Inquisitons Post Mortem
Before 1660, on the death of any holder of land who was thought to have held that land direct from the crown (called a tenant in chief by knight service), an inquiry was held by the escheator of the county involved. A local jury had to swear to the identity and extent of the land held by the tenant at the time of his death, by what rents or services they were held, and the name and age of the next heir. If there was no heir, the land escheated (reverted) to the crown: if the next heir was under age, the crown claimed rights of wardship and marriage over the lands and the heir until he or she came of age. If the heir was adult, livery and seisin of the lands was granted on performance of homage to the king, and payment of a reasonable fine or relief of the heir's age was in doubt, there might have been a separate inquiry to produce proof of age.
Note : The dates given in the index for the "Inquisition Postmortems" are a guide only as the Rengal Year for Edward III started on 25 Jan 1327.