Social and Economic

Inquisition Post Mortem into the estate of Robert Watton

This Inquisition Post Mortem was called for by letters patent and was heard on 25th September 1472. The investigation, therefore, was requested by the crown. This was later the subject of a court of common pleas hearing, in 1480,  at the request of Cardinal Thomas Bourchier.

Inquisition Post Mortem into the estate of Robert Watton.

Manorial Holdings

Robert Watton was a knight. The Inquisition Post Mortem him found to have held a half share in several manors during his lifetime: Palstre, valued at £8 per annum; Crongbery, valued at 10 marks per annum; Boughton Monchelsea, valued at 10 marks per annum; a fee tail in the Manor of Addington, valued at 10 marks per annum. These were held in Kent, from the Duchesses of Buckingham or York.

Abduction of the heiress to Robert Watton

In Court in 1480 the Cardinal stated that Watton’s daughter and sole heir, Katherine, was abducted by a Hugh C. Katherine was underage and had been held in the Cardinal’s care.

Reversion to the Crown

The jury found that at the time of Watton’s death the estates should have returned to the crown, as the King himself was tenant-in-chief of each of the manors for which Watton held a share. Further, they found that Katherine, who had been aged 4 at the time of her father’s death, was the sole beneficiary of her father’s wealth.

Chancery confirmation of transfer of manors to Cardinal Bourchier

The Chancery confirmed that following the death of Watton, the manors in question had, through letters patent, been assigned to the Cardinal. So too had custody of Katherine and with that, her marriage rights until she came of age: so, the Cardinal stood to benefit from marrying the girl before she was an adult.

Jury finds in favour of Cardinal Bourchier

It was alleged that Hugh C abducted Katherine in 1472 and failed to hand her over as required by the letters patent until 1477. The jury found in the Cardinal’s favour and awarded a sum of 230 marks. This illustrates how wardships were sources of income for nobles and bishops.

Image Credit

Part of a document pertaining to an Inquisition post mortem (IPM). From the IPM Mapping the Countryside project.


National Archives: Inquisitions post mortem: land ownership and inheritance in the medieval and early modern periods

Mapping the Medieval Countryside: The Inquisitions Post Mortem

British History Online: Inquisitions Post Mortem

Note: IPM’s for 1447 to 1485 are not available online.

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