Manorial Records For Family Historians
Manorial Records For Family Historians
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Product #: RUTP0131

 Product Information:

Manorial Records for Family Historians, 2nd ed.; by Geoffrey Barber; 2018; 88 pp; 5.75x8.25; b&w & color photos, glossary, further reading, index, paperback; ISBN: 9781925781649; Item #: RUTP0131

The manorial system, introduced to England and Wales by the Normans, lasted until 1926 and the surviving records can provide wonderful insights into the personal lives of our ancestors.

Henry Chandler wrote in 1885 that manorial records 'enable us to drop down suddenly on an obscure English village five hundred years ago, and almost to see with our own eyes what the inhabitants are doing'.

However, it seems that few genealogists understand manorial records, and how the manor operated. The aim of this book is to cut through a complex mix of social and legal history to give family historians the knowledge and confidence to start utilizing these records. Once understood, the rewards are immense.

The book also contains many examples of how records from the manors of Rotherfield in East Sussex and Datchurst (alias Hildenborough) in Kent were used by the author in how own research.


  • Introduction
  • Access to manorial records
  • The origins of the manor
  • The manor: an overview
  • Social structure on manorial estates
    • Freemen (free tenants)
    • Villeins (unfree tenants)
  • Administration of the manor
  • Land tenure
    • Demesne land
    • Copyhold or Customary tenure
    • Freehold land
    • Leasehold land
  • Manorial courts
    • Court Leet
    • Court Baron
  • A description of the Manor of Rotherfield, Sussex in 1400
  • Locating property using manorial records
    • Example 1. Widow Barber's Cottage
    • Example 2. Drapers
    • Example 3. Bonnetts
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary
  • Further reading
  • Appendix: The Feudal system and the history of wills
  • Index