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Manorial Document Register


Revising the Bedfordshire Manorial Documents Register

The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) is the official register of manorial documents for England and Wales maintained by The National Archives on behalf of the Master of the Rolls. It identifies the nature and location of manorial records, which have statutory protection under the Manorial Documents Rules. They are defined in the Rules as court rolls, surveys, maps, terriers, documents and books of every description relating to the boundaries, franchises, wastes, customs or courts of a manor.

Cranfield Customs of the Manor 1474

  Cranfield Customs of the Manor 1484
Customs of a manor applied to the people who held copyhold land; that is, their title to the land was based on what was recorded on the court roll. The rules of the manor are written in English because it was important that tenants understood them. [ref.AD341]

The system of manors dates from at least the time of the Norman Conquest and continued into the 20th century. The records these manors created can provide a wealth of information for the family and social historian. As archives which record day-to-day transactions in local communities, they bring us close to people in the past telling us, amongst other things, some of the rules by which they lived. They show land they held and the way it was worked, family relationships, and which members of the local community served as manorial officials.

The Bedfordshire MDR was updated in 2013 and can be searched here