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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 11720694

English Manor Rolls


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.


  • 1283 - 1765

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.


20 boxes

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.

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.

Physical Location

Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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

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.


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.

General note

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.”

Processing Information

Finding aid updated in July 2017 by Eleanor Goerss and May 2018 by Jane Kelly, after the Library undertook a multi-year project to conserve and digitize the entire collection. Many corrections were made to the finding and improved description was added to the digital objects. The labels on the digital objects in the Mirador viewer contain extended information on place names and dates.

English Manor Rolls, 1283-1765: Finding Aid
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Description rules
Local rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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