Dorset Manorial Documents
A Guide for Local & Family Historians
Date of publication: October 2011
Publisher: Dorset Record Society
Manorial documents are a useful and yet underused source for local and family historians in Dorset. They illustrate many aspects of the lives of ordinary people: property ownership, maintenance of roads and hedges, punishment of minor crimes, election of local officers and interpretation of local customs all fell within the remit of the manor court. The guide explains the history and development of Dorset manors and introduces the documents produced by the manorial administration through examples from the collections held at the Dorset History Centre. The focus is on those documents written in English produced between the mid-seventeenth century and the early twentieth century which are most easily accessible to researchers who have not previously worked on manor and estate records. Examples of court rolls, perambulations, stewards' papers, presentments and customs are provided with transcriptions to illustrate the contents and uses of a variety of records.