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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree October 2018 > Document know-how

Document know-how

A mini history of manorial records

For most people, particularly those living in rural districts, the Manor was a big part of everyday life right up until the early part of the 20th century.

The Manor Court controlled a number of aspects of our ancestors’ lives; it was responsible (as a court of law) for settling petty local disputes and while these records can be very useful, its significance to family historians lies largely in its role in administering and managing the succession of land from one manorial tenant to another.

The records date from early medieval times until the 1920s; they were usually written in Latin until 1732 and, although their permanent preservation is now enshrined in law, that wasn’t always the case and many have not survived. Many have now been deposited in the relevant local record ofice but access to them is not always that straightforward. The Manorial Documents Register http://discovery.

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