Manorial Documents

The manor was a dominant feature of life in rural communities until the beginning of the 20th century. Nearly all land was held of a manorial lord, and few people were outside the jurisdiction of the manorial courts. Manorial court rolls are of particular value in tracing the descent of properties, and in casting light on many aspects of everyday life, especially during the medieval period, when few other records survive.

A start has been made on transcribing manorial documents relating to our area.

The medieval manor of MORDEN was in the possession of Westminster Abbey. Many documents survive at Westminster Abbey Muniment Room, while more are in other archives. Translations of most of these Morden manorial documents, including court rolls and more than 100 account rolls, are being added to this website and can be viewed or downloaded.

Other documents relating to medieval Morden have also been translated and are being added to this website.

Further study of these documents is now being undertaken, and publications are in preparation, dealing with such aspects of medieval life as property transfers, social networks, and the manorial economy.

The manor of Morden also included four properties in nearby Ewell, known as Morden Fee, held by Westminster Abbey since Saxon times.

The manorial court rolls for the manor of MERTON, dating from the 18th to 20th centuries, are held by the John Innes Centre at Norwich, and have been microfilmed. They were transcribed by the late John Wallace, but need checking against the microfilm. A copy of the draft transcript, edited to identify the individual copyhold properties, has been lodged at Surrey History Centre, Woking.

The earlier Merton Rolls, dating from the 15th to 17th centuries, and therefore in Latin, are in Guildhall Library, London. Peter Hopkins has made a start on their translation from a microfilm copy. The bulk of the material is complete, but more work needs to be done.

Some work has been done in the past on documents relating to the various MITCHAM manors, but this work still needs consolidating.

Offers of assistance will be warmly welcomed.

Project co-ordinator: Peter Hopkins, 57 Templecombe Way, Morden, Surrey SM4 4JF.