Wednesday, May 10, 2006

manorial records

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: Discovering Ordinary Folk in Manorial Records: "Manorial records either deal with estate management or the business of the manorial court (court baron or court leet). They include surveys (often with maps); rentals or rent rolls and terriers, which covered the management or the estate; and court rolls, estreat rolls and custumals, which were produced by the manorial courts.
A nice transcription of a manorial record can be viewed at
or at
Surveys: One of the best resources for family historians, manorial surveys are valuable because they actually name tenants, note the terms on which they held the land (including the rent they paid), and give an idea of their status and place within the community -- whether they were successful or poor, freemen or not. Surveys may also include a map of the area.

Manorial surveys normally identify the men who were tenants, but not their wives and children; however, by the 14th and 15th centuries, some women had also become tenants, so they may appear in these documents. Please note that these records do not necessarily provide all the tenants' names. Some tenants may have held lands on adjoining manors, so their names could appear in those records instead. Refer to the relevant terriers to check for this possibility.

Terriers described the lands belonging to a particular manor, and are arranged topographically. A terrier is a manorial document listing holdings and tenants with their obligations in labour services and rent, and is also known as an extent.

Rentals or rent rolls: Lists of tenants and their rents, as paid in cash or produce. Court rolls or books: These record the proceedings of the court baron and court leet, " . . . . continues archaeology magazine


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