HOLLIS 11720694

English Manor Rolls, 1283-1765: Finding Aid

Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard Law School

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections
Call No.: HOLLIS 11720694
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Ashley, W.J. (William James), Sir, 1860-1927
Title: English Manor Rolls
Date(s): 1283-1765
Quantity: 20 boxes
Language of materials: Latin
Abstract: This collection consists of 170 parchment rolls of diverse types (court-rolls, account-rolls, and others) from various manors, ranging in date from 1283 to 1765.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Transferred from Harvard College Library to the Harvard Law School Library in 1925.

Processing Information:

Finding aid last updated July 2017 by Eleanor Goerss. The Library is undertaking a multi-year project to conserve and digitize the entire collection; improved description will be added to the finding aid throughout the project. We welcome suggestions for improved description. Send an email to specialc@law.harvard.edu with feedback. Note: this finding aid contains the most up-to-date place names and dates. The labels on the digital objects in the Mirador viewer may not yet correspond with this information; refer to the finding aid for citation purposes.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Related Materials

In 1894 Frances G. Davenport, a student of Professor W.J. Ashley, transcribed a part of the Moulton Manor Court rolls. These transcriptions are fully digitized. See HOLLIS 002702825.

Biographical / Historical

The collection is briefly described by Seymour de Ricci, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, (p. 1041, no. 85, and p. 1042, no. 86). What de Ricci described as two separate collections is now combined into one single collection. The largest part of the manor rolls (de Ricci no. 85) was purchased by Harvard Professor William James Ashley from James Coleman, bookseller, of Tottenham in 1892 and 1893. The remainder (de Ricci no. 86) was acquired by gift of E.F. Gay in 1919. The provenance of this material is noted in de Ricci.
Before their acquisition by the Law School, the collections were designated MS. Lat 14 and MS. Lat 14.7. At some point--perhaps just after 1925 when they were transferred from the Harvard College Library to the Harvard Law School--the collections were combined. As a single collection, the manor rolls were formerly designated simply as MS. Lat 14 and contained in boxes numbered 85-86, labeled A-E. The arrangement of the materials into numbered and lettered boxes has been abandoned in favor of the original sequential numbering of the individual items.


History in deed: medieval society & the law in England, 1100-1600, an exhibition of deeds & charters from the Harvard Law School Library, November-December 1993. [Cambridge]: President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1993. Papp, Elizabeth Ann. Moulton Manor and its court, 1306-1418: crisis and reaction in a fourteenth-century manor. (B.A. Thesis, Honors in History) Harvard University, 1997.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 170 parchment rolls of diverse type (court-rolls, account-rolls, and others) from various manors, ranging in date from 1283 to 1765. The largest concentration of these rolls comes from the manor of Moulton in Norfolk. Other manors represented in large number are Odiham, Hampshire; Herstmonceux, Sussex; Chartley, Staffordshire; Onehouse with Caldecotes, Suffolk; and Great Wishford, Wiltshire. The rolls are grouped roughly by manor, but this arrangement is not adhered to consistently. A limited number of materials in this collection are not rolls, but single-sheet charters. One item (no. 130) is a map of the manor of Shelly, Suffolk.


A note on dates: in England until 1752, the Christian year began on January 1 while the legal year began on March 25. From January 1 to March 24, the convention is to note both years with a slash between them, e.g. "1558/9."

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Davenport, Frances G. (Frances Gardiner), 1870-1927