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Manorial Records

The nature of the records produced by manorial courts

Manorial records are, broadly speaking, of two kinds. The first and more important are the records relating to copyhold land. This was land which could not be transferred to another person (whether by sale, mortgage or inheritance) without the permission of the manor court. The transaction (known as an 'admittance'), was recorded on the court roll, the official record of the manorial court. A copy of the admittance was generally obtained by the tenant as proof of his legal right to hold the land. As a result land held in this way acquired the name of 'copyhold'.

Court rolls also record other manorial business, such as the appointment of constables for the townships, making rules to govern communal life and work, and the fining of tenants for breaches of these rules. This business was conducted in what was generally called the 'court leet'.

Manorial court records are in Latin up to 1733, like those of other courts.

Copyhold tenure was abolished by the Law of Real Property Act of 1922. The Act made it necessary for copyhold tenure to be converted ('enfranchised' is the legal term) into freehold. This involved paying compensation to the lord of the manor. The process was completed by the mid 1930s, when copyhold land ceased to exist.

Manorial court rolls, because of their importance for establishing title to property, were given special protection by the property reforms of the early 1920s. They fall under the protection of the Master of the Rolls. A manorial documents register (MDR), originally maintained by the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (HMC), is now the responsibility The National Archives.

Parts of the MDR, including the entries for the whole of Yorkshire, are available on-line on the National Archives website at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/mdr.

Manorial Court Records 1265 - 1935

Manor     Court Rolls     Other Records     Original/Copy     
Armthorpe      1648-1738      1605-1726      original      
Auckley      1772-1856      1741-1856      original      
Austerfield      1729-1781         copy      
Balby with Hexthorpe      1467-1484, 1621-1704      1674-1687      original      
Barmby Grange with Kirk Bramwith      1648-1804      1696-1788      original      
Bawtry      1876-1923         original      
Branton (or Brampton)      1772-1840      1788-1843      original      
Braithwaite (or Bredcroft)      1638-1647      1635-1658      copy      
Burghwallis      1753-1851      1688      original      
Conisbrough      1265-1935      1733-1914      original      
Danthorpe (East Yorks)      1767, 1776      1745-1760      original      
Doncaster      1454-1583, 1795-1823      1608-1819      original      
Doncaster Rectory      1591-1602         copy      
Dunscroft      1656-1795, 1799-1921      1752-1921      original      
Finningley         1837-1841      original      
Hatfield      1818-1819, 1874-1879      1836-1870      original      
Hatfield: Graveship of Dousthorpe         1761      original      
Hooton Pagnell      1562-1721      1542, 1548      copy      
Long Sandall      1674-1687         original      
Moss      1761-1773      1773      copy      
Owston      1753-1812      1623-1798      original      
Plumtree (Notts)      1715-1743      1470, 1694-1765      original      
Rossington      1468-1481, 1514-1534, 1669-1685      1678-1688      original      
Sprotbrough         1544-1716      original      
Thorpe in Balne      1777-1807      1669      original      
Snaith      1573-1589         original      
Wales      1696-1828         original      
Wroot (Lincolnshire)      1731-1754, 1835-1841         original      
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