Manorial Records for Family and Local Historians (401)

Tutor: Susan Moore

This course is part of our Advanced programme. There are some places available to students not wishing to take the full advanced programme of study. You may choose to have feedback on your work, or to join in without an assessment.

Over five weeks, this course examines the place of the manor in the legal and social system, the records created by the manor, and changes that occurred through the centuries. The manorial system was a framework for people's lives in England and Wales for hundreds of years, enduring well into the 19th century in some areas, and not finally abolished until the 20th century. Manorial records can be used to locate people within a community and to set them in their social and economic context. Historians are only now recognising the importance of the post medieval manor and family historians have not exploited them in the most useful ways either.

You will get to understand the complexities as well as the background historical context, and how local customs can differ from place to place. You will read court rolls, look at court books and learn about property transactions, surveys, maps, accounts and even people's wills that may not be recorded elsewhere. Manorial court records offer genealogists and local historians more than just a glimpse of local justice being dispensed. You will be taught to search for and locate manorial records with confidence and understand how to use them to solve genealogical problems. Many records are in Latin and although this course does not teach Latin, it does provide strategies for getting to grips with the records with key words and phrases.

Lesson Headings:
  • History and development of the manorial system
  • People and their roles
  • Records of the Manor Courts
  • Farming the estate - Surveys, Maps and Rentals
  • Demise of the manorial system

Each lesson includes exercises and activities and a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: England and Wales

Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 14 Oct 2019
Unassessed Cost: £65

Assessed Cost: £79

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