Manors and their Records
Using Manorial Records
Cumbrian Superior Lordships
§ Account
§ Admittance
§ Call book
§ Court books and court rolls
§ Custumal
§ Enfranchisement papers
§ Estreats
§ Fines (gressums)
§ Pain List
§ Perambulation
§ Petition
§ Rental
§ Signatures and marks
§ Stewards' papers
§ Survey
§ Terrier
§ Valor
§ Verdict Sheet
History Department
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Cumbrian Manorial Records


1. Survey of Eskdale, 1758

Picture of survey of Eskdale, 1758

Source: Cumbria Record Office, Whitehaven, D/Lec, box 300: Brown's Survey, manor of Eskdale, Miterdale and Wasdale Head


A manorial survey is a written description of a manor or manors, usually giving details of manorial boundaries and customs and detailing each holding of land. 

This is part of Brown's Survey of the Percy estates in west Cumberland, prepared in 1758 on the eve of the first wave of enfranchisements on those estates. In order to calculate the price the tenants would pay to buy the freehold interest to their property, the manorial administrators needed to know the value of individual holdings. The amount of topographical detail given varies (these are brief thumbnail sketches, rather than field-by-field descriptions) and acreages are approximate. The 'Quit Rent' was the ancient yearly rent: notice how these holdings all comprise at least two rent elements, but it is not clear which fields belonged to which unit of rent (in some cases it had probably been long forgotten!). The reference number in the left-hand column provided a cross-reference to the records of the most recent general fine and the sum paid for each fine is given. The right-hand column provided the most sensitive information, the surveyor's estimate of the real economic rental value, on which negotiations for enfranchisement would be based. The right-hand page contains further notes, mainly about timber, which was valued separately, as well as later annotations recording the prices agreed for enfranchisement.


2. Survey of Kirkby Stephen, 1604

Picture of survey of Kirkby Stephen, 1604

Source: Cumbria Record Office, Kendal, WD/Hoth, box 34: survey of lands of George, earl of Cumberland, 1604


Kirkbie Stephan
Hugh Hartley holdeth a mesauge & two Oxganges of land medow & pasture rent xvis viiid one other messuage called sowter hous & an Oxgange of land &c parcell of the demeynes rent vis one improvment at red skarr holme xiid and certene parcells in the new intackes called withber, thorngill, calf close, thistlebotome alias thistleholme & Connyside vis viiid ob' & was admitted 1582 xxxs iiiid ob'

Quick glossary:

oxgang or 'bovate' an ancient fiscal measure of land, which varied in acreage; 8 oxgangs = 1 ploughland or 'carucate'
improvement land newly enclosed; an intake
ob' abbreviation for Latin obolus = a halfpenny


An extract from the fine, detailed survey of the Clifford estates in Westmorland, made in 1604. Surveys of this period (others in Cumbria include the great Percy Survey of 1578 and Lord William Howard's survey of Gilsland in 1603) tend to be structured around the rents and services due from tenant land, rather than providing a topographical description of the land itself (but see terriers). Here, Hugh Hartley's holding is described in terms of the units which make up the 30s 4.5d rent he paid: a farm of two oxgangs of land (rent 16s 8d); a house called 'Sowter Hous' and one oxgang (6s 0d); an 'improvement' or intake (12d); and shares in 'the new intackes' (6s 8d). This survey also notes when tenants were admitted; in Hartley's case this was in 1582.

See also: surveys on Terrier page.

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