Glossary of Terms


A unit of land of variable size. Originally, an acre approximated the amount of land able to be tilled by one man and one ox in one day. Cornwall had its own acre. A Cornish acre was generally much larger than an English acre, although the exact area defined by the term is not standard. Where both Cornish and English units are given, Cornish acres are often referred to as customary and English acres as statute. Currently, and at the time of the tithe apportionment surveys, the term acre refers to an area equal to 4,840 square yards or 0.405 hectare; 640 acres are equal to one square mile.


The right to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to make such an appointment.


The demesne lands of a manor; and sometimes the manor itself. The term generally applies to the land immediately surrounding the seat of the manor and occassionally to a farm situated close to the seat; such farms were often called Home Farm.


A town with powers of self-governance conferred by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament. Boroughs not attaining Municipal Borough status by the mid 1880s lost their privileges (also burgh, burgus).


A measurement of land approximately equivalent to how much land could be ploughed by a team of eight oxen in one year.


The village clustered around the parish church. Most parishes in Cornwall have a churchtown.


The ecclesiastical equivalent of the hundred. Most share the names of the hundreds, though these are not always coincident.


Land attached to a manor and retained for the owner's own use as opposed to land let to tenants.


Between 1974 and 2009 these were the modern administrative divisions of Cornwall of which there were six: Penwith, Kerrier, Carrick, Restormel, Caradon and North Cornwall.


A specific area not included within any particular parish and which was exempt from parochial obligations. From the mid 19th century they were increasingly incorporated into new or existing civil parishes.


A feudal tenant’s or vassal’s sworn loyalty to a lord.


An estate of land held on condition of feudal service.

Fulling Mill

A mill for beating and cleaning cloth, using soap or fullers earth (also Tucking Mill).


Land belonging or yielding revenue to a parish church or ecclesiastical benefice and held by the incumbent.


See under Moiety.


Small settlement consisting of a group of houses, usually without a church.


The nine ancient administrative divisions of Cornwall.


Next to, adjacent to, situated near to or adjoining (also iuxta).

Knight's Service

The tenure of land by a free tenant in exchange for military service

Lazar House

A leper hospital. In Cornish, called a Clodgy.


A regular vein of minerals.


The administrative unit of a landed estate; a piece of occupied landed property over which a Lord, or Steward, and a private manor court controlled tenancies, local customs, local laws and land use. Manors were further divided into tenements. The size of manors varied; some covered one or more parishes and some would consist of a few small tenements.


A dwelling house, usually including the outbuildings and some surrounding land.


A half share or part (also halfendeale).


A farmyard or enclosure where stacks of hay, cereals and vegetables etc were stored.


Originally the medieval administrative units, both ecclesiastical and civil, but after 1597 ecclesiastical units were separated from civil parishes in order to serve the ecclesiastical needs of the local community. Civil parishes in their modern sense were established afresh in 1894, by the Local Government Act 1894. The Act abolished vestries, and established elected parish councils in all rural civil parishes with more than 300 electors. These were grouped into rural districts.


A vacant plot.


A monastery. In the Benedictine orders a house dependent upon an abbey, and in certain orders, such as the Augustinians or the mendicant orders, any religious house.


A deed conveying formal renunciation or relinquishment of a claim to real estate. A quitclaim does not guarantee that the grantor is in any way possessed of the property and carries no covenant of title.


The tenure of land by a free tenant in return for agricultural, or other non-military, services, or for payment of rent in money.


The machinery used for crushing mineral ores.

Stannary Quarter

One of the four divisions of the mining districts of Cornwall (also Stannery).


A portion of land subject to tenure in common law; the units of land held of a manor. In the medieval period tenements were generally either free or conventionary. Free tenements were usually inherited and had rents which were relatively fixed. In theory, free tenants had the right to quit their properties, whilst the Lord of the Manor had no right to take the tenancy away. Free tenements were held either in socage or by knight's service. Conventionary tenements were held by agreement and rents were often much higher than those on free tenements. The term Capital Tenement was sometimes used when describing a principal property wherein the individual or family lived. (also Justment).


A division of produce from the land and of other income. Rectorial and vicarial tithes were collected to support a parish priest and maintain his services, and impropriate tithes were those whereby the ecclesiastical revenue, or part of, had been transferred to other individuals. Rectorial or greater tithes were collected on a variety of produce including cereals, wool and fish, and vicarial or lesser tithes were collected on lesser produce. A Rector who was not the incumbent would take a share of the rectorial tithes and the vicar would then have to survive on the vicarial tithe with additional revenue gained from the glebe and the churchyard.


Originally a system whereby ten neighbours were bound together to uphold each other's good conduct by way of sureties or frankpledges to the king. A tithing was subordinate to a parish though generally more dispersed in nature, sometimes with many parcels in various different parishes, and closely linked to the manorial system. Tithings were eventually superceded by the civil parishes (also Tything).

Tucking Mill

See under Fulling Mill.


The divisions, for administrative purposes, of the parish of St Keverne.


Generally refers to unoccupied or uncultivated land (also wast).