Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Manorial Documents Register

Manorial Document Register
The Manorial Courts were an important part of any rural community, and the records of the courts can be very useful in tracking back family lines at a time when parish registers were not available. The problem is that even when they have survived they may be held in many different depositories - or even be in private hands. I am afraid I have tended to ignore them on this site because I don't have easy access, but a recent announcement about the Manorial Document Register had alerted me to the need to publicise them.

I did a quick search for several Hertfordshire manors: 

Tring - 57 entries - Mostly at HALS, some in the National Archives, a few in Lambeth Palace Library
Tring Rectory - 18 entries - all at HALS
Betlow (a  tiny ancient manor in the old parish of Tring where some of my ancestors were Lord of the Manor in Victorian Times) - 10 entries - most at HALS, two at British Library - none after 1695
Sandridge (One when I have actually worked with some of the original records) - 43 entries - most at the Northampton Records Office, more at HALS, others in the British Library and National Archives.

Of course the record only tells you where you need to go to see the original documents, many of which will be full of names - but unindexed. In addition many of the earlier ones will be in Medieval Latin, and even those in English could be in clerical hand - which need practice to read well. So manorial records are definitely not for those of you who expect everything to be indexed online in clear text ...

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