SLAIDBURN MANOR COURT ROLLS

 

I am grateful to Chris Spencer for providing all the information that follows from the court rolls of the Manor of Slaidburn. There were two types of manor court; a court leet dealt with minor law and order issues whereas a court baron dealt with transfers of copyhold land and enforced payments of services which were due to the land owner. The court drew on a body of precedent known as "the custom of the manor."

When a tenant died it was possible for his heir to take over the tenancy by payment of a fee usually known as a fine. In some areas this fee was known as a heriot and may be payment in kind such as an animal or cash. Copyholders were people who held their land under an agreement with the land owner, and held a copy of the entry made in the rolls of the court baron which recorded his or her possession of a holding on agreed terms. During the 16th century copyhold started to be replaced by leasehold agreements and copyhold was abolished in 1922.

It was possible to sub-let copyhold land. It was a custom of the manor of Slaidburn that applications for change of occupancy had to be introduced to the court by a third party who was himself a copyholder. In the first example below Nicholas Thornber, probably a kinsman, acts as the third party. Giles Thornber is a copyhold tenant and paid 4 pence an acre for old land and 6 pence for newly enclosed land to the lord of the manor annually. He is sub-letting to Henry Brigge for nine years and there may be a rental from Brigge to Giles Thornber. A transfer of tenancy or a sub-let incurred a "fine" worth one year's rent. Often land was sub-let for a term of three lives.

1. Easter 1641

At this court came Giles Thornber and surrendered, by Nicholas Thornber, a parcel of land of the new improvements upon Bradforth More containing 3a or thereabouts commonly called Rakes and 1a rodland. To the use and behoof of Henry Brigge, his heirs and assigns, from 10 January 1639 for and during a term of 9 years from then next following and be fully completed. Admitted. Fine 16d. [No rental to Giles Thornber mentioned, nor is there an Intent]

2. Head Court 2 Jan 1645

At this court came Edward Waddington and surrendered, by James Bashall, a close or parcel of land called the Parke containing by estimation 1a of land and now in the tenure or occupation of Giles Thormber, situated and being in Bradfourth. To the use and behoof of the said Giles Thormber. Admitted. Fine 4d.

3. Plea Court 18 June 1646

Giles Thornbur v. Robert Parker of Fowlescales in a plea of trespass upon the case, to the plaintiff’s damage of 39s. 11¾d. The defendant came and denied and put himself upon the jury, etc. Defendant is found not guilty and therefore the defendant [sic] for his unjust claim is in mercy of the court 2d.

Robert Parker of Fowlescales v. Giles Thornbur, in a plea of debt in that he owes him 20s. The jury say that the defendant owes the plaintiff 18s. and therefore he is in mercy of the court 2d.

4. M1649 E1650 roll

At this court came Nicholas Thornbur of Westbradford, by Henry Leemeinge, and surrendered a mansion or dwelling house, two barns, certain gardens belonging to the same, and certain closes or parcels of land lying and being in Westbradford aforesaid called the Barley Croft, Farhey, Overhey, Litle Inge, containing by estimation 7a of land, and also certain other closes of land now or lately improved from the wastes above Bradford called the Walker Feild, Slackbrowe, Stonedelfeild and the Rakes, containing by estimation 7½a of land, and 3½a of land of the new improvements as the same are divided and allotted. To the use and behoof of Anthony Thornber, son of the said Nicholas Thornber, his heirs and assigns, from and immediately after 2 February next and immediately following the decease of the said Nicholas Thornbur and Isabel now his wife, and the longer liver of them, forever. Admitted. Fine 7s. 10d. (Genealogy of Thornbers using the name of Nicholas are on a separate page.)

5. M1656 E1657 roll; 9 Oct 1656

At this court comes Isabell Thornebur, widdowe, the relict of Nicholas Thornebur of Westbradford deceased, by Henry Leeminge, and surrendered the half of one messuage, two barns with other buildings, certain gardens with other parcels of land in Bradford aforesaid commonly called Litle Inge, Barley Croft, Farhey and Overhey, containing by estimation 7a of oxgangland and other parcels of ground now or lately improved from the wastes above Bradford aforesaid, known by the names of Walkerfeild Slacke and the Rakes, together with 3½a of moss or turbary as now it is meared and set forth, containing by estimation 7a 3r 13f of land with the appurtenances. To the use and behoof of Raph Leeminge of Rodwellyaite in Grindleton and Henry Knowles of West Bradford aforesaid, and their heirs, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever as feoffees in trust, to stand and be fined and seized thereof to such uses as are specified and declared in one Intent hereunder written. Admitted. Fine 6s. 3d.

The Intent … is to the use and behoof of the said Isabell Thornebur for and during her natural life, then to the use and behoof of George Thornebur son of the late Nicholas Thornebur, he paying unto Ellen the now wife of Thomas Dale of Bradford aforesaid, unto Elizabeth the now wife of John Franckland of Alderhouse, unto Margaret Thornebur and Isabell Thornebur, sisters unto the said George Thornebur, the sum of £48 equally to be divided amongst them upon the third Candlemas day next following the decease of the said Isabell Thornebur. And also paying unto Isabell Thornebur, Nicholas Thornebur, James Thornebur and Agnes Thornebur, sons and daughters of the late Anthony Thornebur deceased, the sum of £12 to be equally divided as hereafter: unto the said Nicholas Thornebur, James Thornebur and Isabell Thornebur, every of them 40s. as they accomplish the age of 21 years and unto the said Agnes Thornebur £6 at 21.

Genealogical Interpretation

From items 4 and 5 above we learn that Nicholas Thornber was married to Isabel and in 1649 they had a son Anthony. In 1656 it appears that Nicholas has just died but that Anthony had either predeceased him or died just after before he could take over the tenancy. However, from item 5 we learn that Anthony had children under the age of 21. Nicholas and Isabel had other children, George, Ellen, Elizaabeth, Margaret and Isabel. George must have been over 21 to take over the land so we can construct a draft tree as follows:

As Nicholas is a very uncommon name among the Thornbers, it is possible that the same family are involved in item 1698 in item 11 below which refers back to a surrender in 1629 and mentions that Anthony was the heir of his father Nicholas and died before he could take over but that his son Nicholas is the next heir. Item 14 in the same year repeats the relationship of Nicholas and Anthony.

6. Easter 1657

At this court cometh Gyles Thornber of Bradford, by Thomas Dale, and surrendered 1a of land known by the name of Parke, to the use and behoof of Margaret wife of the said Giles Thornber, for and during the term of her natural life, and after her decease, then to the use and behoof of Ann Thornber, Anthony Thornber and John Thornber, sons and daughter of the said Gyles, for and during a term of 6 years, unless Gyles Thornber, son and heir of the said Gyles Thornber, pays £6 within one year after his mother’s death, equally to be divided amongst the said three children. Admitted. Fine 4d.

7. Michaelmass 1666

At this court came Giles Thornber, Anthony Thornber and Anne Thorneber of West Bradford, by Henry Hairst, and surrendered a parcel of land called the Parke containing by estimation 1a of land now in the occupation of Margaret Thorneber widow. To the use and behoof of William Thorneber of West Bradford, his heirs and assigns, forever. A proclamation thereof having been made, whereupon came the aforesaid Margaret Thornber and forbad the fine for the term of her life and it was granted her, and then the aforesaid William Thorneber was admitted by the steward. Fine 4d.

8. Easter 1669

At this court came Ann Thornber now the wife of Giles Thornber of Westbradford and surrendered all her right, title, interest and claim of dower which she now has or in any way hereafter may have, of and in a parcel of land called the Parroke containing by estimation 1a of land, now or lately in the tenure or occupation of Margaret Thornber widow. To the use and behoof of William Thornber, his heirs and assigns, according to the tenor and form of one surrender previously made of the same land by Giles Thornber, Anthony Thornber and Ann Thornber of Westbradford aforesaid to the aforesaid William Thornber and his heirs and assigns forever bearing date of the court rolls 8 October 1666, and according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever. Admitted. Fine [none stated]

Genealogical Interpretation

Items 7 & 8 seem to relate to the same family as covered under item 6 in that Parke and Parroke may be the same 1 acre of land. Thus we can say that by 1669 Giles the elder died leaving Margaret a widow. Giles the younger now appears to have a wife Ann. Giles' siblings Anthony and Ann are mentioned again in item 7 but not John. The surrender in 1666 may have been when Giles the elder died.. Evidence in the parish registers points to William as a son of Giles.

As shown below in item 11, in 1698, William Thornber surrenders a 1 acre plot called the Parke to his grandson, Giles. The outline tree below has been fitted together with other data to produce a tree that shows the descent to the Thornbers of Bentham and the Fylde from the Thornbers of Slaidburn.

9. Thornbers as jurors at the court

29 Sep 1671 Head Court Baron – Giles Thornber a juror
9 Oct 1672 Head Court Baron – William Thorneber a juror
2 Oct 1682 Head Court Baron – William Thornber a juror
3 May 1699 Head Court Baron – Giles Thornber juror

10. Easter (26 April) 1680

At this court it is present by inquiry that a messuage or firehouse with other buildings and 18a 3r of bovate land and 10½a of rodland and 8a of the new improvements upon Smalden alias Grindleton More with the appurtenances in Grindleton lying and being in several places there called Sitten Hills in Smalden aforesaid, and 7a 30f of land of the wastes and commons upon Grindleton More and 1r of bovate land lying upon the east part of a close called Meaneflaxpooles and also a parcel of land lying upon the east end of a croft called Fearne Croft containing by estimation 2f of rodland and also a close called Postlands situate in Grindleton aforesaid and adjoining the south part of a barn called the Tyth Barne, containing by estimation 2½a of bovate land, with the appurtenances in Grindleton, have reverted into the hands of the said lord after the death of Robert Swinglehurst and that Margaret Wallis, Elizabeth Swinglehurst, John Thorneber son of William Thornber and Richard Horner son of Ralph Horner, are coheirs and ask to be admitted to the fine. Forbid made by John Smythson of all the land aforesaid on the part of Jane now his wife in the right of her dower, and the said Margaret Wallis, Elizabeth Swinglehurst, John Thorneber and Richard Horner find surety [blank] to respond to the said forbid. Admitted. Fine 16s. 11¼d.

11. Michaelmas 1690

At this court came Anthony Thorneber of Grindleton, by Richard Altham, and surrendered a house, barn, two gardens, containing by estimation ½a of land with the appurtenances in Grindleton and also 3r. 26f. upon Grindleton Moore. To the use and behoof of John Sclaiter of Grindleton. [no fine stated]

12. Easter 1698

At this court came William Thornber of West Bradford yeoman, by Thomas Leeming a tenant of the Lord and Lady of the Manor aforesaid, and sworn, and surrendered from 21 April 1698, one parcel of land commonly called or known by the name the Parke, situated, lying and being in West Bradford aforesaid and containing by estimation 1 acre of rodland, with all ways and water courses belonging to the same. To the use and behoof of Giles Thornber, grandson [‘nepotis’] of the aforesaid William Thornber, his heirs and assigns, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever, and according to an intention hereunder written and not otherwise. Admitted. Fine 4d.

[In English:] The intent ... is that the abovesaid William Thornber, the surrenderor, shall have and peaceably enjoy the surrendered premises and all the profit thereof for and during his natural life, and after his decease, to the abovesaid Giles Thornber, his heirs and assigns, forever.

13. Michaelmas 1698

At this court it is presented that one full quarter part of a certain messuage and lands lying in Grindleton, which aforesaid messuage and lands are mentioned in a certain inquiry taken for the Lord of the Manor aforesaid at the Head Court Baron on 26 April 1680, have reverted into the hands of the said Lord and Lady of the Manor aforesaid after the death of John Thornber, late of West Bradford within the Manor aforesaid, and that Margaret Wallis widow, Richard Horner the son of Ralph and Thomas Swinglehurst the son of Wilfrid are the co-heirs and of full age, except the aforesaid Thomas Swinglehurst, and they ask to be admitted to the fine. A proclamation thereof having been made, whereupon came Giles Thornber and prohibited the fine of all the premises aforesaid by right of inheritance, and the aforesaid Margaret, Richard and Thomas find pledge Robert Horner to prosecute the prohibit aforesaid, and then they are admitted by the steward. [no fine stated]

14. [Same court M1698]

At this court it is presented by inquiry that Roger Tayler and Isabel Tayler his wife, by their surrender bearing date 28 April 1629, surrendered one messuage called a firehouse, two barns with other buildings, and 9 acres 1 rood of rodland, with the appurtenances, in Grindleton. To the use and behoof of Brian Tayler of Phinnis and Nicholas Thornber of Bradford as feoffees in trust for certain uses, and that Anthony Thornber was the son of the aforesaid Nicholas and died before he was admitted, and that Nicholas Thornber was the longer living feoffee, and that Nicholas Thornber is the son and next heir of the longer living feoffee and of full age and ought to be admitted to the fine. Admitted. [no fine stated]

15. [Same court M1698]

At this court came Giles Thornber of West Bradford yeoman, for diverse good causes and valuable considerations, by Thomas Tayler a tenant of the Lord and Lady aforesaid, and sworn, and surrendered from 14 February 1698 a quarter part of one messuage called a firehouse with a quarter part of all other buildings belonging to the same, and also a quarter part of a certain close of land containing by estimation 18 acres 3 roods of bovate land and a quarter part of a certain close of land containing by estimation 10½ acres of rodland, and a quarter part of 8 acres of land of the new improvements upon Smalden alias Grindleton Moore commonly called the Sittonhills on Smalden aforesaid and a quarter part of 37 falls of land of the wastes and commons upon Grindleton Moore, and a quarter part of 1 rood of land lying upon the east part of a certain close of land called the Meanflaxpooles, and also a quarter part of 2 falls of land lying upon east end of one croft called the Feanecroft, and also a quarter part of one close of land called the Postlands lying upon the south side of a barn called the ‘tithbarne’ in Grindleton; and all the aforesaid premises are situated, lying and being in Grindleton aforesaid and were lately in the possession of William Thornber deceased, brother of the said Giles Thornber, together with all liberties, privileges, easements, profits, commodities and advantages belonging to the same. To the use and behoof of Henry Standen of Cliderow in the County of Lancaster gentleman, his heirs and assigns, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever. Whereupon came the aforesaid Henry Standen and asked to be admitted to the fine; a proclamation thereof having been made, whereupon came Ralph Horner on behalf of [‘ex parte’] Margaret Wallis widow, Richard Horner and Thomas Swinglehurst and prohibited the fine of all the above mentioned premises by statute of inheritance; the aforesaid Henry Standen found pledge James Parker to prosecute the forbid aforesaid, and then he was admitted by the steward. [no fine stated]

16. [Same court M1698]

At this court came Nicholas Thornber of West Bradford, son and heir of Anthony Thornber deceased who was the son and heir of Nicholas Thornber, the surviving feoffee of Brian Tayler deceased, in and to the messuage, buildings, lands and premises hereafter named, lately the lands of Roger Tayler deceased, at the special request of John Tayler of Clowbrow in Grindleton and Roger Tayler his son, for diverse good causes and valuable considerations, by Thomas Tayler a tenant of the Lord and Lady of the Manor aforesaid, and sworn, and surrendered from 4 January 1698 all that messuage or firehouse, two barns with other buildings belonging to the same and 9 acres 1 rood of rodland situated, lying and being in Grindleton, now in the tenure or occupation of the said John Tayler and Roger his son, their tenants or assigns. To the use and behoof of the said John Tayler and Roger Tayler, their heirs and assigns, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever. Admitted. [no fine stated]

17. Easter 1699

At this court came Giles Thornber of West Bradford, Henry Standen of Cliderow gentleman and Jenet his wife, who first being examined [etc], and Edward Colthurst of Wadington, for diverse good causes and valuable considerations, by John Smythson a tenant of the Lord and Lady of the Manor aforesaid, and sworn, and surrendered from 21 February 1698, one quarter part of one messuage called a ‘fyerhouse’, a quarter part of all other buildings belonging to the same, and also a quarter part of a certain close of land containing 18 acres 3 roods of bovate land and a quarter part of a certain close of land containing by estimation 10½ acres of rodland, and a quarter part of 8 acres of land of the new improvements upon Smalden alias Grindleton Moore commonly called the Sittinhills on Smalden aforesaid and a quarter part of 37 falls of land of the wastes and commons upon Grindleton Moore, and a quarter part of 1 rood of land lying upon the east part of a certain close of land called the Meaneflaxpooles, and also a quarter part of 2 falls of land lying upon east end of one croft called the Feanecroft, and also a quarter part of one close of land called the Postlands lying upon the south side of the ‘Tythbarne’; and all the aforesaid premises are situated in Grindleton aforesaid and were lately in the possession of William Thornber deceased, with all privileges and appurtenances belonging to the same. To the use and behoof of Margaret Wallis widow, Richard Horner son of Ralph Horner and Thomas Swinglehurst son of Wilfrid Swinglehurst, their heirs and assigns, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever. Admitted. [no fine stated]

18. Easter 1701

At this court came Giles Thornber of Champion bachelor, by John Smythson a tenant of the Lord and Lady of the Manor aforesaid, and sworn, and surrendered from 28 April 1701, one parcel of land commonly called the Parke situated, lying and being in West Bradford containing by estimation 1 acre of rodland, with all ways and watercourses belonging to the same. To the use and behoof of Richard Hargreaves, his heirs and assigns, according to the custom of the Manor aforesaid forever. Admitted. [no fine stated]

 

 

 

 

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