A New Book From the Family History Federation: Introducing Manorial Records

The following announcement was written by the Family History Federation:

Family History Books is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication, Introducing Manorial Records by Ian Waller. There are many publications dealing with manorial records but it is believed this book is the first aimed at – dare we use the phrase – the ordinary family historian. It is highly readable and leads researchers through the processes involved in an easy logical manner.

For centuries, the lives of our ancestors were controlled by the lord of the manor and this continued until their final demise in 1922. For many family historians, any mention of the manor makes them tremble because they think it leads back into the strange world of medieval history where only faint ghosts of our anonymous ancestors exist. Manorial records are an important source of information providing a fascinating insight of the day-to-day life of most of our ancestors.

Manors had countless officials, rules and regulations; they also held courts to deal with transgressions and to uphold the local laws. The records generated contain hundreds of people providing researchers with a treasure trove of names, some of whom could be one of their ancestors. Every person associated with the manor – urban or rural – will likely be named.

This introductory guide to manorial documents will unlock the mysteries of the manor and all its records leading readers through the process, explaining what you need to know and when you need to know it; where the documents can be found and how to interpret them so that you can use manorial documents to develop the history of your family. With a little patience and this book by your side, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can do and what you do find!

Family historians should not ignore these records but embrace them and make them work in their research.

Printed in A5 size with 119 pages packed with detail. Introducing Manorial Records by Ian Waller is now available from Family History Books which is part of the Family History Federation. Cost £8.95. www.familyhistorybooksonline.co.uk

Postal address: FHF, PO Box 62 Sheringham NR26 9AR

‘Family History Federation’ is the operating name of the Federation of Family History Societies,
A Company Limited by Guarantee Company Number 2930189
(England & Wales) Registered Charity Number 1038721
Registered Office: 2 Primrose Avenue, Urmston, Manchester M41 OTY


Before retiring Ian Waller was a professional genealogist spending over 30 years undertaking British research and was a former Chairman, and now a Fellow, of AGRA (The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives), the body representing qualified professional genealogists throughout England and Wales. He currently serves as a trustee and education officer with the Family History Federation, is also a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists, and has authored several books in the Society’s “My Ancestor” series. He also lectures and runs workshops at many family history societies, U3A Groups and other organisations interested in local, social and family history.


Just what I’ve been looking for – thanks for the info and I’ve ordered it now!
BTW Dick, thanks so much for all the information you have been sending lately. It’s so nice to have contact with others these days! Do stay safe and keep up the great work.


While welcoming any new material that helps open up manorial records to the family historian, Ian Waller’s book is not the first address the topic with the genealogist and non-academic in mind. I wrote “Manorial Records for Family Historians” in 2017 and it is available through “Unlock the Past” at Gould Books: https://www.gould.com.au/manorial-records-for-family-historians/utp0131-2/
or, in the UK at:
The study of manorial records can be incredibly rewarding to the genealogist working with English/Welsh records, but has often regarded as the province of the academic historian and too difficult for most genealogists. However, if you are fortunate to be researching in areas where manorial records have survived and really want to understand your family history beyond just a family tree it is important to start this learning process.
It is a fascinating topic and if you love English history you must learn about manorial records.


The photo on the cover is of Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire, England. It’s a wonderful building, as are its gardens, and it is a National Trust property so effectively owned on behalf of the nation, and free to enter for National Trust members.


If the Federation means that lords of manors met their final demise in 1922, the statement is incorrect. The surviving parts of the Law of Property Act 1922 (which enfranchised copyholds and other customary tenures and ended most manorial incidents) took effect on the 1st January 1926. Although the activities of tenants of most manors are no longer affected by their tenure and most courts baron no longer sit (I do not even know who my lord is), manors still exist. Indeed only a few years ago I prepared an assent of one to the deceased lord’s widow.


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