Manor of Crowle Documents in Lincolnshire Archive

As reported in the Archivist’s Report 28 March 1952 – 24 March 1953 –

Descent of the manor

In the Domesday Survey the manor of Crowle was held by the Abbot of St. German of Geoffrey de Wirce the tenant-in-chief. There was arable, meadow and woodland there, also fisheries and there were sokelands of this manor in Amcotts, Westwood, Garthorpe, Luddington, Marae, Waterton, Butterwick and Belton (Lincoln Record Society, Vol.
19 pp. 192-3). The Charter of Geoffrey de Wirce granting a hundred of land in Crowle with sac and sot was copied into) the Coucher Book of Selby Abbey which has been edited in the Yorkshire Archaeological Association’s Record Series Vol. XIII pp. 279-80, along with other gifts and releases of right to land in Crowle and the other townships. In
1281 the Abbot was stated to hold the soke of Crowle of the Lord King in perpetual alms (Rotzcli Hundredorum I, London, 1812, p. 339). After the Dissolution the soke reverted to the King and was retained for the time being in royal hands, although the whole water of Crowle and the fishery thereof was granted to Sir Ralph Sadleyr of Hackney, Middlesex, along with the site of the Abbey of Selby and many of its lands (Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII 1540, p. 509). In 1551 the manor, with many other properties in Lincolnshire and elsewhere was granted to Edward Fynes, Lord Clynton and Saye, Lord High Admiral, reference being made to appurtenances in Amcotts, Garthorpe, Evylthwayte, Luddington and Eastoft (Calender of Patent Rolls Edward VI 1550-3, pp. 203-12), and it appears to have been re-granted to Queen Elizabeth in c. 1565 (ms. calendar of Feet of Fines 1-18 Eliz., p. 135,
in the Foster Library). The dates and nature of these transactions are confirmed by the names of lords given in the court rolls where they have survived. From these it is also clear. that between 1627 and 1636 the manor passed to the Earl of Kingston, and it remained thenceforth with the Pierrepont family. An 18th century copy of the boundary of the lordship of Crowle in 1629 is said to have been taken by a jury for the citizens of London then owners of the lordship did not hold the manor for very long


Organisation and Business of the Courts

What follows is an endeavour to show what material exists in these records for a study of court organisation rather than to reach final conclusions. It is clear from the earliest rolls that courts were held for the whole soke including the townships of Crowle, Amcotts, Eastoft, Garthorpe and Luddington, being held at the townships in turn in the earliest rolls, but mainly at Crowle later on. It is not clear what relationship this organisation had to the wapentake of Manley within which it was physically situated. In The Sessions of the Peace in Lnicolnshire x360- 85 (Lincoln Record Society Vol. 30) there are very few references to, places and persons in the soke and there are also few in the Lincolnshire Assize Rolls 1202-1209 (Lincoln Record Society Vol. 22) and A Lincolnshire Assize Roll for 1298 (Lincoln Record Society Vol. 36). More detailed work on the Crowle ro~lls might throw some light on the relationship between the courts of the soke and those of the wapentake and the higher courts. The evidence of the Hundred Rolls is not conclusive.
The Abbot of Selby claimed to have furcas, the assize of bread and ale, waif and wreck, at Crowle but a specific claim to have the return of writs was not recorded (op. cit., p. 373). The jurors of Manley wapentake said that the West Riding of Lindsey contained the wapentakes of Manley, Aslachou, Corringham and Lawres which were in the hand of the king and they knew nothing of others (ibid., p. 339). A man of the Abbot at Garthorpe got into, trouble for refusing the bailiff of Manley (ibid., p. 342). This matter was also recorded in the Placita de Quo Waranto (London, 1818 p. 426) and it is to be noted that although the abbot had to answer for his claims of freedom from suit and from the King’s bailiffs, along with other privileges, for Selby, no similar claim is recorded at Crowle. In point of fact the abbot clearly exercised considerable and not unprofitable jurisdictional rights within the soke of Crowle, the organisation of which is revealed by the surviving court rolls.

The earliest group of rolls, 1310-1355, is too, imperfect in survival to allow a very systematic study of the organisation of the courts, but one or two apparently complete year rolls remain and certain remarks may be made. Courts are well spaced throughout the year, and for the most part undifferentiated in function. Most courts seem to have had presentments by townships which are recorded variously as Amcotts or Garthorpe etc. presents, the jurors of Amcotts, Garthorpe etc. present or the townships (villate) of Amcotts, Garthorpe etc. present. They also seem to have inquisitions or juries to enquire into certain cases, and it is not always clear whether they are acting in a similar capacity to the juries later empanelled to enquire into’ the articles of the view or to that of the juries on which parties might place themselves. (It may be mentioned here that persons could make their law six or twelve handed, that is produce satisfactory. persons to swear to their innocence, rather than put themselves on the jury of inquest.) Such phrases occur as the whole soke of Crowle has a day to present concerning exchanges of land at the next court (C.M. 1/3 m_. 2, 1314) and there is a compertum of an inquisition of jurors of the whole soke concerning wardship (C.M. I/I m. 3 1310-11). Presentments relating to persons who ought to be in frankpledge were also made. The court of the Easter view of frankpledge 1330-I (C.M. I/IO m. I dorse) is the earliest noted having record of an inquisition taken of the articles of the view but there do not appear to have been many presentments. It is interesting to note that one of the jurors at this court had the surname Laghman or Lawman. Later in the proceedings of the same court an order relating to the repairing of banks  is said to be made by the whole community of the soke of Crowle. Officers such as reeves of the townships were removed on payment of a fine to the lord and then the choice of a new one took place such as that by the community of the township of Crowle (C.M. r/g m. I dorse 1324-5). There are not as yet annual elections of officers recorded. Constables are mentioned, in particular the constable of Garthorpe who was ill, so that the township had respite till the next court to make its presentments. Business in addition to presentable matters such as nuisances, neglect of repairs, works or services, consisted of surrenders and admissions to land, licences to marry, payment of merchet, and cases between parties.

Since from 1362 there is a series of year rolls surviving with very few gaps until the time of the Dissolution and beyond, it is possible to summarise some information relating to the organisation of the courtsduring this period. The year for each roll usually runs from Michaelmas to the morrow of the feast of St. Oswald in August, the Michaelmas court being held on varying dates in September and October. The number of courts varied each year slightly although approximating more to such an average as would give a three weeks interval, but the practice of holding courts at Michaelmas and Easter on consecutive days, the view of frankpledge and the court of the morrow, meant that the courts were not so evenly spaced throughout the year as the number held might suggest. There was usually an interval of more than three weeks before the beginning of a new year at Michaelmas. A pattern. of procedure grew up by which the courts of the view of frankpledge and the courts of the morrow were regulated. Cases between parties tended to be adjourned to the court of the morrow “

A pattern. of procedure grew up by which the courts of the view of frankpledge and the courts of the morrow were regulated. Cases between parties tended to be adjourned to the court of the morrow “propter instanciam lete”. A notice of such an adjournment often opened. the record of proceedings at the view, to be followed by the names of the jurors empanelled to enquire into the articles of the view. At first these were given in a continuous list without reference to, the townships of the jurors, but later on the juror’s names were grouped according to their townships. By a comparison of the names of these jurors in a late 14th century court with the names in one of the rentals, it appeared that some at least of them were freeholders, and perhaps they might be regarded as the predecessors of the freeholders’ jury of the 17th and later centuries. They proceeded to make presentments relating to the whole soke although in some courts they appear to have divided up and made presentments relating only to their own townships. They presented default in suit of court, offences against the various assizes relating to the sale of victuals,
neglect of dykes and sewers, and affrays and other nuisances,, and they might proceed to make orders and injunctions. In the court rolls of the 16th century this jury is sometimes said to be for the lord king, and for the whole soke of Crowle. Their work was stated to have been assisted by the townships, the homage or the constables and four men and other officers who were bound to inform the jury concerning the articles of the view or matters arising from their office (for example C.M. 1/3g/1 1386-7 where the township of Crowle is in mercy for not coming to present to
the jury and C.M. I/@/I 1445-6, whexe following the names of the jury, the constables and four men of the townships are said to be similarly sworn). In many courts of the view the record of the inquest’s findings are followed by that of the presentments of the townships, (except for those of Crowle which were reserved for the court of the morrow) which included such matters as the election of constables, reeves, dyke-reeves, ale tasters and other officers at the Michaelmas Court in addition to a variety of other matters somewhat on the lines of the inquest’s own findings. Such presentments were said to be made merely by the township or homage, but in the sixteenth century rolls the names of the constable and four men are often given preceding those of the jury of inquest or of the view.

At some courts on the morrow of the view held in tne 14th century two jury lists were recorded at the end of the proceedings. They gave the names of townsmen sworn to inform the jury to enquire into the articles of the view in one list drawn from the five townships including names of those know to hold office such as constables, and in the other, names of the jurors of Crowle, being sometimes described as the jury of the soke and the jury of Crowle respectively (e.g. C.M. I/47/2 and 3). The juries of the court of the morrow were later reduced from two to one, which made presentments, and also elected the officers for the township of Crowle. In its presentments it seemed to act for the whole manor and perhaps may be considered as the forerunner of the copyhold jury of the 17th and later centuries. It was distinguished from the jury of inquest at the view in the later rolls as being the jury of the lord as opposed to the jury of the king. Juries empanelled to deal with cases between parties or to enquire on some specific matter also continued to occur, and further work would be needed to discover when the presenting and enquiring juries finally merged. Juries both to present and to enquire sometimes functioned at courts other than those of the view and its morrow.

Following the Dissolution of the monasteries the sessions of courts continued to be recorded but with the king as lord instead of the abbot. After the transfer of the manor to the lord Clynton the number of courts recorded declined and for some years only the two views appeared to have been held. The jurors appeared as before, the jury of the king or of the country (de patria) presenting first and at the same court, the jury of the manor or of Crowle. More courts were recorded when the manor once more came into the hands of the Crown but in the seventeenth century the court rolls by themselves do not give a full picture of the work of the courts, and need to be studied in conjunction with the
court papers. An endorsement on a large court roll covering the years 1614-20, which has every appearance of being a copy made at one time and not freshly written up each year, gives the information that the rolls were wanting for confirming the copies given to’ tenants, and that in consequence this enrolment had been made by the sub-steward at the request of the tenants from the books of surrenders and had been placed among the other records of the court. This information seems symptomatic of the change in nature of the court rolls which for the most part were devoted to conveyancing records of copyhold properties from this time onwards. Court papers surviving for the years 1647~74 show that conveyancing was by no means the only business of the courts. Presentment papers of both freehold and copyhold juries have survived giving presentments for offences against the agricultural bye-laws of the manor, for neglect of dykes, and for other nuisances, giving the fines imposed. There are two presentments for making bricks on the common and selling them out of the manor (C.M. 41417, 1649, and C.M. 414125, 1659)
and there are also presentment papers of the officers, constables, pinders, and ale finers. There is unfortunately a large gap in the series of both court rolls and papers in the 18th century as may be seen from the lists given below, but court rolls show little change after the gap except that they are written in English, and court papers from 1784 show presentments of juries, both freehold and copyhold, of offences such as trespass on the commons, failure to “dress” portions of moor or carr, and for offences regarding sewers. Lists of grand and copyhold juries and officers sworn, constables, grassmen and Pinders, are included with the presentments. These court rolls and papers show that in many years more than the two courts of the view were held.

Information on local life and topography

This large collection of rolls and papers covering many centuries is full of information on local life, local families and names. It is supplemented by the rentals and surveys, also, the maps prepared for use with the 1738 surveys. A hasty glance at the rentals for the township of Crowle in 1379 and 1389, giving as they do much detail regarding distribution of land among the tenants, rents and services in labour and kind as well as money, suggests that a detailed comparison of these rentals would be of much interest for the social and economic historian, and they in their turn could be compared with the rental for 1428. Patient work on the medieval and later surveys, and the maps of 1738 could give much information for a reconstruction of past conditions. The 14th century surveys show the division of fields where the bovates were situated, showing Crowle field and Crowle North end, with a separate field
for Aland, now Ealand, and Tetley. Some of the smaller sub-divisions of lands are named, such as plots. of meadow in Bewaldker, Alandwath, Aykholmker, Skouskotholme, Ravensbught, Wranglands, acres and butts of land in Quoniamcroft, Hasell, Neuriddinghirne, Hirdingtak, Quykenbergh, Hullerthwait, Stenenyng, Knapsilwro, the riggs and le hale, also Alisceholt othe grene, and intakes and assarts in southra, the riggs, mikil intak near Nethale, and at Overwath. It may be noted that the 1738 survey mentions as the main divisions of the fields of Crowle Ealand field, Thakes field and Crowle field, with land in the open ings, in enclosures and in the moors, and that the names. Tetley, Bucar, Field Hale and Hazel survive for certain homesteads and closes. The water courses of Done, Leme and the mardike and others figure in the earlier surveys and there is much reference to them in the court rolls relating
to sewers, weirs and fisheries. Windmills are recorded as early as 1314-15, when that at Amcotts was let to the “nativi” (C.M. 1/4 m. 6) and there are many other references to’ them in the court rolls. The presence of woodlands is suggested by the payments for pannage of pigs, and there are occasional references to and presentments by foresters, a warden of the chase of Crowle being appointed at the request of Thomas de Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham, in 1391-z (C.M. I/44/7). Some items noted in the court rolls include a licence to make oil ( ? linseed) in a house on a toft held in bondage in 1380-1 (C.M. I /34/3) and an order in the same year for fallowing a fourth part of the fields in four successive years, giving bounds (Ibid 4). Court rolls are not necessarily regarded as sources for ecclesiastical history but some few items noted suggest their possible fruitfulness. In 1314-15 a licence was granted to Edonia, daughter of Alice Spelben to enter the convent of St. Katherine and dwell there forever (CM. 1/4/3). A dispute was settled in the courts between John, Chaplain of Adlingfleet and Robert Coy and John Layke concerning which the jurors found against the Chaplain that he had not been appointed to serve the community of the township of Crowle in celebrating divine service as he had alleged (CM. I /o/6, 1324-Z). In 1423-4 John Hamond, Vicar of Crowle and four masters of the work of the church of Crowle surrendered their reversion of the lands of William Cutte in return for a sum of money paid by William to the fabric of the church (C.M. 1/64/4) and in 1450-1 William Malton, Vicar of Luddington
was elected reeve for the township (C.M. I/94/I).

Information relating ta Selby Abbey

The pre-Dissolution rolls and surveys were of course munfments of Selby Abbey. There is relatively little reference by name to the abbots, and the names sometimes given instead of simply the Lord Abbot of Selby do not add to’ those given in Dugdale’s Monasticon. There were some indications that abbots personally attended the courts but only in the rolls just preceding the Dissolution from c. 1528. Detailed investigation of these rolls might throw more light on who represented the lord at these courts but information by way of heading to the rolls is not consistently given. Henry de Cave and Thomas de Wakefield, monks, were said to hold courts in 1364-5, and Peter de Rouclif also a monk is recorded as master of the court in 1390-1. In the rolls from 1364-96 which tend to give more full information concerning persons present at the courts than at other periods, the following names of monks were noted : Walter de Stallingborough, Thomas de Wakefield, Peter de Rouclif and R. de Secroft bursars, Walter, Thomas de Wakefield and
Peter de Rouclif cellarers, and Walter de Selby and John de Gildhale. The rolls of this period sometimes have more information also on the finances of the courts, showing receipts, payments and allowances. Many
of these rolls were written by a clerk with a talent for drawing which he  used in the margins of the rolls and in signs to show continuation of matter on the next folio which include the head of a dog and a rabbit. The same clerk wrote the rental for 1389 and ornamented an initial letter with drawings o.f a two pronged digging fork and spade, apparently iron tipped (C.M. 814).

Stewards’ names occur from time to time in the rolls but they are not necessarily mentioned, They seemed to have been local laymen, names noted between 1366 and 1527 including Robert de Haldanby, John de Amcotts, Robert de Haldanby junior, Robert de Morton, Thomas Maunsell, Thomas de Brunham, Ralph Bapthorp, John Nevill, also Thomas de Burgh kt. and William Estoft sub-steward who continued to hold office for the king. A number of names of office holding monks occur in the rolls shortly before the Dissolution, but most of these may be found in Dugdale’s Monasticon in the list of pensioners and the Valor Ecclesiasticus.
Among the surveys is the compotus of brother Laurence Selby, bursar, 1481, which deals with sums paid to him by the farmers of the properties of the abbey mainly in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire and much as given in Dugdale’s Monasticon, (unfortunately a long strip has been torn off and lost but the rest of the roll is complete) continuing with
foreign receipts, expenditure on pensions (some for appropriated churches) fees for stewards of manors and others including the prior, sub-prior and chaplains of the abbey, stipends of the abbot’s servants, gifts of the lord abbot (very numerous), expenses of the lord abbot in food,, .cloth and other household goods including sea coal (in carbonibus marztzmis) payments for the abbot’s stable, wine bought (in some detail) grain bought, the cost of hay, the cost of the hearth, cost of houses within, which includes work on the abbey, foreign expenses which include
travelling expenses of the bursar, expenses of the court of Crowle, rents paid, cash paid, allowances and surplus (C.M. 817). There are also a few sheets of an account relating to lands in Brayton near Selby with notes as to which offices in the abbey these payments are assigned, including the sacrist, the fabric and the cook (late 15th c. -early 16th c. C.M. 8/9).

The Records

A classified list is given below which as often happens is a compromise between the ideal class list and the actual arrangement of the records. As previously mentioned (Report 1951-z p. 57) there were four large chests of them, together with 29 books, some plans, and series of bundles taken from shelves and placed in tea chests. The contents of the chest having in it the older court rolls, earlier surveys and some court papers, were in considerable disorder of long standing and at some time in the past had suffered much from the attentions of rodents and the effects of damp. Much sorting was needed to produce the list of rolls in order summarised below and the condition of these records varies from excellent to unfit for use. The paper draft rolls have suffered especially and few are in good condition throughout. The later court rolls in a second chest were tied into bundles with straps and were in better shape. All the more modern records are in a reasonably good state of preservation and mostly in very good order except for the inevitable broken bundles and loose papers which are relatively few.

Court Rolls

Mainly incomplete membranes, many gaps, some very poor condition, 1310-55 (1-17); year rolls mainly from Oct. to Aug., very few gaps, some in poor condition, 1362-1425 (18-65); including many paper draft rolls, sometimes only drafts for years at a stretch, mainly rather poor condition, very few gaps, 1426-1596 (66-262); large rolls covering several years, apparently copied up altogether at one time, 1596-1627 (263-268); mostly year rolls but beginning date varied, in English from 1651-1660, 1636-1676 (269-307); mostly year rolls, Easter and Michaelmas courts, very few gaps, 1682-1724 (308-342) court books, the first surviving numbered 8, a complete series from 1778, in English, (an endorsement on roll No. 310, 1684, ‘Recorded in the Court Books commencing 1675’ suggests that there was a
series from that date originally); 1778-1925, with some few later entries, (343-364).

Draft Rolls and Minutes

These seem to have formed a single series but for some periods runs of draft rolls and minutes are bundled separately, in other years together. Sometimes other court papers, admissions and surrenders, occur here rather than in the next group, 1790-1925, 956 items.

Documents used in court

A series of bundles mainly original documents, surrenders and admissions, warrants of satisfaction, powers of attorney, used or produced in court or enrolled there, the years 1802-22 have some minutes also, 1799-1917, 219 items.

Miscellaneous Court Paper+ 17th century

Memoranda of surrenders, some filed some folded, 1646-74, 26 bundles; the same loose, no,w arranged chronologically 1650-72, 36 items; petitions to the lord, 1648-74, 18 items; presentments of officers, verdicts
of freehold and copyhold juries, lists of amercements etc., 1664-74, 57 items

Miscellaneous Court Papers, mainly 19th century

Presentments of freehold and copyhold juries, minutes of fines, fees, lists of officers and jurors, surrenders and admissions, etc. bundled by courts, 1784-1799 and other miscellaneous documents to 1818, which were found together in a drawer of one of the chests, 45 bundles; similar papers but bundled variously as to date in larger bundles, 1765-1809, 4 bundles; admissions and surrenders, various dates, 1738-1881, 5 bundles: lists and indexes of copyholders made for use with rolls 1809-66, 8 items of many pages each; certificates or declarations re sale or mortgage of copyhold, 1822-52, 195 items; other miscellaneous or strayed court papers, 1785-1904, 72 items.

Schedules of fines on admission

These give date of court, names of parties, description of property and amount of fine, 1822-81, 3 large bundles.

Sewards Papers

Correspondence, with deputy stewards, bailiffs, the lord’s agent, solicitors etc., 1822-1905, 356 items; lists of fees and miscellaneous accounts 1778-1880, 522 items; letters and papers re enfranchisement 1811-1909, 30 items; other miscellaneous papers, memoranda, formulae etc., 1811-1909, 26 items.

Rentals, accounts and surveys

Part of a rental of Crowle, early 14th c.; part of a rental Garthorpe and Amcotts, much decayed, 1363; rentals for Crowle 1379, 1389, 1428; rental for Luddington 1414; account of the bursar of Selby Abbey 1481; rental, Crowle forland 1500; rental relating to Brayton near Selby, fragment, ? early 16th c.; surveys of Crowle, Belton Woodhouse,
Eastoft, Garthorpe, Luddington, 1738, 5 volumes; copy Luddington and Garthorpe enclosure award 1803, the same for Crowle 1822.


Two large pre-enclosure maps to Eastoft, Luddington and go with survey, Crowle with Belton, Carthorpe, 1738; Belton copyholds 1738; enclosure plan Luddington and Garthorpe said to be copied from 1797 plan in. 1857; Crowle pre-enclosure plan, undated but said to be 1817 on attached label; Crowle enclosure plan 1822; sectional plan of roads and buildings, used for enfranchisement, said to be copied from 1817 plan, and annotated to 195o.

Case and estate papers

Acts of Parliament, re canalisation of the River Dun 1793, enclosing Crowle Eastoft and Ealand, 1813 and 1816; for limitation of actions regarding real property 1833; for facilitating the enclosure of arable and open fields in general 1838 Particulars of sale and related papers, properties in Tetley 1864, 15 items; Crowle 1871, 5 items; Fockerby co. York and Garthorpe 1869- 1917, 15 items. Abstracts of title, copies of conveyances, some plans etc. lands in Fockerby, Garthorpe, Luddington, Eastoft and Crowle, including the

Particulars of sale and related papers, properties in Tetley 1864, 15 items; Crowle 1871, 5 items; Fockerby co. York and Garthorpe 1869- 1917, 15 items. Abstracts of title, copies of conveyances, some plans etc. lands in Fockerby, Garthorpe, Luddington, Eastoft and Crowle, including the

Abstracts of title, copies of conveyances, some plans etc. lands in Fockerby, Garthorpe, Luddington, Eastoft and Crowle, including the pinfold, c. 1826-1910, 87 items. Cases and opinions and related’papers regarding Crowle enclosure 1812- 22, land of St. Catherine’s Hall, Cambridge, 1841, warped lands 1857-60, estate of G. F. Brunyee 1865, estate of H. L. Maw 1866-7, 51 items in all.

Deeds of enfranchisement

Luddington and Garthorpe, 1859-1918, 38 items; various parts of the manor 186o-1924, 93 items. Crowle 1925, 45 items.

Compensation agreements

These relate to the extinguishment of manorial right, 1928-49, seven large bundles.

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