The Decline in the Use of Latin for Will- and Testament-making in Early Sixteenth-century Bedfordshire

Judith Ford
Open University

In recent years historians have placed increasing emphasis on the importance of understanding the contexts in which the 'reforms, reactions and reversals' of the reformation process were enacted.[1] A stimulus to (and sometimes a product of) the development of the contextual approach to Reformation history has been a growing awareness of the significance of the beliefs and attitudes of ordinary members of sixteenth-century society. Scholars have become preoccupied with the question of whether the 'English Reformation' was the result of authoritative action from above or whether it was brought about by popular demand from below[2] In order to illuminate further this central question of Reformation dynamics it may be valuable to examine some of the linguistic contexts of Tyndale's great work of translating the Bible into English. Was the vulgar tongue accepted in non-scriptural ecclesiastical documents? Or did the pre-Reformation Church attempt to maintain its authority and separateness by insistence on the universal application of Latin for Church activities? If so, how successful was the Church in that attempt and what pressures were there from the populace for change? One early-sixteenth-century ecclesiastical document which survives in sufficient numbers to be of value to the historian and which may provide some answer to these questions is the canonical will. The formularized character of late medieval wills has made their utility for historians limited and problematical, particularly where the evaluation of patterns of individual belief is concerned.[3] However, the formal style of wills and testaments, reflecting as it does the complex mixture of canon law, common law and the principles of equity which characterized the medieval law of succession, does provide valuable evidence for the study of the tensions and changing relations between Church and laity. This paper will examine the evidence provided by the eight hundred wills and testaments recorded in the first three surviving probate registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford.[4]

Will- and testament-making developed from the teaching of the early Christian Church that a dying man should make atonement for his sins by devoting a portion of his worldly goods to the relief of the poor and other pious purposes.[5] Thus, the 'will' or 'testament' began as a form of charity which provided a motive for the right of bequest and which was closely associated with the last confession.[6] So close was this association that an individual who died intestate was suspected of dying without the ministrations of the Church.[7] During the medieval period the Church developed laws and institutions, administered by the Church courts, that supervised and saw to the enforcement of testamentary bequests and thus the Church became involved in the law of succession.[8] The jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts over bequests of personal goods (that is, chattels), of which testament was composed, was firmly established by the end of the twelfth century and personal bequests were enacted by the executor of the will, who was regarded as the testator's representative on earth.[9] The ecclesiastical judge (normally the judge ordinary) enjoyed considerable and practical authority over the executor of a testament. He could compel the executor to render account at the end of a specified period and, if the executor were negligent or guilty of misconduct, the ordinary could set him aside and commit the administration of the testament to another.[10] The Church's jurisdiction over bequests of real property (land and most buildings) was a less straightforward matter. From at least the thirteenth century real property was expected to descend according to the rule primogeniture, by which the entire estate passed to the eldest son.[11] Although a landowner could alienate property during his lifetime, he could not, under common law rules, dispose of land at death.[12] There were few exceptions to this rule and where exceptions existed (some burgage tenements for example, were regarded as quasi chattels and were devisable by custom), the Church did not enjoy undisputed authority over wills of land disposing of such property.[13] For most individuals, good works and obligations to offspring and relatives other than the heir at common law had, therefore, to be financed by personal goods and the Church courts were in theory denied any involvement in the disposition of most categories of tenure.[14]

The strength of the desire of many medieval landholders to enjoy greater control over the disposition of their property and to achieve a more wholehearted good end, in both the pious and the mundane sense, is demonstrated by the development during the -medieval period of a device known as the 'use'.[15] By this device, which was a form of rust, a landowner (the feoffor), could transfer the title to his or her property to an intermediary or group of intermediaries known as feoffees to uses, who would hold that property to the use, or benefit of, the feoffor, or to a third party (known as the cestui que use). The feoffor retained the beneficial enjoyment of the property if he so desired. The role of the feoffees was an entirely passive one, except where they were instructed to the reconvey the title to a third party.[16] Uses could be declared orally or in writing at the time of feoffment, or they could be declared in the feoffor's last will, thereby allowing an individual's ownership of land to survive through the directions given to the intermediaries, during his lifetime.[17] It is clear that the medieval use considerably diminished the importance of the common law rules governing the descent of property because it restored the right of devise to landowners. The right to 'bequeath' real property at death is considered by historians of the law to be the single most important reason for the popularity of the use during the medieval period.[18] Through this device a landowner could provide for sons and daughters who would not inherit under common law rules, as well as use his real property to provide for the welfare of his own and others' souls. The outcry after the abolition of uses by the Statute of Uses of 1536, which effectively brought a return to compulsory primogeniture, was sufficient to ensure that the right of devise was quickly restored.[19] The Statute of Wills of 1540 allowed the individual who held lands in socage 'full and free liberty, power and authority to give, dispose, will and devise ... all his hereditaments at his free will and pleasure'.[20] Prior to 1536 uses declared in a last will were recorded in ecclesiastical probate registers along with the testator's instructions for the disposition of his personal goods.

At the opening of the sixteenth century there were four styles of testaments and last wills being recorded in the Bedfordshire probate registers. There are testaments written in Latin, which consist entirely of bequests of personal items. There are also documents, entirely testamentary in character, written wholly in English (or with only the formal declarations of name, parish and mental fitness of the testator recorded in Latin). A third group consists of documents that are clearly separate 'testaments' and 'last wills', in which the bequests of personal goods are set out first in a section that normally concludes with the name(s) of the executor(s). The bequests of land are set out in a second section, beginning: 'This is the last will of me...' In these separate documents testament and will might be written in the same language (usually in English. but occasionally in Latin). In the fourth style the testament might be recorded in Latin and the will of lands in English.

This physical separation, as well as the difference in language, may reflect the state of law, outlined above, governing the succession to personal and to real property in the later medieval period. Those bequests that fell unequivocally within the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts (personal goods) are recorded, at the opening of the century, pretadominantly in the language of the Church. Bequests of real property, which theoretically fell outside the Church's jurisdiction, and which, more importantly, had not enjoyed an unbroken tradition of association with the last confession and the achievement of a good end, are sometimes recorded in the vernacular. This division was not new. The tradition of using English for the recording of bequests of real property was well established by the period under study and was employed for bequests of land of various tenure, although it may have originated in order to separate bequests of property which were quasi chattels but which sometimes fell outside the jurisdiction of the Church courts from wholly testamentary (ecclesiastically administered) bequests.[21]

Graph 1. Distribution of Latin and English Testaments in the Probate Registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford in the years 1500 to 1509.

Distribution of Latin and English Testaments in the Probate Registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford in the years 1500 to 1509.

During the early years of the sixteenth century changes took place in the distribution of these different styles of document. Most notable was an increase in the utilization of English for the recording of all sections of a testator's last wishes.[22] Graph 1 shows that, at the opening of the sixteenth century, testaments were written predominantly in Latin, although testamentary bequests written in English were clearly acceptable to the Church courts at this time.[23] After 1500 the use of Latin for testaments declined rapidly, so that by 1505 English testaments formed the majority of those recorded. After 1509 the number of Latin testaments declined steeply and the last Latin bequest to be recorded in the Bedfordshire probate registers appears in a will drawn up in 1519. These statistics are not entirely straightforward. The uneven annual distribution of wills may distort the pattern of change to some degree. Furthermore, if earlier probate registers had survived in the archdeaconry, they might have indicated that the progress of change was more pedestritaan than is suggested by these figures. Using these registers, it is impossible to establish when the use of Latin started to decline. However, the wills registered between 1500 and 1519 clearly demonstrate the trend away from the use of Latin for testament making and the speed with which Latin became obsolete for this purpose.

This change must surely have been of considerable significance for the balance of power, authority and knowledge between Church and laity.[24] The executors named in the Bedfordshire wills were frequently close relatives of the testator, and therefore of a simtailar social standing. It is impossible to identify the occupation or rank of all the Bedfordshire testators, but they included husbandmen, horse-dealers and, possibly, villeins, individuals who were unlikely to be Latinate.[25] Even if a vernacular copy of the will were made for the executors, the copy recorded in the probate register, to which the ecclesiastical judge would refer, was at the opening of the sixteenth century likely to be in a language that was not understood by the executor or the beneficiaries of the will (other than the Church and its personnel). To have all existing copies of a testament recorded in a language that could be understood by everyone concerned must have been of immense advantage to the testator's representatives and family.

Why did this change occur? There is information in the Bedfordshire wills to indicate at least some of the determinants in this matter. As far as the archdeaconry of Bedford was concerned, there is no indication that the distribution of English wills varied between town and country, or between one particular parish and another. The pattern of distribution is overwhelmingly linked to the date of the writing of the will, which may indicate that changes taking place in the rules and customs governing the devise of property had some effect on the form and character of wills and testaments. During the medieval period limitations on the disposal of personal property were imposed by the customary practice of legitim, which survived in some areas of the province of Canterbury until the reign of Elizabeth and which obtained in the northern province until the early seventeenth century.[26] According to this rule, only a man who left neither wife nor children could dispose of his chattels as he wished. If he left a wife but no child (or offspring but no wife), his personal goods, after his debts had been paid, had to be divided into two halves. One half constituted the 'souls' half and could be disposed of by the testator as he wished; the other went to his wife or children.[27] If the testator was survived by both wife and offspring, his personal property would be divided into three parts accordingly. There is evidence in the Bedfordshire wills to indicate that this custom had not entirely died out in that county at the opening of the sixteenth century. John Browne of the parish of Knotting, for example, who made his will on 11 June 1504, asked that all his goods be divided into three equal parts, one of which was to be kept to fulfil his testament; the second part was to go to his wife; the third to his sons and daughters.[28] Such references occur in only a few wills and cease to appear after the year 1505; it is possible, therefore, that legitim became obsolete in the archdeaconry of Bedford in the early years of the century. The decline in the custom of legitim may have provided testators and their scribes with greater freedom where both the content and the form of the will were concerned. In surviving medieval will-formularies the tripartite division of chattels is set out, in Latin, and allowed little opportunity for individual taste or style.[29] With the decline in the heavily structured disposition of personal property, it is possible that testators, as well as their scribes and advisors, felt able to impose their own style upon the will. This may have facilitated the greater integration of bequests of personal and real property evident in the Bedfordshire wills, as well as the increasing use of the vernacular for all sections of the will and testament.[30] Since legitim apparently pertained in some areas of the province of York after English had become the dominant language of will- and testament-making, the effect of its obsolescence should not be pressed too far; but it is possible that the decline in this custom did have some effect on the style and content of early-sixteenth-century wills.

Graph 2. Distribution of wills containing bequests of land recorded in the Probate Registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford in the years 1500 to 1509.

Distribution of wills containing bequests of land recorded in the Probate Registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford in the years 1500 to 1509.

The Bedfordshire registers indicate that other factors were influential in the decline in the use of Latin for testament-making. Graph 2 shows that during the same period in which Latin declined rapidly towards obsolescence, Bedfordshire testators were increasingly likely to include bequests of land in their wills. The use of English for will-making apparently received stimulus from the growing desire of testators to include, in their last wishes, a type of bequest which had traditionally been recorded in that language. The disposition of land by will became, during the early sixteenth century, an important factor in the achievement of a good end. This trend, combined with the lessening influence of medieval will-formularies may have been sufficient to ensure the declining importance f the Latin language for the recording of pious intentions.

An unknown proportion of the bequests of land in the Bedfordshire wills may refer to property which was devisable by custom: the Bedfordshire testators were not scrupulous about recording the tenure of the property they bequeathed. There are, however, enough references to feoffees, to 'per' lands (that is, lands held through the use), and to property held in 'fee simple' to indicate that the increasing incidence of wills of land reflects a growing tendency of testators to declare uses in a last will.[31] It is possible that one reason for this trend was the greater degree of security enjoyed by the feoffor who employed this method. The extent of the Church's jurisdiction over such declarations is a matter of conjecture. R. H. Helmholz has found that Act books of the ecclesiastical courts of Rochester and Canterbury contain many cases involving feoffments to uses, in cases where the feoffor was dead, although such cases ceased to appear after the middle third of the fifteenth century.[32] Helmholz suggests that the Church's authority may have diminished as a result of the development of a body of equitable principles, governing uses, by the courts of chancery.[33] By the later fourteenth century a disgruntled feoffor or beneficiary of a use could appeal to the courts of chancery with good hopes of success and there would seem to have been little need for the Church to continue to be involved in the implementation of uses.[34] The Bedfordshire wills indicate, however, that the declaration of uses in a last will may sometimes have created overlapping boundaries, and at other times complementary interaction between the executor of a testament and the feoffees to uses, which resulted in the Church courts maintaining some form of jurisdiction over the device.[35] The Bedfordshire testators frequently asked for their executors to be involved in some measure in the implementation of a bequest of land and it is clear that the executors of a will were sometimes coterminous with the feoffees to uses.[36] It is equally clear, however, that a group of executors was not necessarily coterminous with a group of feoffees and that executorial authority over bequests of real property cannot be explained entirely in these terms. For example, John Hardyng of the parish of Harlington, who made his will on 12 April 1523, declared that his executors were to have the 'rule and governing' of two tenements left to his son William, but that they were to 'make every year a true accompt before my feoffees on saint Katharine's day in the Church of our blessed lady of Harlington'.[37] The executors' authority over the subject of such bequests was therefore as the feoffor's testamentary representative. The possible extent of an executors powers over the entire contents of a last will and testament is exemplified in the English will of Thomas Walcot of the Bedfordshire parish of Sandy (dated 20 September 1505), which consists of bequests of both personal items and land. Thomas Walcot declared at the conclusion of his will that 'Yt shalbe leful to myne executors and to Alow or otherwyze change here after any passell of this my last will iff it bethought by them to be for a better purpose for the profet of my wyffe or childern or for the exoneration of my conciens'.[38] Thomas Walcot's confident declaration of what was 'leful' concerning the disposition of his property, a declaration made by other Bedfordshire testators, reflects the wide-ranging powers enjoyed by a feoffor to uses. By vesting the executor, whether or not he or she was also a feoffee, with power to control the descent of real property, feoffors could bring the full authority of the ecclesiastical judge to bear on the enforcement of a use.[39] The Bedfordshire wills show that there were many different forms and levels of interaction between executors and feoffees which cannot be defined within any firm parameters.[40] Declaring uses in a last will may have ensured that recourse to the courts of chancery to settle disputes resulting from the use was a lass resort for disgruntled feoffors or their beneficiaries. Appealing to chancery was probably time-consuming and expensive.[41] A feoffor who declared uses in a last will could fees satisfied that he had done all he could to discharge his earthly and spiritual responsibilities in a relatively straightforward and inexpensive manner.

If, as the Bedfordshire wills indicate, the ecclesiastical courts were involved in the enforcement of uses, they were actively supporting the individual landowner in his or her recourse to the use in order to enjoy a far-reaching and widely ranging control over real property. It is probably significant that the increase in the declaration of uses in a last will coincided with a surge of activity and discussion by common lawyers and the legislature concerning the device. A statute of 1484 had enabled the cestue que use to make a feoffment binding in law, whereas until that point the view of the common law courts had been that uses were nothing in law and functioned on an entirely moral basis.[42] This act had the effect of familiarizing the common law courts with titles to land traced through uses, but there was disagreement among common lawyers in the early sixteenth century about the position and desirability of the device. Some argued that uses should be fully recognized at common law, while others viewed the use as a fraudulent device which should be abolished since it allowed the evasion of feudal dues.[43] The freedom to make a will of lands which the use provided was cited as an important determinant in the abolition of the device, in its medieval form, by the Statute of Uses. Feudal rights and questions of freedom and authority were therefore central to discussions of the legal position of the use which was, by that time, employed by a very broad spectrum of society. The extent to which the use had become a truly popular device is indicated by an Act of 1504, which limited the powers of villeins as feoffees by vesting the villeins' equitable interest in the lord. The act declared that 'if a bondman conveyed lands acquired by him to feoffees to his use, his lord was to have any right to enter them that would have been his if the bondman had been seised [that is, still possessed the legal title to that property]'.[44] The Church was apparently supporting and facilitating the freedom of the individual to control the descent of real property; a situation that was perceived as a threat to the sphere of control, as well as to the income, of most other forms of sixteenth-century authority — notably to the rules of common law and the vestiges of feudalism.

A financial motive may have played a significant role in the Church's interest in uses: it was not only the common lawyers and feudal lords who were concerned with the fiscal implications of the device. The flexibility of the use meant that land could be used to finance a variety of pious intentions, and bequests of real property could be made conditional upon the fulfilment of such intentions.[45] In the Bedfordshire wills 32 per cent of all testators who made a will of lands between 1500 and 1533 included specific bequests of real property, or profits from real property, to the Church, and this is undoubtedly a minimum.[46] Some declarations of uses were set out in detail in a deed or indenture that accompanied but was not included in the will (and was not normally recorded in the probate register).[47] Thus sometimes only the broad intentions of a testator were included in his or her will; and bequests made to some beneficiaries may have been subject to pious conditions set out in a separate document, or the subject of a verbal understanding with feoffees and beneficiaries. In such cases the declarations of uses in a last will may have set the moral seal on the uses as well as providing the means by which an ecclesiastical judge could compel their implementation. In 1530 an attempt was made by the legislature to curtail the freedom of the individual over the disposition of real property on the grounds that such freedom was injurious to the state. An Act was passed which limited the rights of those who wanted to leave land to certain religious bodies. Gifts of real property made for a period of longer than twenty years, either for obits, or for the perpetual service of priests, or to churches, chapels or guilds 'erected or made of devotion' without corporation were prohibited.[48] The passing of such an Act is clearly an indication of the attitude of the legislature towards the provision of land for pious purposes, and one which would not have been passed if such a practice had not been widespread.

The Bedfordshire wills indicate how an apparently secularizing trend could be encouraged to develop within a traditionally pious sphere, where material as well as spiritual gains were involved. Although it must be emphasized that the ability to devise real property may have been considered by testators as a means by which they could achieve a good end — and this had pious as well as mundane implications. The division between the sacred and the secular was a fine one, and the character of the wills under study is a reminder that secularizing trends during the early sixteenth century are not easily defined. The use, being a moral rather than a wholly legal device in the later medieval period, lent itself quite readily not only to association with will — and testament-making but also to the supervision, in some form, of the Church courts. The decline in the use of Latin for the canonical will may therefore have been, at least in part, a result of the medieval laity's desire to control and safeguard their entire property and to ensure that their wishes concerning that property would be fulfilled. The Church apparently found the growing incidence of uses declared in wills to be advantageous and supported, and possibly encouraged, the practice. In this respect Church and laity were acting for mututal advantage. The practice of declaring uses in last wills, which operated on a potentially pious as well as secular level, was clearly a matter of concern for the secular courts. The tensions between one authority and another, between Church, state and individual, are clearly evident in the history of the early-sixteenth-century will. The increasing use of English for this document, which was of immense importance to sixteenth-century individuals, was perhaps a double-edged sword, representing, as it did, a diminution of ecclesiastical separateness, but for purposes that may have been perceived as safeguarding the sphere of authority of the ecclesiastical courts. The Statute of Wills theoretically brought the devise of real property firmly and fully within the sphere of common law and such authority as the Church courts may have enjoyed prior to 1536 was ended. The landowner no longer needed to use intermediaries in order to bequeath real property, and his beneficiaires had recourse to the courts of common law if such bequests were not properly implemented. In practice, the influence of the Church over the disposition of real property may not have died out immediately.[49] The courts of common law may have seemed to most ordinary sixteenth-century landowners just as remote and problematic as those of chancery, and there is evidence to indicate that some individuals were still presenting wills of land to the Church courts in the middle of the century.[50] Where the medieval law of succession was concerned, theory and practice were not always united.


[1]Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993), provides a persuasive argument for the necessity of considering 'contexts'.
[2]For example, E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c.1400 to c.1500 (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1992), and Eric Carlson, Marriage and the English Reformation (Blackwell, Oxford, 1994).
[3]Judith Ford, 'A study of wills and will-making in the period 1500-1533 with special reference to copy wills in the probate registers of the court of the Archdeacon of Bedford, 1500-1533' (unpublished Open University Ph.D thesis, 1991), treats the problems and limitations of wills and testaments as sources of evidence.
[4]Archdeaconry of Bedford Probate Registers (Bedfordshire County Record Office ABP/R1, 2 and 3). These registers contain a few wills made in the closing years of the fifteenth century. This paper will make reference to those made between 1500 and 1533.
[5]M.M. Sheehan, The Will in Medieval England (Toronto, 1963), pp. 11-12, 16-17; Henry Swinburne, A Brief Treatise on Testaments and Last Wills (London, 1590).
[6]Sheehan, op. cit., p. 3. To some extent the terms 'will' and 'testament' were interchangeable. The 'testament' normally consisted of pious bequests of personal property, although a declaration of pious bequests shortly before death might also be of a testamentary character but could be called a 'last will'. Where bequests of both personalty and realty were included, the bequests of personal property were usually contained in the part of the document identified as the 'testament' and bequests of land were recorded in the 'last will' or ultima voluntas.
[7]W.S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law (Methuen, London, 7th edition, 16 Vols., 1956), III, p. 535.
[8]Sheehan, op. cit., p. 3.
[9](Sir) F. Pollock and F. W. Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I (Cambridge University Press, reprint of 2nd edition of 1898, 2 Vols., 1968), 11, p.336; Sheehan, op. cit., p. 3.
[10]Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., II, p. 343.
[11]Ibid., 11, pp. 420-28.
[12]Ibid., 11, pp. 308, 327-8.
[13]Some boroughs established the principle that the ordinary would have nothing to do with bequests of land which was devisable by custom. Ibid., II, pp. 330-31.
[14]Clive Burgess. 'A Fond Thing Vainly Invented: Purgatory and Pious Motive in Later Medieval England', in Parish, Church and People (S. Wright ed., Hutchinson, London, 1988), describes the sacrament of penance and evaluates its effect and influence in the later medieval period.
[15]For a discussion of the nature and development of the medieval use see Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., 11, pp. 228-39 ; Holdsworth, op. cit., IV, pp. 407-80.
[16]A.W.B. Simpson, A History of the Land Law (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2nd edition, 1986), p. 174.
[17]The common lawyers' objection to the devise of land is discussed in Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., II, pp. 329-30.
[18]Holdsworth, op. cit., IV, p. 438.
[19]27 Hen.VIII c.10. This Act, together with the Statute of Enrolments (27 Hen.Vlll, c.16), vested the legal estate in the cestui que use and this was described as 'executing' the use. Baker, 'Uses and wills', p. 199; Simpson, op. cit., p. 185.
[20]Holdsworth, op. cit., IV, p. 465; Simpson, op. cit., pp. 11-13, describes socage tenure as 'the great residual category of tenure' which included all property held of the lord for any definite service other than knight service or spiritual service.
[21]Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., 11, pp. 337-8.
[22]Beds C.R.O ABP/R1 and 2.
[23]It is probable that the wills recorded in the Bedfordshire registers were intended to be a reasonably faithful recording of the original will. See Ford, 'Wills and willmaking', p. 34.
[24]Ibid., pp. 74, 109-10, 124-8.
[25]Ibid., pp. 80-81.
[26]Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., II, p. 349.
[27]Ibid., II, pp.348-356; Swinburne, op. cit., p.191.
[28]Beds C.R.O. ABP/R 1, p. 41d.
[29]See, for example, the formulary recorded in the 'Register of Daniel Rough, Common Clerk of New Romney, 1353-1380', Kent Records, XVII (1945), pp. 232-3.
[30]While testaments of personalty and wills of land become less clearly separated during the period under study, in that the distinct space between the two 'halves' disappears from the registers after 1526, it is important to emphasize that the integration of bequests of personal and real property was of a limited character. It is not until 1531 that a will occurs in which the bequests of land are recorded first (see the will of John Spencer, a gentleman of Pavenham, who may have written the will himself. Beds. C.R.O. ABP/R 3, pp. 78-80), and this will remains a single exception in the first three surviving probate registers of the court of the archdeacon of Bedford, which record wills made between 1500 and 1533.
[31]Both freehold and copyhold property could be held in 'fee simple', which denoted an estate which was heritable and would endure as long as an heir of the landowner was living Pollock and Maitland, op. cit., II, pp. 13-14.
[32]R H. Helmholz, 'The Early Enforcement of Uses', Columbia Law Review, LXXIX (1979), pp. 1503-13.
[34]J.L. Barton, 'The Medieval Use', Law Quarterly Review, LXXXI (1965), p. 568.
[35]The importance of overlapping responsibilities in the enforcement of pious intentions has already been noted by Clive Burgess, 'Strategies for eternity: perpetual charity foundation in late medieval Bristol', in Religious Belief and Ecclesiastical Careers in Late Medieval England (C. Harper-Billed., 1991), pp. 16-17.
[36]See, for example, the will of Robert Furthowe of Potton, dated 1 April 1515. Beds. C.R.O ABP/R1, p. 129; see also J. M. W. Bean, The Decline of English Feudalism (Manchester U.P., 1968), p. 154.
[37]Beds C.R.O. ABP/R 2, p. 8.
[38]Beds C.R.O. ABP/R 1, p. 106.
[39]Ford, 'Wills and will-making', passim.
[40]There were many possible permutations of interaction between executors and feoffees. Although testators such as John Hardyng apparently vested ultimate authority in feoffees, other testators declared that an executor who was not also a feoffee was to enjoy such authority. See, for example, the will of Robert Cooper of Tempsford, dated 28 March 1528. ABP/R2, p. 11.
[41]Even wealthy feoffors might appeal to Church before chancery for help in the enactment of a use. Roger Virgoe, 'Inheritance and Litigation in the Fifteenth Century: The Buckenham Disputes', The Journal of Legal History, 15 no. 1 (April 1994), p. 28, notes Sir John Fastolf's appeal to ecclesiastical courts.
[42]1 Rich 111,c. 1.
[43]Simpson, op. cit., pp. 182-3.
[44]Bean, op. cit., pp. 178-9, citing 19 Hen.VII., c.15.
[45]Holdsworth, op. cit., IV, pp. 438-40.
[46]Ford 'Wills and will-making', p. 23.
[47]See, for example, the will of Cuthbat Cutlat of Eton, cited in note 38.
[48]23Hen.VI11, c.10; Holdsworth, op. cit., IV, pp. 443-4.
[49]Ibid., IV, p. 422.
[50]Ralph Houlbrooke, Church Courts and the English People (Oxford U.P., 1979), p. 153.

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