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History Department
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Cumbrian Manorial Records


Account of the Reeve of Brough Sowerby, 1424-5

Picture of the reeve's account, Brough Sowerby, 1424-1425

Cumbria Record Office, Kendal, WD/Hoth, box 45


Soureby Compotus Thome Sayfe prepositi de Soureby iuxta Burgh subtus
  Staynesmore per tempus infrascripum.
  Arrenda nulla quia Johannes Scardale prepositus ibidem in anno proximo
  praeterito de compoto suo eiusdem anni recessit quietus
  Idem respondet de vij d de libera firma terrarum et tenementi Willelmi
  Bernes ibidem per annum terminis Pentecosti et sancti Martini in Hieme
  Et de iiij li x s de firma fatus manerij cum terris et pratis dominicalibus
  adiacentibus in tenura Roberi Cumstonxj s iij d Johannis Glentonxj s iij d
  [junioris] Johannisxj s iij d Ladyman.  Willelmixj s iij d Johnson Johannisxj s iij d
  Halgarth et Johannis Glentonxj s iij d senioris
  Et de vij li xiiij s de firma x terr[arum] husbandi ibidem per annum eisdem
  terminis et solebant reddere  vij li xvj s in tenura tenentum subsequentum
  videlicet in tenura Thome Wachett J pro xx s  Johannis Glenton J pro xvj s
  Roberti Cumston J pro xx s  Johannis Wardale J pro xx s Thome Skayfe J
  pro xx s Johannis Ladyman J pro xviij s et solebat reddere xx s W[illelmi]
  Johnson J pro xx s et Johannis Glenton senioris J pro xx s
  Et de. lij s iiij d de firma omnium Cotag[iorum] et Grismenlandi ibidem
  per annum eisdem terminis redd[endum] de tenementis subsequen[tibus]
  videlicet de Henrico Skayfe cum iiij d pro forland pro uno tenemento xj s
  iiij d de Galfrido Watchett pro ij tenementis ix s de Johanni Godfray pro
  uno tenemento V s de Johanni Glenton pro (hole, possibly J) tenemento; ij
  s de Johanni Halgarth pro uno Cotagio V s de Johanne Glenton Seniore
  pro uno Cotagio iij s de Willelmo Wardale pro J Cotagio V s de Thoma
  Wardale pro uno Cotagio; [x] s et de Willelmo Bernes pro J Cotagio; ij s
  Et de xxxiij s iiij d de firma molendini aquatici ibidem pro blado per
  annum eisdem terminis
  Et de xl s - de firma unius Vaccarij vocata Thornhowscale in tenura
  Johannis Whithede et Thome Walker per annum eisdem terminis
R[esponsus] Glenton     De exitubus unius Curie tente ibidem hoc anno Collec[cionis]
  per Johannem Glenton Seniorem – non hic res[pondet] quia contin[uetur]
  inferius in pede huius compoti
Summa totius recepti
xviij li x s iij d
Liberacio denariorum De quibus liberantur Willelmo Crakanthorp Receptori huius
  denarij per unam talliam inde levatam - xvj li xviij s J d
  Summa omnium liberacionum: xvj li xviij s J d. Et sic debet
  xxxij s ij d postea oner[acionum] de vij s viij d de exitu unius
  Curie tente ibidem hoc anno collec[toris] per Johannem
  Glenton et Thomam Skayfe ut patet rotulis Curiae.  Et sic est
  Summa debiti xxxix s x d  De quibus allocat[a ]dictis Johanni et
  Thome pro eorum regardo causa Collec[cionis] exitum eiusdem
  Cutie pro hoc anno: ij s  Et sic debet xxxvij s x d  Cum quibus
  Willelmus Crakanthorp Receptor huius denarii oner[atur] in
  compoto suo dicti officij de hoc anno  Et sic recessit.


Soureby The account of Thomas S[c]ayfe, reeve of Soureby near Burgh under
  Staynesmore for the period written below.
  Arrears: nil, as John Scardale reeve there last year stepped down quit for
  that year.
  He answers for 7d for the free farm of the lands and tenement of William
  Bernes there for the year, at Whitsuntide and St Martin in winter [11
  And for £4 10s from the farm of the said manor house with the adjacent
  demesne lands and meadows in the tenure of Robert Cumston 11s 3d John
  Glenton 11s 3d the younger, John 11s 3d Ladyman, William 11s 3d Johnson,
  John 11s 3d Halgarth and John Glenton 11s 3d the elder.
  And for £7 14s for the farm of ten husbandlands there per year at the same
  terms , which used to render £7 16s, in the holding of the following
  tenants, namely: one held by Thomas Wachett for 20s; one held by John
  Glenton for 16s, one held by Robert Cumston for 20s, one held by John
  Wardale for 20s, one held by Thomas Skayfe for 20s, one held by John
  Ladyman for 18s which used to render 20s, one held by William Johnson
  for 20s, and one held by John Glenton the elder for 20s. 
  And for 52s 4d for the farm of all the cottages and grismenland there per
  per year at the same terms, rendering from the following holdings, namely
  from Henry Skayfe with 4d for forland for one holding 11s 4d, from
  Geoffrey Watchett for two holdings 9s, from John Godfray for one holding
  5s, from John Glenton for … holding 2s, from John Halgarth for one
  cottage 5s, from John Glenton the elder for one cottage 3s, from William
  Wardale for one cottage 5s, from Thomas Wardale for one cottage 10s,
  and from William Bernes for one cottage 2s.
  And for 33s 4d from the farm of the water corn mill there per year at the
  same terms. 
  And for 40s from the farm of one vaccary called Thornhowscale in the
  tenure of John Whithede and Thomas Walker per year at the same terms. 
The return of Glenton [in margin] For the issues of one court held there this year
  received by John Glenton the elder: not accounted for here as they are
  carried over below at the foot of this account.
Sum of all receipts: £18 10s 3d
Delivery of monies Of which is delivered to William Crakanthorp, the receiver of
  this money in one count thus raised: £16 18s 1d
  Sum of all payments: £16 18s 1d.  And thus he owes 32s 2d
  afterwards charged with 7s 8d for the issues of one court held
  there this year received by John Glenton and Thomas Skayfe as
  appears in the court rolls. And so the sum of debts of 39s 10d.
  From which is allowed to the said John and Thomas to
  themselves for collecting the issues of the said court this year:
  2s. And so he owes 37s 9d. With which William Crakanthorp,
  receiver of this money, is charged in his account of the said
  office for this year. And thus he [i.e. Thomas Scayfe, the reeve]
  steps down.


The Manorial Documents Register includes financial accounts (Latin compoti) drawn up by manorial officials, such as reeves (or ‘graves’) and bailiffs.  The division between manorial accounts and estate accounts is somewhat arbitrary: accounts may be classed as ‘manorial’ if they contain details of income and expenditure relating specifically to manorial administration, such as income from holding manorial courts (the ‘pleas and perquisites of courts’) or from entry fines and heriots, or expenditure on carrying out a perambulation of the boundaries of the manor, for example. Manorial accounts are generally in Latin. They sometimes contain names of individual people or properties but the focus is on sums of money.

This extract from the account roll for the Clifford estates in Westmorland for the accounting year 1424-5 illustrates the typical components of manorial income accounted for by the local reeve. Thomas Skayfe’s account contains the following elements:

  • arrears: none are charged to the account, as none were carried over from the account of John Scardale, the previous year’s reeve.
  • free rents: a typically small sum (7d) from a freehold estate held of the manor. The sum was paid at the usual ‘terms’, Whitsuntide and Martinmas (11 November).
  • leased demesne land: the manor house and demesne land has been farmed out to six tenants, who each pay 11s 3d. Few landlords were working their demesnes directly by the 15th century.
  • husbandlands: these ten holdings are the peasant farms in the village. The term ‘husbandland’ was found widely in Scotland and north-east England and, less commonly, in Cumbria. It was a notional measure of land, signifying a share of the township community’s land, rather than a precise acreage. Notice that the entry refers to ten husbandlands but only eight tenants are named, probably reflecting a lack of available tenants after the Black Death, over seventy years before the date of this account. The reduction in rent paid by one of the tenants reflects the depressed economic conditions of the 1420s in northern England.
  • cottages and ‘grismenland’: the sum of 52s 4d comes from a variety of other land let to the tenant community: cottages (some may have been smallholdings which were not accounted part of the core of husbandlands), ‘forland’ (a term similar to ‘assart’ or ‘intake’, i.e. land more recently enclosed and brought into cultivation, which had not been absorbed into the husbandlands and was thus accounted for separately. By the 15th century, the ‘forland’ may well have been of some antiquity: most was a result of colonisation in the 13th century), and ‘grismenland’ (probably pasture rents paid by people who did not hold cultivated land in the manor, whether cottagers with no land or people from outside the manor).
  • corn mill: the manorial watermill to which the tenants were bound to take their grain to be ground.
  • vaccary: a cattle farm, probably originally a demesne cattle ranch but by this date let to tenants, as the account shows.
  • income from the manor court: the fines and amercements levied by the manor court formed part of the lord’s income. The account shows that only one court had been held for Brough Sowerby that year and that 2s had to be set against the income of the court (7s 8d) to pay John Glenton and Thomas Skayfe for collecting it.

After the sum of the receipts (£18 10s 3d) is noted, the final paragraph, written, significantly, in the same bolder hand as the heading of the account, explains how the money has been paid.  £16 18s 1d has gone straight to William Crackenthorpe, the lord’s receiver. After noting the income and expenditure on the holding of the manor court, 37s 9d remains and this is charged to the receiver’s account.

With thanks to John Gowling of Brough Sowerby for permission to use his transcript and translation of this extract.

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