Inquisitions Post-Mortem Projects
A high-profile collaborative project investigating one of the most important sources for the social and economic history of medieval England and Wales.View content
About the projects
What are Inquisitions post mortem?
Inquisitions post mortem (IPMs) are statements of what lands every important landholder (male or female) in England and Wales held at death between 1236 and 1642. They also tell us who the landholders were, when precisely they died, who the heir was and how old he was, and much else about the property itself and how much it was worth. IPMs are one of the principal sources of information on the social and economic history of England and Wales in the later Middle Ages and (to a lesser extent) of Tudor and Stuart England. They relate to virtually every parish in England and Wales and therefore provide a systematic and unrivalled record of all lands not held by the Church.
Many thousands of IPMs survive among the chancery records at The National Archives. Those for 1236-1447 and 1485-1509 have been published in 29 large volumes of Calendars of Inquisitions post mortem (CIPMs). The AHRC-funded project Mapping the Medieval Countryside digitised all the calendars except volumes 22-26 on British History Online and created an interactive database of the other volumes on the project website. The Calendar of the Inquisitions post mortem of Richard III is an ongoing project funded by the Richard III Society and the British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust.
Mapping the Medieval Countryside Project 2011-14
This was a collaborative project between the University of Winchester and King’s College London. Professor Michael Hicks, Principal Investigator, led the Winchester research team of Dr Matthew Holford, Dr Matthew Tompkins, and Dr Gordon McKelvie; the KCL team was led by Mr Paul Spence. Funding of £528,000 was awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Pilot work was funded by the Marc Fitch Fund, the British Academy and the University of Winchester.
The project has resulted in CIPMs 1-21 and 2nd ser 1-3 now being freely available on British History Online; CIPMs 22-26 were published on the Mapping website. Periodic updates by KCL progressively upgrade the website. Featured IPMs, blogs, and news can also be found on the Mapping website. Some results of the project are included in The Later Medieval Inquisitions post mortem (2016).
Calendar of Inquisitions post mortem of Richard III project 2015-18
This ongoing project directed by Emeritus Professor Michael Hicks and hosted by the University of Winchester aims to make available all the IPMs for the reign of Richard III (1483-85), both in hard copy and digitally. Funding has been provided by the Richard III Society (£20,000) and by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust (£10,000). Publication will be funded by the Society. Calendars of all the original documents have been created by Dr Gordon McKelvie and various forms of checking are being undertaken by the research team. The text will be completed in 2018 and published both as hard copy and on the Mapping website.
In 2021, the Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, vol. 35: Edward V to Richard III was published, edited by Gordon McKelvie. The publication consists of 181 documents relating to 101 individuals translated into English for the first time, making them accessible to students, researchers and anyone else interested in the history of later medieval England.
Dr McKelvie said: "After many years of work, it is good to see this published. Editions like this are becoming rarer but are vital for scholars working on the period. I hope many people find this edition useful in their own research."
The project was funded by the Richard III Society and a British Academy Small Grant, and was overseen by Professor Michael Hicks.
Previously, two interim reports were published in the Ricardian Bulletin 2016 and 2018, and two IPM conferences generated two volumes of proceedings edited by Michael Hicks:
- The Fifteenth-Century Inquisitions post Mortem: A Companion (Boydell Press, 2012)
- The Later Medieval Inquisitions post mortem. Mapping the Medieval Countryside and Rural Society (Boydell Press, 2016)