Exploring local sources

Historian article

By Dorothy Jamieson, published 2nd January 2020

Discovering what local documents can reveal

Tim Lomas was correct when he said, in his article in the Summer 2019 edition of The Historian, that historians can see much more in medieval documents than the scribes intended. 

Lay manors in Bedfordshire are a good example. Eggington manor, in the south-west, was part of a larger estate and held small private seigneurial courts; Haynes manor, in mid-Bedfordshire, was granted by the Mowbrays as one unit to a tenant late in the fourteenth century; Blunham Greys manor was only one of the manors in Blunham parish and had a colourful history in the fifteenth century when violence and debt led the earl of Kent to agree the Blunham Charter in 1471. Willington was a single-manor parish on the edge of the extensive Mowbray estates. About the time of the Peasants’ Revolt the demesne lands were granted to four tenants; the customary lands were granted out in several standard lots and all were managed by a bailiff-accountant who was often a local man... 

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