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English Medieval Legal Documents Database

A Compilation of Published Sources from 600 to 1535

Manorial/Seignorial Courts

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, (Maxwell, William Harold, and Leslie F. Maxwell , comps. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. 8 Vols. 2nd ed. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955- at pp.397-414).  

 

Manorial/Seignorial Courts