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need help to translate a old 1688 Birmingham document


proper brummie kid
I bought this document dated 1688 from ebay.
the only reason I bought it is because it had Birmingham on it.
but I can not read it.
can anyone help me translate or tell what it is.

John Young

master brummie
Hi Toecaps,

That's a very interesting & intriguing document that you have there !!!

It looks a style of Latin but I do recognise some French in it too,, the word Birmingham is clear but

I would have thought an earlier Bermyngeham or similar would be there around 1688 ?

Maybe take it into B,ham Library put it on their Light screens, magnify & get help there ?

Best of luck, John Y


master brummie
or perhaps a catholic priest could help translate the document. Good luck - it would be very interesting to know what it says should you have any luck.


proper brummie kid
Thank you John,
I will pop in the new Birmingham library at the weekend and see what they say.


proper brummie kid
here is the description from ebay of this document.
"1688 James II Admission of 3 rood of land, Birmingham vellum."
I bought it last year for around £17 and because of work and family I forgot about it, while I was having a clean up I came across it

John Young

master brummie
Toecaps, that's a good price you paid on E-bay for such an article, nice one eh!

TV programme last week showed some Master craftsmen making Vellum in traditional manner,

Goat skin is the finest (for the Monks & Holy Books work) & takes many hours of treatment &
scraping to reduce it to the wonderful smooth finished piece to take the writing

A piece the guy had just finished about 24 inch by 12 inch would cost now about £300 he said

Your document must be worth 3 or 4 times what you paid for it just for the Vellum ?
(Can be treated, scraped & re-used), Good luck John Y


Super Moderator
Staff member
Good luck with it, toecaps. Let us know how you get on.

I'm hoping and praying it is not all gobbledygook.



Super Moderator
Staff member
I showed this document to a friend who is familiar with this type of document, he says as follows;

I've had a few minutes today to translate your Latin doc. Sorry it's taken so long. It's a manorial land record and that's why it's written in Latin - but late mediaeval Latin which is especially difficult. I can pick out words and give you a general sense - see Thornage pdf.

It is Thornage, and the other place clearly mentioned is Brinningham (quite definitely) which is near Thornage, Norfolk. There's no doubt that it's not Birmingham.

By a curious stroke, I've also erncountered the same manor and the same families (apparently) in an auctioneers catalogue which I also attach. There is too a death notice from the Gentleman's Magazine which may have relevance.

I attach these files in a jumble, and you'll get sense of them as you will, probably using your natural intelligence.The death notice is on a webpage from Google . . which wouldn't allow me to convey the info any other way, hence the Google folder which you need to reconstruct the page.


Thornegg (in exchange ?) . . . Brinningham

Whereas on the twenty-seventh day of October 1788 Robert Davy for the liberty of . . .

Is presented for the homagius (?feudal term) . . . 16
th day of March 1788 Radulph(i.e.

Latin for another first name) Swann son and first born heir of Radulphus Swann deceased

hold this ?manor ( - mis-spelt) . . in proper person . . come Jacob Astley knight and

baronet to be overlord of the manor of the same and is admitted . . ?sons and heirs for

ever (something like that) . . . Sloan his mother . . manor .. . .Eshmatonden . . .

consideration for land called Warners furlong in Brinningham. . in the holding of Richard

Might gentleman and . . . John Gallant gentleman. . and the land described of Radulphus

Swann deceased . . John Yaxby twenty-fifth day of October 1764 and admitted (this is a

manorial term) . . to hold of the lord of the manor freely to himself

Names then mentioned: Charles Webster, Radulphus Swann the son, Tousonfield or

Tonsonfield, and others – perhaps all witnesses

Signed Robert Davy Gentlemen.

Thornegg is Thornage in Norfolk. See auctioneers catalogue – same family names

Link to the gentleman magazine; https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...=X&ei=7TAGU-z6N_Hn7Aa3wIDQDw&output=html_text

John Young

master brummie
Hi again Toecaps,

Following on from the brilliant work of our friend Morturn (well done) may I suggest that you contact
the Family History Society in Norfolk as they will be most interested in your document.
The genealogists there, some no doubt with history including such great names as Radulphus Swann,
Jacob Astley - Baronet & Knight, Richard Might, John Gallant, John Yaxby and others,, Wow !
such names + history + dates are rarities that "family history tree researchers" hopefully dream about

Contact www.norfolkfhs.org.uk/- & other "Norfolk FHS rootsweb etc sites" & expect some interest
Good luck, John Y


Super Moderator
Staff member
Just a short update;

I need to amend my tripping up through the words of your land doc. The word I identified as 'manor' is more likely to mean a piece of land, I think. So wherever I've said 'manor', substitute the idea of a bit of land.

This is a manorial land transaction, an inheritance or transaction - where the manorial court validated the arrangement. The word admitted (admittus or admitta) is important here - meaning the acceptance or hearing by the court of the manor.

Hope that's clear. Not.


proper brummie kid
Sorry for the delay in replying to these post, Because of work and I am not a big fan of the internet I am not online much.
Thank you Jukebox for the link to 'old English translator' web site but it looks like Morturn done the translation.
Morturn you done a great job in translating the document thank you. it not what I wanted to hear, I was hoping it was part of our (Birmingham) history but I am happy you have translated it.
In the translation the year you put is 1788 and not 1688 is that right ?
Thank you again Morturn for doing a great job.
John Young that's a good idea, I will contact Family History society in Norfolk about it.
Thank you again for everybody who has replied to this post.


master brummie
I am pleased to see that this document did get translated. I attempted it but was of the opinion that it was not Birmingham that was mentioned. I hesitated to get help from colleagues as I did not want to provide false information. Olde English, as many will know, was sidelined for the more important (to our new Norman rulers) Norman French.