Aha! you say - there is no such word. In genealogy: oh, yes there is. We're talking 1066 to the mid fourteenth century, here, and the subject is: murder.
The penalty for killing a Norman was quite severe; the penalty for killing an Englishman, not so severe. So, instead of just finding out 'whodunnit', genealogy came into play to find out whether the deceased was Norman or English by descent. (If nobody could decide, then they considered the victim to be Norman).
Then, the spotlight would fall on the person accused of the murder. If he could successfully plead 'Englishry' (ie that the deceased was English and not Norman), he would not receive the more severe penalties, which included a fine on the hundred (place) in which the murder was committed.
Next week's letter is 'F'. Has anybody got any interesting snippets that marry up F with surname studies? If so, please send them to me at sos [at] surname-society.org
© Ros Haywood
School of Surnames
letter E courtesy of openclipart.org
this post first appeared on GenWestUK in 2012 - and I wrote it, so I hold the copyright!