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Manorial Courts, Seignorial Courts in United Kingdom

Manorial Courts and Seignorial Courts

(Source: the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) Manorial courts based their jurisdiction on the feudal relationship of a lord and his tenants. They were limited to triable personal actions not to exceed a certain value, and actions affecting the land of the manor. However, in practice they frequently also had criminal jurisdiction, although this depended on the nature of the royal charter which had conferred the jurisdiction.

Many of the rolls of manorial courts have survived, either in manorial archives or have been passed to corporate bodies like colleges town corporations, and they are often published under the auspices of a local historical society. An extensive listing of published seignorial court rolls can be found in Maxwell, (28)and a more up-to-date one, compiled by C. J. Harrison can be found online at http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/hi/resources/manor_courts/manbib05.pdf

A selection of the more significant publications are listed below.

Manorial Courts, Seignorial Courts and Medieval Law

Manorial Courts, Seignorial Courts and Legal History

Legal Materials in relation to Edward I

(Compiled by the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) Humphreys, Arthur L., ed. Wellington Manorial Court Rolls. 1277-1908. London: n.p., 1910.

Abstract: Text in English.

Lock, Ray, ed. The Court Rolls of Walsham Le Willows. 2 Vols. Suffolk Records Society, 41, 45. Woodbridge: Boydell , 1998-2000.

Abstract: Vol. 1, 1303-1350; Vol. 2, 1351-1399.

Longstaffe, William H. D., and John Booth, ed. and trans. Halmota Prioratus Dunelmensis, Containing Extracts From the Halmote Court or Manor Rolls of the Prior and Convent of Durham, A.D. 1296-A.D. 1384. Publications of the Surtees Society, 82. Durham: The Society, 1889.

Abstract: Text in English.

Maitland, Frederic W., ed. Select Pleas in Manorial and Other Seignorial Courts: Volume 1–Reigns of Henry III and Edward I . The Selden Society (SS), 2 for 1888. London: Quaritch, 1889.

Abstract: “Extracts records from proceedings in manorial courts and other feudal courts of the Abbots of Bec, Ramsey, and Battle, and the Abbess of Romsey from 13th century rolls… In order to present a cross-section of this jurisdiction, the editor selected the rolls of (a) an ordinary manor court, (b) an honor court, (c) a court on the ancient desmene, (d) a court of a private hundred… The oldest extant record of a feudal courts is of 1246.”

Maitland, Frederic W., and W. Paley Baildon, eds. The Court Baron. The Selden Society (SS), 4 for 1890. London: Quaritch, 1891.

Abstract: “This book consists of five parts. Four of these are texts of old tracts on the holding of feudal courts, viz. La Court de Baron of about 1280, De Placitis et Curiis Tenendis of about 1270, and two books called Modus tenendi Curias dating from about 1307 and the other from about 1342. The fifth section is a record of pleas tried in the court of the Bishop of Ely, at Littleport, 1285-1327. The precedent books were used as a guide for the stewards of manorial courts.”

Roberts, Richard A., ed. and trans. The Court Rolls of the Lordship of Ruthin or Dyffryn-Clwydd? of the Reign of King Edward the First, Preserved in the Public Record Office, London. Cymmrodorion Record Series, 2. London: C.J.Clark, 1893.

Abstract: Text in English.

Bibliographies of English Law History

  • Maxwell, William H. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Volume 1: English Law to 1800. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955-
  • Beale, Joseph H. A Bibliography of Early English Law Books. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926.
  • Winfield, Percy H. The Chief Sources of English Legal History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1925.


See Also

  • Estates (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Treason (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Origins of the Common Law (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Chattels (in this legal Encyclopedia)
  • Concubinage (in this legal Encyclopedia)

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  • Article Name: Manorial Courts, Seignorial Courts
  • Author: Glanville L. Williams
  • Description: Manorial Courts and Seignorial Courts (Source: the University of South Caroline Gould School of Law) Manorial courts based [...]

This entry was last updated: March 10, 2017


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