England Examples of Copyhold Property Records (National Institute)
The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Land and Property Records including Manorial Documents and Maps by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Copyhold Property (cont.)
Chart: Successive Transactions at a Manor Court
| Manor of Long Ditton, Surrey 7 Aug 1790|
Admittance of Jos. Biddle on the surrender of John Walter
AT THIS COURT the homage present and find that at a Court Baron held for the said manor on the second day of July one thousand seven hundred and eighty three It was presented by the homage that John WALTER one of the customary tenants of the said manor did out of court, to wit on the fifteenth day of May one thousand seven hundred and eighty two surrender into the hands The lord of the said manor by the hands and acceptance of John CANTON and Johnson ROWLES, two other customary tenants of the said manor by the rod according to the custom of the said manor
TO THE USE AND BEHOOF of Joseph BIDDLE of Esher in the county of Surrey mealman, his heirs and assigns forever.
SUBJECT TO A CONDITIONAL SURRENDER heretofore made by the said John WALTER to George COOK of Long Ditton aforesaid victualler for two hundred pounds and interest, which said surrender is in full force and virtue.
And that PROCLAMATION was thereupon made for the said Joseph BIDDLE to come into court to be admitted tenant to the said premises, but he came not.
NOW AT THIS COURT came the said Joseph BIDDLE in his own proper person and humbly prayed to be admitted tenant to the said premises To whom the lord of the said manor by his said steward granted seizing thereof by the rod TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises aforesaid with the appurtenances unto him, the said Joseph BIDDLE, his heirs and assigns for ever of the lord of the said manor by the rod at the will of the lord according to the custom of the said manor, by the yearly rents and other services therefore due and of right accustomed. And he gave to the lord for a fine Thirty Pound, fealty was respited, And the said Joseph BIDDLE was ADMITTED TENANT accordingly.
Admission of Mssrs Willis and Moss, Trustees for the Poor of Long Ditton parish
TO THE USE AND BEHOOF OF David WILLIS of Long Ditton aforesaid yeoman and Sidney MOSS of the same place timber merchant for and during the term of their natural lives and the life of the survivor of them the said David WILLIS and Sidney MOSS, IN TRUST to and for the use and benefit of the poor of the said parish of Long Ditton which said David Willis and Sidney Moss present here in court in their own proper persons humbly prayed of the lord of the said manor to be admitted tenants to the said premises according to the form and effect of the said Surrender To whom the lord of the said manor by his said steward granted seizing thereof by the rod TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises unto them the said David Willis and Sidney Moss for and during the term of their lives and the life of the longest liver of them the said David Willis and Sidney Moss IN TRUST and to and for the use and benefit of the poor of the said parish of Long Ditton of the lord of the said manor by the rod at the will of the lord according to the custom of the said manor by the yearly rent and other service therefore due and of right accustomed.
Ann Cooke’s acknowledgement of the receipt of £64 in part of £200 due to her on
Examined by me [signed] James GREENHITHE steward [This is the last item at this court and underneath it is written] The Dinner Bill
Below is an example from the manor of Bromley St. Leonard’s, Middlesex showing an inheritance of a copyhold property by six children. They immediately sell it and the land is subsequently enfranchised (converted to freehold).
Chart: Inheritance, Sale and Enfranchisement of Property
| Manor of Bromley St. Leonard’s 27 October 1865|
Samuel Tudor’s Death
BE IT REMEMBERED that on the and year above written it was stated to me, Francis BRODERIP steward of the said manor and of the courts thereof that Samuel TUDOR, late a customary tenant of this manor, died seized of all that piece of land formerly parcel of the waste of this manor adjoining towards the North Island formerly granted to James and Thomas BROWN, towards the East to the road leading from the Mile End Road to Poplar, towards the South on land granted to John MARTIN, towards the West on the field in the occupation of Mr. GUNN, and which said piece of land contains in front One hundred and thirty one feet or thereabouts and is marked in the plan annexed to the proceedings of a court held for the said manor on the tenth day of June One thousand eight hundred and nineteen No.6, and also the several messuages and tenements erected on the said piece of ground. To all which said premises the said Samuel TUDOR was admitted on the eighteenth day of October One thousand eight hundred and thirty eight.
[and then with the same text…]
Surrender to George M.E. Snow AFTERWARD on the day and year above written came before me the said Mary TUDOR, Edward Scripps TUDOR, William Scripps TUDOR, Frederick Sidney Scripps TUDOR, Harriet Ann CHARLESWORTH and her husband the said Jesse Thomas CHARLESWORTH and the said Owen Scripps TUDOR, by the said Edward Scripps TUDOR his attorney, and IN CONSIDERATION of the sum of Six hundred and ten pounds to them paid by George Morris Elliot SNOW of the Stock Exchange, London esquire.
There will be a variety of other documents in the court records, for example this from Stepney manor, Middlesex:
Chart : Demolition License for Copyhold House
| Poplar and Bromley Court books for Stepney Manor, Middlesex|
FHL film 1751945 Index entry
LICENSE FROM THE LORD OF THE MANOR OF STEPNEY
Price has a nice example of using copyhold land documents via the new Manorial Documents Index online to tie up his Cowdery family in several parishes in Hampshire. Tee and Crook (Woodlake Cottage, World’s End – A Short History. Hampshire Family Historian Vol 30 #4, page 271-276) describe another copyhold Hampshire property through court rolls and other documents, ending with its enfranchisement in 1927 and demolition of an old cottage in 1979.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Land and Property Records including Manorial Documents and Maps offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.