records, which become more common from the thirteenth century,
enable us to find out more about how people lived and the
economic activity within local areas. The manor was an economic
unit, in which the lord of the manor and his steward were
the principal figures of authority, while tenants and other
individual figures also begin to appear within the records.
Estates, whether of barons, earls or other
temporal lords, or as in this case of spiritual lords (the
bishop of Coventry and Lichfield) could easily cover a wide
physical area. The bishop and other cathedral clergy and officers
held significant property in Staffordshire and neighbouring
counties, which brought in substantial income. The management
of these estates produced records which for Lichfield begin
to survive in the late 13th century. The 1298 extent is the
most detailed of these early records.