The form of this recovery was a formal exemplification issued under the monarch’s seal and as such, it was relatively easy to identify from the wording at the start and the end of the deed. it is also decorated with a portrait of the King and some elaborate penwork. The reference to Hugh Hunt is actually a legal fiction but the appearance of this name signifies that the document is a common recovery – no other legal document contains this name. In this particular case, another named fictitious person was Charles Browning.
Common recoveries date from the late 15th century and confirm agreements/ sales/ transfers of land previously agreed between parties. They were especially regarded by lawyers for their value in breaking or barring entails, so they may be of particular interest to those who have been watching a certain historical drama which turns upon the way the entail of an estate influences the lives of those living on it! In effect, they describe a fictitious transaction colluded by lawyers and consequently, common recoveries are complex and often confusing.
The recovery here is a confirmation of a transfer of land. William Lewton Clarke issued a writ against Charles Thelwell Abbott arguing that the property was rightfully his and that Abbott had no rights other than for the actions of an imaginary party, Hugh Hunt whom he alleged had evicted him. Abbott went to court and called upon Martin Holbeche, Jane Holbeche and Elizabeth Holbeche to guarantee his title to the land. They in turn, called upon Charles Browning as a second vouchee who duly appeared in court and provided the guarantee. Clarke then, asked permission of the justices –“craveth leave to imparl..” which was leave to reach an agreement out of court, and this was granted. Eventually. Lewton returned to court, but Browning did not appear and thus, judgement went against Abbott and the Holbeches in favour of Clarke.
Behind the mirror
Behind these mirrors and swirling smoke, the actual holders of the property are the Holbeches and it is being conveyed to William Lewton Clarke.