Manors and their Records
Using Manorial Records
Cumbrian Superior Lordships
History Department
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Cumbrian Manorial Records


These pages were constructed in 2006 by Angus Winchester and Eleanor Straughton as part of the Cumbrian Manorial Records Project, a partnership between Lancaster University, The National Archives and Cumbria Archive Service, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The project aimed to raise awareness and encourage use of an important but under-used class of local historical evidence, the records generated by manorial administration. These records shed vivid light on past local communities, as manorial courts combined the functions of a local 'parliament', a small claims court and a land registry, and their records give rare glimpses of the lives of ordinary men and women, particularly in the 15th to 18th centuries.

Online resources created by the project will enable a wide range of people with interests in local and family history to conveniently locate manorial records and to understand and interpret them. Two main resources were created: an online searchable Manorial Documents Register for the historic counties of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands, maintained by The National Archives; and the Cumbrian Manorial Records website (see index below and left), maintained by the History Department, Lancaster University. The project also held a series of workshop sessions (now finished) at the record offices of Cumbria County Archives Service and elsewhere in Cumbria; and as part of this, members of Lorton and Derwentfells Local History Society undertook a pilot project exploring the potential of manorial records for local historical research - a report of their findings can be seen on the Society's website.

The Cumbrian Manorial Records website aims to provide practical guidance to users of manorial records, particularly in Cumbria. It is arranged under the following major headings:

Manors and their records: An introduction to manors and manorial rights and the various classes of manorial record
Using manorial records: A guide to locating and using manorial records for family and local history
Cumbrian superior lordship: A guide to baronies and other superior lordships in Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands
Glossary: A quick guide to the meaning of specialist or obsolete terms encountered in manorial records
Gallery: Images of extracts from different classes of manorial records, with transcripts and commentaries
Links: Links to other web sites relating to manorial records

Picture of a court roll