jointure

an agreement made before a marriage to guarantee the bride a specific property, amount of money or goods in case her husband died before she did, thereby protecting her future

Kiver

large bowl or basin for mixing and preparing foodalternatively a cover,

Leasehold

property or land rented or leased to a person for their lifetime, but not owned by themselves

Legacy

an amount of money or property left to someone in a will

Legacy duty 

a tax imposed on a legacy, an inheritance tax

Letters of Administration

a grant to the person or persons who applied to administer the property of someone who did not leave a will, or a person appointed by a court to settle the estate.

Linen

items made of linen either household or clothing

Malt

sprouted and dried barley used for brewing beer and ale

Malting

a building where grain is malted.  Can also be called a Malting Office

Manor

an estate, held by the Lord or Lady of the Manor, who an area of land, often including a village or villages, parish church and agricultural land

Mead

either a drink made from honey or a meadow

Messuage

Property or dwelling house with adjoining land and Outbuildings

Minority

under the age of 21 years (changed to under 18 in 1970)

Moiety

half part

Nee

maiden name

Nuncupative

will made before witnesses by word of mouth, but not Signed

Objects of Vertu

Small luxury items made of precious metals or jewels

Pasture Land

land growing grass for grazing of animals of various kinds

Per Capita (Latin)

“by head” in land or property owned jointly where the share

Per Stirpes (Latin)

“by root” in land or property owned jointly where the share of the named person can be divided among their heirs if they have deceased

Pewter

a metal used for making dishes, plates, and tankards

Pillow bear, beere or bere

pillow case or covering

Plate

items made of metal especially silver

Press

tall item of furniture made of wood used for storing clothes and textiles

Probate

the process of proving the validity of the will and settling the estate

Porringer

small individual bowl often with two flats handles for porridge or soup

Press

cupboard

Purparts

a share or part of a division

Relict

Widow

Reversion

return of property to the original owner after the death of a beneficiary or when a lease has expired

Revoke

officially cancel

Safe

a ventilated chest for storing foodstuffs or a secure metal box for storing documents or valuables

Salt

a container for salt as well as the contents

Save harmless

protect someone against financial harm

Seal

a mark made into red wax by a metal ring or stamp, the personal property of the owner.  A seal could be used by someone unable to write their names or in addition to a signature.

Spinster

unmarried woman

Spit

iron bar for roasting meat over a fire

Staddle stone

mushroom shaped stone under a barn or hayrick to keep rats out.

Steer

young bull calf between 2 to 4 years old

Taster

a wide shallow cup or glass

Tenants in Common 

owner of a specific share in a property whose share can be disposed of separately from the remainder of the property and without the consent of the other owners  (see  also Joint Tenants)

Tenement

house or other building or land

Testator

the man who made the will

Testatrix

the woman who made the will

Tester

a wooden canopy above a bed

Ticking

a strong material used for covering matresses

Tithe

a tenth part, Payment due by all people living within a Church of England parish payable to the Vicar.non-payment.  Quakers’ refused to pay this and were often sent to jail for non-payment. 

Trencher

a wooden plate

Trivet

a three legged iron stand to support pots of food or liquid over or near a fire

Truckle bed

a low bed designed to fit under a normal bed, often on wheels so it could be pulled out when needed.

Tumbril

an open cart which could tip backwards to empty its load

Wainscot

wood panelling on the walls of a room or a panelled chest or chair

Warming pan

a metal pan with a long handle which could be filled with hot coals to warm a bed

Wearing apparel

cothes including underwear and footwear

Will and Testament

the written document disposing of a person’s property and effects, which has been signed and witnessed.  Originally the Will referred to real property and Testament referred to personal effects.

Yoting Vat

trough for soaking and fermenting barley when making beer

Money

(pre decimalisation)

Guinea

a gold coin originally worth £1 after 1717 worth £1 1 shilling

Pounds Sterling

(abbreviated to £)

Broad Piece

a gold coin worth £1 issued around 1656 during the Commonwealth

Sovereign

a gold coin worth £1

Half Sovereign

a coin worth 10 shillings

Mark

worth two thirds of a pound

Noble

a coin worth one third of a pound

Crown

a coin worth five shillings

Half a Crown

a coin worth two shillings and 6 pence

Florin

a silver coin worth 2 shillings issued in 1849

Shilling

a silver coin, later cupro-nickel. There were 20 shillings in £1

Groat

four pence

Pence

(abbreviated to d) There were 12 pence or pennies to  1 shilling and 240 pennies to £1

Halfpenny 

half a penny

Farthing

a quarter of a penny

Professions

Apothecary

also called a Druggist or Pharmacist.  A person who prepared and sold medicines

Baker

maker and seller of bread and pastries

Baize maker

a person who made baize, a coarse woollen material, like felt

Bay maker

a person who makes a kind of woollen cloth, a speciality of Colchester in Essex

Book Seller

a seller of books and sometimes other writing materials

Brewer

maker of beer

Broadweaver

loom operator using a wide loom

Brush and Basket maker

a person who made and sold brushes and baskets either retail or wholesale retail or wholesale

Cabinet maker

a person who made high class furniture of all types

Calico printer

a person who printed patterns onto calico (a type of cotton material) with the aid of wooden blocks

Carpenter

a worker in wood, especially large objects and houses

Chandler

maker and dealer in tallow or wax candles and soap – a ship’s chandler sold items needed for boats and ships

Chapman

dealer in small items, either travelling or in a location

Cheesemonger

a seller of cheese and other dairy products

Clerk

either a Clerk in Holy Orders (a Church of England clergyman, or a Clerk who worked in an office

Clothier

a person who supplied wool or other materials to outworkers who then turned them into cloth, which was subsequently collected and sold by the Clothier. 

Coal merchant

seller of coal, wholesale and retail

Cobbler

a repairer of shoes and boots

Confectioner

maker and/or seller of sweets and chocolate

Cordwainer

a person who made bespoke shoes and boots or other leather items  (see also Shoemaker)

Corn Merchant 

seller of Corn and other grain

Cooper

wooden barrel, cask, hoop and tub maker or repairer

Currier

a person who dressed, finished and dyed tanned leather

Distiller

a maker of spirits and liquers

Draper

dealer in fabrics and sewing items, sometimes also in finished goods such as clothing items (see also haberdasher, linen draper and woollen draper)

Druggist

(see Apothecary)

Family Name

Quakers used Family Name instead of Surname (see Given Name)

Farmer

a man who grew crops and raised livestock

Fellmonger or Feltmonger

a person who dealt in hides and sheep skins

Feltmaker

a person who made felt for hats (see also Hatter)

Fisherman

a man who caught fish, normally at sea, both boat owners and members of their crew

Gentleman

a wealthy man who had income from land he owned or later a wealthy professional man

Given Name

Quakers used Given Name instead of Christian Name (see Family Name)

Glover

a person who made and sold gloves

Grocer 

seller of provisions

Habadasher 

a dealer in hats and caps and other small items such as threads and ribbons (see also draper)

Hatter

a person who made and sold hats (see also Milliner)

Husbandman

a man who had his own smallholding, but also worked on other people’s land.

Innkeeper

a person who owned an Inn offering accommodation for human and horses  (see also tavern keeper)

Ironmonger

seller of metal items such as tools, household or farming equipment

Joiner

a person who made wooden items such as furniture, and window or door frames.

Linen Draper

dealer in fabrics, primarily in Linen, both table linen and clothing

Malster or Maltster

a man or woman who made malt for brewing

Mariner

a man who owned a boat or boats, for either fishing or trading goods

Mercer

an exporter and importer of high class materials such as fine woollen, linen and silk

Miller

person who ground grain into flour

Milliner

a person who made and sold womens hats

Patten maker

a person who made protective overshoes, often raised.

Pharmacist

(see Apothecary)

Plumber

a person who works with lead, including leaded glazing, outside guttering and pipes, or painting in white lead paint

Sawyer

a person who cut up timber

Saymaker

a person who made or wove say, which was used for items such as table cloths or bedding.

Sevier or Sivier

a person who made sieves

Shoemaker

a person who made or repaired shoes and boots (see also Cordwainer)

Shopkeeper

seller of general items

Stationer

a seller of books, paper and writing implements

Staymaker

a person who made corsets also known as stays

Surgeon

A doctor who also operated on patients

Tallow Chandler

a dealer in candles, soap and oil

Tanner

a person who tanned or cured animal hides for making leather goods

Tavernkeeper 

a person who sold ale and beer (see also Innkeeper)

Vellum maker

a maker of parchment from calf skin

Webster

a weaver

Watch or Clock maker

a maker and repairer of watches and clocks,  Some would also sell watches or clocks made by other people

Weaver

a person who wove cloth, originally at home, often a man

Wool Comber

a man or woman who combed wool to prepare it for spinning

Woollen Draper

a person who sold woollen cloth and woollen items

Yeoman

a farmer who owned and worked his own land as freeholder or copyholder.  They were entitled to serve on Juries and vote.

Measures

Inch

Hand

4 inches (used for measuring height of a horse)

Span

9 inches

Foot

12 inches

Yard

36 inches

Rod Pole or Perch 

16 and a half feet (standardised in 1607)

Chain

22 yards (standardised in 1620)

Furlong

220 yards

Mile

1760 yards

Acre 

4840 square yards

Rood or sometimes Rod

quarter of an acre

Yardland or Virgate

around 30 acres

Hide

between 90-240 acres

Half Dozen

6

Dozen

12

Bakers Dozen

13

Score

20

Gross

144

Pint

Gallon

8 pints

Pin

36 pints

Firkin

72 pints or 9 gallons

Kilderkin

18 Gallons or half a barrel

Barrel

34 gallons (from 1688) or 36 gallons (from 1824)

Hogshead

51 gallons (from 1688) or 54 gallons (from 1824)

Weights

Ounce

Pound

16 ounces

Stone

14 pounds

Hundredweight 

112 pounds

Ton

(2240 pounds) 2 gallons weighing around 14 pounds; 8 gallons, weighing around 56 pounds

Peck (dry measure)

8 gallons, weighing around 56 pounds

Bushel (dry measure)

a dry measure of coal or grain around 34 bushels

Chaldron (dry measure)

a dry measure of coal or grain around 34 bushels

ABBREVIATIONS

A.D. (Latin)

Anno Domini – in the year of our Lord

Admor./Admors.

administrator/s

Adcon.

Admon 

administration

Admr 

administer

A.M or M.A

Master of Arts

Appurts.

Appurtenances

c.

circa - about

Comon.

commission

Decd.

Deceased

Etc.*

Extor.

Executor

Heredits.

Hereditaments

It.

Item

M.D.

Doctor of Medicine

N.P. or Not.Pub.

Notary Public

Nee

Maiden name

Pub.

Published

Rev. or Revd.

Reverend

Sd.

said

Sol. or Solr.

Solicitor

Sub.

Subscribed

Tenemt. 

tenement

Testamt. 

Testament

Testor or Tesor

Testator

Viz, Vizt. (Latin)

Videlicet - namely

Wth.

with

Dates

Change of date from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1751/52 affected the numbering of months.  Quakers used month numbers rather than the names such as August, as many of the month names had pagan origins.  Up to 1751 month 1 was actually March with New Year’s day taking place on March 25.  December was Month 10 while February was month 12.  For example in Quaker documents this often appears as 20 day of 12 month 1642/43 which is 20 February 1643.  This was changed with December 31 1751 being followed by 1 January 1752, the new New Year’s day.  Later that year eleven days were dropped from the calendar and September 2  was followed by September 14.  

First Day 

Sunday

Month 1 

March in the old calendar: January after 1752

Month 2

April in the old calendar: February after 1752

Month 3 

May in the old calendar: March after 1752

Month 4 

June in the old calendar: April after 1752

Month 5 

July in the old calendar: May after 1752

Month 6 

August in the old calendar: June after 1752

Month 7 

September in the old calendar: July after 1752

Month 8 

October in the old calendar: August after 1752

Month 9 

November in the old calendar: September after 1752

Month 10 

December in the old calendar: October after 1752

Month 11 

January in the old calendar:  November after 1752

Month 12 

February in the old calendar: December after 1752

Quarter Days

also known as the four common days of payment 
25 March  Lady Day or Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
24 June  Midsummer Day
29 September  Michaelmas or Feast of St. Michael the Archangel
25 December  Christmas Day.