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Court Rolls 40 to 45

Willington Manor Court Rolls Index

Willington Manor Court Rolls Introduction

Court Roll 40a

20 October 1451

View of Frankpledge with court, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Northfolk.

  • One tenant is excused attendance at court. The jury of tithing men is written out differently. It is made up of two constables, two tasters of ale and eight sworn men.
  • Edmund Grey, the Prior of Newnham and another tenant were fined for not attending court. Common fines of 7s 4d were paid.
  • Assaults by three tenants against four others are reported. One of the victim, John Skynner only appears in this roll. (A certain John Skynner also appears in the list of names of soldiers fighting with Lord Mowbray in France about this time.) Emma Skynner, who only appears in this roll, was listed with the brewers, but was said to hold a common brothel or a bawdy house. The bailiff was ordered to get rid of her.
  • Five tenants pay fines for brewing ale. John Stoughton pays an extra heavy fine for brewing at the time of a church service.
  • Two ditches are not draining and need to be cleared. Thomas Myller has grazed his horses in pasture at the Bury, which is held by William Launcelyn.
  • William Launcelyn has still not repaired three holdings and a malt kiln.
  • Four holdings held by the lord need repair, as do buildings on two other holdings.
  • One holding was surrendered. Further enquiries about its state of repair were to be made.

Full transcript of Court Roll 40a (pdf)

Court Roll 40b

May 25th 1452

Court Baron, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess etc.

Parts of this roll are very dirty and faint. The script is almost impossible to read.

  • The men from Blunham appeared in court for cutting down trees, see roll 39a, on the instructions of four tenants acting for the Lord's Receiver.
  • The goods and chattels of one tenant were taken to repair his former holding. This holding and others were still without tenants. Goods and chattels were seized as security for repairs to the holding of John Waryn Roper.
  • The lord will pay for repairs to a cottage. Six tenants are required to repair barns and other buildings. One appealed against the order.
  • The church's barn needs repair and is still without a tenant.
  • William Launcelyn agrees to repair an insethouse, and another holding, at his own expense. He has still not repaired the malt-kiln, although he was given 20s to do so.
  • Wood was allowed for repairs to buildings and for a fence to make an enclosure to a new barn built by one of the tenants at his own expense.
  • The water mill was leased to Thomas Myller for six years. Arrangements for payment for repairs and for use of the gravel, fisheries and willows round the mill are specified. The mill would be handed back in the condition in which it was received.
  • Paper and parchment was purchased.

Full transcript of Court Roll 40b (pdf)

Court Roll 41a

October 4th 1452

View of Frankpledge with court, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Northfolk.

  • Two constables and twelve other tenants make up the jury of tithing men. Common fines of 6s 11d are paid. William Launcelyn has not paid his fine of 2d.
  • The Prior of Newnham, and another tenant, were fined for non-attendance.
  • Six brewers of ale, including the wife of one of them, paid fines for brewing.
  • William Launcelyn has still not repaired the malt-kiln, despite being paid 20s, nor another holding which he held to repair. He has also not repaired an insethouse for which he had been paid 40s.
  • A tenant has not done his repairs and a third man is appealing against doing his. Goods and chattels have been taken to repair one holding.
  • Four tenants were to do repairs, and the lord will repair buildings on one holding for a new tenant.
  • For the first time a holding was let for three lives, those of a man, his wife and son, and for a further year after their deaths. Another holding was leased for 20 years to a man and his heirs. The same tenant also took a toft.
  • Two new constables were elected.
  • The bailiff delivered spars for repairs and John Yarwey was paid 2s 1d for the end of his Insethouse. Others were were paid for expenses at the terms which the bailiff assessed.
  • Two buildings remain in the hands of William Launcelyn
  • The men in the second jury are listed and say that all is well.

Full transcript of Court Roll 41a (pdf)

Court Roll 41b

May 17th 1453

Hall Moot held there on Thursday next before the feast of Pentecost in the xxxjo [31st] year of the reign of king Henry vjo [6th]

  • One holding was granted to a tenant and his assigns for the terms of their lives, and it was agreed that they should not pay a heriot after death or withdrawal.
  • Three tenements had not been repaired, and one in the lord's hands was still ruined. The lord would pay to repair a hall and a room on one holding.
  • One holding had ruined buildings and another tenant agrees to repair them.
  • A tenant allows his pigs to dig in the warren, the arable strips and meadows. He is fined and ordered not to do it any more, or pay a penalty.
  • A tenant had dug on the common and asked for his case to be considered when Benet the receiver came.
  • Parchment, paper and ink were purchased.

Full transcript of Court Roll 41b (pdf)

Court Roll 42a

October 11th 1453

View of Frankpledge with court, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Northfolk.

  • The roll is very difficult to read.
  • Two constables and twelve tithing men listed as the jury
  • Common fines of 7s 3d were paid. Edmund Grey, knight, the Prior of Newnham, and Thomas Gybon 'owed suit and did not come.' The same Thomas took excessive toll.
  • A one-year old heifer came as a stray, but was later claimed.
  • One tenant lets his pigs 'pasture and dig in the several pastures of the lord and the tenants.'
  • Two assaults took place.Five brewers paid fines for brewing. The wife who brewed alongside her husband (roll 41a) was named as brewing constantly.
  • Responsibility for the repairs of one tenement is transferred to another who was aid to do them.
  • Six holdings need repairs. Goods and chattels were taken to pay for one of them, the lord's Council is considering what to do about one, and William Launcelyn holds one.
  • Two oxen came as strays and were handed back to their owner.
  • There was evidence of two private agreements to sell land to another tenant, one ended up as a plea of debt.
  • A widow and her sons took over the holding of a tenant after his death. A tenant was granted a holding to be held by himself, his wife and their sons, that is for three lives. . A cottage was also let to a tenant, his wife and their sons.
  • The bailiff was ordered to deliver half a rood of underwood to repair a malt-kiln.

Full transcript of Court Roll 42a (pdf)

Court Roll 42b

May 21st 1454


Most of this roll is easy to read, but the last paragraph is very faint and crumpled.

The phrase 'charged and sworn' is used as a heading for the jury. In other rolls since 1448, when the rolls showed the lords of the manor as John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Neville Duchess of Norfolk, this phrase, or the variant ' charged and sworn by the various articles concerning the Court' is regularly used, although it is not clear what the articles said.

  • A barn has been damaged by a violent wind. It and buildings belonging to two other tenants are ordered to be repaired. Two holdings held by the lord need repairs. Another tenant is going to surrender his holding but needs to repair his buildings. The previous tenant is to be given timber, but he is to do the repairs.
  • The buildings of the mill have defective thatch.
  • The boundary between two holdings must be re-instated.
  • Timber was allowed for some repairs.
  • A new tenant, his wife and sons were granted two holdings.
  • Another tenant and his wife took a holding, but the lord agreed to repair the buildings at the start of their tenancy. No herriot would be paid after death or withdrawal.
  • The tenants who held the demesne lands with meadowland, surrendered them. Details of their names or the sizes of their holdings are not given.
  • Parchment and paper were purchased.
  • A tenant, who had held a holding himself, changed the tenancy to a joint one with his wife and their sons.

Full transcript of Court Roll 42b (pdf)

Court Roll 43a

October 15th 1454

View of Frankpledge with court, of Lord John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Norfolk.

  • Common fines 7s 6d. Two tenants, including the Prior of Newnham, did not come to court and were fined.
  • One ditch is not draining and tenants have branches 'growing and hanging above the common way near their lands. They should put this right.
  • The vicar is ordered to make an enclosure of the 'Glesedrip.'
  • William Launcelyn has still not repaired a malt kiln.
  • One holding has been without a tenant for a long time and is ruined. Five more holdings need repairs to be done by their tenants.
  • There has been an assault using a knife.
  • One messuage was surrendered and no herriot was charged. The bailiff was ordered to repair the buildings. The roll said that 'the said holding was taken by the bailiff outside the court and without a copy.'
  • Six tenants paid fines for brewing. It is not clear what is meant by 'Alicia Stoughton did not wish to have a shortage of ale under the new brewings.'
  • Two constables and two ale-tasters were elected.
  • The members of the second jury were named. They said that all was well. 

Full transcript of Court Roll 43a (pdf)

Court Roll 43b

May 22nd 1455


  • One holding was surrendered and another was granted to a man and his wife.
  • One tenement had still not been repaired and it was referred to the lord's Council.
  • Robert Partrych was ordered to do repairs or pay a fine. Goods and chattels were taken from him to pay for repairs to his holding.
  • William Launcelyn has still not repaired the malt-kiln though he was paid 20s to do it.
  • A tenant claims that the lord should build him a barn.
  • There were 5 stopped-up water-courses.
  • Old timber was granted to build a pigsty.
  • Some underwood was sold and more was used to repair buildings in Willington and Cardington, and to repair Willington mill. Underwood was given as a tithe.

Full transcript of Court Roll 43b (pdf)

Court Roll 44a

October 7th 1455

View of Frankpledge with court, John Viscount Beaufond and Katherine Duchess of Northfolk.

  • Five men essoined. Two constables and twelve tithing men were named.
  • Common fines of 7s 6d paid, 6s 5d in silver, 1d fealty remaining with four tenants.
  • One assault and one housebreaking, one overflowing ditch and another one overflowing at the Rabbit Warren.
  • The Receiver General of the Council says that Robert Partrych must pay 40s for repairs (20s this year and 20s next year). Hi s goods and chattels were seized.
  • Old timber was allowed to make 2 pigsties, a stable, and repairs to a barn. Timber was allowed for repairs to 3 buildings.
  • One building was ruined, and timber was allowed for repairs to another.
  • Five brewers paid fines for brewing.
  • Land and a cottage were let for three lives, without a herriot on death or withdrawal.
  • A holding was surrendered and then relet for a period of years.
  • The second jury is named. The common way has been stopped up and the miller had taken illegal toll. Repairs to the mill would take 9 weeks.
  • Two new constables were elected. 

Full transcript of Court Roll 44a (pdf)

Court Roll 44b

April 29th 1456


  • No essoins, usual jury of 12 sworn men.
  • Buildings needing repair were two malt kilns, one insethouse, 1 hall, 2 barns and a jarete (a similar word 'garita' means a garret or watch-tower).
  • Four ditches were not draining. The bailiff was told to open up a lane that was blocked.
  • Two lands were granted for one life, and were to be examined mid-term. Further holdings were granted for one and for three lives respectively.
  • Underwood was sold and some was allowed to seven tenants. Laths were sold to the miller and old tiles were sold. The bailiff raised money from the meadows and arable land of a holding held by the lord.

Full transcript of Court Roll 44b (pdf)

Court Roll 45a

October 7th 1456

View of Frankpledge with court, John Viscount Beaumond and Katherine Duchess of Northfolk.

  • Three essoins. The jury was made up of two constables and ten sworn tithing men. Common fines of 7s 4½d were paid. Two tenants, including the Prior of Newnham, did not attend court and were fined.
  • Three tenants had not used the timber they were given to repair their buildings.
  • Another three buildings have still not been repaired. A further barn needs repair and a footpath and a common way were stopped-up and must be cleared.
  • There was a case of eavesdropping, three tenants were involved in assaults, and two pairs of stockings were stolen.
  • Ten tenants paid fines for brewing ale.
  • The second jury of 12 sworn men said that all was well.
  • Two new constables were sworn in.

Full transcript of Court Roll 45a (pdf)

Court Roll 45b

April 27th 1457


  • The steward ordered the tenants to make a building on John Stone's holding, but they appealed to the lord's council
  • The steward granted 40d to Nicholas Crewse to repair his hall, and he was given timber to repair his stable and malt-house.
  • Second-hand timber was recycled to repair buildings belonging to five tenants. The bailiff had sold some of the old timber.
  • New timber was allowed to three tenants for eight buildings which included the forge and a bakehouse. Seven tenants bought underwood and the lord paid 20s towards the cost of other repairs.
  • The steward was named as Thomas Rokes. He and his household stayed overnight in Shefford.
  • Parchment and paper was purchased for the Courts and rolls, and ink for Bedford, Wylyngton, Cardington and Bromham.

Full transcript of Court Roll 45b (pdf)