Lord John Somers on Heriot [Manuscript]. Somers, John, Baron [1651-1716]. [Manuscript Brief on Heriot with Autograph Opinion of Lord John Somers]. [London?, c.1680]. 2 pp. Single leaf with text to both sides, docket to verso reading "John Somers opinnion about Geo. Higgons Herryatt," possibly in Somers's hand. Light toning, horizontal and vertical fold lines, light soiling, heavier to verso, moderate edgewear and chipping with minor loss to text at lower right corner, trace amount of wax residue from seal to recto. $1,500. * Scribal brief on the case of George Higgons with signed annotations by Somers. Higgons had died in prison, and his landlord sought to collect heriot, a feudal death duty that permitted the lord of a manor to claim the "best beast" (or the equivalent in cash or kind) from a tenant's estate upon the tenant's death or the succession of a new tenant. Somers is skeptical of the claim here, noting that "Geo: Higgons not dying Ten[an]t...I think no Herriot was due upon his death" and ultimately concluding that "if ye party who is to pay te best Beast for a Herriot has no beast at his death ye Ld looses ye Herriot." The brief and its annotations date to the seventeenth century, likely when Somers was in the Middle Temple before his election to Parliament in 1689.
Book number 72761