Inquisitions Post Mortem

Inquisitions post mortem were, strictly speaking, surveys made by an officer of the Crown, usually the Escheator, of the estates held by tenants in chief at the time of their death. The object of this survey was fiscal, to ascertain the annual value of the deceased’s property, so as to enable the Exchequer to calculate the amount payable by the heir on succeeding to his ancestor’s estate, or as it was called his relief. The age of the heir was another subject of inquiry, as if a minor the king would be entitled to retain the property and receive the rents until such heir came of age. They started 1236 and continued until 1640.

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