Monks Eleigh Manorial Records, 1210-1683 [Hardback]

Vivienne Aldous(Editor)

ISBN: 9781783276790 | Published by: Boydell Press | Series: Suffolk Records Society | Volume: 65 | Year of Publication: 2022 | 430p, H9.25 x W6.25, 13 b/w illus.
Status: Not Yet Published - Available for pre-order

Monks Eleigh Manorial Records, 1210-1683


The manor was one of the principal units of medieval administration, providing a legal framework for land tenure, the prosecution of crimes and misdemeanours and social control. For the lord of a manor it was a source of supplies and income for the maintenance of his status and power. For the tenants the manor formed the everyday focus of their working lives, because they typically owed work services on his land and were subject to the manorial court for wrong doings, the settlement of disputes, the holding of their lands and payment of various feudal dues. Manors were the standard unit of land tenure for centuries, but they changed and developed over time and differed in their administration according to the particular custom of each manor.
The records of the manor of Monks Eleigh are typical of those which still exist for hundreds of manors across England. They allow us to glimpse some of the details of the people who lived and worked there over a period of some four centuries. In the earliest extents and accounts we see a concentration on the work services which the unfree tenants were obliged to do on the lord's lands in lieu of rent, including ploughing, sowing, harrowing, harvesting, carting, ditching, hurdle-making and working in the manor vineyard. Accounts list the lord's stock of animals including oxen, horses, cattle, sheep, geese, ducks, peacocks and doves. They detail repairs to manorial buildings such as the hall, barns, mill, dovecote, sheep-cotes and gates. Court rolls record admissions of tenants to land-holdings as well as fines for misdemeanours such as trespass on growing crops, assaults and thefts. By the sixteenth century the rentals show that an increasing number of tenants were using their manorial land-holdings as investments by living elsewhere and sub-letting them.

In more general terms, these records can throw light on the development of manorial administration over time, the changing forms of land tenure, place name and surname studies, the decline in serfdom, popular unrest and social mobility.

Table of Contents

Editorial conventions


I. Charters, mid-twelfth century to 1360
II. Extents, early thirteenth century to early fourteenth century
IV. Building accounts, 1343 to 1466
III. Accounts, 1285 to 1482
V. Court rolls, 1305/6 to 1422 and 1545
VI. Rentals, 1379-80 to 1683
VII. Petition and Legal Documents relating to a riot in 1481

Glossary, including saints' days used for dating
Index of people and places
Index of subjects

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