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Archive Collections at HHC: Manorial Court Rolls

Guide to material held at Hull History Centre, arranged by theme, creator and document type

“Property is nine points of the law”

William Murray, Earl of Mansfield 

Manorial Court Rolls

Research Themes Supported

Hull History Centre holds significant collections of manorial court rolls. Such records can aid research into:

  • Social hierarchies
  • Rural living
  • Local society and community
  • Dispute resolution
  • Petty crime
  • Land occupation and holding
  • Agricultural management

Key Information Content of Records

The following are common categories of information which feature in this record type:

  • Type of court being held
  • Date of court
  • Names of official presiding of court
  • Names of jurors
  • Names of those sending excuses for non-appearance
  • Causes of minor disputes, i.e. petty violence, debts
  • Infringements of bye-laws
  • Individuals elected to local offices
  • Problems with highways and watercourses
  • Name of the lord of the manor
  • Names of individual tenants and pieces of land
  • Proof of title to land and property

Where Record Type is Usually Found

This record type commonly survives in the following categories of archival collection:

  • Records created by landed families and estates
  • Records created by monastic institutions

Typical formats

Prior to the 16th century court rolls were generally recorded on parchment rolls. This is how they gained their name. From this period onwards, court rolls were increasingly recorded in volume format.


Additional Supporting Material

The following secondary literature provides contextual background and useful further information when trying to understand and use this record type:

  • Harvey, P. D. A., Manorial Records. Archives and the User (London, British Records Association, 1984)

Downloadable list of material

The following PDF contains a list of key manorial court rolls held at HHC.