The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Chirograph \Chi"ro*graph\, n. [Gr. ? written with the hand;
chei`r hand + gra`fein to write.] (Old. Law)
(a) A writing which, requiring a counterpart, was engrossed
twice on the same piece of parchment, with a space
between, in which was written the word chirographum,
through which the parchment was cut, and one part given
to each party. It answered to what is now called a
(b) The last part of a fine of land, commonly called the foot
of the fine. --Bouvier.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
CHIROGRAPH, conveyancing. Signifies a deed or public instrument in writing.
Chirographs were anciently attested by the subscription and crosses of
witnesses; afterwards, to prevent frauds and concealments, deeds of mutual
covenant were made in a script and rescript, or in a part and counterpart;
and in the middle, between the two copies, they drew the capital letters of
the alphabet, and then tallied, or cut asunder in an indented manner, the
sheet or skin of parchment, one of which parts being delivered to each of the
parties, were proved authentic by matching with and answering to one
another. Deeds thus made were denominated syngrapha, by the canonists,
because that word, instead of the letters of the alphabet, or the word
chirographum, was used. 2 Bl. Com. 296. This method of preventing
counterfeiting, or of detecting counterfeits, is now used by having some
ornament or some word engraved or printed at one end of certificates of
stocks, checks, and a variety of other instruments, which are bound up in a
book, and after they are executed, are cut asunder through such ornament or
2. Chirograph is also the last part of, a fine of land, commonly called
the foot of the fine. It is an instrument of writing beginning with these.
words: "This is the final agreement," &c. It includes the whole matter,
reciting the parties, day, year and place, and before Whom the fine was
acknowledged and levied. Cruise, Dig. tit. 35, c. 2, s. 52. Vide Chambers'
Diet. h.t.; Encyclopaedia Americana, Charter; Encyclopedie de D'Alembert,
h.t.; Pothier, Pand. tom. xxii. p. 73.