Manors and their Records
Using Manorial Records
Cumbrian Superior Lordship
§ Finding Records of Superior Lordship
§ Map and Directories
§ Guide to Leconfield and Lonsdale
History Department
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Cumbrian Manorial Records

A Guide to the Records of Groups of Manors in the Leconfield and Lonsdale Archives

Estate stewards often managed the manorial holdings of their employers as groups, generating large runs of documents and a cascading style of administration – a single record might relate to over a dozen manors.  This section explains the arrangement of manorial records in two of the most extensive Cumbrian estates, the estates of the Percy family and their successors, administered from Cockermouth Castle (the Leconfield estates) and the large landed holding accumulated by the Lowther family (the Lonsdale estates).

a) Treatment of groups of manors on the MDR:

  • Records which are applicable to all the manors in a group have been entered under the manors known to belong to that group but, where individual manors were administered in a sub-group representing a superior lordship, records are generally registered under the relevant superior manor only.   Thus, a document relating to all the Cumberland manors in the Percy estate will be entered under Five Towns manor (one of the superior lordships within the Percys’ Cumberland estate), but not under each of the constituent manors in the Five Towns.
  • Where possible, the document description includes the relevant series name: e.g. ‘call books, Percy manors’ to indicate that the record covers a wider area than the single manor in question. 

b) The Estates:

Leconfield estates (Cumberland)

Manorial records of the Cumberland estates of the Percy family, earls of Northumberland, and their successors are grouped under two headings: those manors held by the family since the middle ages (the ‘Percy manors’) and those sold or granted away in 1530 and bought back from the Duke of Wharton’s trustees in 1739 (the ‘Wharton Manors’).  Some runs of records apply to all manors in the Leconfield collection, and these groupings are noted on the MDR as ‘Cumberland manors’ (e.g. ‘rental, Cumberland manors’).

Lonsdale estates (Cumberland and Westmorland)

The Lowther family accumulated extensive estates, including the lordship of numerous manors in Cumberland and Westmorland.  Their manorial holdings expanded greatly in the eighteenth century.  Through inheritance, the large estates of the two main branches of the family (based at Lowther and Whitehaven respectively) were brought together; in addition, Sir James Lowther (1736-1802) began a campaign for control over the Parliamentary seats of Cumberland and Westmorland by purchasing and leasing landed estates and manors across the two counties.  In many cases, manorial records pre-dating the purchase of the manors were handed over with the manor title, and their subsequent management by the Lowthers’ estate stewards produced lengthy series of documents.  The resulting collection is usefully separated into two groups: manors originally administered from the Lowther estate office (now in Cumbria Record Office (Carlisle), D Lons/L5) and manors originally administered from the Whitehaven estate office (now in Cumbria Record Office (Carlisle), D Lons/W). Click to see full list: Lonsdale manors

Percy Manors (Cumberland)

Manorial records of the Cumberland estates held by the Percy family, earls of Northumberland, and their successors since the middle ages, excluding those granted to Sir Thomas Wharton in 1530 (see ‘Wharton Manors’). From 1539, the Percy manors included the records of that third of the barony of Egremont which had formerly belonged to the Lord Fitzwalter, and included the Middleward of Copeland Forest , with the manors of Kinniside and Netherwasdale. Before 1539, the Percy manors included only the Lucy third of the barony. Bolton (in Allerdale), listed below, was generally included in the main Percy series of records from the 1580s, but in strict terms was a part of the Latimer estates which came to Katherine Countess of Northumberland after the death of Sir John Neville, Lord Latimer, in 1586 (it therefore also appears in the Latimer series of records in the Leconfield collection). Records of the Percy manors cover:

  • Allerdale, barony of
  • Aspatria
  • Bolton in Allerdale (a Latimer manor)
  • Cockermouth, honour of, and members
  • Egremont barony
  • Egremont borough
  • Eskdale, Miterdale and Wasdalehead
  • Kinniside
  • Netherwasdale
  • Westward
  • Wigton, barony of

Wharton Manors (Cumberland and Westmorland)

Sir Thomas Wharton, created first Baron Wharton in 1544, accumulated a substantial landed estate in both Westmorland and Cumberland, including former monastic property from the estates of Shap Abbey and a group of manors granted to him by the Earl of Northumberland.  Records of this extensive group of manors are found in both the Leconfield and Lonsdale estates –the archives of each contain ‘Wharton’ series of records. 

The Wharton manors in Cumberland are a group of manors in the Cockermouth Castle estate purchased by the successors to the Percy family from the Duke of Wharton’s trustees in 1739.  Most had been granted by Henry Percy, 6th earl of Northumberland, to his steward, Sir Thomas Wharton, the duke’s ancestor, in 1530.  Together with the manors listed below, the estate also included mills, land and a fishery in Cockermouth.  The manor of Uldale, purchased by the earl of Egremont in 1808, was treated as a Wharton manor for accounting purposes.  The Wharton manors in Cumberland were:

  • Birkby
  • Great Broughton (entered as ‘Broughton’ in the MDR)
  • Little Broughton (entered as ‘Broughton’ in the MDR)
  • Caldbeck Upton and Underfell (entered as ‘Caldbeck’ in the MDR)
  • Croglin
  • Dean
  • Uldale (from 1808)
  • Whinfell

The Lonsdale archive also contains a series of records relating to the Wharton manors, mostly dealing with the family’s Westmorland manors (listed below), but also including some records relating to the Wharton manors in Cumberland (listed above).   The Westmorland manors had been purchased from the Trustees of the Duke of Wharton in 1730 by Robert Lowther (1681-1745). The Wharton manors in Westmorland were:

  • Bretherdale
  • Brough
  • Kirkby Stephen
  • Langdale
  • Nateby
  • Preston Patrick
  • Preston Richard
  • Ravenstonedale
  • Reagill
  • Shap
  • Sleagill
  • Tebay

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