MATERIAL: watermarked, thick laid paper; leather binding
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: Folio: 3cm x 23.5cm In Leather Binding: 44cm X 33cm
WEIGHT: 5kg (with packaging)
COMPONENTS: 420 pages of thick laid and watermarked paper, approx. 370 pages of which contain lengthy manuscript legal writs or documents of some kind. Written leaves numbered 1-112 (224pp), 3 blank pages, written leaves numbered 114-115 (4 pages), followed by 20 blank leaves, then leaves numbered 190-258 (136pp), followed by 8 further blank leaves and 4 pages of index
CONDITION: Good only. Numbered leaves missing between 135 and 190, and between 267 and 278, which we suspect were blank pages. Stain to bottom edge of most pages, mainly light but become more pronounced towards the end. 6cm stain to one side of leaf 246. Very thin stain to top edge of pages. Some offsetting of signature devices on to opposite pages. Binding worn, with some loss of leather to edges and corners. Strap split and mainly detached from binding. White binding cord decorating the binding is also rather frayed and broken. Endpapers marked and rather dirty. Final section of pages from leaf 190 onwards almost detached from binding. A ream of 64 leaves has previously been removed, meaning that there is a gap between leaves 135 and 190, which we suspect may have been blank pages. The index at the front of the volume seems to apply to the section from the start to leaf 112, implying that this first section of 224 pages is complete within itself. There are some additional index pages at the rear, which seem to relate to the last tranch of documents from leaf 190 onwards. There is also a jump between leaf 267 and 278, but we believe these were blank pages.
LANGUAGE
Language: Portuguese
ITEM ID: 1054
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Portuguese Legal Manuscript

DATE
Year: 1701
Decade: 1700s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)

Large Portuguese legal manuscript, early 18th century, with numerous agreements, each with decorative hand-drawn signature device. The watermarked, laid paper is of thick quality stock, which may suggest the legal documents are quite important. The binding would have been expensive in its day as well. This Portuguese codex belongs to a majorat, which is a French term for an arrangement giving the right of succession to a specific parcel of property associated with a title of nobility to a single heir, based on male primogeniture. A majorat (fideicommis) would be inherited by the oldest son, or if there was no son, the nearest relative. This law existed in some European countries and was designed to prevent the distribution of wealthy estates between many members of the family, thus weakening their position. Majorats were one of the factors easing the evolution of aristocracy. The term is not used of English inheritances, where the concept was actually the norm, in the form of entails or fee tails. Majorats were specifically regulated by French law. In France, it was a title of property, landed or funded, attached to a title instituted by Napoleon I and abolished 1848.Often the title could not be inherited if the property did not pass to the same person. Like English entails, the implications of majorats were often used in fiction to furnish complexity in plots; Balzac was especially interested in them.
In Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, majorat was known as ordynacja and was introduced in late 16th century by king Stefan Batory. A couple of Polish magnates’ fortunes were based on ordynacja, namely those of the Radziwiłłs, Zamoyskis, Wielopolskis. Ordynacja was abolished by the agricultural reform in the People’s Republic of Poland.In Portugal it was called Morgado or Morgadio. One of the requirements to inherit a Morgado was to pass down the family name related to the Morgado. Women with no brothers could inherit a Morgado: in that case their children would inherit the mother’s name. If the husband was also a Morgado, the children would inherit both names. This led to a tradition of very long family names in the Portuguese nobility. In this case of this manuscript, it is the Morgado de Crestelo, in 1701 managed by Nicolau Vaz de Sequeira Freire e Campos, and it also includes the Morgado do Bairro, managed by his mother, D. Joana Helena de Sousa Chichorro. The documents deal with properties near Viseu. It’s mainly copies of leases, sales and chapels.Through this index we recognize several texts dealing with Alenquer, north of Lisbon, and many others with the Azores, which may be interesting since the regional archives of the islands are rarer than the continental ones. Overall it’s mostly wills, masses to be prayed in chapels, and the leases or buying of plots of lands, which income would feed the priests that sung the masses.It contains a lengthy manuscript legal writs or documents of some kind. These are divided into approximately 70 different headed documents, each of which is signed at the base by lawyer Eusebio Gomez and other interested parties, including Bernardino Bonifacio Enriquez on most documents, as well as Comigo Tabalioff (?). The preface, signed by Eusebio Gomez mentions D. Joanna (?) Elena de Souza, and appears to be dated seventeen hundred and something.A number of these documents are dated at the head or within the text, with some dates in the 1500s, others the 1600s. However, it is believed that the document is not quite that, and probably dates from around the mid-1700s. Each of the 70 headed documents concludes with an impressive and highly decorative manuscript signature device and multiple signatures. Eusebio Gomez has signed each one (except the document on leaves 114 and 115, which is signed by others) together with a number of other parties.