An acknowledgement of debt, by its very nature, was not intended to be preserved for posterity. They were simply there to record a moneylending transaction. Consequently, the condition of many of these documents is less than pristine. We see that with this document dated 16 November 1262. There is what appears to be, from my photograph, water damage in the upper quadrants of the document, as well as a tear to the parchment, which makes part of the document illegible. That doesn’t present too much of a problem given the formulaic nature of these documents. The document would have commenced with the phrase “Sciant universi quod ego”. The name of the debtor is then missing but “de Aswelle” does survive, as does his rank: knight. An interesting point (or at least a point which is interesting to me given my obsession with mapping debt) is that the county (comitatus)from which the debtor originated is also included. In this case it is Hertfordshire, and this was an important point to record from the Crown’s perspective – i.e. in order to trace. The debt was to Manasser son of Aaron, who we’ve already met in this blog feature, for 20 marks (viginti marcum). Then follows the standard material: the date of repayment, All Saints Day 1263 (festum onmium sancti), the penalty clause, and the date upon which the transaction was done.
TNA E 210/34.