Manorial Documents Register

The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) is an index of English and Welsh manorial records, providing brief descriptions of documents and details of their locations in public and private hands.

Manorial records include court rolls, surveys, maps, terriers and all other documents relating to the boundaries, franchises, wastes, customs or courts of a manor.

We are co-ordinating an ongoing programme to revise, update and computerise our paper-based Manorial Documents Register on a county by county basis, working in collaboration with external partners.

You can view the Manorial Documents Register counties map (PDF, 1.0 MB), which shows the progress of the project across the counties.

Work is currently progressing on the final five English counties: Cornwall, Cheshire, Durham, Kent and Lincolnshire.

Searching the Manorial Documents Register

You can search only the data held within the Manorial Documents Register by using the register’s homepage within Discovery. It is far more detailed and accurate than the original paper indexes, improving both the quality and quantity of the information, and providing wider access to this resource. This benefits researchers wherever they are based in the world, enabling them to search for manorial records by manor, parish, type of record, or by date, and identifying the relevant records.

Listen to our podcast which provides an introduction to the various types of manorial records and offers a practical guide to using the Manorial Documents Register.

Manorial Documents Survey

We are undertaking a survey to better understand the current use of manorial documents and we would appreciate your input.

This survey will help us find out more about:

  • the research that manorial documents support
  • the users of the Manorial Documents Register
  • national awareness of the Manorial Documents Rules

The results from this survey will be used to plan:

  • the future development of the Register
  • the programme of events to celebrate the completion of the Register’s computerisation for England and Wales in 2022.

The survey has been extended until 9 November 2020 and is open to all. If you have any questions or additional information to contribute, please email us at mdr@nationalarchives.gov.uk, quoting Manorial Documents Survey in the subject line. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Manorial Documents Register conference

In 2018, the Manorial Documents Register Advisory Panel and The National Archives held a collaborative one-day conference entitled ‘Manorial Documents: Past, present and into the future’. The aims of the conference were to:

  • promote the Manorial Documents Register as a valuable research tool
  • Begin to explore its research potential
  • Inspire inter-disciplinary research activities of all kinds

Audio recordings of the conference‘s panel sessions and keynote address by Professor Chris Dyer are available. The opening and closing remarks, as well as the roundtable discussion, will be released soon.

Find out more

Read more about the Manorial Documents Register and the legislation that explains why we maintain these registers.

Other guides: