The documents I am currently transcribing date from an era well before Shorthand, Pitman script and Facebook. They need a little knowledge of property procedures, and quite a lot of guesswork following a pattern of missing vowels, as well as familiarity with language use in the 1840`s.
Punctuation is also missing most of the time, so the documents read like an express train passing through redundant stations. An example from John Powell Powell`s will refers to “ the extinguishment of such leasehold intts settled by the sd will and which is in extinguishment of such leasehold intts settled by sd will had been pchsed out of other part of the sale monies had respvly been convd to the uses of sd will...and of the deaths of parties and other events...heredits parlarly mentd in the schedule thrto stood limited to the use of H.P.Cotton for life without impeachment of waste with rmr to the use of sd H.P.Cotton... This is only part of an A4 size page with no punctuation in an 18 page document.
This might have benefitted from Ms Truss` “Eats, Shoots and Leaves “, corrected. Why bother? Well it seems this is a rather important document, regarding inheritance of land in Thanet, farms, tenants and trustees. (The abbreviation for trustees is `trees`, appropriate for these upstanding citizens).
Amazingly terms of agreements are sometimes mentioned for `life`, or 1000 years. References are also made to Henry Perry Cotton and his nuptials, with provision for his second wife and younger children. This conveys the importance of the line of inheritance, taken by the eldest son of his first marriage. The name of Powell-Cotton was taken by Deed Poll, in 1894, by Major Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton, possibly as another family safeguard.
For those of you who have been following the extent of the London Properties, the ten boxes of documents I have been examining for North London are only rivalled by the list of Thanet farms, 30 of which are described in outline detail, dating from the 1840`s to 1888. As this was and still is prime agricultural land covering the areas from Birchington to Ramsgate and Sandwich, it was a considerable portfolio to inherit, therefore the line of inheritance was crucial, often from uncle to nephew, and subject to dispute, despite the presence of respected Trustees.
This was obviously a concern for Major Percy, as in these documents in the reference is “so that he and his heirs lawfully begotten may not thereafter be called, known or distinguished by sd name of Cotton alone but by surname of Powell-Cotton .” Two years later in 1896 he became tenant for life.
In this 18 page document dating from 1840-1890`s we are asked to believe it is about the sale of land frontage to developers for the Sandwich to Margate Road. In fact it is so much more. It includes a pre-nuptial contract, provision for a second wife, a comprehensive list of Quex farms and tenants, and a deed poll declaration to ensure the correct line of inheritance.
Perhaps the final words may be those of Henry Perry Cotton, who exercised his power over the trustees in claiming for a second wife but reimbursing them for their expenses from the trust!