Common Latin phrases in hearth tax documents

Sometimes you might find an occasional Latin phrase in amongst an English hearth tax listing; or in the case of the 1670 Michaelmas return for Essex that we recently published, all the way through it!

We printed a full Latin glossary in the Essex volume, but here’s my pick of the most common phrases that appear:

ac febrile = and also a forge

armiger = esquire

clericus = clergyman

comes = earl

comitissa = countess

cum duabus fabrilibus = with two forges

cum duabus focis de novo erectis = with two newly built hearths

dominus = lord, Sir, judge

elemosinaria = almshouse

exoneratio/us per certificatum = exemption/exempted by certificate

faber = smith

fabrilis = forge

festum annunciationis dominae = the feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day 25 March)

festum sancti michaelis = feast of St Michael (Michaelmas 29 September)

focus/foci = hearth/s

fornax = kiln

in vacua domo = in(for) an empty house

in marisco = in the marsh

miles ordinis balnei =  knight of the Order of the Bath

negat solver & nil habuit pro distringendum = refuses to pay and has nothing to distrain

nil ad distringendum = nothing to distrain

nil proprietas = no owner

novo erect = newly built

paupera = poor

pro speculacionem/speculationem = by the inspection of

per visum = viewed by

prenobilis dominus = the right honourable lord

prison domus placitus = prison court house

pro parte domi = for part of a house

solvit = paid

solvit iiijs pro anno pro novo erecto = paid 4 shillings for a year for a new house

tenens = tenant

tenet terram/terras =  holds lands

vacua domus nil distringendum = vacant house no distraint

vacua domo = empty house


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