Indented undertaking, 1338
Indented record that, following the contention between William of Sheraton and William of Lumley over the position of Lumley's house, and the finding `per duodecim legales homines de Burgo Sancti Egidij' [view] that `les Euesdroppes' of Lumley's house fell on Sheraton's to his / its very great damage, Lumley undertakes to guard against this, and should he fail Sheraton will be free `omnes predictas Euessynges a quo descendunt les Euisdroppes abstrahere et ad terram prosternere sine contradiccione'. [view]
Date: the court of St Giles, Thursday before Denis [8 October] 1338.
The borough of St Giles, on the north-east edge of Durham, belonged to the hospital of St Giles at Kepier, and its court was presumably held by the hospital's steward, who is named as the first witness. Here the court was evidently functioning as a forum in which disputes between neighbours might be settled, in this case apparently because Lumley had built too close to his boundary with Sheraton, cf. OED sub Eavesdrops; it might be concluded that the building causing the nuisance was not the part of the house on the street, with its ridge parallel to street and hence with rain running off to the front and rear, but a rear extension at right angles to this, with rain running off sideways.
The document presents two examples of the common use of the French definite article before a vernacular word in a Latin document, in both cases the plural "les"; in certain contexts, notably the English description of the weapon in a sanctuary petition (Reg. V f. 172v `cum vno le dager'), it is clear that the article must bear an indefinite sense, i.e. "a" rather than "the". For reasons unclear the scribe took the English eavesings to require a feminine "predictas"; the expansion of the standard es/is abbreviation at the end of the word as "es" is adopted on the basis that the scribe used this twice in respect of the eavesdrops, as against "is" only once. As often by this date the scribe wrote along the indenting space the first part of the alphabet, rather than a descriptive term for the document.