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Court Rolls 54a to 56

Willington Court Rolls Introduction

Willington Court Rolls Index

Court Roll 54a

October 23rd 1471

View of Frankpledge with court Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • Two constables and ten tithing men named. Common fines of 7s 1d were paid. The Prior of Newnham did not come to court and was fined. Another tenant was fined for two offences, but it is not clear what they were.
  • One ditch was ordered to be cleared.
  • Two women are described as 'jugulaciones (gossips?) and disturbers of the peace.' They were fined four pence each. Another woman stole a purse and a silver ring from John Gostwyk. She was fined twelve pence.
  • There was a pig as stray, which had been there for half a year.
  • Three men brewed constantly and were fined six pence each.
  • Two new constables were elected.
  • The twelve members of the second jury were named. All was well.
  • One tenant had repaired the barn on his holding, but had still not repaired his hall. He would be fined a penalty of twelve pence if he did not do so by the given day. Two other tenants had buildings to repair. They would be fined the same amount if they did not see to them.
  • The Bailiff was ordered to deliver timber from the Grove and other places to one tenant and withies to make a new bakehouse. Also laths and spars to repair one Dwelling, withies and piles for repairs of the mill Dam and withies to make 'wattled hurdles to turn the water.'

Full transcript of Court Roll 54a (pdf)

Court Roll 54b

May 1st 1472


  • No essoins. The twelve men of the jury are named and described as the Homage.
  • Three bakehouses, two hayhouses, five barns, one stable, one shed, one malthouse, two halls, and one shippon should be repaired before the next court or penalties of forty pence for each would be charged. One tenant should make a new kiln and an oven.
  • Two tenants were fined for not doing their repairs and threatened with a fine of two shillings each.
  • The sworn keeper of the common said that a tenant trespassed with horses and plough animals on his common holding before the feast of Pentecost. He was fined. Another tenant trespassed in a neighbour's cornfield. He was fined too. The miller was fined for taking excessive toll.
  • Underwood from the Grove was sold and some given as tithe. Underwood from the Shere (presumably Sherehatch Wood) was also sold and some given as tithe.

Full transcript of Court Roll 54b (pdf)

Court Roll 54c

October 2nd 1473

View of Frankpledge with Court of Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • Three men were essoined
  • The twelve tithing men were named and 7s 2d was given as common fine. 
  • The Prior of Newnham and Simon Benet did not come to court and were fined.
  • One shippon, two barns, one bakehouse and a hall needed repairs to their tiled roofs. Two tenants had done their repairs and so did not have to pay penalties.
  • A tenant caused nuisance by taking sheep by cart at 12 o'clock in the night, and was assaulted by a neighbour. He also broke two gates on his holding. He was ordered to do the repairs at his expense. There were several other assaults by tenants.
  • Three tenants paid fines for brewing.
  • The twelve men in the second jury said as usual that the' tithing men and Constables presented well and faithfully,' but they also reported that two servants played tennis. Both they and their master were fined.
  • Bread, ale, and meat for the steward cost 4s 1d, parchment cost 4d.]

Full transcript of Court Roll 54c (pdf)

Court Roll 55a

October 4th 1474

View of Court, Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • One man was essoinedThe twelve tithing men were named and 7s 2d was given as common fine. Three men, including the Prior of Newnham, should have come to court, and were fined for not doing so.
  • Three tenants were ordered to repair their holdings or pay a penalty of 6s 8d. Three other holdings also should be repaired. There is a sentence which is not completely legible but seems to suggest that two ditches and a barn have still not been repaired.
  • Two men paid brewing fines. Three assaults are reported.
  • The twelve men of the second jury said that all was well.
  • A tenant was ordered not to have a rabbit warren at Willington 'Mare.' [It is not clear whether this was a lake, or a boundary.]

Full transcript of Court Roll 55a (pdf)

Court Roll 55b

March 28th 1475


  • The main jury is called 'The Homage' and the names are given. All the tenants were reminded to have their holdings and ditches newly repaired before the next Court, or pay a penalty.
  • A tenant surrendered his holding to another of the same surname, perhaps his son. No heriot was paid 'because none is customary.'
  • The fishing waters, 2 islands and the Rabbit Warren and the game of the Warren, 'and the Dead Trees and the toppe and loppe as placed upon the wild Rabbits' were leased for 40 years. The same man also leased 'the waters of the Mill.' He agreed to 'provide for the weir above' and make repairs to the Dam.
  • Some underwood was sold and some given as tithe. The bailiff delivered underwood to three tenants.
  • There was no income to the lord at this court.

Full transcript of Court Roll 55b (pdf)

Court Roll 56

April 27th 1474

Court Roll Katherine Duchess of Norfolk

  • One essoin. The twelve men on the main jury were listed as 'The homage, sworn men.'
  • One tenant has not repaired a barn and other buildings, and has ploughed land on the Common Baulk. He also incurred a penalty for not repairing a gate.
  • A tenant had died and his heir claimed not to owe any services to the lady except suit of court, so an enquiry was to be made.
  • Another tenant had died and his heir was identified with the same surname, so may have been his son. The court was not sure what lands they held, so an enquiry was to be made.
  • A hall needed to be repaired and a hedge needed to be put right.
  • Two holdings were let together for three lives.
  • A widow surrendered her holding and it was let to another tenant for three lives. This tenant also took another holding for three lives.
  • A third holding which had been without a tenant was let.
  • The end of the roll has been lost.

Generally the income from the court held in the spring was less than that of  the court held in the autumn. Very often it brought in less than the cost of the stewards' expenses. Although the income from this court is not known income from May 1470, March 1475, April 1476 and April 1479 was nil, suggesting that the court in the spring was becoming a drain on the lady's resources. The only other court at which the income was nil was April 1421.

Full transcript of Court Roll 56 (pdf)