Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Palatinate

For the genealogist, words often make a difference in the understanding of time and travel into the past. This is especially true when one travels "into the past" of Welsh history.

"The Palatinate" is such a word. It comes from the Latin... palatinus...which means, of or relating to, a palace. Of course you would have to live in a palace to really grasp its meaning. Living in a palace implies that the owner of the palace possesses "royal privileges". He, or she, would be considered to have sovereign power within its walls, and within the domain that surrounded the palace.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the Germanic kingdoms that came to the forefront. Of these Germanic kingdoms only the Frankish kingdom survived to form "The Carolingians". [Charlemagne and all those folks.] The main regions of their kingdoms were placed in the hands of the strongest noblemen who came to be called "the mayor of the palace". It would seem that great families struggled with each other for this position, thus laying the ground work for this concept.

After the Saxons, and then the Normans arrived to claim some land of the Welsh, this concept had been established. A "Palatine" was a feudal lord having sovereign power within his domains.
He was to have "complete" and "absolute" ownership of the land. A "Palatinate" was the territory of a "Palatine". Whew, enough already!

All this is said to help the genealogist understand that some of the earliest "English" records pertaining to Wales are called "Records of The Palatinate of Chester". This included the county of Flint. [I was always confused with the terms Palatinate because I thought Chester was a town, and then a county]. These records consist of the financial, judicial and administrative activities of the Exchequer of Chester, and of the common-law records of the ancient Sessions of the county.

Ancient Deeds have been assembled mainly from these records. [Ancient Deeds, Series F (Wales 29), from Edward I to Elizabeth I, a total of 516 deeds.

Anyone still live in a palace?

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