Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-12 > 1040262573

From: Nathaniel Taylor <>
Subject: Re: manorial documents & genealogy (was re: Question on validity)
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 01:49:33 GMT
References: <> <> <atqisl$ol2$> <>

In article <>, Renia <> wrote:

>Chris Phillips wrote:
>> To find the "Editor of the Journal of One-Name Studies" under the
>> misconception that only the "very wealthy" appear in manorial records is
>> rather shocking. After all, manorial records are a reasonably well known
>> source of information about modern families as well as medieval ones, and it
>> is common knowledge that they contain frequent references to people from
>> every walk of life.
>I think this was a slip of the keyboard. See my comments below on
>manorial records, which are of limited genealogical use for the lower
>> I'd like to add some
>> more material to my website illustrating the humbler side of medieval
>> genealogy. It's easy to think of many types of records that commonly name
>> ordinary people. If anyone knows of published work tracing the genealogies
>> of manorial tenants and the like - for, say, 3 or more generations, I'd be
>> interested to know of them.
>The manorial records I have dealt with are rarely of genealogical value,
>inasmuch as they usually only ever name one generation. Occasionally, a
>tenant dies, and a son or daughter may be named, but that is about all.
>However, they can be usful if used in conjunction with wills, should
>such desired wills exist.
>The 1379 poll tax is similar, in that you occasionally get B
>son/daughter of A, or peculiarities in surnames which indicates that
>someone was the son of the baker. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find
>out the baker's name. The usefulness of the poll tax is to establish
>what and where certain surnames were predominant at the time. Further to
>this, you would need fines to go any further.
>I, too, would be very interested to know of any 3-generational
>genealogies from manorial documents.

Well, a few years ago there was an interesting exhibition from the
collection of medieval English legal manuscripts at Harvard Law School,
including a group of essentially manorial documents pertaining to the
manor of Washfield, Devon. They are a collection of deeds and cause
papers retained in one of the families involved, through which the
curator traced extended family trees not only of that family and its
chief rival over the lordship of the manor of Washfield, but also at
least one tenant family, from the late thirteenth century down to the
late fifteenth / early 16th century. There is an on-line version of the
exhibition catalogue at:

(mind the line wrap).

The printed catalogue came with a stemma of the families involved, but
unfortunately this is not reproduced on the webpage! I can scan the
stemma and put it on line if anyone's interested (I don't think my old
friend Carol Symes, the exhibition's creator, would mind).

Nat Taylor

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