GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2008-01 > 1199396713
From: Brad Verity <>
Subject: Re: Joan de Clinton, widow of John de Montfort, John de Clinton, and Henry ap Griffith
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 13:45:13 -0800 (PST)
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On Jan 3, 8:57 am, Douglas Richardson <> wrote:
> All newsgroup posters should know that ages given in medieval proofs
> of age and in inquisitions post mortem are subject to gross error.
Hear ye, medieval newsgroup members - our trained historian hath
spoke! This is now a Richardson Rule, to sit alongside such dictums:
1) All medieval English persons had to be at least age 7 to be
2) No medieval English divorce records have survived, so we cannot be
sure how many 'missing marriages' there are.
3) Ages in medieval proofs of age and in IPMs are subject to gross
Mark it well in your notebooks! Pop Quiz tomorrow.
> Although they are often quite accurate,
Oh wait, an amendment:
3) Ages in medieval proofs of age and in IPMs are often quite
accurate, but are subject to gross error.
Which ages (the jurors, the heirs)? "Details, details, one mustn't be
bothered by details".
> they are not at all like a
> modern birth certificate, and should not be taken as such.
Just in case any of us thought we should.
> If the person said that John de Sutton was born in December NEXT AFTER
> the Middle Plague,
The "person" (juror) said that and more. Perhaps you should track
down the original Proof of Age, or at least the transcription of it in
the 1882 Ormerod/Helsby (thank you, Jophn Higgins, for clarifying that
> he appears to have meant December 1362,
Nope, he appears to not have meant that.
> which is
> the nearest December date AFTER the plague. Grazebrook establish this
> fact years ago.
Nope, Grazebook pointed out how two modern (19th century - modern for
him) secondary sources differ as to the timeframe for the plague. He
does not state that the juror meant December 1362.
> Yet it was overlooked by at least three newsgroup
> posters this week, all of whom had access to the Grazebrook article.
"Overlooked" presumably because these other three newsgroup posters
read Grazebook properly.
> So we have three birth years for John de Sutton in his so called Proof
> of Age: 1360, 1361, and 1362.
Ummm, juries impaneled for a proof of age arrived at one conclusive
verdict as a whole, just as juries in trials today arrive at one
conclusive verdict. The verdict in the proof of age that they arrived
at is the leading statement in the proof, such as "Douglas, son and
heir of Joe Schmoe, was age twenty and one at the feast of St.
Nicholas last, and was baptized at Salt Lake City in the church."
The escheator then asked the jury "foreman" who provided this
statement how he can know this conclusion, and wrote down the reason
the juror provided, followed by the reason the next juror provided for
knowing the aforesaid conclusion, followed by the third juror, etc,
all the way to the twelfth.
The jurors were not cross-examined, nor were they polled as to the age
each one thought the heir was. How many Proof of Ages have you come
across that run along the lines of:
Juror 1: "He is 21 and more on the feast of St. Nicholas last because
I raised him from the font on that day which was 21 years ago."
Juror 2: "I know it to be true because I had a daughter born the same
week and she is 20."
Juror 3: "I broke my leg the day he was born, 23 years ago."
Escheator [throws up his hands]: "Enough! I'm outta here! I'm
putting in for a transfer to Devon!"
> I say take your pick, or, if you
> prefer, throw a dart.
This from a trained historian. But, hey, that's a great idea for what
I can do with my copied pages from PA3 - throw a dart!
> Either way the Proof of Age is not the best
> piece of evidence,
Because it doesn't agree with your conclusion.
> except perhaps for revealing that John de Sutton
> was born at Coleshill, Warwickshire, which was the chief estate of
> Joan de Clinton.
Which does agree with your conclusion, so don't throw darts at that
> Whatever the case, Inconsistencies in medieval records are a simple
> fact of medieval life. They are what they are. That is why it is
> especially important to look at the whole picture, instead of one
> little piece.
Yep. "Pay no attention to the Proof of Age over there - those things
are not always accurate. Look at this over here. Trust me, I'm a
trained historian, and I say look at this over here."
|Re: Joan de Clinton, widow of John de Montfort, John de Clinton, and Henry ap Griffith by Brad Verity <>|