Introduction to categories of historical records



Historical documents and public records can be grouped into categories that provide context for particular types of research into local history or genealogy. The ELSG has set up such groupings in this part of our website to assist researchers in browsing our records. Each area is briefly described below. We have used predefined free text searches to identify documents falling into each category, and the search terms used are given in each case. Additional information and general guidance relating to ancient documents can be found at http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/guide/guide.shtml



As the term suggests, manorial records are rooted in the feudal system of land tenure whereby the Lord of the Manor received dues from all landholders and had rights over natural resources. Manorial surveys, conducted when the Lordship changed hands [such as by a break in the lineage of inheritance or by purchase], are an invaluable resource for an overview of specific properties, the names of landholders, and revenues.  Manorial courts were composed of ‘jurors’ who were principal landholders appointed from the various parishes and presided over by the Lord’s steward: they dealt with the maintenance of law and order, ongoing property exchanges and the receipt of dues, as well as conducting manorial surveys as required.


Search terms: “manorial records”, “court rolls”, “manorial survey”, “manor court”, “court baron”




‘Official records’ are documents which reflect a shift from the manorial system to the administration of local government at civil parish, county or national level. They provide a picture of social and economic life in Ewyas Lacy ranging from details of individuals to population statistics. 


Search terms: “hearth tax”, “vestry records”, “land tax”, census, “electoral roll”, “parish council”, “tithe map”




Local history springs to life with direct accounts of personal experience: included here are the recollections of local people in the setting of local communities.


Search terms: diary, memories, reminiscences, letter, sketch, notes




Parish records of births, marriages and deaths became required from the mid-1700’s. In addition, parish records include gravestone, church plaque and war memorials providing the names of individuals. References to archive sources are provided on this website.


Search terms: “parish records”, “parish register”, births, baptism, marriages, deaths, gravestone, graveyard, memorial




Summaries of many wills, mainly dating from the 1660’s, are included in this website, giving an intimate glimpse of the assets held by individuals, and the bequests they made reflect their family setting and social standing, as well as the value placed on their goods.


Search terms: probate, will, bond, inventory, intestate, testament




Property transactions make up a large bulk of documents on the website. Some relate to sales and purchases, others to various types of tenure from freehold [full ownership] to copyhold [inheritable but not full ownership] to leasehold [including ‘lease for lives’ for the lifespan of named individuals].


Search terms: deed, freehold, copyhold, lease, “lease for lives”, conveyance, mortgage




Chancery Rolls, so called from being rolled pieces of parchment, are a series of documents dating from the 12th century which record Crown interests: they include land grants and entitlement, investigations of misdemeanour, confirmation of privileges, settlement of disputes, permission for markets and fairs, and appointments to local offices.


Search terms: “pipe rolls”, “fine rolls, “close rolls, “patent rolls”, inquisitions, “inquisitions post mortem”, “ancient deeds”



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