Finding Records of Superior Lordship on the Manorial Documents Register
The MDR is a register of documents and a finding aid: it cannot replicate the detail found in archive lists or the complexities of relationships between individual manors and superior lordships. This section gives you some basic tips to help you make your searches on the MDR more informed and direct, pointing you towards the most relevant repositories, archive lists, collections and documents.
- Use the guide to superior lordship: it will help you locate manors within their respective superior lordships and thus to identify which series of records might be of interest to you.
- Always check the MDR for your manor of interest and the superior manor(s) under which it fell: there may be relevant records listed in each. The same applies if you are interested in a superior manor: look for relevant records listed under its constituent manors.
- Be aware that the name of the manor you want might not be specified in descriptions of superior manor records: a record description will simply state the name of the superior lordship (for example, ‘Egremont barony rental’) but will not list every associated manor referred to within the document itself. You will need to consult archive lists and the original documents for further detail.
- Remember that some estates, notably the Leconfield and Lonsdale estates, generated long series of records which covered many manors. For example, a rental book in the Lonsdale collection might include entries for all the manors which were in their hands at that given time. The document description might indicate this by describing it as: ‘rental, Lonsdale manors’. Use the guide to records of groups of manors in these archives to help you identify which manors are likely to be included in such series.
Treatment of records of superior lordships in the MDR:
In general, records generated by a barony, honour or other superior lordship are entered on the MDR at that level – i.e. under the name of the superior manor. However, the same document details are sometimes also entered under the names of the constituent manors to which they relate, according to the following principles:
- If the court rolls/books and/or verdicts of a superior manor are known to include the records of courts held for a constituent manor, these records have generally been entered under both the superior and the constituent manor. For example, some court books for the barony of Burgh include manor court sittings for the manor of Aikton: where this is known to be the case, the records are entered under both names. Note, however, that it has not been possible to consult every court book and court roll while compiling the MDR.
- However, where the court records of a superior manor simply list tenants, receive turnsmen and presentments or appoint officers for the constituent manors, these are treated as the records of the superior level of lordship and are entered at the superior manor level only.
- More general administrative papers generated by superior manors – such as rentals, surveys, fines etc. – are usually registered under the superior manor alone.
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