Sunday, April 4, 2010

Inquisitions Post Mortem

All landowners were subject to an Inquisition Post Mortem, that is, an investigation, held some months following a death, concerning any properties the deceased person owned or had owned by courtesy of the Crown during their lifetime. An escheator was assigned to ascertain how the lands and properties had been acquired by the deceased, whether any others had an interest in them (widows’ dower rights and jointures were respected), and sundry information such as the name and age of the heir. It was a method of keeping track of all landholdings and properties.

Other documents included: marriage jointures (prenuptial agreements), dowries (reverting back to the widow). The widows’ dower was one third of all income accruing from the estate of her deceased husband.

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