Charge for Goodwife Ivery, 1587, L.f.218

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This article features a transcription of a Folger Shakespeare Library manuscript, Charge for Goodwife Ivery, L.f.218, (1587), featured in the Age of Lawyers Exhibition, September 13, 2015-January 3, 2016.

More manuscripts from this collection can be found in the Guide to the E. Williams Watermark Collection, including the Papers of the Hale Family of King's Walden and Other Papers

Much like the closing costs encountered during a modern car or house purchase, the costs of any legal action included many obscure fees. One advantage of legal training for country gentlemen was that it let them understand their lawyers' highly technical bills of costs, presented in Latin. Goodwife Ivery, who is referred to here, was probably a widow, since married women could not sue or be sued in their own names.


Below is a brief description of Leaf 1 recto of Folger manuscript L.f.218. This was created by the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project. To access an image of the original leaf, click on each transcription's heading.

L.f.218, leaf 1r

L.f.218 is in Latin and seems to be a list of legal charges given to ‘goodwiff Ivery’ regarding the case ‘Hale’ versus ‘Same’. The heading at the top of the page tells us the charges were made during the 29th regnal year of Elizabeth I’s reign ‘per xxix Elizabeth Regine’. (Line 1, referring to the 29th regnal year of Elizabeth 1st, 17th November 1586 – 16th November 1587.)

The sum total of these charges is 22 shillings and 6 pence ‘Summa xxijs vjd’. ( Line 15. Basic demoninations were pounds, shillings and pence derived from Roman coinage: li or l for libri/pounds, s for solidus/shilling, d for denarius/pence.)

Charges include ‘pro regula iiijd’ (for the basic principles 4 pence) , ‘probe facta xiijd’ (proving the facts 13 pence) , ‘pro retornatus inde ijs’ (for replying to the accusation at that point 2 shillings) . (Lines 7, 10 and 11 respectively)

The charges are signed by a Thomas Hynde at the end ‘By [his mark] me Thomam Hynde’. (Line 16)