Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Court Rolls 46 to 49

Willington Manor Court Rolls Index

Willington Manor Court Rolls Introduction

British Library.Add.Ch657

Bailiff's Accounts of Willington and other Manors 1457 to 1458

  • The translation of this account is not complete, but it can be seen to follow the pattern of the Bailiff's Accounts of 1382 to 1397.
  • The arrears are significantly lower in 1457 to 1458 than in 1382 to 1397.
  • The fixed rents (or common fines) here called Rents of Assize are significantly lower than in the earlier Bailiffs' Accounts.. The account states that they were paid by the free tenants of the manor and names of ten men are given.
  • As would be expected rents in kind (chicken rent) were lower. The rents of half-virgates remain the same at £22 13s 4d.
  • The account gives more detail of the Launcelyn family, one of whom, Walter, held 'the several waters of the fisheries and the rabbit warren and the game within the the demesne.' There may be a scribal error here, in 1463 the fisheries were held by William Launcelyn.
  • Included with the Willington Account are the accounts of Bedford Castle, Bromham and Ickwell. References are also made to Cardington and Southill.

Full transcript of BLAddCh657 (pdf)

Court Roll 46a

October 26th 1457

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

  • Four tenants, including lady Elizabeth Maryon, were excused attendance at court. This is the first time that a woman has been excused attendance at court. She may have been a widow, or have inherited the holding on the death of her father.
  • The twelve sworn men in the jury include the two constables. They gave common fines of 7s 9d.
  • The Prior of Newnham, and another tenant, were fined for not coming to court. Two ditches were not draining, and must be put right. The Lord required the tenants to repair the malt-kiln in the holding of John Stones.
  • One tenant assaulted another and the hue was raised.
  • Some hedges were carried away. Two buildings were in need of repair, timber had already been given for one of them. William Launcelyn still has 20s to repair a malt-kiln.
  • The order made that labourers by the day are not to accept work outside the vill. They were threatened with large penalties, payable to the lord and the church, if they do.
  • Ten tenants paid fines for brewing.
  • Underwood and timber are allowed to two tenants.
  • Two new constables were elected.
  • One holding was granted for three lives.
  • John Gostwyk was answerable for 2s 6d raised by the shippon near to John Morborne's house and for one dry ash tree sold to John Brond for 10d, suggesting that he was the Woodward at that time.

Full transcript of Court Roll 46a (pdf)

Court Roll 46b

July 3rd 1458


  • Seven buildings need repair. A house called 'Pykend' is mentioned. It may have been situated at the north east of the manor, near the mill and fisheries.
  • Three holdings were surrendered and re-let. They may all have been let for three lives, but this is not absolutely clear. No herriots will be charged on death or withdrawal.
  • Timber and underwood was allowed to eleven tenants, and included materials to enable the miller, probably John Taylor, to repair the dam and the causeway.

Full transcript of Court Roll 46b (pdf)

Court Roll 47

October 25th 1458

View of Frankpledge with court, John, Viscount of Beaumont and Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • The regnal year was written as 'thirty seventh' instead of being in Roman numerals as previously.
  • Common fines of 7s 3d were given. The main jury consisted of two constables and ten heads of Tithings. The names of the men in the second jury were given. They said that all was well.
  • Elizabeth Maryon was fined for not coming to court and having a stopped-up ditch.
  • Four buildings have still not been repaired.
  • There were two assaults and the miller took excessive toll.
  • Alice Stoughton is named as common brewer. She and two men paid fines for brewing.
  • One young man was put in a tithing.
  • A tenant who owed money to the lord had died. His goods and chattels were taken to cover his debts.

Full transcript of Court Roll 47 (pdf)

Court Roll 47a

June 29th 1459


  • Two men were essoined.
  • The usual heading 'tithing men'is not used of the main jury, instead the phrase 'The Enquiry taken there by the Oaths of' is used. One man is fined for not coming to court.
  • Four repairs have not been done. Four other buildings need repairs, three of which needed the thatch repairing.
  • One tenant felled an elm without permission and was fined. Another tenant did the same but further enquiries were to be made. A tenant has mowed a parcel of meadow without permission and 'against the custom of the vill.' He is fined.
  • Seven tenants were allowed timber and underwood for their repairs.
  • The roll ends with a claim from John Gostwick for collecting dues and rents from Wyllyngton, Cardington, Bromham and Bedford. These include wages for workmen, buying materials to make repairs to the mill, planting hedges, making a barn and a gate, and buying parchment for the roll.
  • Various kinds of underwood and willow had been sold. A tithe had been given.

Full transcript of Court Roll 47a (pdf)

Court Roll 48

June 29th 1459

This court was held at Cardington.

The collection includes 4 court rolls for Cardington, dated 1459 to 1463 (48, 49b, 50a, 50b). No reason for their inclusion has been given. This is a short account:

  • Nine men in the jury
  • An assault between Robert Horne and John Neweman senior (case was postponed)
  • one land transfer, to be held freely.

Full transcript of Court Roll 48 (pdf)

Court Roll 49a

October 8th 1461

View of Frankpledge with court, Katherine Duchess of Norfolk.

  • Elizabeth Maryon and a man were essoined.
  • Common fines of 7s 5d were given to the lady and John Gostwyk was named as bailiff.
  • Four tenants were fined for not coming to court. One of them, the Prior of Newnham, was said to hold thirty acres of land with appurtenances.
  • Two ditches were stopped up
  • The butcher sold meat without heads and was fined.
  • A baker paid a fine for baking bread.
  • The miller took excessive toll and sold grain in the wrong place. He was fined for both and told to take the toll 'within his mill strips' or pay a penalty.
  • Two men served as both Constables and Ale Tasters. They reported an assault. Three brewers paid fines for brewing ale.
  • The second jury was named and said that all was well.
  • Two tenants had ruined buildings; a tenant was fined for not looking after his fallow land.
  • A holding was let for three lives, no heriot would be given on death or withdrawal. They gave two capons as entry fine.
  • A member of the gentry, from Thurleigh, was accused of fishing in the lady's water.
  • Timber was allowed to two tenants for repairs.
  • Thomas Rokes is named as Steward.

Full transcript of Court Roll 49a (pdf)

The next roll, 49b, is for Cardington and the court there was held the day after the above roll. The names are significantly different from the names in the Willington court rolls.

Court Roll 49b

October 9th 1461

Cardington. View of Frankpledge With Court of Katherine Duchess of Norfolk.

  • Thomas Rokes was the steward.
  • Twelve men in the jury including the constable and ale taster. 
  • Seven men, including the Prior of Newnham, were fined for not attending court. The lands which two of them held are described. 
  • One man has left the manor. 
  • Three men were accused of carrying away timbers without permission. There was a brief against them. 
  • Four men were involved in assaults and damage. 
  • Four men were sworn into tithings. 
  • There was one ruined tenement and one account of encroachment.

Full transcript of Court Roll 49b (pdf)