Manuscripts and Special Collections


This was the most common deed recording the sale of land in the medieval period. Despite the name, a deed of gift was not a means of giving something for free. Gifts were generally replaced by feoffments around the 15th century.



Sale of real property (land or buildings) from one party to another, for a monetary consideration. The amount of money involved is almost never stated in the deed.


  • roughly, 12th-15th centuries
  • small, rectangular
  • written on parchment
  • written in Latin
  • deed poll (straight top edge)
  • seal

Important words and phrases

Gifts record in the past tense what has been done to transfer the property:

[Latin] Sciant presentes et futuri quod me AB dedi, concessi et hac presenti carta mea confirmavi CD ...

[English] Know all present people and those to come that I AB have given, granted and by this present writing confirmed to CD ...

The land is passed for ever ('imperpetuum' in Latin), in fee simple, to the purchaser.




This was a form of conveyance similar to a gift, and identical in form. However, the difference is that it does not convey real property (lands or buildings), but incorporeal, or personal property, e.g. 

  • rent charges issuing out of property
  • annuities
  • the right of advowson (the right of presentation of clergy to a rectory or vicarage)



Ne D 919 - Gift (Latin) from John de Paunton to John de Bevercotes of a messuage with land in Bevercotes, Nottinghamshire; 6 Apr. 1317

View this deed

View a line-by-line breakdown of this deed

This is a good example of a deed of gift. It is written on a small piece of rectangular parchment, 20 cm wide by 8.5 cm long. We know it is a gift because of the following characteristics:

  • It is a deed poll, that is, the top of the deed is cut in a straight line. This indicates that the deed was made by just one person
  • It begins with the words 'Sciant presentes et futuri' - although other forms of words are sometimes used for gifts
  • It includes the phrase 'dedi concessi et hac presenti carta confirmavi'
  • The land is described only in the most general terms
  • There is no consideration - no details of what payment was made for the land
  • The land is transferred to John Bevercotes and his heirs and assigns (i.e. in fee simple) for ever
  • It has been sealed with one personal seal.



[line 1] Sciant p[re]sentes & fut[ur]i q[uo]d ego Joh[a]nes de Paunton dedi concessi & hac p[re]senti carta mea confirmaui Joh[an]i de

[line 2] Beu[er]cotes & hered[ibus] suis vel suis assign[atis] unu[m] mesuagiu[m] & totam t[er]ram mea[m] & p[ra]tum meu[m] que h[ab]ui in villa &

[line 3] t[er]itorio de Beu[er]cotes Habend[um] & tenend[um] d[ic]ta[m] mesuagia[m] t[er]ram & p[ra]tum cu[m] om[n]ib[us] suis p[er]tinent[iis] d[ic]to Joh[an]i

[line 4] de Beu[er]cotes hered[ibus] et assign[atis] suis imp[er]petuu[m]. Et ego v[er]o p[re]d[ic]tus Joh[an]es de Paunton hered[es] mei & mei

[line 5] assign[ates] p[re]d[ic]ta[m] mesuag[iam] t[er]ram & p[ra]tum cu[m] o[mn]ib[us] p[er]tinent[iis] suis p[re]d[ic]to Joh[a]ni de Beu[er]cotes hered[ibus] & assignat[is]

[line 6] suis cont[ra] om[n]es homines Warantizabim[us] imp[er]petuu[m]. In cuius rei testimon[ium] p[re]senti carte sigillu[m] meu[m]

[line 7] apposui. Hiis testibus Thom[a] de Lungemlers Joh[a]ne de Barckeworth Henr[ico] de Sutton Ricardo fil[io]

[line 8] eius Joh[a]ne atte Kirkeyate de Est March[a]m & aliis. Dat[um] ap[u]d Beu[er]cotes die M[er]cur[ii] in septia[m] Pasch[am]

[line 9] anno regni Reg[is] Edwardi fil[ie] Reg[is] Edwardi decimo. 



[line 1] Know all people present and to come that I John of Paunton have given granted and by this my present charter confirmed to John of  

[line 2] Bevercotes and his heirs or his assigns one messuage and all my

[line 3] land and meadow that I had in the town and territory of Bevercotes. To have and to hold the said messuage land and meadow with all its appurtenances to the said John

[line 4] of Bevercotes and his heirs and assigns for ever. And I truly the said John of Paunton and my heirs and

[lines 5 and 6] assigns will warrant for ever, against all men, the said messuage land and meadow with all its appurtenances to the said John of Bevercotes and his heirs and assigns. In witness of which thing I have put my seal to this present charter.

[line 7] These being witnesses, Thomas of Lungemlers, John of Barckeworth, Henry of Sutton, Richard his son,

[line 8] John atte Kirkeyate of Est Marcham [East Markham] and others. Dated at Bevercotes Wednesday in Easter week

[line 9] in the tenth year of the reign of King Edward, son of King Edward.


Next page: Feoffment


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