Feet of Fines

A Fine (Finis, or Finalis Concordia), so called fom the words with which it begins, and also from its effect in putting a final end to all suits and contentions, was an amicable agreement or composition of a suit, whether real or fictitious, made between the parties with the consent of the judges, and enrolled among the records of the Court in which the suit was commenced...

Fines no doubt originated in actual suits for recovering the possession of lands and other hereditaments, the possession thus gained being found so sure and effectual that fictitious actions were soon introduced for the sake of obtaining the same security.

Guide to the Public Records  by Mr Seargill-Bird.