Skip to main content

The Tarlton Law Library’s physical facility, including Special Collections, is closed until further notice. Tarlton’s librarians and staff remain actively engaged in providing library services. Student tech support ( and faculty and student reference assistance ( will be available during business hours. Students can also consult our Library and Technology Support FAQ ( for most frequently needed information.

Tarlton Law Library logo Texas Law Home Tarlton Law Library Home
Today's Operating Hours:
Early Modern English Manuscripts


Release of a Widow’s Annuity

Elizabeth Sands, widow, to Robert Masters. Release. Hornchurch, Essex: 10 July 1649. English. Brown ink on parchment.
170 X 345 mm. One seal, damaged.

Elizabeth Sands, a widow, and cousin and heir of the late Robert Wilcocks, releases her annuity (or rent) of £5 from her property at Image of a widow's release of an annuityHornchurch to Robert Masters. Annuities or annual rents like this one were frequently given to women for their maintenance and often were part of a marriage settlement. It appears that Elizabeth inherited this annuity.

Although quite a few female signatories were sufficiently literate to sign their own documents, Elizabeth has instead made her “mark” – in this case, a circle.  These marks were often in the form of crosses or exes, but all manner of other squiggles were also employed.

This is one of several related documents featuring Robert Masters.