Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/91

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1922
83
EARLY NOTES OF FINES

engrossed to the reigns of Edward II and later. Entries on the Curia Regis Rolls show that Notes were made in the time of Richard I or earlier; but apparently they were not at first thought worth preserving.

The effect of a Note which has not been engrossed is doubtful. Coke says:[1] 'Yet a fine, before it is engrossed, is a perfect record, and may be executed, and the conusee ought to sue out his quid iuris clamat, per quae servitia or quem redditum reddit, as his case lies, before the engrossment of the fine.' Against this, a few of the Notes have endorsements showing that action was delayed. In a Norfolk case 'Finis iste non ingrossetur sine precepto iustic.' In a Kent case the tenant for life was a minor: 'Ideo quo ad ipsum remaneat cognicio usque ad etatem,' &c.

A careful study of the De Banco Rolls will throw more light on this subject, but from their bulk it must be slow and laborious. In any case, the information given in an unengrossed Note is of value; for the transaction was certainly contemplated, and may have been completed by deed.

R. C. Fowler.



A Visitation of Westminster in 1444

IN Widmore's History of Westminster 2 there is printed an account of a curious and successful insurrection of the ' seniour and more part ' of the convent against their abbot, George Norwich, who agreed to retire from Westminster, resigning the government of the house to the prior and two other monks as ' commissarii abbatis '. 3 This was in 1467, and the detailed record of the abbot's autocratic misgovernment and the huge debts he piled up appears to justify the monks' action and Widmore's verdict upon him as ' an indiscreet and negligent character '. It is possible, however, that Abbot Norwich has been too harshly judged, since his money difficulties were nob entirely of his own making. The Visitation of Westminster here printed carries back the evidence of serious financial troubles, if not of virtual bank- ruptcy, to the year 1444. It also explains the confident line of action adopted by the rebellious monks of 1467, to whom it served as a precedent. 4 Once more the authority of the royal patron was secured to bring pressure to bear upon the abbot, while the new

 2 App. vii, p. 191 f 
Pearce, The Monks of Westminster, p. 141. Their names were Thomas Millyng, 

prior, William Chertsey, and John Eastney: see Victoria County History, London, i. 446, where the number of the commissarii is incorrectly given as five.

The text of the instrument (1467) seems to contain a reference to 1444 : ' . . . Nee 

veniatis ad monasterium Westmonasterii . . . nee equitetis ad generalia capitula neque circa visitationes neque arripiatis aliqua itinera sumptuosa que essent vobis causa novae indebitationis ' (Widmore, p. 197). G2

  1. Readings on Fines, vol. i.