In 1628 the Manor of Crowle and number of other Manors were conveyed to the City of London by Charles I in satisfaction of two loans made to him by the Corporation, This was known as the Ditchfield grant.
The following is the survey of Crowle carried out for the City of London Corporation by Robert Angell and now held in their archives.
Extract from London Metropolitan Archives reference CLA/044/03/007/013 re Manor of Crowle, Lincolnshire
Most land within the manor is copyhold, held by about 80 tenants. Their entry fines are negotiable, not fixed.
The Manor House is falling down. Most tenants are poor, but Mr Bruer is wealthier and would like to buy the manor house.
The tenants’ livelihood is catching fish and fowl. Part of their copyhold rent is for fishing rights. There will be no fish after the drainage of the fen, and so no revenue for the lord of the manor. Each tenant has his own plot for digging turf for fuel, and pays another rent for this.
Crowle is in Lincolnshire but Eastoft lies astride the river Don and so is half in Lincolnshire and half in Yorkshire.
Crowle is a market town.
The Steward of the Manorial Court is a Barrister called Mr Ferne.
A new Bailif has just been appointed; name not known.
The Surveyor thinks that many of the copyholders will not be able to afford to enfranchise their land (i.e. convert it to heritable free socage tenure) but they might be persuaded to do so if the freeholders would then be prepared to buy them out.
[The verbatim transcription of the document is as below]
The manour consisteth most of copiholders to the nomber 80 as is reported, they confesse there fines arbitrable the manour house is quite decayed, many of the tenantes very poore, among them Mr bruer is very suficient & desierth to buy it, the tenantes most of them liveth by fishing & fowlinge & payeth a copihold
rent for there fishing which is like to be distroyed by the draining the watry comons. Also the tenantes payeth a rent for the turfe grownd which is severall to ech man, tithes paid in kinde, the auditour certifieth this manor lyeth in lincolnshire, wheras the river of dun runeth thorow eastoft & parteth yorkshire from lincolnshire, so as one parte of eastoft lyeth in yorkshire. it is a market towne the steward is Mr ferne, a counseller of the law. the
baylif new come in & could not learne his name
I conceave if it be propownded unto the freeholders that such as will not buy there inheritance of copyholds yet if [???] will fre there tenours, and shall have it in free socage, many will gladly deale & give well for it
Translation and notes by Peter Foden, 4th July 2013