Yeah, it’s been a while since my last post. As usual, life got in the way, but things are settling a little again (just in time for another disaster, but more on that later), so it’s time to update the blog. I was listening to Genealogy Gems episode 114 this week and heard about all the new record sets available to search. In the discussion on the British Library digitizing a massive amount of public domain materials (news: Reuters, Engadget, Guardian, HuffPost), I was reminded of another project that was mentioned recently on the BBC History Magazine podcast this month - the fine rolls from King Henry III's reign.
What were the fine rolls? The site says:
A fine in the reign of King Henry III (1216–1272) was an agreement to pay the king a sum of money for a specified concession. The rolls on which the fines were recorded provide the earliest systematic evidence of what people and institutions across society wanted from the king and he was prepared to give. They open a large window onto the politics, government, economy and society of England in the hinge period between the establishment of Magna Carta at the start of Henry’s reign and the parliamentary state which was emerging at its end.
So in modern terms, the rolls are a record of bribes and other payments made to the King for various and sundry reasons. Since there was no income tax at the time, this is part of how the Royal Treasury built up its wealth. The fine rolls were recorded in Latin, but the website project includes English translations and images of the original rolls.
So my first thought on hearing about this record set was to see if there was anything about the village of Nazing (I’ve also seen it spelled Nazeing) in Essex. I’ve found references on both my lines and my wife’s lines with family in this region. While I didn’t find anything on the specific people I’m researching, putting “Nazeing” into the search box showed two results:
23 March 1227: For the abbot of Waltham . The abbot of Waltham gives 30 m. for having the confirmation of King Richard concerning his liberties and his lands contained in the same charter, and, if the king in the fulness of time confirms to them their wood of Nazeing and their other woods, as is contained in the letters patent of the king that he has, then the abbot will give 10 m. to the king beyond the aforesaid 30 m.
30 September 1229: The abbot of Waltham has made fine with the king by 15 m. for enclosing the woods of Nazeing and Epping, so that wild animals can enter and exit.
For my research, this verifies that there was a place in England called Nazeing and part of the area in the 13th century was used as a nature preserve. We think of such preservation as a modern innovation, but here we see it happening almost 800 years ago. Way cool.
To bring it forward again, I then did a quick Google Maps search for “Nazeing, England” and found a place called Nazeing, Waltham Abbey, Essex, UK.
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This has got to be the same area. And since it’s so near to London, it will be an easy place to visit, assuming that I ever get to England myself.