England Examples of Copyhold Property Records (National Institute)

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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
All that messuage or tenement, outhouses, yards, garden, orchard and appurtenances situate at Ditton Marsh in the parish of Thames Ditton near a place called Stonebridge, then in the occupation of Miss HILLIARD.
And also all those three half acres of land lying in the common fields of Long Ditton aforesaid called Upper and Lower Westfield, then in the occupation of John KNOTT.
And also all that half acre of land lying in Farnborough in Long Ditton aforesaid in a field called Sandells, then in the occupation of William WILLIS, which lands were formerly Loach DOWSE’s.
And also all that messuage or tenement formerly George DOWSE’s and one barn and one orchard with the appurtenances lying behind the said messuage, and two little pieces or parcels of ground lying behind the said barn, and one yard adjoining to the yard there of George DOWSE, containing in length from the pales there to the barn three roods or thereabouts situate near the brick kiln at Long Ditton, then in the occupation of James MARYAN.

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.

[Next transaction]

Admission of Mssrs Willis and Moss, Trustees for the Poor of Long Ditton parish
IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS sitting the same court came the said Joseph BIDDLE in his own proper person and in full and open court surrendered into the hands of the lord of the said manor by the hands and acceptance of his said steward by the rod, All that messuage or tenement formerly George DOWSE’s and one barn and one orchard with the appurtenances lying behind the said messuage, and two little pieces or parcels of ground lying behind the said barn, and one yard adjoining to the yard there of George DOWSE, containing in length from the pales there to the barn three roods or thereabouts with the appurtenances situate near the brick kiln at Long Ditton, late in the occupation of James MARYAN

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.
And they gave to the lord for a Fine Ten Pounds two shillings and sixpence, fealty was respited, and they were ADMITTED TENANTS accordingly.

Ann Cooke’s acknowledgement of the receipt of £64 in part of £200 due to her on
Conditional Surrender
And release to Messrs Willis and Moss

AT THIS COURT CAME Ann COOKE the widow and executrix of George COOKE late of Long Ditton victualler in her own proper person and acknowledged to have had and received the sum of Sixty Four Pounds in part of the principal sum of Two Hundred Pounds above-mentioned to be secured on the premises aforesaid by the Conditional Surrender made by the said John WALTER to the said George COOKE and in consideration thereof did surrender into the hands of the lord of the said manor by the hands and acceptance of his steward by the rod according to the custom of the said manor
All that messuage or tenement, barn and orchard at Long Ditton with the appurtenances formerly George DOWSE’s (and which said premises were at this court surrendered by Joseph BIDDLE to David WILLIS and Sidney MOSS in Trust for the poor of the parish of Long Ditton aforesaid) And the said Ann COOKE did thereby remise, release and for ever quit claim unto the said David WILLIS and Sidney MOSS all the estate, rights, title, interest, claim and demand whatsoever of her the said Ann COOKE in or to the said messuage and premises or any part or parcel thereof.

Examined by me [signed] James GREENHITHE steward [This is the last item at this court and underneath it is written] The Dinner Bill
To a firkin of beer 9.0
To fowle 8.0
A Ham 7.0
Beef 10.4
Pies 4.0
Wine 9.10
£2. 8. 2


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.
Will
And it was proved to me that the said Samuel TUDOR by his will dated the seventh day of April One thousand eight hundred and fifty nine, desired all his real estate whatsoever and wheresoever unto all and every his children in equal shares as tenants in common.
Six Children
And it was stated to me that the said Samuel TUDOR left six children (viz: Mary TUDOR of Forest Place, Leytonstone, Essex spinster; Edward Scripps TUDOR, William Scripps TUDOR and Frederick Sidney Scripps TUDOR all of Giden Hall in the County of Essex gentlemen; Harriet and CHARLESWORTH the wife of Jesse Thomas CHARLESWORTH of Snaresbrook in the said County esquire; and Owen Scripps TUDOR of Buenos Ayres in South America merchant.
Mary TUDOR admittance to one sixth
AFTERWARDS on the day and year above mentioned came the said Mary TUDOR and prayed to be admitted tenant to one undivided sixth part of all the said customary hereditaments of which the said Samuel TAYLOR died seized as aforesaid, with the appurtenances, to whom the lord of this manor by the hands of the steward granted and delivered seizing thereof by the road [sic] according to the custom of this manor. TO HOLD to her and her heirs to be holden of the lord of this manor by copy of court roll at the will of the lord according to the custom of this manor by fealty, suit of court, annual quit rent and other services and customs therefore due and of right accustomed, and she is thereof admitted tenant but her fealty was respited.

[and then with the same text…]
Edwd Scripps TUDOR admittance to one sixth
William Scripps TUDOR admittance to one sixth
Frederick Sidney Scripps TUDOR admittance to one sixth
Harriett Ann CHARLESWORTH admittance to one sixth
Owen Scripps TUDOR admittance to one sixth
Fine £11

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.
And the said Harriet Ann CHARLESWORTH being first examined by the said steward separately and apart from her said husband and freely consenting thereto.
Did Surrender into the hands of the lord of this manor by the hands and acceptance of the steward by the rod according to the custom of this manor All the said copyhold hereditaments and premises of which the said Samuel TUDOR died seised as aforesaid and to which on the day and year above written they were respectively admitted to undivided sixth parts as aforesaid And all their respective rights, title, interest, property, claim and demand whatsoever in to or out of the same hereditaments and every part thereof TO THE USE of the said George Morris Elliot SNOW and his heirs according to the custom of the said manor. George M.E. SNOW admittance Whereupon on the day and year first above written the said George Morris Elliot SNOW by Frederick Augustus SNOW his attorney came before the said steward and prayed to be admitted to the hereditaments and premises so surrendered to his use as aforesaid. To whom the lord of this manor by the said steward did grant and deliver seisin thereof by the rod according to the custom of this manor. TO HOLD the same with the appurtenances unto the said George Morris Elliot SNOW and his heirs to be holden of the lord of this manor by copy of court roll at the will of the lord according to the custom of this manor by fealty, suit of court, annual quit rent and other service and customs therefore due and of right accustomed.
And he pays to the lord for a fine as appears in the margin and he is thereof admitted tenant but his fealty is respited.
Fine £16.0.0
[signed] Francis Broderip steward
Enfranchised by deed dated 7th August 1866
[signed] Alfred Markby steward.


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
to Thomas HARBY, John OLLEY, Isaac RAMSEY the elder, James William THOMPSON, William Lewis CLARK, Thomas GLADSTONE the elder and James GRUNDY
To pull down copyhold house opposite Blackwell Stairs for public improvement


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.


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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 wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.