IPM Text Encoding Part 2: Indexes of people

In Part 1, I gave an overview of the process we are using to automate the structural and semantic XML markup of the IPM calendars. In this post, let's have a look at how we are dealing with the metadata about Person entities mentioned in the calendar entries.

IPM Text Encoding Part 1: Calendars

The process of digitizing the inquisition post mortem records involves the encoding of 29 volumes of text into a computer-interpretable format that provides both structural and semantic markup. We are using Extensive Markup Language (XML), and a specific vocabulary of this known as Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) P5. Encoding the data in this way allows us to identify - and make searchable - specific items of interest within each inquisition, such as:

Up and Down the Family Tree, or, Medieval Heir Hunters

Michael Hicks explores the rules of inheritance applied to some distant heirs.

Inheritance and succession

IPMs are documents concerned with the inheritance of land. That inheritance normally took place in accordance with the principles of the common law, but sometimes according to grants or settlements that were designed to modify those principles in favour of various family members. The IPMs are a very important source of information on the changing ways in which estates were settled and inherited in medieval England; equally, some appreciation of the law relating to inheritance and conveyancing is necessary for a full understanding of the documents themselves. This page provides a short introduction to these issues.

The extents: a short introduction (CIPM XXII.799)

The detailed extents found in many IPMs are a key source of information for economic, agrarian, and landscape history. The extent was a kind of survey: that is, a written description of a property. There were several other varieties, including demesne surveys (records of the lands exploited by the lord of the manor), custumals (records of tenants and their rents and services), and  rentals (records of tenants and their rents).[1. P. D. A. Harvey, Manorial Records, rev. ed. (1999), ch. 2.] Extents are especially valuable because they describe both the demesne and the rents and services of tenants, providing valuations for each item. They therefore record and value all the constituent elements of an estate – arable, pasture, meadow, mills, fisheries, buildings and so, as well as tenants – providing important evidence of how land and other seigneurial resources were exploited, and of their relative importance and productivity. The extents made for private landlords are generally reliable and authoritative, but they do not survive in great numbers or for all areas of the country. The extents in IPMs are much more numerous, and cover a much wider social and geographical range, but they are not as reliable as those made for private landlords. This article provides a brief survey of the problems and illustrates them with a detailed comparison between the 1427 IPM extent of Stow Bardolph (Norf.) and contemporary accounts.[2. For fuller accounts, see the essays by Dyer and Holford in Companion.]