The Custumal c. 1225

WAM 9287 (c) The Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Two copies survive of a custumal of c.1225 which lists the tenants of the abbey’s manors, including Morden, and records the rents, in cash and in kind, and the customary services that each owed.

In Morden, three free tenants held 5 virgates between them. Seventeen customary tenants held a total of 16 virgates, each of 20 acres, though two held 1.5 virgates each and four only half-virgates. A smallholding of 3 acres was held by William Swein. In addition the monks received ‘from Ewell 30s at the 4 terms and they must come to the five boonworks in Harvest and they owe 10 hens and 1 cock and owe 3d for mowing’.

1225 was the year that the abbey’s properties were divided between the abbot and the monks. Morden was one of the estates allocated to the support of the monks. The Custumal covers 11 manors, all allocated to the monks. The entries for each manor are not all in the same format, and Barbara Harvey suggests that the monks did not undertake a fresh survey of each manor but ‘put together what they found in the existing monastic archive relating to the places in question. Happily for them, detailed, up-to-date custumals existed for the majority of their manors’ (Barbara Harvey Westminster Abbey and its Estates in the Middle Ages (1977) 104-5).

The translation is by Peter Hopkins under the guidance of Maureen Roberts, and has been checked and corrected by Dr Mark Page.

Click on the thumbnails below to download the transcripts, with or without images.