Manorial Court Rolls

The History Group has recently been given access to a remarkable archive of Court Rolls for the manors of Langford, Whatley and Whatman’s Brent.  The records that have been examined so far date from 1449  to 1777.   They give the names of the tenants and details of their tenancies.  They thus provide a record of Langford landholders over a period of more than 300 years. Please see the Gallery section under “Manorial Court Rolls” for images.

The Manor of Langford is based on Langford Court and appears to embrace an area that became detached from the Manor of Wrington at an early date. Both Wrington and Burrington had been bequeathed by charter to the Abbots of Glastonbury in 904 AD. Unlike the Wrington manorial court rolls, so far we have seen no  references to the Abbots of Glastonbury in the titles, suggesting that the Manor of Langford was indeed seperated before the dissolution.  We are hoping to learn more of this seperation by studying the Glastonbury records.

The location of Whatley and Whatman’s Brent and what has become of them remain mysteries that these documents may help us to solve. However, there are very early references to Whatleigh in Wrington records, and there is an early association between a Robert Whatman and Robert Brent who owned land in Nether Langford ( in Churchill).

 One of the earliest Rolls records the decisions made for Whatley by the manorial court that was held on 13th October, 1449 (in the 28th year of the reign of Henry 6th).  The lord of the manor appears to have been the late John Brent.  Alex(ander)  Hody seems to have stood in for him and his feoffess (trustees).  A later record is that of the Court held under John Creswick on 15th October, 1652, who we know owned Langford Court from 1636.

Most of the earlier Court Rolls are in Latin, while the later ones are in English.  The History Group will welcome all offers of help to transcribe and translate these valuable documents.