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Court Rolls 36 to 40

Willington Court Rolls Index

Willington Manor Court Rolls Introduction

Court Roll 36

September 29th 1426

Wylyton Court Roll, called at Michaelmas in the vo [5th] year of Henry vjo [6th]

This roll is written on the back of roll 35, and seems to be incomplete. Although the jury of 13 men is listed, there are no details of essoins, common fines or fines of ale.

  • Changes in the terms of tenure for one tenant were reported.
    Malt had been taken from the mill without payment. Payment was made later.
  • Over 100m rabbits were reported in the Warren.
  • The enclosures round Shirehatch Wood were broken down and John Kempston was ordered to repair them or pay a fine of 100s. He was to be allowed timber by Robert Welyngton.
  • The first mention of William Launcelyn appears in this roll, more of him later!
  • Some oaks were sold, and others were allowed to tenants for repairs. Some maples were also given to tenants.
  • At the end of the document there is a detailed list of the costs of different kinds of food, including ale, for a meal after the court. Oats are also provided, presumably for the horses.

Full transcript of Court Roll 36 (pdf)

Court Roll 36a

22 April 1426

Welyngton Court held there on the Monday next before the feast of Saint George in the fourth year of Henry the sixth after the conquest

  • One tenant has died and his holding was taken over by his widow until a better tenant was found.
  • John Kempston has not repaired the enclosures round Shirehatch Wood and is given until next Easter, or will have to pay the penalty of 100s.
  • Trees from the wood, and some willows, have been sold.
  • Six holdings were without tenants, another had been let rent-free for 2 years to John Kempston so that the buildings may be repaired.

The roll ends with a list of food and ale for the meal. Ink and parchment had also been purchased.

Full transcript of Court Roll 36a (pdf)

Court Roll 37

April 1440

The court of Lady Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

This is a very important roll as it is the only record of the manor after April 1426, until November 1448. In 1432 Lord John Mowbray died and his widow, Katherine Neville, became lady of the manor of Willington and married her second husband, with whom she had more children, having only had one son with her first husband.

Sewn to the roll is a small piece of parchment containing detailed costings for a barn, other buildings and repairs, paid for by lady Katherine. They show the wages earned by craftsmen and labourers, and the costs of carriage and materials.

  • Ten tenants have ruined tenements.
  • Two tenants share an overflowing ditch and must repair it. Three other ditches must be repaired.
  • The 'Memorandum of various costs and expenses made as regards the barn of Thomas Wyltschyre' totals £8 4s.
  • Richard Pecke is named as bailiff and the income from Cardington and Willington this year is given. Some rents have been reduced.
  • The costs of repairing some houses and the mill, and other expenses, are given.

Full transcript of Court Roll 37 and additions (pdf)

Court Roll 38a

October 14th 1448

View of Frankpledge with Court of Lord John Viscount of Beaumont and Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

By this date Katherine Neville had married her third husband, whose influence on the management of the manor, can be seen in rolls 38a to 47. Despite the fact that she was a royal lady his name was given precedence.

  • Two tenants are excused attendance at court.
  • Common fines have been reduced to 7s 2d.
  • Three tenants are fined for not attending court. The largest fine, 12d, is paid by the Prior of Newnham. He was ordered to repair a wall between the vicarage and the lord's holding.
  • A malt-kiln has been destroyed by fire, and the lord's Council will be asked for permission to repair it when they come.
  • A white ewe was held as a stray and a horse had been stolen from the bailiff.
  • Five tenants paid fines for brewing.
  • Three holdings were without tenants; four holdings had buildings which had not been repaired. One of them was handed over to William Launcelyn who would be answerable for the repairs.
  • The names of the second jury are given. They said that 'the constables, tasters of ale and tithing men well and faithfully presented and concealed nothing.'
  • Not only were the expenses of the steward and other surveyors at this court paid, but also the expenses of Bedford.

Full transcript of Court Roll 38a (pdf)

Court Roll 38b

14 May 1449

Halmoot of lord John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine his Consort

  • One tenant is excused attendance.
  • One cottage and land was surrendered and the bailiff was ordered to seize the goods and chattels of the former tenant to pay for repairs.
  • Twelve tenants come to the court to lease parcels of land, with the bushes growing on them, for three years. William Launcelyn holds the hall yard and le Orcharde and half of Thalde Well. Also the Lord granted 8s a year to the same tenants for ploughbote. Although they may cut the bushes in the fields, they may not cut any trees without the permission of William Launcelyn (suggesting that he is either the bailiff or the warrener.)
  • The names of the second jury are given. They report that one building is ruined and that six holdings in the hand of the lord have buildings which need repair.
  • One ditch is not emptying and three tenants have encroached on the Lord's land with their ploughs. They are ordered to put this right.
  • Parchment, ink and paper for Willington and Cardington were purchased, and oaks and elms allowed for repairs to the mill.
  • A by-law was passed: 'No-one shall put their animals in the several fields of the Lord without the permission of the tenants who hold the aforesaid fields, nor put pigs in the manor unless they are ringed. Also that none shall overturn the pastures there etc'.

Full transcript of Court Roll 38b (pdf)

Court Roll 39a

October 15th 1450

View of Frankpledge, John, the Viscount of Beamont and Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • Common fines of 7s was paid.
  • Four men did not attend court; Edward Grey and the Prior of Newnham were each fined 6d.
  • One assault was reported and the hue was called.
  • There was a cow as a stray, but it had a calf, so was of no value until this had been weaned. A steer and a ewe were also strays.
  • Six tenants paid fines for brewing. Two men brewed at the time of the church service and were ordered to pay fines to the lord and the church.
  • The kiln has not been totally repaired etc and the tenement for which William Launcelyn stood bail has not been repaired. Two tenants have barns needing repair. Seven holdings held by the lord need repair.
  • One ditch is not draining and five tenants have ruined buildings. One tenant has willows growing by a common way. This would be dealt with at the next court.
  • Two men from Blunham broke into Willington Grove and stole four oaks. One of them stole three oaks from Shirehatch andanother man carried away all the fallen withies.
  • One plea of debt and a woman was fined for the theft of a sheet and a kerchief.
  • Two new Tasters of Ale and two new Constables were elected.
  • The names of the second jury were given. They said that all was well.

Full transcript of Court Roll 39a (pdf)

Court Roll 39b

May 19th 1451

Court baron, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Norfolk.

  • One tenant was essoined.
  • William Launcelyn has not repaired three holdings which he held. A kiln has also not been repaired. Five holdings in the lord's hand are ruined. Seven tenants have buildings needing repairs. Some of them were said to have been damaged by a violent wind. Timber and underwood were allowed for several of these repairs.
  • Wild geese had been stolen from the warren, another tenant lets his pigs pasture there.
  • The tenants should consider a certain fence between the land of the lord and Thomas Maryon, who says that it should be made of earth (an earth bank?) and a decision should be made before the next court.
  • Paper and parchment is purchased.

Full transcript of Court Roll 39b (pdf)