• Manorial, Land and Estate Deeds

    Attachment 13687Even if your ancestor was an agricultural labourer and not a landowner, there is much information to be found in the surviving records dealing with the ownership and tenancy of land.

    The manor embodied the 'government' of the local community in medieval times. It not only dealt with tenancy, but also often functioned as a local court of law for routine offences.

    Manorial Records

    Manorial records are a good source of information, being one of the types of document where information about ordinary people - not just the upper classes - is likely to have survived, sometimes from very many years ago.

    Manorial papers can be an important source for the history of the land. They reveal information about how land was managed and by whom. They show who grew or farmed what, and to who land or houses were passed to through the ages, and their right to that passage.

    Quite often overlooked as a source of information, manorial records are a useful for the period before parish registers were kept, with lists of names, sometimes associated with details of occupations or of relationships. They may include the age of an individual, and also copies of wills, conveyances or mortgages. In this way, they can be invaluable in helping to build up rounded pictures of individuals.

    Manorial records can be found at County Archives, and may be very old delicate documents, nevertheless, they are important records of the past.

    Land & Estate Deeds

    Deeds are legal documents concerning the ownership or tenure of property. The property its self, may not be a property as we usually understand it (as in a house or building) but also encompasses such as a right or privilege or a rent charge.

    There are various ways to hold a property - freehold, leasehold or copyhold.
    A freehold deed - for an indefinite length of time.

    A leasehold deed - a deed that that is for a limited or specified length of time, usually specified at the outset, although may be renewed/reviewed or revised.

    A copyhold deed - as a specific or special arrangement (held by the lord of a manor)
    Owners or holders of property are said to have a 'title' to that property.

    Deeds are documents which help to prove that title. Various different types of document constitute deeds: abstracts of title; bargain and sales; bonds; common recoveries; final concords; lease and releases; marriage and other forms of settlement; mortgages; surrenders and admissions; wills - basically any document affecting the title, or proof of ownership or tenure, of the property concerned.

    • Book: "Old Title Deeds" by N.W. Alcock. Published by Phillimore. 2nd edition (January 2001). ISBN 1-86077-160-2

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