Manors and their Records
§ What is a Manor?
§ Classes of Manorial Record
Using Manorial Records
Cumbrian Superior Lordships
History Department
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Cumbrian Manorial Records

Manors and their Records

What are manorial records?

Manorial records are the documents created by landed estates called manors.  The types of document coming under the definition of 'manorial documents' were defined by the Manorial Documents Rules, first laid out in 1926. They include:

'court rolls, surveys, maps, terriers, documents and books of every description relating to the boundaries, franchises, wastes, customs or courts of a manor'.

The Manorial Documents Rules provide for the statutory protection of these classes of record.  The Law of Property Act (1925) had abolished copyhold tenure and, with it, the principal reason for holding manor courts.  Since title to former copyhold land was based on an entry in the record of a manor court, it was felt that manorial records required protection and responsibility for them was placed with the Master of the Rolls, who drew up the Rules and instigated the construction of a Manorial Documents Register, to identify and locate all surviving manorial records in England and Wales.  Only those types of document defined in the Rules as manorial documents are noted in the Manorial Documents Register.

For information on manors and their records, follow the links to:

What is a manor?: Describes manors, manor courts, manorial tenants, and manorial rights
Classes of manorial record: Describes the main classes of manorial record, with advice on interpreting the record of a manor court

Picture of volumes of Thomas Bankes' survey of the barony of Burgh by Sands, 1638

Volumes of Thomas Bankes' survey of the barony of Burgh by Sands, 1638,
Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle, D/Lons/L5/2/41/53,
with the kind permission of the Trustees of the Lowther Estate

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