The terrier of 1454 is one of the most important documents in the corporation archives. It provides a comprehensive survey of properties in the medieval walled town at a time of its greatest prosperity. A terrier is usually thought of as a document listing all the properties having a common owner. What is unique about The Southampton Terrier of 1454, however, is that it lists all the properties within the town walls, whether occupied or not, and not just those owned by the corporation. The names of the owners are given, and also those of their tenants. Moreover, the immediate past owner is named and in some instances a whole series of earlier owners is recorded.
The purpose of the survey was to allocate for each property responsibility for the maintenance of a specific section of the town wall. The town was required by the Crown to keep its defences in good repair, and this was particularly so in the 1450s when invasion from France was a real fear.

Further reading:
The Southampton Terrier of 1454, by L. A. Burgess (ed) (Southampton Record Series Vol. XV). (HS/l)


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