A Millennium in the Archives of the Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent Archive Service


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Extent Or Survey Of The Manors Of The Bishops Of Coventry And Lichfield, 1297-1298

This parchment book surveys estates held by successive bishops of Lichfield and Coventry during the early part of the Middle Ages. It includes property in Lichfield, Longdon, Eccleshall, Rugeley, Cannock, Brewood, Haywood and Baswich in Staffordshire and other property in Warwickshire and Cheshire.

It was not fully completed because the initial capital letters, which were presumably intended to be decorative, were never written, (for example here in the gap for the E of Eccleshall). Decorative initials occur frequently in medieval records – in illuminated manuscripts such as Gospels.

The document is typical of an elaborate estate survey of the 13th century. The information is recorded on oath from local named jurors. Some of the basic information relates to property rights and their values, including a valuation of the capital message or manor house, with its gardens, fishponds (maintained for food rather than being ornamental), dovecotes and sheepcotes. Details of the arable land usually lying in selions or strips in the open fields are given, details of the meadow, pasture, wasteland and woodland, together with details of whether the land is capable of improvement. Valuations of markets, fisheries, hunting, mills, minerals (coal & iron), presentation to the parish church and rights to them are also listed; and finally the types of tenants arranged by name, with details of the property held, the rents payable and the customs.  

( © Staffordshire Record Office D(W)1734/J/2268 Eccleshall,Staffordshire Record Office D(W)1734/J/2268 Rugeley, Staffordshire Record Office D(W)1734/J/2268 Cannock )

Staffordshire Record OfficeWilliam Salt LibraryStoke on Trent City Archives