Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association

TENANTS’ COPIES OF COURT ROLLS IN ENGLAND AND WALES BEFORE 1400

Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association (2021), 56, (1), 1–21.

Abstract

While much has been written about the early development of copyhold, and the presumed origins in the fourteenth century of the practice of making copies of court roll entries for tenants, original copies have not been systematically sought or investigated. This article uses research in 38 repositories to analyse 176 copies of seigneurial court rolls, of which full transcripts are published online elsewhere. It indicates their diverse physical and formal characteristics, the types of court that produced them, their distribution, their chronology and the tenurial aspects of the content. The distribution was far wider at an earlier date than previously believed; by 1400 it included at least three-quarters of English counties, with a more restricted distribution in Wales. Copies before 1400 were made for freeholders as well as customary tenants, but apparently seldom on the death of a tenant. They are found among other deeds in both family and institutional archives.

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Author details

Currie, C.R.J.