Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Anglo American law ?

Bitterly cold as we head out of the front door for our 6:30 constitutional. It snows, sleets and hails in quick succession. There is also a lot of freezing rain most of which blows horizontally towards us. Angus is keen to get home. Bob and Sophie are of a different opinion. A morning when those deer and wild boar scents must be lingered over and savoured.

Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse the PONs  ( who continue to think this unseasonably cold weather is wonderful )  are towelled dry but not so dry that they don't drip on the carpets.

Angus works through the deeds on the little house in Scotland. What stories are here. He finds documents from a fisherman who loses three sons at sea in the First World War. The father changes his Will each time. Finally, his  fourth and much much younger infant son inherits. This son is just old enough to be finished off at sea in 1941. The house passes to his new wife and yet to be born son.

In 1716 a most Latin sounding Jacob and Maria  Rob(e)rtson are the owners. By 1776 the documents are in English and  Jacob and Maria are translated back as John and Mary. The oldest deed records the transfer of what was the well keepers house at the pre-reformation monastery into private ownership. There is still a well in the tiny back garden. Can it be the same one ?

I'd always thought that stamps were invented by Rowland Hill in the early 19th century. From the 18th century the deeds all have a tiny excise stamp pasted onto to them. Cut off a sheet with scissors and stuck on the vellum with glue. There's a tiny sliver of silver woven into the paper. To prevent forgeries ?

The later deeds have the same excise stamps. William gives way to George who gives way to Victoria. Presumably these are the sort of excise stamps that got Bostonians so exercised in the 1770's. Anglo American law ?

A Valentines Day address in London :


  1. Hari OM
    Hmmm stretching it back into the 16th... I know I learned heaps from the deeds to my tenement and it is barely 150 years old; how much to be gleaned from such documents as these?!! The mind lusts... YAM xx

  2. Almost unbearable to think about the agony of the fisherman and his lost sons. Hoping the next stage in the history of the house's owners will be a happier read.

  3. The length of history astounds me. In New Zealand records are without detail, and most houses don't date from before 1900. We had a lovely big 1930s Arts and Crafts style place which was considered quite special. How exciting to trace ownership so far back.

  4. The information and detail on the deeds is absolutely fascinating. What fun you are having!

  5. How wonderful to be able to actually handle (Angus I hope you are wearing white cotton gloves when you do this?) and investigate, those deeds. I wonder how many owner's descendants can be traced to the present day?

  6. Yes, please, handing cautions -- at least, don't put those things into a plastic bag. Although given that they've managed with being tossed into a kitchen drawer, maybe Scot documents are hardier than others.
    Being able to read history in ordinary lives gives it so much greater a connection than dry accounts of battles and kings.

  7. So amazing to have these documents.

  8. What a beautiful picture of the morning sky. How amazing that you have those documents, A piece of History in your hands.

  9. Get thee to a document preservationist pronto before further damage is inflicted. Eeek, I see folds. No touchy with bare mitts. No damp, sunlight, heat or dogs. Oh, never mind. I forgot about the chair and the mop bucket.
    Pam (family archivist and keeper of historical documents)

  10. Next thing you know, a museum will send a big truck to come and pack up the documents for you to ship them off for a special exhibition.

    1. Only if a museum finds out where they are. But of course they would check The ROF first!

  11. Thank you for sharing the pictures of all these documents and the chocolates! Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. A sad history of the fisherman's family, I would frame these documents, they are treasure.