Probably because the clerk did not find other formal classifications in the letter of these documents and because he was not responsible for creating them, the truth is that he preferred to build his abstracts based on the identification of the documented legal actions, that is, opting for descriptions that refer that someone “ordered”, “quit”, “sold”, “granted”, “confirmed”, etc.
However, João Afonso does not always seem to have fully understood the content of all written acts. In fact, his description of the documents kept in the vest – the documents probably older – is in some cases much more generic and imprecise than the one he makes for the documents contained, for example, in the cloth bags. In the case of the alcife, João Afonso mostly uses expressions such as “na quall se contain”, “in which he is content”, “na quall faz meçom”, these expressions being completely absent from the sections on the cloth bags, in which he states the content of each document through the use of operative verbs, probably coinciding with those that were read in the documents, and which justified the legal action, such as “ordered”, “quited”, “granted”, etc. The inaccuracy that results from the descriptions of the documents contained in the rent may be due to the fact that it was only in this conservation unit that documents in Latin existed, probably already inaccessible to this clerk, at least fully. In this sense, the way João Afonso describes the written acts he has in front of him can indicate some of his attributes as a professional of writing, namely, in this case, less training in the Latin language.
If the materiality of each act and its content are found in this inventory with a greater or lesser degree of detail, information such as the precise date of the document and its place of writing are totally absent from the clerk’s concerns. The only chronological reference that is repeatedly given is the belonging of a document to a certain reign or to the period of performance of a trade, not even distinguishing homonyms as in the cases of Kings Afonso and Sancho. The absence of the chronological dimension informs us how this would certainly be a secondary dimension, both to the identification of written acts contained in the ark of the chamber (probably it would be difficult to reach a document by its date, because it implied reading it minimally, before it was easier it would be achieved by its formal characteristics), or, more globally, to the conception of present time and time spent within the archival practices in the city council. However, it seems clear the temporal proximity between the moment of the description and the documentation of D. João I that is listed («Title of the letters and articles that King Dom Joham prays that God will keep (…)»).
The same can be said about the absence of the place where the document was drawn up, if a little nuanced in the descriptions of notary documents, which indicate that the notary belongs to a certain city, although this tells us little about the exact place where the document was written. .
The only exception to these absences and the brevity of the content summaries is found in the description of the Cortes chapters. In some of them, we find the date of the documents and their location. In almost all, the summaries of each of Cortes’ general and special chapters allow the reader of the inventory to know the results of the general meetings, eliminating the need to consult the preserved documents.