12 June 2013
ENGLAND -- LANCASHIRE. Two documents on vellum, the matching original and counterpart of a chirograph (indenture) between William le Boteler of Warrington [later Baron Boteler, c.1227-c.1301/4] and Richard de Culcheth, given at Bewsey near Warrington, 20 August 1294, conceding that for the rest of Richard's life neither William nor his bailiffs will carry out any distraint within Richard's demesne lands for his farm services at Culcheth, whilst Richard covenants that he may freely distrain his men for the same services as if he were their immediate lord, each document comprising 8 lines in Latin on vellum by a single scribe, the two originally forming a single membrane, 128 x 186mm, separated by an indented cut along the word 'CIROGRAFFUM', fold-ups, vellum tags, 15th-century and later annotations to dorse (seals lacking, minor soiling and staining).
The pairing of the two matching parts of an indenture is highly unusual: the fact that both original and counterpart deed in the present case were sealed suggests that the transaction was actually completed, and it seems likely that the documents would have been reunited when both dominant and servient tenements, with their accompanying title deeds, were acquired by the same subsequent owner. Certainly the two documents were together by c.1500, when an archivist made matching annotations on the dorse of the two documents. An abstract of the text was published in Lancashire and Cheshire historical and genealogical notes, v.1-3 (1878-1883), no.5.1, from originals in the possession of Mr Thomas Ellames Withington of Culcheth Hall.
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